There’s no getting around the fact that learning an instrument can be expensive. Fortunately these days, there are more affordable instruments out there than ever before for everyone to have a go and get started on their musical journey.
Of course, this bevvy of options can be a double-edged sword. While pBone is committed to quality, we’re well aware that “cheap” doesn’t always equate to “good”. That’s why we’ve done the legwork and tracked down some of the most affordable instruments out there that represent genuine value for money.
A few things to note before we continue: “affordable” obviously means different things to different people. Here, we’re aiming to make sure none of the instruments we suggest to you are more than £50. And while the instruments on this list will all be of high quality, it’s worth remembering that the vast majority of them are starter instruments.
If you’re an intermediate player or higher, these instruments probably won’t be for you. But if you’re shopping for a loved one looking to get their start in music, you’ve come to the right place.
Classical Guitar, Black - Gear4Music (£49.99)
The classical guitar is usually seen in ensembles and groups, but it’s also a great instrument to play solo. If you’re looking for a first guitar but aren’t quite sure whether you’ll commit to sticking with it, this classical guitar from Gear4Music is a perfect choice.
While it’s a fairly simple bit of kit, it boasts a mellow tone and durable build that makes it ideal for kids with dreams of becoming the next guitar hero.
Soprano Ukulele Black with Gig Bag and Online Ukulele Course - Stretton (£24.99)
It’s not particularly difficult to find a ukulele for around £20, which makes it a popular first choice of instrument for a lot of younger players out there. While it does play and sound quite differently from a guitar, you’ll pick up a lot of the same techniques. Plus, even the cheapest ukuleles out there sound pretty darn beautiful.
We’ve highlighted this black soprano ukulele specifically because it comes with a sturdy gig bag and an online course - something first-time players will definitely want to make use of.
Chord Descant Baroque Recorder in the Key of C, Black & Cream - Amazon (£5.99)
While incredibly simple, the recorder is a great first instrument for younger kids. It’s incredibly easy to pick up, and the skills learned on it also help players to step up into more complex woodwind instruments, such as the saxophone. Oh, and they’re also super cheap.
This particular black and cream number is just £5.99 on Amazon, and customers have a lot of good things to say about the instrument's tone and durability. If you did want to shell out more, even the priciest recorders don’t really go higher than £50.
Okay, so we might be a little biased towards the pBuzz… but there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a brilliant first instrument for younger children - one that won’t break the bank!
The pBuzz’s simple design is specifically engineered to help get kids to grips with the essentials. It’s fun, lightweight, and durable, and the skills learned on it can be transferred to more traditional brass instruments.
Percussion instruments are among the easiest to jump straight in and get started with, and bongos are a great option for anyone looking to become a rhythm section master - especially if you don’t have the space or funds for a full-on drum kit!
This bongo set from Gear4Music is a sturdy, rewarding first step that will help players master the basics of keeping the beat while also making some fantastic sounds in the process. Bongos also work brilliantly in almost any group session, making it a brilliant instrument to play with friends.
A keyboard is always a fun choice for budding musicians, and this 54-key portable model from Gear4Music is a thoroughly playable and highly rewarding starter instrument.
Easy to set up and use, the MK-1000 comes with 20 instrument and 10 percussion sounds designed to help younger players get to grips with the basics of making music while having fun in the process. There are even built-in tools specifically created to help aid learning as you play along with some basic pieces!
If you have a child looking to learn trumpet, the pBugle is hands-down the best place to get started! This is a super affordable and fun first step on any would-be trumpet player’s musical journey.
It’s comfortable, made from virtually indestructible ABS plastic, and just like the pBuzz is designed to help learn and develop key music skills that can ultimately be transferred to other instruments.
After seven years writing about video games, Ewan made the jump to the music instrument industry to stop his family asking when he was going to get a real job. Mostly, though, he adores music and is passionate about its vital role throughout life - especially in education. He also played guitar in several bands with deeply embarrassing names that won't be revealed here. With a degree in journalism from an NCTJ-accredited university under his belt, Ewan uses everything he learned as a writer over the last decade to help answer any questions you might have about pBone Music in an accessible (and hopefully entertaining) way. Because if you can write 1,000 words on SSDs and ray-tracing, you can explain why plastic instruments are accessible, sustainable, and fun.