12 Of The Best Ways To Save Money On buying An Instrument

Are you like me and dread the dent in your wallet buying an instrument causes? If your answer is a resounding YES, then this article is for you. Here at The Audio Brew, our mission is to inspire you to make music and help you save money in the process.


In this article, I’ll go over the best ways you can save money on your next instrument purchase. I know that some of these may be ones you already know but keep reading. Some of these tips may come as a surprise and may just help you buy that guitar or those drums you have been drooling over.

#1. Buy Used Gear

This is a no-brainer for most of us. But, buying used is one of the best ways to save on an instrument. Understand that buying used comes with its own set of challenges.

Here are a few things to take into consideration if you decide to go this route.

  • The instrument may have damage, missing parts, be warped, etc… Be sure to inspect it. If buying online, ask for a lot of pictures of all angles of the instrument.
  • Repairing any damage could cost more than buying new in the end. Do your homework before you commit to buy. Find out how much it would cost to make any necessary repairs. Check with a local repair shop along with the manufacturer on the possible cost of the repairs.


  • The instrument may not have had regular maintenance or been cared for to your standards. Ask a lot of questions about the history of the instrument. Ask about regular maintenance, major repairs, and how it’s stored.
  • You may not have the option to play it yourself before you buy it. Playing an instrument lets us connect with it. It gives us the ability to hear it, feel it, and determine if it is a good fit. If you are unable to play an instrument before buying, ask for a video of the instrument while being played.

#2. Buy Scratch and Dent, Refurbished, or Open-Box

So many retailers offer scratch and dent, refurbished or open-box items for purchase. This is something I frequently keep my eyes open for. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a sales rep and ask questions about the items. Find out what blemishes it may have and if it would be worth it to you.

Floor models, more often than not, end up in the scratch and dent or open box. These items have minor blemishes. These blemishes are sometimes in inconspicuous places, like the back of the instrument. Most open-box items are returns from customers. Items are returned because they didn’t meet their needs, expectations, or they were the wrong instrument.

If a new item is damaged and you are not sure about the repair cost or needs, reach out to a repair shop or the manufacturer. Retailers discount a damaged item to avoid repairing it or returning it themselves. If the item is under warranty it could be covered with the manufacturer. The manufacturer may ask you to ship it in for repair or replacement, sometimes at no cost to you.

#3. Compare Prices

You should be shopping and comparing prices at a minimum of three retailers. Check well-established online stores like Adorama who frequently get overlooked. Make sure to check the manufacturer sites too. They may have special pricing, sales, or have a list of authorized dealers. Authorized dealers may have exclusive deals or prices you cannot find anywhere else. Don’t forget to see if your favorite instrument retailer does price matching too.

#4. Sign-up for email subscriptions or accounts

Both retailers and manufacturers will offer you a special deal or code just for signing up! Some don’t even have restrictions on what you buy with these codes. Beware, you will want to use them before their offer expires. Some retailers want you to use the discount code within a certain time frame.

Sign up for The Handcrafted Email featuring all of the best deals on musical instruments. That was a shameless plug, but it really does keep you in the loop.

#5. Know when to buy

Music instrument retailers and manufacturers have special sales dates. They typically use the same schedule every year for their sales events.

The most common sales times to wait for are:

  • Major holidays – Black Friday, Christmas, Memorial Day, etc.
  • Anniversary sales
  • Special event sales around yearly conferences like Namm and Gearfest.
  • Before or after a new model release may the best time to buy the previous model at a discounted or closeout price. At the start of the new year, retailers start clearing out inventory in preparation for new gear. New year = new gear!
  • Going out of business sales is a bonus for you. It is always sad to see a good business go, but it happens all the time. It is good to look for businesses that are closing their doors and blowing out inventory. Some are even willing to ship it to you.

#6. Invest in a quality instrument

It is always a good idea to invest your money in a higher quality instrument. New or used, there is a reason why you pay more for certain brands. A brand worth investing in takes pride in its manufacturing process. They only sell great products with the highest quality parts. This will save you from replacing broken parts or the instrument before you expect to.

#7. Skimp on added features now and upgrade later

You can purchase a quality instrument and upgrade lower-quality parts later. Get the guitar with the body and finish you want and later upgrade to higher quality pickups or tuning keys. Buy a drum set for the wood and finish you want in a kit and upgrade the hardware as you can afford to.
However, I would never skimp on the best and most important parts of an instrument.


#8. Build your instrument

With a little research, you can find some amazing DIY videos on how to build your instrument. Musical instrument kits come with everything you need to assemble and finish your instrument. It cuts out the assembly process at the factory, potentially saving you hundreds. In the end, it leaves you with a quality instrument you can be proud to say you had a hand in building.

If you are looking to build a guitar we recommend you check out The Fretwire. They have a great selection of guitar and bass body styles, accessories, and parts.

#9. Ask your fellow musicians

One of the best ways to save money on the purchase of an instrument is to reach out to fellow musicians. They may have information on a sale you have not heard of yet. They may be selling or know of someone selling the exact instrument you are looking for.

#10. Save money by paying cash

Immediate gratification is not always worth it. Credit accounts that offer 0% interest on payments are rare. Don’t be surprised by high-interest payments and fees. Missed payments can murder your pocketbook. Save your money for nicer hardware or accessories for your new instrument.


If you are having a hard time waiting, find creative ways to get to your cash goal faster. Play some gigs for extra money, sell an old instrument, or find a second temporary/seasonal job.

#11. Do a promo code search

This is the one thing I forget to do myself. Take the time to do a promo code search or use a browser extension like Honey or Wikibuy. This is a great way to find useable codes without filling up your email inbox with newsletters.

#12. Add it to your cart and leave it

Here is a fun little tidbit of information and my final suggestion I will leave you with for now.


Some retailers pop-up a discount code if you don’t check out right away. What?!? You heard me correctly. Izotope is one online store known to give you an extra coupon code.

Set up your account or log-in to the online music instrument retailer of your choice. Add your items to the cart and don’t check out right away. Check back after a minute or two and see if a code pops up. You can also leave it for a few hours and see if you get a reminder email with a discount code. Retailers don’t want you to leave your sale unfinished.

In conclusion…

Here at The Audio Brew, we know how expensive it can be to support your music career, hobby, or ministry. This is especially true when you are first starting out on your musical journey. I hope that you have some great takeaways and this article helps you save a bit of cash on your next big and exciting purchase.