Buy A Used Flute With Confidence, Where To Buy Your Flute

Buying a used pre-owned flute can be a bit of a minefield. There are so many options and quite a few pitfalls as well I found. It can be difficult to find our way through the tangle of choices. The different ways to buy your flute can be used no matter what used flute you want to get.

You can buy used flutes from local stores, online general stores, online newspaper private sales, private sales, music specialists, bidding sites, and rent-to-buy sites/schemes.

I show these methods and the pros can cons of each as what is right for one person always right for others. This is my flute. I show how I got this one as well. It’s a brilliant flute, not top of the range but works well for me. I am very happy with it. By following the pros and cons of each method you can get a flute you are happy with too.

How to Buy A Used Flute With Confidence & Where To Buy Your Flute Get It

I needed a flute and I couldn’t afford a new flute. And I certainly couldn’t afford one with open holes. My options were the cheap one on Amazon or buy second-hand. I was very worried about buying a cheaper flute so, I started to look into buying a used flute as an alternative.

I remember buying my first used flute many years ago. I’d been thinking about buying a flute. I saw a second-hand flute in a music store (shop) window. I went in. I looked at it. I liked It and bought it! In only a few minutes I walked out of the shop with my flute case in my hand, the proud new owner of my first flute.

Cough! Cough! Years later I need to buy a flute. I don’t know if I’m wiser or just more picky or the world is just more complicated, but I found it way harder than the first time I did this. Here I share the options of where to get your flute and how to go about buying it and the advantages and pitfalls I found when looking into the options.

When You Should Buy A Used Flute

You should buy a used flute if you don’t want to buy a new one because you don’t know if playing the flute is right for you or can’t afford to buy a quality new flute and don’t want to risk a cheaper new flute.

I wanted to replace my Yamaha, even used this was too expensive so I had the option of a very cheap flute or to pay slightly more for a used one. I was lucky I found an alternative that might not always be available to everyone. I share that under the section below on where to get your flute from.

How Much Is A Used Flute To Buy?

Prices for used flutes vary from brand to brand, country to country, the age of the flute, and how it is being sold. If you are buying from a friend or privately it is likely that you will pay less because they don’t have any overheads. If you buy from a reputable dealer they may have checked the flute over or refurbished it. They should say. All that costs time and money so will increase the price of the flute.

At the bottom of the article, you can find a table of used flute costs. This will of course vary depending on your location and price changes.

Where You Can Buy A Used Flute

Please note this is a list of places where you can buy a used flute. I’m not necessarily saying it’s a good or bad idea here. It’s just a list. The other sections show what to look out for in each of these areas.

  1. Buy your flute locally in a music store/shop
  2. Buy your flute locally from an internet site or newspaper ad
  3. Buy from someone you know, or buy from a friend of someone you know
  4. Buy online from places like eBay
  5. Or buy online from private sellers
  6. You can also buy your used flute from online music websites
  7. You can also rent to buy your flute
  8. Local general second-hand store/shop
  9. Students and Children, Don’t Buy Rent

1. Local Music Store/Shop

If you have a reliable well respected local music shop/store, its a good idea to try them as you will be able to try out the flute and see it before you buy. Also, if anything goes wrong it is easier to return.

Pros of using a local music store

  • It’s local so you can look at the flute and try it out.
  • Check it over for faults.
  • If there are any issues with a flute you buy it’s easier to return it.
  • They should be experienced and be able to help you with any questions.
  • Safer than buying online as they should check over the instrument and know if it is a knock-off or not.

Cons of buying this way

  • There may be limited brands available.
  • Limited instruments available.
  • You are reliant on locals selling their instrument (unless they buy from elsewhere)
  • You need to know how good the shop/store is.
  • May be more expensive due to overheads.

2. Local Internet Selling Site

You may be able to get your flute from one of the local online papers or internet selling sites.


  • Cheaper to buy this way than a store.
  • Wider choice than a local store.


  • You have to know what to look for in your instrument or have someone else that does.
  • You may have to go physically to where the flute is located to take a look at it.
  • The is no comeback if things go wrong.
  • No protection or very little when you buy this way.

3. Buy Your Flute From Someone You Know

If you have a friend or family member selling their flute you can buy from them.


  • You may know the condition of the flute.
  • The flute will likely be cheaper for you to buy.
  • Easy option.
  • You will be able to see the flute before you buy it.


  • You have no comeback if something goes wrong or the instrument isn’t any good.
  • Can cause family friction when things go wrong.

