If you’re thinking of buying a flute, you may be wondering how much they cost. Flutes can vary in price depending on the type and quality of the instrument.
However, there are some affordable flutes available for purchase if you’re on a budget.
Here’s a look at the average cost of a flute, as well as some tips on how to find the best deal possible.
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- Flute Price Range
Flute Price Range
The first question you will likely have is, how much will a flute set you back? Knowing how much a flute could cost you could be a very important thing to know, depending on your income and budget.
As with any purchase, you should always keep in mind the adage, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” because a lot of people will try to get more than a flute (or any other instrument) is worth.
Musical instrument prices are never that cheap.
For a child, especially one who might not stick with it, the best place to start is with a “beginner” flute, but even they will cost you more than $500, and as much as $1,000.
If your child sticks with it, you will want to buy a “step-up” flute, which is a little more expensive, usually in the $1,400 – $2,500 range.
Since the best flutes – the type used by professionals – run well over $2,500, you’re still saving a lot of money in the long run, but the beginner’s flute will probably satisfy your child until they decide to make flutist their career, and then, they can afford to buy the pro model themselves.
What Factors Go Into the Price of a Flute?
There are a number of factors that go into the price of a flute, including all of the following:
- The Material Used – these days, the vast majority of beginner flutes are made of nickel and they are only silver-plated. As they progress through the intermediate level and beyond, many more parts are made with solid silver, from just the head joint at the intermediate level or the entire body in the case of pro-level flutes.
- The Brand or the Manufacturer – Not all flute manufacturers build flutes the same way. For example, as noted above, some flute makers use high-quality materials, while others do not. In some cases, that means a flute that can’t be repaired when something goes wrong.
- The Current Condition – If a flute is a brand new in the box, you will pay more, while a used flute should cost you less, especially if the instrument needs maintenance or repair.
- The Quality of the Case – All flutes should come with a case, or you should buy one for your new instrument. Depending on the quality and fit, cases for flutes can run as little as $30-40 and as high as a few hundred dollars. How much you should pay will depend on the cost of the instrument.
- The Flute’s Features – Flutes can come with a number of features, especially at the intermediate level and above. These features can include open holes, split e-mechanism, Low B-foot, C# trill key, or even some gold material. Which features are included can help to determine the overall cost.
- The Level of Service – Some manufacturers and music stores may offer service after the sale, which can mean instrument, delivery to the school, or even school or community support.
This brings up another adage; “You get what you pay for.” Quality musical instruments aren’t cheap, and when you find an unusually low-priced bargain, do your research and make sure you’re not getting taken.
There is an Alternative to Buying
You saw the prices, and now you’re thinking and wondering how you can afford your child’s band participation. Well, all is not lost, to be sure.
As you know well, a lot of kids play in the school band and they all use instruments, so how do they afford their instruments?
That’s easy. Many, if not most, rent their instrument.
Rather than tying up hundreds of dollars or more at once, many families find that renting a musical instrument is a far more affordable option, and easier to fit into the family budget.
After all, it is usually much easier to pay the $20-50 per month it costs to rent a flute than to pay the $500-$1,000 it will cost to buy even a beginner’s flute.
How Much Will a Flute Rental Cost?
As noted, in most cases, it will cost between $20 and $50 each month. The amount varies based on a number of factors, which are remarkably similar to the factors that determine the overall price of a purchased flute. These include:
- The Material Used – These days, it depends on the quality of the instrument. While most students use “beginner” flutes, which are made primarily of nickel and then silver-plated, some higher-end flutes have a lot more solid silver content, which makes them more expensive.
- The Brand or the Manufacturer – As noted, higher quality flutes are made with better materials. That means they are better able to be played in tune, and the high quality means they can handle more of the wear and tear that comes from a beginning musician learning to play in tune.
- The Extra Features Included – Beginner flutes will have closed holes and a C-foot, while step-up and professional flutes come with a number of advanced features like open holes, B-foot, and special key mechanisms.
- Repairs and Customer Service – Many rental agreements come with maintenance and repairs included. You should also make sure the mouthpiece and case is also included. Some rental plans also include pickup and delivery at your child’s school, as well as support for the school and the community.
- Which Accessories are Included? – Many flute rental agreements include a number of basic accessories to care for the instrument, while others don’t.
