1.Order and read sales brochures from different piano manufacturers.
2.Go to a reputable manufacturer or dealer and compare the looks and sounds of different models.
3.Take along a pianist or piano expert and have him or her evaluate the instrument if you don't feel confident in your own knowledge.
4.Have a secondhand instrument inspected by an expert. The costs of restoring a neglected instrument may be excessive, and only an expert will be able to judge that.
5.Look out for defects like rusty strings, warped hammers or dampers, a cracked soundboard, moth-ridden felts, pedals that stick and rattle, stiff action (the way the keys respond to your touch) and worn-out ivory keys.
6.Consider a five-year purchase plan instead of paying cash.
7.Consider renting a piano. Most dealers will give credit if you decide to purchase the piano at the end of the rental period.
8.Inquire about using a piano at a church or school, possibly for a small donation.
Pianos come in several shapes and sizes. Grand pianos with horizontal strings are much more expensive than uprights and will not fit into small rooms. Upright pianos vary in size.
The tone of large uprights compares favorably with small grands, but small uprights tend to have a weaker tone.
Good uprights are usually overstrung. That is, the strings are crossed diagonally to make the bass strings longer and fuller in sound. Steps:
1.Understand that the type of acoustic guitar you buy depends largely on what style of music you wish to play.
2.Choose a guitar that is neither too big nor too small for you. Find one that is easy and comfortable to play.
3.Listen to several models, if you can, and compare their tones. A deep and mellow sound usually indicates good craftsmanship, but let your taste be the guide here.
4.Check to see if the instrument has a warped neck (see the Glossary).
5.Look out for a nut (see the Glossary) that is too high.
Nylon strings are more comfortable for beginners' tender fingers than the steel and bronze strings used on folk guitars. You can always switch to metal strings after your fingertips have developed the calluses that result from frequent practice.
If the neck is bowed back, the strings halfway down the neck will be too high off the fingerboard (see the Glossary). With a reverse warp, the strings will be too close to the fingerboard at some point, and a buzz will result.
When the nut is too high, the strings will be hard to press down. Ask the dealer to correct this problem by filing down the grooves holding the strings. Be careful that the strings are not lowered enough to cause a buzz when you pluck them, however.
6.Choose a reputable music merchant who stands behind the products he or she sells.
7.Take along your guitar teacher or a friend to advise you if you don't feel confident enough to deal with the sales clerk alone.
8.Use a merchant who is both able and equipped to service your instrument, since adjustments and minor repairs are often necessary.
9.Inquire about renting an instrument. Many music stores have attractive rental programs.
1..Consider buying a used guitar for a good deal.
1..Consider a guitar in the $150 to $300 price range. You don't need the most expensive instrument to begin. When in doubt, ask your teacher.
1..Determine how much your guitar is worth to you. Buy a case that reflects the degree of protection you wish to give your instrument.
1..Consider a vinyl bag or cardboard case for a beginner's guitar.
1..Purchase a plywood case for the best - but also the most expensive - protection.
1..Pay less for the case than you paid for the guitar.
Warnings: Remember that if you drop your guitar in its case, you are likely to crack it - regardless of the type of case. But if you drop your guitar outside the case, you will crack or even destroy it with absolute certainty.