Have you ever noticed that the instruments in famous concert halls sound amazing? If you've had the chance to play one, did you notice how it felt? Now, think about the pianos in most schools or educational places ... what's the main difference? To me, those famous concert venues have pianos that sound extremely nice, they are amazing to play and leave you dreaming of having something similar of your own one day.
The fact is quality matters! When shopping for instruments, even for beginners, you should always get the best you can afford - no, this does not mean the most expensive, this means the one that sounds good, leaves you feeling happy and dreaming of it when you get home and makes you want to keep playing forever. This goes for all instruments, it doesn't matter what instrument you want to learn, the same rules apply!
When buying a quality instrument, you will be purchasing something that will be with you for a long time to come, so you probably want it to last that long and still sound good right? Put simple, quality doesn't come cheap! Yes, there are some gems to be had for a bargain, even more so on the second hand market, but these are less common. The ultimate goal here is to purchase an instrument that you will be happy to play for many years and, possibly, pass on to your children.
It's best to go shopping with someone who knows what to look for, if you know professional musicians, that's great! Your local music teachers would likely give you some advice to set you on the right path, otherwise, you could find the contact details of professional musicians and ask them to come shopping with you (you'll most likely have to pay for their time though). I, for one, offer my time to new students who are about to purchase their first instrument to help them find one that they'll likely be playing in years to come.
Quality trumps all! Put simply, a high quality instrument is more likely to be played because it feels good, sounds good and looks good (in most cases). It's something that you'll be proud to own, keen to play, leaves you with a good feeling every time you play it and maybe even pass it down to your children. Let me know in the comments section below what you think?