Choosing the best music instruments could mean the difference between poor sounding notes or a nice and tight medley. Our evaluation focused on range, learning curve, replayability/fun factor, and aesthetics as a prestige piece.

After more than 12 hours of research and testing, our pick for the best music instrument goes to the Trinity College AP-2248 English-Style Concertina. It is an all-around workhorse, featuring a healthy 2 1/2 octave range, easy push and pull-motion, and a nice grip using two thumb straps on opposite ends for a nice, engaging feel. Keep reading to learn more about the Trinity College AP-2248 English-Style Concertina and other best music instruments available for purchase.

Top 8 Best Music Instruments

 #1  Trinity College AP-2248 English-Style Concertina

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This English-style concertina comes with 48 buttons, a 2 1/2 octave range, and easily adjustable leather thumb straps for a solid hold, making it an excellent choice for people who want a nice starter instrumental to learn.

Pros
  • Faux walnut offers a nice handmade vibe
  • Thick and comfortable thumb straps
  • Includes zippered carrying case for easy transport
Cons
  • Heavy wear and tear may cause some buttons to “stick”
  • Simulated walnut finish may not be appealing to all
  • Bellows may be too stiff for some people

This concertina is very well designed. Using a push and pull motion, the instrument works in sync with 48 buttons to produce a memorable medley. Our ears immediately discern more than one style of music, easily switching between folk dance and classical depending based on skill level. Given the slight learning curve, we like this as the best musical instrument for the brain.

Kudos for an ergonomic design, which uses two thumb straps on opposite sides of the concertina for a firm grip when opening and closing. It is also constructed using faux walnut, giving off an authentic-looking vibe – close albeit not quite in being a nice prestige piece for your living room or playing quarters. All in all, we were very impressed with this music instrument’s range and build quality. And you may also want to add the best dulcimer to your instruments.

 #2  Mr.Power Foldable Glockenspiel Xylophone

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This xylophone comes with a durable aluminum bar with a wooden body and 30 notes with a G5 to C8 range, making it a great choice for people who want to produce nice melodies without a high level of mastery.

Pros
  • Dynamic range and crisp sound
  • Clearly marked notes on each bar
  • Folding mechanism for safe storage
Cons
  • Wood easy to chip when heavy wear and tear
  • Flimsy carrying bag; lack of padding

This glockenspiel xylophone is very well put together. It’s very compact (22.8 inches across) with sturdy aluminum bars against a wooden body, each assigned its own note with engraved lettering. This set includes maple mallets with hard heads that hit each bar perfectly, ejecting a nice crisp tone.

We love the fact a learning curve using this xylophone is practically nonexistent. In addition to reading music notes, starter players can easily trigger several melodies with only a minute or two of experimentation. In terms of being a prestige piece, it is a bit on the humble side – screaming “accessory” rather than the main showpiece. And if you’re into percussions, take a look at some of the best djembes that produce quality and consistent sound.

 #3  TreeWorks Chimes

Award: EASIEST TO PLAY

WHY WE LIKE IT: These chimes are made of sturdy Tennessee hardwood and emit a nice, crisp tinkling sound, great as a companion piece for larger, more dynamic range instruments like the cello or piano.

Pros
  • Super clear, far-reaching beat
  • Takes less than 30 seconds to learn
  • Highly durable aluminum/titanium design
Cons
  • Not recommended for use outdoors
  • Very limited range and specific sound

This 34-bar wind chime emits a super crisp and tinkling sound, practically rattling in the ears with each sweep of the hand. Chime sound gets progressively stronger when flicking the hand from left to right (shorter chimes to longer chimes) with enough weight on each chime not to swing dramatically from side to side for nice, subtle play.

In terms of a learning curve, it gets no easier than swinging the finger from the left to right and vice versa, applying just enough force to create a gentle sway. Consider this the easiest instrument to learn for a child. With a Tennessee black walnut wood construction and its compact single row styling, we like this as an accessory, but not a mainstay piece for any living room or playing quarters. All in all, we were very impressed with this charmer. And you may also want to add the best sousaphone to your collection of musical instruments too.

 #4  Latin Percussion Jam Block

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: This percussion block is made of strong and durable plastic with a medium pitch, a great choice for children to practice simple drumming skills using a mallet.