4. Buy Your Flute Online eBay, Etc

If buying this way make certain you take a lot of precautions. Get clear close-ups of the flute especially the brand and flute number, model, and signature. Also the pads. And check their authenticity.

Make sure you have buyer protection from the method you use to buy. Check out my section below on fraudulent instruments.

Pros Of Online Buying from Online Multi Item Stores

  • A lot of choice of instruments
  • You might be lucky and get a bargain.
  • Cheaper than buying through a store. Although eBay sellers are more likely to be a store now than when eBay first started.

Cons of buying this way

  • Many bad sellers selling dodgy items.
  • Lots of fake instruments. Cheap instruments made to look like a better brand. It’s shocking how many!
  • You can’t see the item before you buy it and one person’s idea of good quality is not the same as another’s.
  • You cannot try out the instrument.

5. By Online Privately

There are lots of online sites where private owners can sell things. You may find something there. The cautions are similar to that of the larger online stores. You may get a bargain or you may waste your money. The protection is often different for private individuals selling items so you might not be so protected. You’d need to check locally for those rules.


  • Can get a bargain instrument.
  • Lots of choice.


  • Little buyer protection.
  • Would need to know your flutes and what is good or bad or take an expert without unless you are willing to take a chance
  • Whether this is a good or bad idea will depend on where you live.
  • The dangers of going to someone’s house may need neutral ground.
  • Could be handed a lemon.
  • May not get the instrument you want.
  • The instrument may not be in good condition or refurbished.

6. Online From Music Websites

This is a good option as it cuts most of the uncertainty out and hopefully, they have checked it over or refurbished it. You should get a good flute.


  • Still get a great value flute
  • Some protection from fraudulent flutes
  • Should be either checked or refurbished so you should get a flute that is in good condition (check their terms and what they do and their reputation before buying)


  • You will pay more for your flute than a “bargain” on eBay or if you bought locally. (Although it may be worth it to get something reliable)

** Please note I have listed these for information only as I have not used them myself.

  • The Flute Center of New York – Ship Worldwide. NY Based. Classy but more expensive flutes, even used.
  • Flute Specialists – Ship Worldwide from the USA. Range of used flutes from beginner to pro.
  • Adams Music – Ship worldwide. Netherlands/Belgium Based.
  • Flute World – They say they offer flutes for every level of price and ability. Stores Based USA. Ship Internationally.
  • Just Flutes – London UK based. Ship worldwide. Good prices.
  • Ozwinds – Australia. Ship worldwide. Varied flutes.

7. Rent To Buy Your Favourite Flute

I came across this while looking for a flute. I was curious as to the overall cost of doing this. Did it mean the overall cost of buying the flute would be more expensive? Were the companies reputable, etc?

As you are buying from a company, yes the flute is more expensive than if buying privately. But the actual rental then buying can be more expensive or not depending on the firm renting/selling the flute.

This was what I chose to do in the end. It solved all the issues I share here, pretty much. I could rent and if I wasn’t happy with the instrument I could return it or even change it, and if I was I could buy it. It gave me time to get the money together. But did cost more than I originally wanted because I got a better flute not the Yamaha sadly, and not open holed, but I am very happy with my flute. (Open holed are for more experienced players and there were none available as renting seems to be mostly for beginner flutes. I didn’t mind open holed are way outside my budget.)

You can even buy new if your budget allows.

I found an awesome company with reasonable prices. I was so enthusiastic I recommended the company to my sister even before I bought my flute. She got her 1st clarinet there. Had no problems with it and the return was a breeze!

This is a UK company, so sorry guys if you are my USA readers or elsewhere. (If you are elsewhere I’ve popped in some links below in this section). The company I used is Musical Instrument Hire. They are fantastic. They do Yamaha, and Trevor James Flutes in different models as well as other instruments.

I’m not an affiliate for them, and I’m not sponsored by them. This is purely a happy customer review.

My flute came and it was immaculate. The mouthpiece was in a sealed plastic bag. It took about a week and a half to arrive, (torture!). The time they did the checks and sent it out.

Every rent to buy works differently. This one you choose your instrument, put down a deposit, and a month’s rental. They deliver the instrument (in this case a flute). You have to keep it for 3 months. If you don’t like it after that time you can return it. You can also swap your instrument. You can continue to hire indefinitely or you can buy when you want to. Any payment up to 6 months is included in the purchase price.


