Everyone likes music, but not everyone has $600 to spend on a decent guitar or a few grand to drop on a piano. Luckily, there are some instruments that are both incredibly cheap and incredibly fun to play, and usually very easy to play, as well.
Here are four instruments that anyone can have a blast playing without taking too much of a hit to their wallets.
1. Recorder – It’s not as piercing to the ear as a pan flute and not as expensive as…well, pretty much anything. Music teachers have handed out recorders to their kids for years because they’re simple and fun to play. There are even professional recorder players, who play professional level recorders, each which is actually pretty expensive. Stick with the cheap version unless you have concert hall aspirations.
2. Ukulele – Fans of string instruments can have a blast playing around on a ukulele, and cheap ukuleles are only about $30-50. It’s tuned in a similar fashion to the top four strings of a guitar, so there’s no learning curve for anyone who plays the guitar already, and its light, happy sound has delighted famous guitarists such as George Harrison, who famously kept a stable of the little instruments. Learn a few ukulele turnarounds and you’ll sound amazing to your friends, all without spending too much cash.
3. Stylophone – A $20 instrument played with an attached stylus, the Stylophone is basically a miniature synthesizer. Modern Stylophones come with two voices, a tuning knob, and an octave switch, leading to hours of entertainment and music making. David Bowie even owns and plays one. If you need any other reason to drop $20 on a cheap instrument, then I can’t help you.
4. Harmonica – A staple of blues and country music, the harmonica has been around for quite a while, and its simple construction makes the diatonic harmonica one of the least expensive instruments, with quality, professional harmonicas (or “harps” as the pros call them) coming in at about $20-25. You can get a playable harmonica for less than that, and since the harmonica is tuned to a diatonic scale, there are no wrong notes if you’re playing with a band in the same key as the harmonica is tuned. With a bit of practice, you can learn to play blues style harmonica, allowing for expressive, engaging playing, and there have been quite a few major artists to come into fame for their well-honed harp chops, from Mick Jagger to Steven Tyler to Stevie Wonder.
Do you know of any great, fun cheap instruments? Post in our comments section below.