- Is an Upgrade Available? – Again, in many cases, students tire of playing in the band, which is why a rental plan may be a better idea than purchasing the flute outright. However, what if they love playing in the band and want to continue? If your child outgrows their flute, does the rental agreement include an upgrade?
The best way to approach any flute rental agreement is to examine the entire package and make sure your child gets both a quality instrument with services that provide them with the best chance of musical success.
What many parents discover is that latching onto the cheapest rate for a rental flute isn’t always the best option. In many cases, children who take up an instrument to join the band tire of the grind soon after and decide they no longer want to play.
The question of whether to buy or rent an instrument involves far more than the impact on the family’s bank account and budget. While renting is usually a good idea in the short term, if your child ends up loving it and continues through middle school, high school, and into college, it becomes far less cost-effective to rent.
Rental Agreements Vary, So Pay Attention
The most common form of a band instrument rental is a “rent to own” contract. With such a contract, the parent pays the rental fee to the music store every month fee.
In most cases, it is automatically debited from a credit or debit card or directly from a bank account. This makes payments easy.
This is why it’s important to examine the rental agreement closely. By the time you own the flute, years will have passed, with you paying the rental fee every month (plus the interest that you may have incurred if you uses a credit card to pay), years will have passed, and you will have paid far more for the flute than you would have paid to buy it outright.
In most cases, it’s not unlike having the choice between paying the sticker price for a car, versus paying the usual “market” price that most people pay, or paying to rent a car for five years.
It is not unusual for parents buying a flute on a “rent-to-own” contract to pay as much as three times the purchase price for a flute.
It Pays to Be a Good Consumer
In some cases, parents will end up paying 2-3 times the purchase price of a professional-level flute just to end up with a beginner’s-level instrument.
As important as it is to read through every word of the rental agreement, it is also crucial to ask questions in advance.
In addition to the cost of the flute, most rental contracts include costs that those who buy flutes with cash will never pay. These include interest charges and insurance fees, which are not usually spelled out in the contract.
Renting Vs. Buying: the Ultimate Answer
Another thing that all renters should watch out for regarding whether to buy or rent is the tendency of many music stores to rent used equipment instead of new ones.
Imagine paying 2-3 times the cost of a professional flute to end up with a beginner’s version that was already used when your child started playing.
In other words, there is no answer to the question of whether buying or renting a flute is more cost-effective and budget-friendly for anyone in particular.
While there is a lot to consider, there are some advantages to renting a flute over buying one, with the most important one being convenience.
In addition to the ease of simply paying a few dollars every month, there is the fact that most rental agreements include free repairs and maintenance, which can be a godsend to parents whose children aren’t the most responsible children in the world.
That can save as much as hundreds of dollars for each repair, depending on the extent of what is needed.
Another advantage to renting comes if your child doesn’t follow through with their career in music, and they quit the band at the end of the school year, you will only be out a few months of rental payments.
Then, you turn the flute in at the music store and you’re done.
Ultimately, how much you pay for a flute will depend a lot on you. You have a lot of decisions to make.
First, you have to decide whether you can afford a few hundred dollars today for a new flute, or if you can find a deal on a used flute and save 30-40% off the new price.
If you can’t afford to buy one, you can decide to rent one, but you will have to be a good consumer and make sure you understand what you will be paying in the long run and the conditions of your rental contract.
You will also have to know your child and what their true intentions are for joining the band and whether they will stick with it for a time, or quit relatively soon.
Being a smart consumer means knowing what you’re getting yourself into before you sign on the dotted line. Being able to rent an instrument doesn’t always save you money.
Sometimes, the rental, while easier on a month-to-month basis, may cost you far more than you think, or can afford.
Consider buying a used instrument, rather than a brand-new one. Some music stores also do consignments, which may save you even more.
Therefore, how much a flute costs will depend on a great many questions that only you and your budget can answer.
If you’re a good and conscientious consumer and read and investigate everything, the cost can be quite reasonable. However, if you go about it without being a smart consumer, it could cost you a lot more.
To answer the question simply is impossible because how much a flute will cost will largely depend on you and how much you investigate the various possibilities.
Therefore, let’s just say, good luck.
Also Read: How Much Does a Flute Weigh? – Do Flutes Have Reeds?