Few things are as important to the band program as good quality instruments. Recently, we have seen an influx of low quality, imported band instruments moving into the market. The Internet is also full of very undesirable, inferior instruments that may not be useable in the band program. Many of these instruments are of poor quality, have little to no quality control, and are not serviceable. These instruments can quickly lead to loss of interest. 

    Many of the inferior instruments look just fine on the outside. The inside is another matter! They are often advertised as “director approved” or other positive sounding terms to mislead the buyer. 

For the sake of your child and the school band program, the low quality instruments should be avoided. 

Please see your band director or a qualified band instrument dealer for help before purchasing!


     A good quality instrument does come with a higher price tag, but can last a lifetime. These instruments are more durable, and will hold up to the demands of the student through concert and marching band. I hope you appreciate the benefit of a high quality instrument. It will be a huge advantage to your child.

     If budget restraints make it difficult for you, we highly recommend a name-brand used instrument, as opposed to a new one of poor quality.


We check eBay often to see what is available in used instruments.  When shopping on the Internet and eBay, we find that over 90% of the instruments for sale are low quality, without a know brand name, and a horrible choice.  Even brand name instruments are somewhat risky if you aren’t experienced at knowing what to look for.  Do not buy any without a return policy.  I can almost bet that your band director will want you to return it.

            For starters, always avoid instruments that do not list a brand name (I have a list of some of the more dependable name brands at the end of this article).  Also, beware of all of the instruments that come in a variety of colors.  I haven’t yet seen one that I didn’t want to flatten. Some of these folks making the bad instruments actually do put names on them.  For legal reasons, I can’t list names or countries of origin to avoid.  However, I can say that “Made in USA” is nearly always a safe bet, and among my personal favorites!

Other enticing titles to avoid are: “Band Certified”  “Educator Approved”  “80% Off”   “90% Off”  “Professional Silver Trumpet” (but no recognizable brand listed) “Concert Quality”  “Bankruptcy Sale”  “New 2006 model”  “College Pro” 

If a band instrument claiming to be new has a buy-it-now price of $79.95…... I don’t need to say more!. 

If you get one of these thinking “I will see how it goes for a while before purchasing a better one if my child sticks with it”…… I can about guarantee they won’t play it long enough to need a better one.  If they do, they are to be commended and taken to dinner.

REMEMBER, a brand name instrument made 30 years ago (even 50 years ago) is almost always a better choice than a new of poor quality.


Now, for some of the common brand names in band instruments that I look for and feel good about selling:  Armstrong, Artley, Bach, Benge, Blessing, Conn, King, Holton, LeBlanc, Omega, Soloist, Vito, Selmer, Yamaha, Besson, Emerson, GetzenGemeinhardt, and Bundy(manufactured prior to 1998),  There are sure to be some more that I’ve missed, but these are usually safe choices.