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Buying a musical instrument this Christmas? Think local.

I’ve been teaching music for over twenty years. Through Rockjam and in my role as head of music in Alexandra College I have had to purchase more than my fair share of musical instruments!

Let me help you make the right decision when it comes to your purchase.

Buying a musical instrument can be tricky, especially for non-musicians. How can you tell what a quality instrument is? What’s the minimum price for a starter instrument?

Let me answer a few of those common questions.

Where to look.

Avoid toy stores and supermarkets. While these are great for vegetables and board games, the quality of their instruments can be very poor. I have regularly come across instruments bought in toy shops that would not play in tune. Bad instruments make progression and fun almost impossible. Unfortunately, a large portion of these instruments end up in landfill.

Shop local.

At the bottom of this blog there is a list of music shops in the greater Dublin area. I have personally purchased from most of these stores, either for myself or schools. I often send recommendations to parents of students. They are reliable and offer after service/ expertise that is well worth any slight extra cost.

Buy second hand.

You can pick up fantastic deals on sites like , and adverts

Its worth getting the help of someone who knows instruments first though.

How much to spend on a first instrument.

Ukuleles – From €25

Acoustic Guitars – From €60

Drums – From €330

Drum Tip - Consider buying a snare and Hi hat rather than a full kit. These will allow a student to learn the rudiments and get that drum sound without taking up as much space. If the interest remains after 6 months, then consider upgrading.

Guitar Accessories – I would normally recommend buying an instrument without the accessories. Spend the money on the instrument alone. Chances are it will be better quality than one (of the same price) that includes case, tuner, DVD etc.. Later, when the student is ready to learn how to tune, or use a capo they can make that journey to the local store. It’s part of the fun of being a musician.

How to choose the right instrument.

Your Childs teacher can really help here. If you send them a link to an instrument you’ve found, they can give a quick opinion or suggestion. As a teacher, I would prefer to be consulted rather than being faced with an unsuitable instrument in January.

If you can’t contact your Childs teacher directly, feel free to drop me an email. I’d be happy to help.

Local music stores.

X Music - Ballymount. Great allrounder. Good for drums.

Waltons - Blanchardstown. Good allrounder.

Everest – Bray, Co. Wicklow. Great for ukuleles & starter guitar kits

Music Minds - Dublin City. Great for quality ukuleles and percussion

Best – Blanchardstown. Great for starter guitar kits.

Jimi’s music store – Walkinstown. Great for guitars, fx pedals and repairs.

Some Neck Guitars - City Centre. Great for guitars especially high end and repairs.

Music Maker - City Centre. Great for keyboards and electronic equipment.

Gandharva Loka – City Centre. Great for world music & percussion.

The Music Outlet – Swords. Great for guitars and repairs.

McCullough Piggot - City Centre. Great for sheet music.

Glasnevin Academy of Music - Glasnevin. Great for starter guitar kits.

I hope this helps anyone on the lookout for an instrument.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Baz Rycraft

Director – Rockjam Ltd

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