Pros
  • Reproduces sound of actual wood
  • Very durable; made of hard indestructible plastic
  • Easy learning curve
Cons
  • No dampening effect to reduce overtones
  • Requires precise hit using drum stick to nail the right sound; a slight learning curve
  • Not too much of a wide, dynamic range

This Latin percussion jam block is very straightforward. It consists of a hard plastic block with a hollow middle to create an echoing effect with every hit of the top section using a drumstick or mallet. A mounting bracket and eye-bolt assembly are included to affix it to a standard cowbell post size rod or hi-hat rod. It’s just as versatile sitting alone or as part of a drum set.

Although this percussion block is made of plastic, it offers the same sound quality as traditional woodblocks. Sound really pops off the block with a high echoing effect that can easily be heard across a large room. In terms of aesthetics, it is very small (only 3 by 9 by 7 inches), so it is far from a prestige piece for any room.

 #5  Cremona SB-3 Premier Upright Bass

Award: BEST STRINGED

WHY WE LIKE IT: This upright bass is made of hard scale maple wood and highly responsive D’Addario Prelude strings, a great choice for anyone looking for a harder instrument to master.

Pros
  • Beautiful natural maple finish
  • High and dynamic sound range
  • Includes sturdy nylon bag for easy transport
Cons
  • The bow is not included
  • Steep learning curve to master
  • Heavy (close to 22 pounds)

This upright bass is very thoughtfully designed with a spade-shaped spruce top, sleek and buffered hand-carved maple wood, and an Ebonite fingerboard that supports strings very well. String spacing on point and its 3/4 size is manageable by both kids and adults.

While playing this upright bass, the strings were very responsive and immediately popped with each chord with no clatter. Plucked strings immediately revert back to the original position and the entire bass feels very sturdy and well made. Our only knock is that there is a steep learning curve in playing a discernable melody and that a base 400-watt amp is recommended to project sound and make it sound better. Consider this one of the best instruments to learn at 50. This is truly one of the best upright bass on the market today.

 #6  Bonaok Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone

Award: BEST FOR SINGING

WHY WE LIKE IT: This karaoke microphone comes with Bluetooth/singing app compatibility and on mic controls, great for people who would like to practice their vocal skills.

Pros
  • Pleasing and crisp sound
  • Buttons on the mic for volume and echo adjustment
  • Works as a speaker, player, and recorder
Cons
  • Only one color (rose gold)
  • Needs to speak directly on top for better voice amplification
  • Only three keys for the volume

This karaoke microphone is very well rounded. It has on-mic buttons for volume, echo adjustment, and music volume along with a slot for a MicroSD card and USB input for charging using a 2600mAh rechargeable battery. It’s also compatible with all of the major karaoke apps, including Smule. Kudos for being very easy to hold with a sturdy dull polished handle.

This microphone projects really well with dual speakers that really resonate across a room. It can also double as a Bluetooth speaker by turning off the echo and volume. With karaoke app compatibility and playback and record functions, this one is a winner. You may also consider purchasing one of the best portable record player that truly pops, and has the ability to play vinyl at different speeds.

 #7  Remo DJ-0014-05 Mondo Djembe Drum

Award: MOST DURABLE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This djembe drum offers a nice wide range of bass and slap tones, made using a highly durable Acousticon shell and a rugged brown finish. It is an amazing choice for anyone who prefers to use their heads to deliver powerful bass.

Pros
  • Deep, powerful sound
  • Tough, outer Acousticon shell; very sturdy
  • Comes in four sizes (10″, 12″, 14″ and 16″)
Cons
  • Vertical seam decoration could be better polished
  • Head is synthetic, not made of actual stretched goal hide

We really love the sound out of this drum. Hit the center Acousticon shell for a rich, deep tone and the sides for a more muffled sound, projecting just loud enough to reverberate across an entire room. Kudos for coming in one of four sizes – 10″, 12″, 14″ and 16″, which should easily accommodate most sized kids and adults while seated or standing. Consider this one of the easiest instruments to learn for adults.

In terms of the learning curve, this instrument is very easy to pick up and learn. Simply experiment with different hand strokes across different sections of the top shell to experiment with a variety of different tones. Regarding aesthetics, this is definitely a prestige piece. Its outer shell mimics a warm walnut finish and complements the most decor in our opinion, including an industrial, farmhouse, and beach house styles.

