Instrument Prices

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by eflatbass, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    With top of the range brass instruments now costing between £2,000 and £7,000, according to where you make your purchase, do my fellow members consider that instruments are overpriced, even after making allowances for the usual supply/demand argument?

    If you play cornet, you may possibly afford to buy your own instrument, but what about the poor BBb Bass/Tuba player?

    Finally; how many of you were influenced to join your current band, even in a small way, by the quality of instrument offered to you?
  2. defnotsimon

    defnotsimon Member

    I think you'll find they go a lot higher than that! I've just bought an Eb tuba which is going to set me back, when it eventually arrives in the country, the best part of £9000.

    I chose to play the tuba. And while I didnt really know what the financial implications would be I deal with them. I am lucky to be in the situation where I can have access to that sort of money for an instrument that I know will last me for a very long time.

    Having said that if you dont have access to the funds and do want to play the tuba then joining a band which owns a suitable instrument is always a good idea.
  3. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    There's a lot of man hours and expertise involved in putting together any brass instrument. Maybe that's why they cost so much... :confused:
  4. chrisjohnston

    chrisjohnston Member

    This is the reason that Distributors such as us are making headway in the UK.

    Quality Instruments at affordable prices!

  5. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Hello Chris

    Your range of brass instruments certainly appears to be very competitive in price. How do you feel that seasoned brass band players are responding to something that does not carry one of the more internationally famous brand names?

  6. chrisjohnston

    chrisjohnston Member

    Hi Barry
    I am a seasoned brass band player, have been for over 45 years, at all levels top to bottom!
    The Eastman range has over 10,000 satisfied customers across Europe!
    Yamaha, once many years ago was frowned upon, but look at them now!
    Since we Helios UK introduced Eastman in to the UK & also outside Europe in August this year we have had no complaints from our customers.
    In these hard economic times people should get out of there comfort zone!
    Our instruments are very good quality with keen prices.
    A recent Tuba teacher bought our EEb Bass and is totally impressed! his comments are on our web site for all to see.
  7. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Active Member

    Brass instruments are CHEAP compared to many, even for the best instruments.

    Even if you go for hand made, custom designed, you will only spend a certain amount (for trumpets you would be looking at Monette - top end price is about $25000) - try getting the very best violins for that amount.
    You can pick up a decent tuba for £7000, a truly amazing one for £15000. If you take the Big Daddy of the woodwind world (the contrabassoon) they START at about £10000 and go rapidly upwards if you want one that will actually work (even a BEGINNER, student bassoon is about £2000!).

    The instruments I use are not at the cheap end (for brass) - but they are VERY high quality instruments and they work for me. I have tried cheaper ones and most I wouldn't touch with a bargepole. A good instrument is worth every penny.
    If you sound as good (or even better) on a cheaper instrument, then go for it.
    Personally, I will stick to my Eclipse (for trumpet, flugel and piccolo trumpet), Yamaha (for cornet and Eb trumpet) and other "expensive" makes.

    Only one band has ever offered me an instrument when I joined - and I didn't know they were going to do that when I joined, so it had NO influence on my choice of band.
  8. halsasaurus

    halsasaurus Member

    There is a reason for the high price for the best instruments. If the quality did not reflect the prices they would never be sustainable.
  9. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Member

    Start as early as possible buying secondhand/cheaper models and keep trading up. Good quality secondhand instruments rarely lose value if they are looked after.
  10. JRH

    JRH Member

    True enough. One of the instruments I have at the moment would sell instantly for 3X what I paid for it. Of course, I bought it a long time ago. ;-)
  11. being a euphist i'd pay up to around 5k i reckon for a good euph..

    but student poverty means thats a long way off!! ;) as a result i'd say this has influenced my choice of band.. they have a almost brand new besson sov :D which is enough to swing my favour any day!!
  12. marksmith

    marksmith Active Member

    I brought up a similar question earlier this year, wondering why most dealer prices are similar these days?
    I had several replies that made good sense (price of materials/exchange rates etc), though I am still bemused by the massive increases in prices over the last 3/5 years.
    I have no instrument of my own, so having a band supplied instrument is important to me, (no band instrument - no playing!)
    Experience has taught me not to be too fussy, though I have been shocked to see the state that some instruments are in, when handed to me.
    I believe that you should look after a borrowed instrument as though it is your own i.e
    regular cleaning/servicing - and generally taking responsibility for it's care and safety.
    Sadly, this is not always the case.
    I think that bands should consider 'contracting' borrowed instruments to their players, with financial penalties should 'reasonable care' not be taken. It may discourage the abuse of instruments by ungrateful individuals.
  13. GordonH

    GordonH Member

    I had a Bb trumpet for 15 years and when I sold it I got my money back plus a wee bit.
    Not a bad deal.

