Though it may be tempting to find a low-cost instrument on sites such as Amazon, it is often not worth the initial savings.
Cheaply-made instruments frequently come with a low level of quality control. As a result, the defects revealed during the learning process often cost more than the instrument is worth.
Even worse, such instruments rarely exhibit an acceptable tone quality, which is a lot more likely to discourage beginners. This causes them to quit prematurely as they are often unable to hear whether notes are in tune simply because the instrument will not resonate properly. Playing stringed instruments is challenging enough as it is!
If you are unsure about committing to music long-term, or if you know that you may be buying a larger instrument size later on, your best option may be to rent an instrument from a trusted shop. In addition, many stores often feature a rent-to-buy program where the monthly payments can be applied to a future purchase of that instrument if you choose.
Quality instruments can also be purchased and traded for upgrades at many stores, but cheap instruments cannot.
Below are several reputable sources for acquiring an instrument (in no particular order). Buying an instrument in-person also comes with the added benefit of a consultation for proper sizing, as most stores will provide this for you.
If you are absolutely drawn to making an online purchase, go to a company that specializes in stringed instruments such as:
Feel free to book a free consultation even if you do not possess an instrument yet. If you are considering one of the above online options, Sakari can help you determine the proper size and discuss your options.