Used Tubas – 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying One

Banner of 5 questions about used tubas

The tuba is one of the most expensive band instruments whether, for beginner or more advanced players. And the option to buy a used tuba comes naturally, being a compelling and logical decision for someone starting or for parents looking to buy a first instrument for their children.

However, when you search for used tubas for sale, you might get limited results and get several questions without any satisfying answers. That’s exactly why we’ve decided to gather answers for the most common questions on buying used tubas.

If starting to look for used tubas, you might want to have answers to the following questions below. Those are a great start for beginners or parents alike:

  • What is the cost of a used tuba?
  • Where can I find good deals on used tubas?
  • In what condition should they be?
  • What tuba brands or manufactures should I look for on a used tuba?
  • Which accessories normally come with second-hand tubas?

Like any product, you should have time to do research and read reviews before purchasing it, but when it comes to tubas if you can answer the questions above, you should have all the information needed for getting a good second-hand deal.


How Much Does a Used Tuba Cost?

Used tubas vary considerably in price, from $1,000 up to $10,000. The exact answer to this question will depend on:

  • what type of tuba you are looking for
  • its condition
  • the brand
  • whether or not there are any available deals

If you are looking for a student-level tuba, it can cost anywhere from $800 to $3,000 or more.

Used Tuba Prices – Why Are Tubas So Expensive?

The two main reasons for tubas to be expensive are related to its size, which results in a larger amount of metal necessary to manufacture them, and the specialized work which is needed.

They are a large and expensive instrument to buy and that’s true whether you are talking about a new or used instrument. Old ones are cheaper than new ones, but even the cheapest of used instruments is still quite pricey and not financially considerable for beginner-level players.

A used instrument can still be expensive and sometimes even close to the price of a new one, especially if it’s seen as having been bought by someone else who cared and maintained it really well.

A Holton B490R Collegiate Series Student Baritone
A Holton B490R Collegiate Series Student Baritone


Where to Buy or Sell Used Tubas?

If you want a used instrument that has been taken good care of, then you might be able to find them in local music stores and shops. If available nearby, that should be the first place you should consider when buying a previously owned instrument, as you can test the tuba and check its real condition for yourself.

However, these days you can find various marketplaces online or specific websites that can offer good quality used instruments.

There are specialized instruments websites and more general marketplaces, where you can find second-hand tubas in various types, prices, and conditions.

Tuba Specific Websites Selling Used Instruments

The following websites are specialized in selling tubas and have also older ones with good deals:

Online Marketplaces With Tubas For Sale

If you don’t mind buying from an individual seller online, eBay or Craigslist can be two options (assuming your purchase includes free or low-cost shipping), or you can also look to more specialized online marketplaces like Reverb.com where the items are well described and in good conditions.

Reverb.com banner with different musical instruments

Another common option these days is also tuba-related groups or marketplaces on Facebook, where some users or shops sell used instruments for some good deals (example: “Facebook Tuba-Euphonium Marketplace“)


In What Condition Should the Instrument Be?

It’s important to know that the condition of a used instrument depends on how well it was taken care of previously.

If you’re buying from an individual seller, then it is best to ask them all about its condition before purchasing. Ideally, you should be able to test it before making the final purchase.

Mechanically they should be working seamlessly and sound decent. If you don’t have any sort of experience playing the tuba, then look for help from a music teacher, intermediate to a pro player, or a music shop expert.

Does the Finish Really Matter?

Yes! The paint job on your tuba could indicate whether it has been cared for or not, as well as, how often it’s been played.

In a beginner-level tuba, you will most likely have a lacquer finish tuba rather than a silver plate. It is cheaper and lasts longer while still giving a dark and deep sound in the lower registers.

If you’re in doubt about how old the instrument is, then again, look for someone who knows more about the instrument than you.

King 1151SP Brass Silver Plate Finish 1
A Brass Silver-Plate Finish of the Tuba King 1151SP

What Brands or Manufactures Should I Look For in Used Tubas?

Most of the models from the following well-known brands should get you a fair used instrument to play: Holton Collegiate, Miraphone, Yamaha, King, Conn, and Weril

Which Accessories Normally Come With Tubas?

That would depend on the brand, type of tuba, and whom you are buying. Sometimes they’ll come with a case, sometimes not. One thing you shouldn’t consider getting as used accessories is mouthpieces, mainly for sanitary reasons.