How do you know when it’s time to buy or upgrade to your new instrument?
Start by asking yourself if your current instrument is not keeping up with your level or needs. Is the range too small for your classical repertoire? Do you need more strings on that bass guitar? Are your current cymbals under performing at your jam sessions? Whatever the reason, ensure that you actually have one first. This will stop you from impulse buying, or simply purchasing the incorrect instrument for your specific needs.
2. Save or Spend
Most stores will have special savings on offer at various times throughout the year. However be wary of advertised “savings” masquerading as bargains, as they may actually just be pushing out old or redundant stock. Suppose that you had a budget of $300 for a new guitar, however were shown a beautiful looking $450 guitar with a “saving” of $150 from the regular retail price. The salesman will tell you that this guitar was originally $600, but it is now on special and being offered to you for only $450, hence you are actually saving $150. This is actually quite the opposite. The seller has made you leap out of your established price range, and is influencing you to spend a further $150. So be aware of “sales and savings” or else you may get more that what you actually bargained for.
3. Returns and Guarantees?
Ensure that you ask the store about these two important aspects. There is nothing worse than getting home to your new instrument or upgrade, only to find out that it underperforms, or doesn’t sound the same as the in store demo, then be rudely shocked to find out that the store has a no exchange or returns policy. Ask the store what their policies are, then rephrase what they told you into your own words to ensure that there are no misunderstandings. Also, do your homework and know your rights as a consumer. Check out the NSW/Australian ombudsman website and read up on the conditions of selling goods in Australia. You may be surprised by what you find.
4. Keep the packaging, tags and accessories in one place
An almost common sense statement, yet I have personally seen many students misplace essential levers, clamps, tuning keys, straps, cases, receipts, and even instruments themselves. You have just paid good money for your instrument and it’s accessories, so be organized with it and keep everything in a single safe location. The amount spent on unnecessarily replacing lost instruments and accessories will build over time, and it could mean your next upgrade if you are not careful.
5. Enjoy it!
Once you have brought home your new baby, make sure of the most important thing… enjoyment! Music is meant to be enjoyed, so never lock up your precious instrument in order to save it for a concert or a reward. Practice with it, experiment, play, try new techniques and songs. A diligent student will eventually wear out his or her instrument, hence ensure that yours gets its full use as often as possible. Finally, tell your teacher all about your new purchase and show them at your next lesson. If you are lucky enough to be learning with the teachers at Contreras Music, they may even take a snap of it and post it on our website for the world to see!
© 2016 Cristian Contreras.