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Renting vs. Purchasing

Each store have their own prices.  The bigger the instrument, the more expensive it will be to rent.  (For example: If your child is debating to play the cello versus the violin, the cello will be more expensive to rent, since it is bigger.)  We recommend contacting one of the stores on our suggested list.  Make sure to ask the music store representative about a Maintenance Plan and the Rent-To-Purchase" plan.

We emphasize not to purchase an instrument unless the student is sized for a “full size”.  At the elementary level, most of the students are not fully grown yet.  Throughout their growth, they will be moving up in size for their specific instrument.

If you choose to purchase an instrument, we recommend not purchasing one from EBay or any online, non-registered string dealer, like "Discount or Big-Box Dealers" or retail stores.  The problem with buying an instrument from these places is you never know what you are getting for your money and your don't know the condition of the instrument or the tone quality.  It is impossible to test out the instrument or see if it is really what the advertisement is truly stating.  Students become frustrated if their instrument is not in working condition or doesn't have the proper "set-up", tone quality, strings, etc.  Music stores such as House of Note, Quinn Violins, All Strings Attached, Claire Givens Violins, John Waddle Violins, are "string specialty" stores that only concentrate on selling and repairing stringed instruments.  We recommend contacting these stores instead of renting/purchasing online.  Always get the OK from your orchestra teacher when purchasing any instrument!

The good thing about renting the student's instrument is that you can trade in the instrument when the student grows and needs a bigger one.  The problem with purchasing an instrument online, is that even though it might be at a reasonable cost, you will need to purchase another instrument as soon as your child grows.  Most music stores that rent stringed instruments have rental policies that once you have rented from them for a period of time, a portion of your rental payments will be credited towards the time of a purchase (normally when your child reaches the "full-size").  Students should start thinking about purchasing their own instrument when they reach their instruments' "full-size".  This normally happens in the middle school years.  Stringed instruments (if proper care is taken) are investments.  Stringed instruments go up in value over time if taken care of properly.  If you purchase a lesser-quality instrument, you will not get your money’s worth when it comes time to sell it.  So if you want to purchase an instrument, we suggest getting a medium to high quality instrument.

Things To Look For In An Instrument & Bow, whether you are renting or purchasing:

  • Good quality wood
  • No cracks or major dents in the instrument
  • Working fine tuners (elementary and middle school students should have four working fine tuners)
  • All pegs should be in working condition
  • Proper "set-up" (this means the bridge is adjusted/made for that particular instrument. The action - distance between the string and the fingerboard - should be at a particular height)
  • All four strings should be on and in good condition
  • The bow should have a working screw
  • The horse hair on the bow should be clean (not dirty near the bottom)
  • The bow should have a full amount of hair on it (not too many missing)
  • The bow stick should not be warped
  • The tip of the bow should be in good condition (not broken off)

General FAQ's - This page may be useful to you in your search for the next instrument or bow for your child.

Article on Renting vs. Buying - from Claire Givens Violins

District Rental Instruments

If your child is on free/reduced lunch, please contact your orchestra director about district instrument opportunities.