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Guide to Financing Musical Instruments

Austin Kilham
Austin KilhamUpdated March 13, 2023
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Musical instruments can be costly. In fact, high quality instruments can run thousands of dollars. Fortunately, if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay for a musical instrument, you can finance its purchase to spread out the expense over time. There are a number of options for financing musical instruments. Our guide to instrument financing will help you decide which choice is right for you. 

Are Musical Instruments Expensive?

The price of musical instruments varies widely depending on the type of instrument, the quality, and what you’re using it for. For example, a beginner level trumpet could cost a few hundred dollars, while a professional trumpet can cost thousands. A good piano may set you back several thousands of dollars, but a brand-new Steinway grand piano can cost more than $100,000. That’s why people may consider financing musical instruments.When you’re shopping for a musical instrument, think about your needs. If you’re just starting out, or you’re buying it for your child who’s a newbie, you’ll generally want an instrument that’s good but not so expensive that you’ll be out a lot of money if you decide to give up playing.If you’re a more experienced musician, you may want to invest in an instrument that’s higher quality. In that case, you’ll pay more.And remember, instruments come with ongoing costs. There are music lessons, other equipment you might need, care and maintenance, and replacement parts like guitar strings. Recommended: 10 Possible Benefits of Obtaining Personal Loans

Controlling Costs

To help keep down the cost of musical instruments, look for buying options that will help you save. You could buy a used instrument, for instance.  Major instrument retailers like Guitar Center and Sam Ash have a used section you can explore. You can also browse for used equipment at an online retailer like Reverb. If you’d rather buy a new instrument, keep an eye out for sales, promotions, and discounts. You might even be able to get a deal on an instrument that has been returned. You could also consider renting an instrument. There are rental companies that allow you to rent an instrument on a short-term basis. You might even be able to apply the rental cost to the price of the instrument should you eventually choose to buy it.

Five Ways to Finance Musical Instruments

Once you’ve settled on the instrument you want to purchase, there are a number of instrument financing options that can help you cover the costs. Here’s a look at five ways to finance musical instruments: 

1. Borrowing from Friends and Family

If you have a family member or friend who could lend you the money to purchase the instrument, this could be a cost-effective borrowing option for you. Just be sure to draw up a loan contract that stipulates how much you are borrowing, whether the lender is charging interest, what the repayment timeline is, how much your payments will be, and when payments are due. Having a contract for this type of family loan can help prevent potential misunderstandings that could damage your relationship.

2. Credit Cards

If you can pay them off quickly, credit cards might be an option for musical instrument finance. But keep in mind that credit card interest is usually high compared to other loan products. If you can pay off your credit card within the one-month billing cycle, you won’t owe any interest. But if you have a balance longer than that, you’ll start to accumulate interest. Credit card interest often compounds from month to month, so the longer you carry the debt, the faster it will accumulate. In the end your instrument could cost you much more than the original sticker price. 

3. In-Store Financing

Some retailers that sell instruments may offer financing programs. This allows you to take the instrument home right away while splitting its cost into payments spread out over time. In-store financing programs typically charge interest, but they may have promotional  0% interest periods. If you can pay off your instrument during that time, you won’t owe interest. But if you can’t, the interest may jump to a very high rate when the promotional period ends.  

4. Personal Loans 

Personal loans are available through banks, credit unions, and online lenders. They are typically unsecured loans, which means they don’t require collateral. Personal loans are installments loans. The lender gives you a lump sum and you repay the loan in regular monthly payments with interest. There  are positives and negatives of personal loans. For instance, the amount of money you can borrow with a personal loan ranges from small loans that are a few hundred dollars to loans up to $100,000. In addition, personal loans are flexible and can be used for almost any purpose. What you can get with a personal loan includes musical instruments, among many other things.Interest rates for personal loans are typically based on your credit score. Lenders consider borrowers with higher scores as less risky and are therefore willing to offer them lower interest rates. Borrowers with lower scores are generally seen as riskier, and lenders will typically charge them higher interest rates. You’ll want to shop around to different lenders to find the best personal loan rates and terms you can qualify for.And know this: If you don’t have an income that you can verify, but you need money to buy a musical instrument, there is such a thing as a personal loan with no income verification that you can look into. Finding the right lender to work with can be one of the ways to get approved for a personal loan.

5. Home Equity Loans

Another possible instrument financing option is a home equity loan. With this type of loan, you borrow against the equity you have in your home. Your home is the collateral for the loan, so you may be able to get a lower interest rate. However, if you fail to repay the loan, the lender could seize your property. Because of this risk, you should carefully consider whether a home equity loan makes sense for your instrument purchase. 

Personal Loans With Lantern

Buying a musical instrument can be a big investment, and you may need help covering the cost. If you decide that a personal loan is the best option to help you finance an instrument, it’s smart to explore options from a variety of lenders. Lantern can simplify the process for you. In our online marketplace you can quickly and easily compare offers from multiple lenders all at once to help find the best loan for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get a loan for music equipment?
How do you finance a new instrument?
How much do musical instruments cost?
Photo credit: iStock/EmirMemedovski

About the Author

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham

Austin Kilham is a writer and journalist based in Los Angeles. He focuses on personal finance, retirement, business, and health care with an eye toward helping others understand complex topics.
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