Hi all, Jeremy here,
As you may know, after Mike (my brother-in-law) had the worst time buying a used marimba, he practically forced me to make this website to share what he learned. I was getting into the whole site building thing, and was open to it. By the way, he ended up making his own marimba, but before he chose to do that, he searched all over the town for a decent used marimba. Below is a copy of an email he used as a guide when selecting a used marimba.
He basically told a friend that he was considering buying a used marimba and she quickly emailed him back with this email. I edited it a bit to get rid of the personal details, and added bullet points where needed, but if you’re going to buy a marimba, you should definitely read it. It’s good advice.
How To Buy A Used Marimba
Are you considering buying a used marimba? Well before you make that purchase, there are certain things you should consider. Like most music instruments, a good marimba is very expensive, while a cheap knock-off is hard to find. The reason: marimbas are not that popular as an instrument, as so their supply is very low.
For example, the marimba I wanted to buy was anywhere between $8,000 to $12,000, and I was just unwilling to spend that kind of money. So I too thought that it would be wise to buy a used marimba instead. Boy was I wrong… I’m not saying buy a brand new marimba, I just want you to take a few things into consideration when you shop around.
I shared my brother’s professional 5 octave marimba, and I got pretty familiar with the instrument. Finally when I moved to another city I had to buy one of my own. Because I lived in a large city though, I’d say I had a greater selection. You I’ll assume will be looking through classifieds? Be careful what you buy.
There is a lot of crap out there! I drove around the city for over a month, and saw maybe 10 or so people that were selling their used marimbas, until I saw a marimba I was willing to buy. And by-the-way NEVER buy it online to have it shipped to you. Seriously, you’ll end up paying a ton for shipping and you don’t know what you’ll get. I’d say more than half of the used marimbas I went out to see were different from what the picture and the description in the classified. (Some in a minor way, a few were a different instrument all together).
Anyway, when you buy a used marimba, here’s what you do:
- Be sure to call ahead and ask specific questions, like how old the item is, and who has played it before.
- It also helps to know who is selling it and why.
- If a musician is selling it because his/her lifestyle changed, or she is moving to another city or whatever, you probably will get a great marimba, and may even find a great deal on it. There aren’t that many sellers, but there aren’t that many buyers either, so if you’re lucky to find a motivated seller, you can negotiate by a lot…. Also musicians keep better care of the instrument too!
- You can find this out by over the phone just by asking how long they had it, and why they’re selling. This way you’ll save yourself a trip if things sound off.
- Once you do get out to have a look at the marimba, make sure you pay attention to certain things like:
- Missing or broken parts.
- Mismatched colours, it usually signifies that parts were replaced.
- Touch the parts, to make sure they’re well secured.
- Play it, to hear how it sounds.
- Wheel it around a bit, see if the wheels work and if it survives the vibration that movement creates.
- Find out if there are any warranties from the original purchase.
- …and finally make sure you can transport it back to your location safely.
Oh and don’t be pressured by any aggressive sales tactics, because there are no refunds on a used marimba through a private sale. So make sure that you’re happy with the instrument before you buy!
Anyway, good luck! Hope you’ll find a marimba you’re satisfied with.
That was of great help to Mike, that’s why he’s so openly sharing it with you. The tips and warnings his friend emailed him were 100% true!
Unfortunately or fortunately he was unable to find a decent used marimba at a reasonable price, so he ended up making his own (I helped, because I enjoy that kind of stuff). We build his marimba for $600 or $800 over one weekend.
Oh and stay away from these: