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Are there benefits to buying a secondhand instrument?

Does the idea of buying a used musical instrument make you cringe?  Maybe you’re not familiar with buying a used musical instrument.  Talking as a brass player, specialising in the tuba I'm happy to buy a secondhand instrument.  For me personally: the older the better!

Quality musical instruments are designed to last a lifetime if the owner takes care of them properly.  By purchasing a used instrument you are giving it a new beginning and you’ll be making another musician happy knowing that their instrument will continue to fill someone else’s life with music.

Used instruments aren’t just for history buffs and antique dealers; they give students and pros alike the opportunity to upgrade to a model that might be out of their normal price range.

Yes the instrument will have been used - isn’t that the point?  Yes it will probably have a few dinks and dents here and there, but that will not affect the quality of sound.  

You’ll often find that older instruments will be made with a better quality of metal and most probably harder.

I like an instrument to have already been ‘blown in’ which can take up to a year depending on how often you play.  I do personally prefer an older looking instrument.

As a brass player, I know that checking a used instrument over is very important.  Making sure that all the slides move freely and that the valves work smoothly.  The most vital thing though, in my opinion is that you love playing it!

I always like to know how old an instrument is, and it has had any repairs in its journey. Certain work on an instrument may affect its quality, so make sure you always ask about the history behind it. Repair work is not a bad thing and it shows that the previous owner loved and took care of the instrument.

For woodwind instruments, it is common for springs and pads to be replaced.  For brass instruments – small dents may have been removed; creases in the bell may have been sorted.  Problems with valves, springs and felts may also have been replaced.

Instruments that we sell at John Packer won’t be put up for sale unless they are in working order. Small bits and bobs such as oiling valves and greasing slides can be done quickly and easily. Woodwind instruments will always be checked over by a technician in the workshop.

It’s a personal choice at the end of the day and the final decision rests with you.

Happy bargain hunting!


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