Today’s post is specifically aimed at people new to the world of buying musical instruments and accessories.  If you’re purchasing your first instrument, or you’re a parent of a child about to start music lessons, there’s something you need to know about the purchase process:

The price is highly negotiable.

Many people walk into a music store, see a price tag on an instrument, accessory, or amplifier and assume that this is the price they have to pay to make the purchase.

The price tag is seldom the actual price you have to pay to buy that instrument.  If you’re willing to negotiate with the salesperson, you’ll find that you can spend a lot less money.

In the music world, there are three prices that matter to the consumer:

1)  The Retail Price.  This is a suggested price from the manufacturer.  This is often the dollar amount on the price tag.  You should never pay this price.

2)  The Minimum Advertised Price (MAP): This is the lowest price the manufacturer lets music retailers list in an advertisement or on their website.  This price is often an acceptable price to pay.

3)  The Street Price (also known as “out the door” price): This is the price at which many stores are actually selling the product.  Sometimes this price is the same as MAP, sometimes it’s lower.  If you can find out what this price is, you’ll want to ask for it when you’re shopping.

Just knowing that retail pricing has little or nothing to do with actual purchase prices puts you in a strong position when you walk into a store to buy a musical instrument.

In my next post, I’ll list some specific bargaining and negotiating tactics you can use to get a great price when you buy an instrument.