  • Well looked after and maintained flute.
  • Choose from excellent brands.
  • Can try before you buy.
  • Can return at any time (after a locked-in period) during rental if you don’t like the flute or you don’t want to play it anymore.


  • Slightly more expensive than buying privately.
  • Only beginner flutes.
  • Limited choice
  • Need to find a good company
  • It may not be available everywhere.

Rent To Buy Flutes List


  • Dawkes – UK Based. Flutes may be new or used. It depends on what they have at the time. Cannot buy the instrument you have but can count some payments towards another instrument.
  • Musical Instrument Hire – UK New and Used flutes to hire with the option to buy. Excellent service received.


Hornstash – Offer a very flexible rent-to-buy option on reconditioned flutes. – Rent to buy children’s flutes.

8. Buy Your Flute From Local General 2nd Hand Store/Shop

I was walking past a local 2nd hand shop the other day and there was a flute! Oh, it was so tempting. I did go in and look. Apart from the fact it had been in the window for months and was seriously tarnished, it looked in good condition. The pads were hardly dented and looked bright and clean. Cost £/$100. Way less than anywhere else. I didn’t recognize the brand but had an overwhelming urge to buy it just to polish it!

This could be an option. You’d need to know your brands and what to look for before buying.

When I went back it had gone! So I guess someone got a bargain.


  • Some protection depending on where you live. These give a 3-month money-back guarantee or a year’s warranty.
  • Might get a bargain.
  • Could be cheaper than buying in a music shop.
  • A bit safer than buying online.


  • You really need to know what you are looking for in a used flute.
  • They do not maintain the flute.
  • It might not be any good.
  • You cannot always try it.
  • It’s a chance buy. You might not get one for ages.

9. Students, Don’t Buy Your Flute Rent It

If you are buying for a child or student before you decide to buy your flute check out your local area for any student bodies that rent out musical instruments. This can be a lot more affordable for many parents than buying.


  • Can get a good quality flute for very little outlay.
  • Don’t have to worry about the pitfalls of buying.


  • You may not be able to buy your flute
  • Long term hire costs will be greater
  • The services may only be available in certain areas

Is It Safe To Buy A Used Flute?

It isn’t safe to buy a used flute without first knowing what you are buying and where it is safe to buy. There are many things you need to watch out for when buying a used flute. These include cost, brand, flute defects both hidden and visible, and pure fraudulent flute sellers.

I know you probably didn’t want to hear that. But that’s the truth. It is a minefield. That’s not to say don’t buy one, just be careful. I’ve shared a few of the things here in this article I found when I was looking which can help get a good flute.

What Brand Is Your Chosen Flute?

Check your brand before you buy. Some you may know like Yamaha or Trevor James, etc, but some you might not. You need to know what quality your brand is because some brands make quality flutes designed to last while others make cheaper student flutes designed to last only a year or so. While others still just make cheap shoddy flutes.

If you’re buying your flute second-hand, you don’t want to get a from the cheaper range flute that may be already worn out. The cheaper ranges are used and throw I’m afraid, it would cost you the cost of a new flute again to get it repaired. That’s if the repairer will do it, it’s not really worth it.


You also need to know the model of your flute as the market value of the flute will change depending on the model number. It should also give you a rough idea of the age range of your flute.

I have listed the cost at the bottom of the article for reference.

Flute Defects

There are going to be defects in a used flute. It’s what those defects are and how or if they affect playing and sound that can affect whether you should buy or not.

This is where buying online can be a problem as you can’t see any issues the flute might have. You are relying purely on the seller.

Some defects mean that your flute may need expensive servicing or can be a write-off.

Some defects

  • Check flute is working
  • Check for any dents. Some dent locations have more of an effect than others.
  • Check the pads are in good condition or you will need to replace them
  • check you can easily pull the sections apart and put them together again
  • Check the sections are not too loose or too tight.
  • Check all the parts are in working order.

Beware of Fraudulent Flute Sellers No Matter Where You Buy From

Sadly there are a lot of online fraudsters that are in it to make fast money. And you are unlikely to know. It’s absolutely terrifying when they get up to. I don’t pretend to know how they do it. But they take a very cheap flute and remove the information on the flute, the brand name, the numbers, and signature, etc. They then put on the details of something like Yamaha make and model. They then put it online, usually places like eBay.

There are usually mistakes made so if you know what the correct information should be you can see if the flute is authentic or not. The problem is unless you are an experienced buyer you won’t know this until it’s too late.

