Well, the nights are drawing in, and your thoughts may be turning to indoor activities as Autumn takes a hold….
It is at this time of year that I receive numerous enquiries from potential studuents wishing to take up guitar/bass or drums. These students may be complete beginners, or players looking to rekindle their interest in music, but whatever the circumstances, this is the time of year which seems to focus the minds of budding musicians.
Consequently, I am often asked for advice concerning the choice of a new instrument or piece of equipment. Given the choice available these days it can seem like a pretty intimidating minefield for the uninitiated, especially given the myriad internet retailers out there. This is in stark contrast to when I was learning many moons ago (well, I started in 1982..) ,where you had the choice of a couple of local shops – and that was it. Furthermore, in those days, it was possibly (or indeed likely) that when buying a cheaper/beginner instrument you could easily end up with a sub standard offering which might in fact be barely playable. In contrast, nowadays it is a lot more difficult to buy a “bad” instrument as long as you stick to some basic rules…
So – go to an actual shop. This is only my opinion, but we have several excellent shops in Nottingham, all who will give you friendly and expert advice, and all who will stock decent instruments that are set up to be as easy as possible to play. You will also benefit from local after sales support should problems arise. Even at the most affordable end of the spectrum, you stand a good chance of buying a reasonable instrument, and even if you can’t yet play much yourself, the staff will be able to demonstrate the instrument to you.
Obviously there is nothing wrong with buying online, but usually a local shop will get close to an internet price – just ask – they don’t bite.
Students also ask me to recommend specific brands or instruments. I have my favourites, of course, and I can also offer my students advice based on many years experience knowing which brands are consistent yet affordable.
So, yes, it can be daunting, but our local retailers will be only too happy to assist. As the nights draw in and thoughts turn to a certain celebration at the end of December, be sure to seek their advice – you might even bag a festive deal!
See you soon