In tighter financial times everyone would like to save some money on their musical purchases. This guide can help you save some money when shopping for musical equipment. So lets say you are about to buy some new instruments or some studio equipment, that can cost serious money when you opt for the best quality items. We are currently in a recession and it seems that there is some positive economic news of late on both sides of the big pond and that’s great. However most of us still need to watch the pennies and cents and there are ways that you can ensure you are getting the best possible deals on your equipment purchases. We can use the current situation to our advantage, as both musicians and retailers are experiencing the same economic conditions.
Search for a great deal
The internet is a great way to find the best prices for new musical equipment, but do not let the search engine be the last port of call. You have a telephone and I strongly suggest you put this to work. Often, when you speak to a person in store you can get greater deals creating leverage by being an actual person on the end of a phone. Once you have found the best price online, find out the average prices for the same gear used. Inquire about the price to ship the equipment to your address as this can vary from store to store. Make a shortlist of shops and then you can give them a call and start asking about any special deals they may have, shop soiled items, ex-demo equipment, time sensitive deals, and you can even try and get the price down by saying you will buy immediately. Information is power and if you know the prices of the item at different stores and know the details of each deal you can play off one shop against another. (Not to mention asking them to throw in a few sundry items, strings, plectrums, a strap, some MIDI leads, etc.) Having the right attitude will serve you best. A confident and friendly approach to the conversation will pay dividends. Invest time in your call preparation and be forearmed with some good information and I am sure you can get a cracking deal.
Purchase the right equipment the first time
A few words about buying high quality items as opposed to going for a cheaper but similar item: Quality kit is more sturdily built and is likely to be more durable in performance. Quality items will outlive a low cost item and whilst going cheap might appeal at first, it is likely you will be better served by spending a bit more money and getting a better item. (It may also hold its second hand value better)
Buying a high quality item at the best price is quite different from buying a lesser quality item at a rock bottom rate. If possible, try and save and purchase the right equipment the first time rather than letting your impatience get the better of you and splashing out just to satisfy your short term gear cravings.
It might be a small point but you will also be associating yourself with the quality of the equipment and that may give a better impression to your peers and/or the people you will meet within the music industry. Investing in your credibility and equipment is an investment in your profession.
Do not discount buying from a local retailer or store
Been into a music shop recently? I thought not…why not get down to a local music shop and get your hands on the kit you are about to buy. Again in person you can have a friendly chat and build a rapport with the shop owner. Guitarists already know that it is important to play the actual instrument you are about to lay hard earned cash on. Each instrument is unique and has a different feel and that is important and has value. Enjoy your time playing and testing out the kit but keep your mind on closing the deal you want.
Consider importing musical equipment
In many instances this is not a great thing to do but you owe it to yourself to research all options and sometimes it can be possible to get a great deal. In some instances buying the equipment from where it originates can save some money. However, there are things to be aware of:
A) Check that you are in the know relating to your tax and duty rates when importing equipment. Search online to find out the costs involved in importing musical equipment.
B) Double check that the equipment works on your main voltages which vary across the world.
C) Think about shipment costs. If the equipment does not work or is damaged on arrival consider the costs involved in sending it back.
D) Warranties can be a problem and finding out if the equipment will be under warranty (and the length of the warranty) despite having imported it, needs to be checked in detail.
You can get a better price sometimes but do ensure you are fully informed about the above aspects before importing equipment.
When speaking to staff in a store why not make your best possible offer known? In the worst case it will just be rejected. Take note of the person’s name you are speaking to. Try and build a rapport and speak to them each time you phone or visit a shop.
A good deal works both ways and there is no good reason to not try and bargain and get the best possible deal on your musical equipment. Research, be polite and confident and have the right tone when speaking with people and you may well be able to get a good discount and get the equipment you really need. Good luck bargain hunting.
Barry Gardner operates SafeandSound online mastering a high end, low cost mastering studio based in London, UK. SafeandSound Mastering