You can ask someone that knows or take your flute to a local shop to be authenticated which will likely cost you.

The other option is to find out yourself. There is a group on Facebook called the Musical Instrument Counterfeit & Scam Alerts that share and help each other when buying an instrument. You could put the details and image (before you buy it ideally) of your flute and ask them or look through previous posts to see what is fraudulent. I’ve seen people pay hundreds for their instrument then ask only to find it isn’t authentic.

Although this is not fool-proof and the responsibility ultimately lies with you it is a great help.

The seller doesn’t have to be fraudulent either if they bought a flute in good faith and didn’t know it’s possible that they are also selling a fake flute brand.

The cost is usually a good guide, but not always. If it’s really cheap then it’s likely a counterfeit.

Make Sure Your Purchase is Protected When Buying Online

A way to protect yourself against faulty flutes or fraud is to make sure you have some comeback buy buying with protections either Paypal or similar or your credit card as they often have buyer protection. Check before you buy that you are covered.

Check the seller is authentic and has a good reputation but don’t rely on this alone. I have seen sellers with good states that are selling rubbish.

Is The Price Too Good To Be True?

We all love a bargain. But be very wary of a flute price that is too good to be true especially online. It usually is. Having said that it does happen as in my sister’s example:

I know it’s not a flute but my sister bought a Clarinet locally she paid £50/$65 for it. This is way under what you’d expect to pay.

She’d already sent back her rental not intending to continue when she saw the Facebook advert a local private seller was selling it. She decided to take the chance. The woman even offered to drive the 20 or so miles each way (32km) to let her see it. My sister felt so guilty there was no way she would not have bought it.

We are lucky we live in an area where most people are honest and kind enough to do that. Even so, the woman had gotten the clarinet from a friend and left it unused in its case. Part of it was dried out. Luckily for my sister, she could get the parts for a fiver.

I don’t think it’s as good a quality as the one she had but she’s happy with it. It’s likely to last her five years as she only plays little and often as she is unwell. All in all a very good buy.

I’m not sure I’d recommend doing this, but my sister is quite lucky and she was willing to take the chance and had checked on the clarinet’s brand. She did have to replace the corks but that wasn’t that expensive.

Online if the price is too good you could be lucky or you could be in for a world of pain. It could be an old or damaged flute or a fraudulent seller (covered in another section here).

How Much Should You Spend On A Used Beginner Flute?

The amount you should spend on a good quality used beginners flute is between £200 ($269 US) and £450 ($600) if you buy from a reputable online store or rent to buy service. This price varies depending on the brand, age, quality, and the way you buy as well as your location.

You don’t need to spend a large amount on a beginner flute because if you progress well you will likely want to upgrade to a more advanced flute and very likely an open holed flute.

**The table below is a guide only as prices vary especially used/second-hand prices. Where possible I’ve gone for the reconditioned flute so you may be able to get them less if you go private. Not all flutes are available new everywhere at the time of writing.

Beginners Straight Flute New to Used (2nd Hand) Cost Comparison Chart in £ & $

Financing is often available.

Flute Brand & ModelCost New £UK Used/Refurbished/Pre-ownedUSA Used/Refurbished/Pre-owned
Yamaha 211 (beginner)N/A £195-£325$260-$430
Yamaha 212 (beginner)£475-£599£300- £370 refurbished$400- $500
Yamaha YFL222 student to intermediate £475-£560 ($600)Approx. £200 $270
Jupiter JFL700A (beginner)£450-£465£249$336
Jupiter JFL511 (beginner)**$200-£269£269$363
Trevor James 10XE£350-£449£200- £349$270-$459
Trevor James 5XE£249-£279£125$160
Gemeinhardt Model 2SP£150-£250*£150-£250*$200-$330
The Di Zhao Flute Model 200($736.00 USD)£400$540
Miyazawa MJ101E (upgrading flutist – cl Hl)£1000Used is coming up as more expensive than new at the moment.$1335
Brannen Brothers whole flute £9.5k£995+ head joint only$1344
Emerson. EF2 (US Made)($475)$156
Armstrong 104 ($469)£140£189
Pearl 525E£449 -£665£249$336
Jean-Paul Beginners Flute FL220£211none at the time of writing

** Check letters on the end as some of these are more advanced flutes.

*£95 on eBay – prices for many of these flutes are cheaper on eBay. Please see my caution when using this type of site above if you haven’t seen it yet.

There are other student flutes by these brands as well as other brands.


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