Tips for buying a guitar, bass or drums - Dexter Music Lessons Orange County

Tips for buying a guitar, bass or drums - Dexter Music Lessons Orange County

Many Resources for Buying an Instrument

There are countless resources online and at a local music store for buying these instruments. When it comes to brands, styles, etc., there are almost no wrong or right answers. We are here to help select a good instrument for you or your child. Feel free to talk with your Dexter Music instructor at your next lesson, or call our office and we can help you through the process.

Know What You Want Before Stepping into a Music Store

One thing to consider, is a novice walking into a Guitar Center can be like a 16 year old walking into a car dealership with a bag of money. Most music stores sell on commission, and even those that don’t are still very much trained to promote the “house” brand, or a brand that they get special financial considerations on. It is best to know what you want before you walk in, to prevent being steered into something better for the store, than for you or your child. We can discuss this with you and let you know what you should be looking for.

We will be further updating this page with a list of actual instruments that work well in different price ranges for different styles of play. 


Tips for buying a piano or keyboard - Dexter Music Lessons Orange County

Consider a Keyboard for a Beginner

If you are on the fence about buying a piano, we recommend starting out with a small keyboard for your lessons until there is some progress made. This is unless you really know you want a piano for the furniture aspect as much as for the instrument itself.

Beginning on an inexpensive keyboard works fine for the beginner. In the last five to ten years, the technology has progressed to the point that even a $200 keyboard found at Costco or Target will work just fine for beginning lessons. They will usually come with a simple pedal, which will be your sustain pedal, though that isn’t even needed in the beginning. These less expensive keyboards will not likely have the same 88 key range that a piano has, or larger digital pianos, but that is also not needed at this stage.

Digital Pianos

If you get into the $800 to $1500 range, you can find digital pianos which are closer the look and feel of a piano. The keys are weighted, so they feel more like a piano, and they sit directly on the floor, rather than a cheap stand. They seem more like furniture.

Traditional Pianos

If you are sure you want a real piano, there are limitless options. New pianos can be very expensive, but modest uprights can be found affordably. The sound of an upright is smaller and less impressive, and the argument could be made that a nicer digital keyboard would be a better choice if you are going for a big grand piano sound. This is entirely subjective, however.

Used Pianos

Used pianos can be very risky. A well taken care of piano is a great find, but an old piano will often need hammers, strings and wood work. This will often add hundreds or even thousands  of dollars to the cost. Buying a used piano from a dealer will usually have these things taken care of, but ask about the history and any work that has been done since they took it in.

We would personally prefer a used Yamaha or Steinway to a new “budget” brand piano, but then that is just an opinion as well.

There are countless resources online, and we are working to provide some additional links for your convenience.