We believe every musician should be able to afford an amazing instrument. This is our guide with advice and links to external funding organizations dedicated to facilitating the purchase of a musical instrument.
1. Before you buy – know what you’re looking for
You might not be pleased with your current violin but simply looking for a better one is not going to get you very far. In order to find the right instrument, you need to know what it is that you’re looking for. Try as many as you can get your hands on: your friends and teachers’ instruments can be a great starting point. Enquire about the makers, setup, or anything else you might find interesting about that particular instrument. The more you know, the more comfortable you will be with the trade-offs you’ll inevitably need to make when choosing what’s right for you.
2. Start looking while you’re studying
Finding an instrument can be a long process and it may take years before you feel comfortable making a purchase. Don’t wait until you leave college to start learning about the instrument world! Many grants and loans are only available to full-time students or to people under a certain age. These funding sources can be decisive in making a particular instrument more affordable and potentially save thousands in interest later on.
3. Consider contemporary instruments by living makers
Everyone wishes they were able to afford a Stradivarius or a Guadagnini, but chances are your first instrument is going to be something more modest. While the great old Italian makers certainly produced masterpieces of exceptional quality, at MyLuthier, we believe you’ll get the best price/quality from the instruments being made right now. We are proud to feature a great selection by some of the best makers of our time, and there are also other organizations dedicated to promoting the work of contemporary makers.
4. Define your budget – How much can you pay upfront?
Grants and 0% Interest Loans are a great help, but don’t expect to fully finance your instrument through these sources. Most Grant awarding organizations will only fund up to a third of the total cost of the instrument, and 0% interest loans can be extremely hard to get.
As a general rule, the more you can pay upfront the better. This might mean you will need to save for a while before you are able to afford a good quality instrument.
If you’re buying your first instrument, we recommend that you secure at least 60% of the total cost before you consider external funding sources. Avoid getting into high amounts of debt!