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A Word With Willie

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How Much to Spend on Your Instrument

Watch How Much to Spend on Your Instrument
In this video Willie Oteri talks about how much to spend on your instrument and about buying a good instrument.

Well, we're talking about how much to spend on your instrument. Being somewhat of a multi instrumentalist I've played flute, sax, pedal steel, bass, and guitar over the years. I've learned a lot about the most expensive instrument isn't always the best one.

I remember a story walking into a violin shop in San Francisco many years ago to buy my mother a bow for her violin. They had a Stradivarius in a case and I went, "Wow a Stradivarius." and she goes, " You know, it's really not that great-" the shop owner, she goes, " It really doesn't play that well." It's a fifty thousand dollar violin but it really doesn't play that well. And I go, "Wow, I always thought they were all great." And she goes, "One of the top violinists in the San Francisco symphony came in-" and she said, "-She came in for several days. She played every instrument in this shop and she bought a hundred dollar violin."

So it's, the point is get an instrument that's adequate. You don't need the most expensi-you go buy a five thousand dollar Gibson it's not necessarily gonna sound that good. I have some DeArmond guitars I've paid only four hundred dollars for that sound better than three of the Gibsons I've owned and all of those were thousands of dollars each. It's a matter of knowing- -after awhile you get an ear for it you can pick out an instrument that plays adequately and you can save a lot of money.

For saxophones that's a different area. It's really a different area. By the time you get a really good mouthpiece and everything else working really well and the intonation is really good; they're expensive. That's thousands of dollars. That's- I'm sorry it's like that it used to not be that way. It used to be you could go to the flea market and for sixty bucks you could find a decent sax. But, that just isn't true today.

You know, if you're a rap artist you need a microphone right? It's like cost a lot less than -you know you can have a fifty dollar mic and you're fine. I think that's one of the reasons -might be one of the reasons rap got so popular other than its just great anyway, especially the improvised stuff.

You don't need to spend really a lot on your instrument except in a couple areas -piano on acoustic piano cheap ones don't sound good. Cheap sax's don't sound good in most cases. And there's always that argument of a great player can make anything sound good if you play it but that's not really, it's not really true.

So, save your pennies. If you're a young musician try to get the best instrument you can for the least amount of money. You don't need to buy new. Take more experienced players with you, your teacher -if you have a good teacher take them with you. Pick out a good instrument.

You don't need expensive amplifiers if you play electric guitar. You'll hear all these stories of oh this five thousand dollar amp sounds so much better than this two hundred dollar amp -but really they don't. It sounds a little bit better but most people aren't gonna know. If it sounds good to you, you can play well with it, after a while the more experienced you get, you'll be able to pick up an instrument and know it's good.

And you can shop around there's plenty of stuff around there, you can get some bargains. So, good luck.

Last modified onFriday, 11 December 2015 04:09
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Thanks to KD Neeley of ZiADiA for putting this series together!

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