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The Professional Model

Your band director has approached you about purchasing a “professional” model instrument for your child.  The director has stressed to you how important it is for the “sound of the band” and for your child’s musical development.  He/she gives you names and model numbers such as “Buffet R-13” and “Bach Stradivarius Model 37”.  So, you go to the music store and experience sticker shock!  You cannot believe how expensive these instruments are!  You had no idea that the new car purchase would have to be postponed for another year just to be able to afford to purchase a band instrument!  Now, you think to yourself: “I am going to look on the internet to find a better deal”.  Well, if you look in the right places, you can find these professional quality instruments at a 30%-50% discount.  These are the same instruments and are not “seconds” or “returns”.  So how can they do this?  Simple.  It is the same idea as Wal-mart or Home Depot.  These stores deal in such great volumes; they can offer substantial discounted prices.  However, these stores offer some service, but not the personal service that a local music store provides.  If you would like to have the advantages of a local music store, you may still be able to get a good price on a new instrument purchase.  Many stores will match or come very close to a discounted price on the internet if you bring in the printed page of the instrument for which you are shopping.

It is best to purchase an instrument outright.  Just like trading in a used car for a new one, trying to trade in a band instrument will likely greatly reduce the discount available.  Also, it is a good idea to keep the student-line or intermediate instrument anyway for marching band in high school – especially woodwinds.  Moisture is the number one enemy of band instruments. So, if the unexpected torrential downpour happens in the middle of the half time show while the band is playing “singing in the rain”, you won’t be “sobbing to the repair shop”.

So, what are the best brands?  There are many differences of opinion about what are the best professional model instruments.  Even a certain model may be far superior to another of the same brand.  However, below is a list of one suggestion per instrument that may be helpful in shopping for a professional model:

  • Flute – Gemeinhardt 3SHB with solid silver head joint and silver plated body
  • Clarinet – Buffet R13
  • Saxophone – Selmer Mark 8
  • Trumpet – Bach Stradivarius Model 37
  • Trombone – Conn 88
  • Snare Drum – Ludwig, Tama (trap set)


These are by no means the only acceptable professional models.  Your band director may suggest others that are just as good and maybe better in some cases.  This is only meant as a guide to get you started.  If you choose the above brands and model numbers, you will be safe in your purchase of a professional model band instrument. 

Here are some links to online stores who offer discounts on band instruments and supplies:

The Woodwind & Brasswind
Interstate Music Supply
Brook Mays Music Group
1 Stop Clarinet and Sax Shop