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Top 12 places to hire musical instruments & equipment in London

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Written by Becky T

Published Apr 25, 2023

As any musician knows, instruments and equipment can be an expensive investment, and as our preferences and skills evolve, we often outgrow the kit we spent so long saving for much sooner than we had hoped. Music instrument hire is a cheaper, low-commitment alternative, meaning you don't have to break the bank and you can move on to the next thing seamlessly and free of guilt.

Music instrument hire in London is a bustling scene, with spots all over the city where you can reliably rent a diverse selection of musical instruments and equipment, catering to a range of budgets and skill levels. To help you out on your search, we've put together a list of the 12 best places to hire music equipment in London.

It's important that you read the terms and conditions for each rental company carefully so that you're aware of your contractual obligations and requirements. We've included the key points of their advertised conditions, but most will have additional terms conveyed to you once you enquire, which may include acquiring financial responsibility for any damage (either personally or through insurance).

Contents:

  1. Beat About The Bush - Best for: Hiring for Film & TV
  2. Ritz Music Shop - Best for: Value for money
  3. Wandsworth Music - Best for: Students
  4. Howarth London - Best for: Woodwind instrument hire
  5. John Henrys - Best for: Hiring for concerts & gigs
  6. Markson Pianos - Best for: Piano hire
  7. North London Music Centre - Best for: Variety
  8. London Music Co - Best for: Brass instrument hire
  9. FX Rentals - Best for: Keyboards and DJ equipment hire
  10. Bridgewood and Neitzert - Best for: Strings instrument hire
  11. Bell Music - Best for: Percussion instrument hire
  12. London Speaker Hire - Best for: Speaker hire
Image of brand logo for music instrument hire company, Beat About The Bush

1. Beat About The Bush - Best for: Hiring for Film & TV

Beat About The Bush offers music equipment and instrument hire for TV, Film, photoshoots and Theatre. First established in 1986, they have now grown into the largest collection of vintage and retro musical props across the whole of Europe. They can coordinate with historians to find the pieces that best fit your production, and provide expert advice on how to achieve your vision.

This is the perfect choice if you're shooting for a commercial or working on a film production that requires period-appropriate music props. You can also check out the 10 best costume rental companies in London to bring it all together.

  • Stock: From vintage sound systems to customisable guitars, Beat About the Bush have a diverse selection of both authentic and mock equipment.
  • Budget & requirements: For all enquiries and quotes, visit their website to email or call Beat About The Bush. You can also visit them at their store in Kensal Green, north-west London.

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Image of brand logo for music instrument hire company, Ritz Music Studio

2. Ritz Music Studio - Best for: Value for money

Ritz Music Studio is a multi-purpose music facility in Richmond, London. They offer instrumental tuition and music camps for all ages and abilities, as well as instrument repair and rental. On a mission to make music more accessible, Ritz Music Studio aims to provide the services that aspiring and professional musicians need to develop their skills and hone their craft.

As part of this, Ritz Music Studio offers very generous terms in the rental scheme. Servicing and repair of rented instruments are performed free of charge, and if the instrument can't be repaired quickly, Ritz Music Studio will replace your item. If you want to purchase the instrument you’re renting, they will deduct any hire fees that you've already paid up to a maximum value of 3 months.

  • Stock: A wide selection of instruments are available for rental, including brass, strings, woodwind, percussion, and digital pianos.
  • Budget: Prices start from as little as £10 per month.
  • Requirements: No minimum rental period.

