In a market with instruments that are so expensive, it’s quite inevitable that many people will look towards purchasing synthesizers used, but is this a good idea? A general idea is that if you weren’t to buy something else used (presumably valuable) then you shouldn’t try to buy a synthesizer used UNLESS you are able to confirm without a doubt that it has been well taken care of and that it is without any issues. If you think workstations are pricey, wait until you see how much it costs to have them repaired!
Why caution pays off…
Look, if you’re purchasing a used synth (in a medium where there is no trusted third party such as Ebay or Amazon), you need be very cautious if you want to avoid making a mistake. There have been far too many unfortunate souls who put their faith into untrustworthy individuals only out to take advantage of them. If you take the right steps before making a final purchase, you may be able to escape a risky situation and save a lot of money in the process. Is there a foolproof way to avoid scams and faulty products 100% of the time? Of course not, but there are ways to better your odds.
Questions you should ask
There are a few questions you will benefit from asking the seller. These questions include the following:
- When did you purchase this unit?
- Are you the first owner of this synthesizer?
- How much have you used the keyboard since you purchased it?
- Did you have any issues with it?
- What are the things that bother you most about this product?
- Why are you selling this synth?
There are a ton more questions you could potentially ask a seller to help you out, but these are the main ones that will likely lead to even more deep and important questions. If the seller stumbles over their words or seems hesitant when giving answers or avoid eye contact, then you might have a hint that something is not right. At that point, it will be up to you to use your better judgment and make a call of whether or not you should purchase the unit.
Ask for a demonstration!
Another great way to see all elements of the synthesizer is to ask the seller for a demo. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, right? It is also essential that you ask for a demonstration of as many things as possible; not just the piano sounds or only on one single setting. If they are reluctant to do as you ask, then you already know that something must be wrong. Anyone who is selling a functioning product will be confident and have no issues with showing you the ropes via demonstration. If you can, try actually playing the synthesizer for yourself. This way you gain complete control of what you can test and will be able to (hopefully) find any present issues with the unit.
Consider seeing a professional
If you have the budget, you might even seek a professional synthesizer inspector to see whether or not the keyboard is fully functional. There are obviously a ton of internal things to look at in synthesizers and you don’t want any bugs to slip past you. Unfortunately, synthesizers are known for being rather delicate instruments and frequently have issues if not well taken care of.
Many pro synthesizers cost upwards of a thousand dollars and for most people this is a sizeable sum of money (see the best cheap synthesizers). This is why you must be very cautious in your decision making and ensure that your potential keyboard is free of faults. Remember, faulty products are probably more common than you might expect and you need to look out for yourself!