If your music studies concentrate on playing a specific instrument, the cost of that instrument is going to be one of your most significant expenses. One of the biggest debates that people have when somtrumpetebody decides to take music lessons – particularly a child – is how much money they want to spend on an instrument. After all, an adult or a child may start out playing the trumpet and then suddenly decide that the viola is really where it’s at.

viola up close

Most of the time, music stores online or off will have plenty of beginner level instruments. These are instruments that are generally chosen because they have acceptable quality but are not particularly expensive compared to a professional quality instrument. When you do find out that the instrument you are playing really is your passion, however, you’re going to want to upgrade at some point. Here are some guidelines to help you determine when you should go ahead and do this.


Give it a Year

If you’ve never played an instrument before, it will probably take you a year or so before you can play it well enough to notice the difference in instrument quality as far as the tone a more expensive instrument is going to give you. Unless you happen to be quite talented, before this point, any lacking tone you have is probably connected to your technique more than it is to the instrument and therefore it’s not worth the money to  an instrument upgrade.


If you still love the instrument that you’re playing after a year and you really want to get something that allows you to develop your abilities as a musician further, start looking to upgrade your instrument at that point. You can upgrade to a mid-range instrument or you can go all out and get something professional quality. Some people choose the latter option, as it means they’ll probably never have to buy another instrument again, at least for quality reasons.

fender guitar update your instrument

Develop Your Style

You’re going to find that you develop a preference for certain instruments after you become more experienced as a musician. For instance, some guitarists prefer Gibson guitars while others prefer Fender guitars. Both of those companies produce world-class instruments, some examples of which have actually become legendary. They have subtle differences in the way they are constructed – particularly where the fret board is concerned – that makes some musicians prefer one brand strongly over the other. It will take you time to develop sufficient skill to know whether you prefer one instrument over another, so invest some time in developing your own style so that you know which instruments you are likely to gravitate towards.


Be Sensible

Remember that you don’t have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on the most expensive instrument you can find. There are excellent instruments that are available for under $1000 and that will last you a lifetime. Take the time to explore a little bit, talk to experienced musicians and don’t forget to look for used instruments. In some cases, you’ll find that the best thing you can do is purchase a used instrument of a very high quality that has a few miles on it, so to speak. This sometimes allows you to get a world-class instrument that you could never afford to purchase new.

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