 #8  Indian Handmade Brass Sousaphone

Award: BEST PRESTIGE PIECE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This handmade instrument comes in a striking brass finish and super-sized proportions, making it an excellent choice as a prestige piece or simply to play at social gatherings.

Pros
  • Great center instrument for any room
  • Good range between mellow and hardcore bass
  • Includes carrying bag for easy transport
Cons
  • No treble range
  • Steeper learning curve and unique carrying position

This sousaphone is very well constructed made of durable sheet brass and 25″ bell size. This large bell offers the best projection of all instruments on the list. Range leans heavily on the bass side, producing a good variety between mellow bass down to the heaviest bass you can imagine.

In terms of the learning curve, it takes a bit longer to practice and master a sousaphone. Its placement takes time to get used to, with heavy support using the left shoulder while playing. Kudos for coming with a detachable bell and carrying bag for easy transport. And for easy and organized storage of your records, consider purchasing the best record storage holder.

How We Decided

In determining the best musical instrument to buy, we explored range, learning curve, replayability/fun factor, and aesthetics as a prestige piece.

The range for popular instruments should be expansive, carrying a wide spectrum of different tones and notes. We prioritized musical instruments that carry treble and deep bass tones, which provide depth and more memorable sounds, especially with more elaborate melodies. Replayability and fun factor are also key for the most in demand musical instruments that are easy to learn. If we feel a musical instrument has too sharp a steep learning curve and cannot be used for hours of play right off the bat, it did not make our list.

Lastly, we looked at aesthetics as a prestige piece. Prestige pieces are key focal points for living rooms and playing quarters. Typically, the larger and more “artsy” the instrument, the better chance of it being a prestige piece. This prioritized instruments with natural-looking walnut finishes, expensive-looking hide, or other accents that give it a major step up over your standard, dull piano synthesizer.

Best Music Instruments Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Range
    Look for a healthy music instrument range that is capable of sounding a wide variety of low and high notes. In short, it’s the distance between the lowest and highest note. The broader the range, the more expressive and the richest we feel your instrument can play. Plus, we feel increased range offers more replayability and fun factor, as there is a much broader range of styles and melodies to go after.
  2. Learning Curve
    We recommend music instruments with a shorter learning curve. This is why we gravitate more towards drums and chimes than pianos, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, woodwind instruments, bass guitars, and clarinets – all of which require hundreds of hours to master and play well. Plus, a shorter learning curve makes it easier for people of all ages to enjoy.
  3. Aesthetics as a Prestige Piece
    Playing a musical instrument proficiently is not enough. We are big fans of music instruments that can serve as an artsy centerpiece for any room. These are typically larger fun to play pieces that serve as the main instrument, accompanied by smaller instruments that serve more as a compliment.

Music Instruments FAQs

Which is the best music instrument to learn?

There are so many types of musical instruments, it is hard to say. In our opinion, the best music instrument to learn is one whose melodies you are most passionate about. If you are a fan of deep bass and booming tones, drum sets could be your favorite. If you prefer more drawn out and complicated melodies, the guitar, violin, and other members of the woodwind family are awesome choices.

What is the easiest instrument to learn to play?

In our opinion, the easiest musical instrument to play is the drum and the chime. It only requires a simple hand slap or wave of the fingers to achieve the desired melody. The piano is also relatively easier since it does not require memorizing classical music notes to play a full composition like a professional musician mastering a double bass.

What instrument should a child learn first?

It really depends on his or her interest level. Pianos and drum kits are good as starter sets for children to play. More complicated pieces like acoustic guitars, double bass’, violins, and brass instruments offer a steeper learning curve and they could lose attention spans pretty quickly. All easily comprise some of the top 10 most popular musical instruments.

What is the hardest string instrument to play?

In our opinion, the hardest instrument to play is the violin. This great instrument requires holding a tremendously still posture and precise bowing technique that could take years to learn correctly. Plus, there are no frets, so finger position is much more difficult to master. Lastly, violins rely heavily on sight-reading, which is an art in and of itself.

Ray Prince

Diehard UFC/MMA fan and all-around techie who loves to write.

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