Buying used brass instruments can be a difficult process, particularly for someone buying his or her first instrument. It is important to do as much research as possible before deciding on an instrument to buy, as having a good idea of what a working instrument should be like and how much it should cost is important. If at all possible, it is usually best to buy used brass instruments from someone who buys and sells used instruments for a living, as such people are likely to have some knowledge of how to judge if the instrument is in good repair. Some sellers even offer free repair or replacement for a short period of time after purchase, so if something is wrong, it is possible to have it fixed at no additional cost.
Brass instruments are composed of many different parts connected in a very intricate manner. They include slides that must move relatively freely, valves that must remain closed until the performer wants them open, and a variety of welded components holding it all together. Dents in various parts of the instrument, though usually not tremendously detrimental to a beginning performer, can have a deleterious effect on the sound of the instrument. It is, therefore, important to determine what a working instrument should look like and include before shopping for used brass instruments. If at all possible, before buying or even shopping, one should look and even play a working example of the same type of instrument to get a feel for it.
The prices of instruments vary substantially based on who is selling them. New instruments can be very costly, but knowing the price of a new instrument can give one a better understanding of prices to expect when buying used brass instruments. A buyer should try to become familiarized with the prices of used brass instruments from a variety of sources in order to ensure that he or she does not pay more than is necessary.
It is important to recall that one will likely be playing whichever instrument he or she purchases for quite some time. When buying used brass instruments, then, it may not always be the best decision to buy the cheapest working option. Buying an instrument that includes some type of warranty, for instance, may cost more but could easily pay off over time. Also, when choosing between two options, it may be best to choose the better instrument rather than the cheaper instrument. It will probably work better and last longer, and will therefore likely be worth the extra money.