    I have a few instruments under my bed waiting to be sold when prices have risen a bit.

    Brass instruments are cheap. I have a friend who playsn contra bassoon. Serious money.

    As fopr cheaper instruments, well i wish they wouldn't copy the Yamaha student level instruments. Just because its by yamaha doesn't mean its brilliant. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

    People who try my sovereign cornet say its the best they have tried. probably down to the valve alignment (which was shockingly out to start with). Yet its a second hand one I bought and had fixed up for less than half the cheapest price you would get a new one.
  14. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    There have been a couple of references to the high cost of certain orchestral instruments, but are we comparing like with like?

    I acknowledge that there are professional and semi professional brass players on this forum, but would imagine that the majority of members are purely amateur in status, receiving no monetary reward for their playing. Some will, I concede, own their own instrument, but am I correct in stating that many have no alternative but to accept whatever instrument their band provides, simply because they cannot afford to purchase their own?

    On the other hand, the professional orchestral musician, who is probably in receipt of a reasonable salary and private tuition fees, will invariably invest heavily in purchasing the best possible instrument for the job in hand, because the orchestra is certainly not going to provide one (unless they are fortunate enough to be loaned a Stradivarius by some admiring benefactor!).

    It’s only my own personal view, but I still think that brass instruments of the quality displayed around most bands, are expensive, even allowing for the craftsmanship involved in their manufacture.
  15. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    If you look at the costs and prices involved in getting an instrument to a retailer, ready to sell, there will be:

    Design / tooling / development costs (up front, amortised over the number of instruments made)
    Raw materials
    Overheads (machinery, buildings)
    Transport / packing
    Cost of sales and marketing

    You can vary these by:
    Keeping development costs down (even "borrowing" other designs) ;)
    Buying raw materials well
    Using cheap labour / less labour intensive processes

    The clever part is getting the right balance for the number of instruments you want to make. I guess the decisions will be very different for trumpets and BBb basses (Tubas?!) due to the numbers made and the amount of labour and materials involved. It wouldn't surprise me if in fact the trumpet and cornet sales were subsidising the tuba production - at least in terms of gross margin generated.

    As regards pricing, you can add marketing and economics into the mix. There's an argument that if an item is expensive, it must be as good as similarly priced items. So you can see price bands developing around "student", "advanced" and "custom/professional" instruments. It's actually quite hard to convince people that a product with a low price tag could be as good as the "name" brand, even if it is.
    So I think that some manufacturers are doing an OK job of using the pro instruments to develop the brand name so the volume sales to students can keep fixed costs low.
  16. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Very well thought out and presented post!:clap:
  17. fsteers

    fsteers Member

    Oh, PUH-LEAZE!

    Look at the price of a Schreiber 5013 STUDENT LEVEL basson at Normans (note:
    and a schreiber 5010 student bassoon.

    Then there's the Fox 51 short reach bassoon for
    Even beginner level oboes start at £1100.

    Those aren't professional level instruments, they're Besson 1000-level instruments. You can expect to pay 4-5 times that for a Prestige-quality bassoon off of an assembly line, and double to triple THAT for a basic handmade instrument. (If you think I'm kidding, google "J Püchner" (a very good, but not great line of professional woodwinds) and "bassoon", or browse the USED Püchner woodwinds being offered for sale here.
  18. worzel

    worzel Member

    Then the appropriate question would presumably be: how much does a typical professional orchestral trumpet player spend on their instruments compared to a professional orchestral violin player?

    And many amateur musicians earn more doing something else than does a typical professional orchestral musician. But of course, the amateur may still wish to spend less as the instrument is not the source of their income.
  19. JRH

    JRH Member

    A whole lot less. Could me many, many thousands. The trumpet is the bargain instrument of the bunch in an orchestra, without question. That said, I thought the issue being discussed in this thread was more along the lines of basses. An orchestral tuba is still much cheaper than a pro violin though.
  20. defnotsimon

    defnotsimon Member

    I thought that the issue that was being discussed was about brass instruments. Who really cares what a violin costs? We can all go on about who's instrument costs more than who's. As I said in my first post people who play different instruments have a different outlook on price. You just accept the price of the instrument you play. And a professional instrument owned by a professional player has a completely different set of criteria that they have to meet. After all these are the tools of the trade for a musician so of course they are going to be more willing to pay more for their instrument.

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