Used flutes are a common option for purchasing an instrument, especially for beginners, adult hobbyists, or anyone on a budget. How can you get a decent flute and not a piece of junk?
A used flute can be a great deal if you know where to get them. Here are some typical places to find a previously-played flute...
Family memberA parent, older siblings, aunt or uncle may have been in band when they are younger, so handing down the instrument is a natural choice.
However, care must be taken to be sure that flute is in good working order, or the new player won't have a chance of a good band experience.
Unfortunately, many old flutes have been living under a bed or at the back of a closet gathering dust for years, and then these antiques are thrust upon an unsuspecting 5th grader in the name of saving money.
These flutes are often in disrepair and nearly unplayable, and frequently cause youngsters to give up on playing before they barely start. Pinching pennies in this way robs young people of the opportunity to participate in the band or orchestra program.
I know that sounds harsh - times are tough and money is tight. Try a rental program at your local music store. You can get a new instrument for $25 or $30 a month, and the rent usually applies toward the purchase.
Seek out a competent repair person. Try a local music store; many have a technician on staff.
You may be lucky enough to live near a flute specialty store.
Otherwise, look for repair shops on-line and send the instrument away to be maintained. Here are a couple online flute repair businesses...
Newspaper adsThis is probably the most common way of buying a flute, if you're going the used route. If you purchase an instrument from someone you don't know, be sure you have it checked over first, as above. If the price is right, you can afford a first-class overhaul.
Craigslist, eBay, and other online sourcesYou'll find a lot available on these sites, but be sure you have the chance to try the instrument first before you make your final decision. There should be some type of escrow of the purchase price before the sale is finalized.
Specialty web sitesAll of the previously-mentioned caveats apply to purchasing from a site that specializes in used instruments.
Bulletin boards at a local university or music college
After you've obtained your flute, determine whether you need a new case as well. Cases take a lot of abuse.
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