Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

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vveat
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Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by vveat » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:59 am

It's the end of the school year, our daughter is 10 and after a year of clarinet wants to continue with band. She seems to have some potential (judging just from her picking up the band tunes easily and picking up on her own other tunes by ear), but doesn't seem very passionate or diligent about practicing (assuming any kids are at her age :) ). All in all, it doesn't seem to make sense upgrading her, but rather keep her on the current instrument until she has shown she wants to stick with this for a couple of years more. We have arranged a weekly half hour lessons for her during the summer and will see where this goes.

Looking at the rental costs ($40 a month), it seems to make more sense to purchase it. And here lies the difficult question:
- the same instrument (YCL-200AD or even YCL-250AD) - used, but in very good condition, from what seems a reliable seller of instruments - can be purchased from Amazon for $300 - $400.
- the rental store - after discounts and applying the paid rent - will sell us the same model instrument for $620. I asked for used, they are not telling me clearly whether this is the price for used, so maybe they are pricing a new one.

My husband and I have never played instruments and even though we read up on clarinets comparison when deciding whether to upgrade or not, we don't really understand the product or market. Is there any reason to go with the store (with the added inconvenience of spending an hour and a half to drive to the store and back), is there any reason to think they will be better than what we see on Amazon? (we are high volume users of Amazon, just never for musical instruments before, not sure if the risks are any different).

Thanks in advance for any advice, we need to decide today since the rental needs to be returned tomorrow.

Vveat

Rupert
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by Rupert » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:06 am

Have you checked Craigslist? I have found it to be the best place to buy used musical instruments. Lots of kids play clarinet in high school band but will abandon the instrument after high school. They tend to unload their used instruments on Craigslist.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:09 am

Check used guitar stores. I picked up my son's at a Daddy's Junky Music when they existed. I see them at Music Go Round and if you look online at Guitar Center (Music and Arts is owned by them), you may find one. I paid $125 for an excellent one. We've had the pads redone a couple times. We had the same rip off rental plan with an end of rental rip off buy out price.
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stuper1
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by stuper1 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:13 am

Finally, something in my area of expertise (well at least compared to you). Just return the rental. Renting a clarinet is only worthwhile for a few months to make sure the kid will stick with it a bit.

You should be able to get a good used student clarinet (Yamaha is a good choice) for under $500 online or on Craigslist. You say you're looking at one from Amazon. Is that a clarinet repair person who operates an Amazon storefront? I'm assuming so. That's probably fine, or there are other options out there if you do a little research.

You'll need to develop a relationship with a local person who can tune it up once in a while. So if you find one on Craigslist take it to a local person and have them look it over and tell you if it's in good shape, or how much it will cost to bring it into good shape.

diy60
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by diy60 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:34 am

My reply is not exactly specific to your question, but I purchased band instruments for a couple of my grandkids.

The high school suggested a local rental store, the store had a list provided by the school of recommended/approved brands and models. This was a large store with a warehouse so they also had several tiers (quality and new/used) to offer. I don't remember the specific terms of the rental, but seemed after 40 months or so you owned the instrument. Anything in between was a sliding scale on the balance to own, but again I don't remember the details. Renting the full term is probably about 2X the cost of just outright buying the instrument.

Craigslist could possibly be a good source, pawn shops will advertise and I found the model I was looking for, but after looking at the instrument there would have been some additional cost in set up and repairs. I rented for a few months and then purchased a pair different instruments when a better inventory was available.

The time of year will impact costs as well due to kids joining/dropping band.

feehater
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by feehater » Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:35 am

stuper1 wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 11:13 am

You'll need to develop a relationship with a local person who can tune it up once in a while. So if you find one on Craigslist take it to a local person and have them look it over and tell you if it's in good shape, or how much it will cost to bring it into good shape.
^This. If you buy it used and online from someone who is not a store or a repair person, you might have to immediately spend several hundred repairing it to even get it to work. Those local stores and their rental programs are ripoffs, but at least you get a minimal amount of quality assurance. Buying the same model used for $400 from some mom who left it sitting in the closet, and then spending $200 to make it playable might be just as annoying as buying the same model for $600 from the store. I'd predict that the price the store quoted you was for the exact instrument your child currently has, although you should be able to get a free tune-up out of the deal.

aristotelian
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by aristotelian » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:00 pm

My kid was forced to do band and randomly chose clarinet. I found a cheapie model on Amazon that had good reviews, and then got a used version of it on Ebay, then took it to the local shop to get tuned. I think it was about $40. It sounds like your kid is somewhere in between my kid and prodigy level. Personally, I would not spend $400 on an instrument for a 10 year old unless they were *very* committed. Might ask her to do a bake sale or something to add some skin in the game.

JoeRetire
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by JoeRetire » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:06 pm

vveat wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:59 am
It's the end of the school year, our daughter is 10 and after a year of clarinet wants to continue with band.
You should contact the head of the school band. They can usually give great advice on what to purchase and where.

tev9876
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by tev9876 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:16 pm

Options for $180 and $300 at costco.com
https://www.costco.com/CatalogSearch?de ... d=clarinet

EagertoLearnMore
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by EagertoLearnMore » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:36 pm

Sent you a private message.

-buzz-
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by -buzz- » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:23 pm

vveat wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:59 am
My husband and I have never played instruments and even though we read up on clarinets comparison when deciding whether to upgrade or not, we don't really understand the product or market. Is there any reason to go with the store (with the added inconvenience of spending an hour and a half to drive to the store and back), is there any reason to think they will be better than what we see on Amazon? (we are high volume users of Amazon, just never for musical instruments before, not sure if the risks are any different).

Thanks in advance for any advice, we need to decide today since the rental needs to be returned tomorrow.
Since you need to make the choice today, go ahead and return the rental.

At $40/month, you'll spend $480 over the next 12 months. You should be able to find a decent instrument less than $500.

Unfortunately, musical instruments are a difficult thing to purchase if you lack the expertise to evaluate their condition and how well they play. You can definitely find something cheaper on ebay or craigslist but will need to have it checked out by an instrument repair shop.

The one thing the local store has going for them is that they should stand behind the instrument. You are partially paying for their expertise to help you in the event that the instrument is not working or needs adjustment.

One good thing about buying a student to mid-level instrument instead of renting is that you will be able to resell it later when she is either ready to move up to a better instrument or decides to give up playing.

Determined
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by Determined » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:45 pm

You have several people with real experience in this area to guide you. Stick with a similar Yamaha brand. I would contact the band director or the summer private teacher about the Amazon purchase. They will be honest about whether they see it as reputable. What makes them nervous are Chinese imports that have no replacement parts. Many of them have issues from day one.

I got all my kids upgraded instruments online after the trial rental. I was able to upgrade and later resold an oboe to a private teacher for what I paid.

DarthSage
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by DarthSage » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:47 pm

We had good luck purchasing used from a local music store. We did this with a trumpet, saxophone, cello, and violin. All were student instruments, not super high quality, but with good sound.

Our older son's bagpipes, we had to order through a Scottish store--they came direct from Scotland. They were new, and the priciest of the lot, but good luck finding used bagpipes.

Pigeon
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by Pigeon » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:44 am

I would get advice from the school's music department or see if you can find a clarinet player you can pay to come with you to visit a used instrument store for advice. I wouldn't try to buy an instrument on my own. A bad quality instrument will be a big deterrent to your kid.

Fallible
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Re: Where to purchase an used clarinet for a student - Amazon vs. store?

Post by Fallible » Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:15 am

Pigeon wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:44 am
I would get advice from the school's music department or see if you can find a clarinet player you can pay to come with you to visit a used instrument store for advice. I wouldn't try to buy an instrument on my own. A bad quality instrument will be a big deterrent to your kid.
Agree about asking the school music department or band director as they probably go through this frequently and would know best. Also, it's very important to be able to see, examine, and play the instrument before buying. Take as much time as you need, even though the rental will be returned.
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