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Image of brand logo for music instrument hire company & education hub, Wandsworth Music

3. Wandsworth Music - Best for: Students

Wandsworth Music is a registered charity and music education hub in South London. They provide curriculum music lessons and student tutoring as well as instrument hire for students. Their young musicians perform at events and concerts around the UK and even abroad, including at The Royal Albert Hall and Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

  • Stock: A wide selection of instruments are available for rental, including brass, strings, wind, and percussion.
  • Budget: For private hire, prices range from £20 per term (acoustic guitars) to £80 per term, depending on the instrument, and you must provide a deposit of two terms worth of hire. For members and those having lessons through Wandsworth Music, prices range from £15 to £58 per term, and children who qualify for pupil premium or Free School Meals have a reduced rate of £12.50.
  • Requirements: You must be a student who is currently having lessons on the instrument you hire, but this can be a private tutor outside of Wandsworth Music.

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Image of brand logo for music instrument hire company, Howarth of London

4. Howarth London - Best for: Woodwind instrument hire

Howarth London is a specialist woodwind instrument maker and music shop in West London. On top of their rental service, you can also buy new and second-hand instruments and accessories, and they employ a range of experienced technicians who can do repairs and custom modifications.

  • Stock: Various woodwind instruments are available for rental, including bassoons, oboes, saxophones, flutes and clarinets.
  • Budget: Prices start from £35 per week for short-term rentals and £16 per month for long-term rentals. There is a standard carriage charge of £16.95, and you must pay 3 months in advance for long-term rentals.
  • Requirements: Minimum 1-week hire for Short-Term Rental Scheme and minimum 3-month hire for the Long-Term Rental Scheme. Instruments must be insured by the hirer and you must be a UK resident over the age of 18. You must provide three forms of ID that include your current address.

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Image of brand logo for music instrument and equipment hire company, John Henry's

5. John Henry's - Best for: Hiring for concerts & gigs

John Henry's is a specialist music supplier to the live entertainment industry. Working with a variety of businesses, musicians and TV & radio shows for over 40 years, they employ a specialised crew of production and project managers who can help with scheduling, planning and installation. They also provide a wide range of other services including audio, backline and staging rental, crew hire, and storage and transportation.

  • Stock: From mixing consoles to microphones, amps to staging, and mandolins to guitars, John Henry's offers a huge selection of professional music equipment.
  • Budget & requirements: For all enquiries and quotes, visit their website to email or call John Henry's. Their Islington facility is available by appointment only.

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Image of brand logo for piano hire company, Markson pianos

6. Markson Pianos - Best for: Piano hire

Markson Pianos is a specialised piano dealer, restoration and hire service in north London. They rent out real and prop pianos for domestic and commercial use, so whether you're sourcing for a wedding, festival, music video, film production, or simply to learn how to play yourself, Markson Pianos can provide the right piano for your needs.

They offer an 'Option to Purchase Scheme' whereby you can claim a rebate of up to 6 months' rental if you decide to purchase (this is also transferrable if you want to buy a different piano than the one you hired).

Markson Pianos have had their stock featured in a number of Hollywood blockbusters such as Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) and Rocketman (2019), so you know you're getting quality.

  • Stock: A range of grand pianos, upright pianos, silent pianos and digital pianos are available for hire.
  • Budget: Prices start from just £35 per month. Delivery and collection cost an extra £120.00 each way (within the M25 radius), and an extra £50 is added if stairs are involved, though this can be vary depending on the venue.
  • Requirements: Minimum 6-month hire for long-term rentals (paid in advance).

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Image of brand logo for music shop, North London Music Centre

7. North London Music Centre - Best for: Variety

North London Music Centre is a music shop in North London that provides tutoring, music repair and music instrument hire. With over 1500 square feet of retail space in their Enfield store, they offer a wide variety of options and stock a number of big brands like Yamaha, Fender and Mapex.

  • Stock: Selected instruments are available for rental, including saxophones, clarinets, cellos, trumpets, violins and flutes.
  • Budget: Prices start from £20 per month, but you must provide three months' rent in advance and put down a £75 deposit.
  • Requirements: You must provide three forms of ID that include your current address.

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Image of brand logo for music instrument hire company, London Music Co

8. London Music Co - Best for: Brass instrument hire

London Music Co is a musical instrument hire and repair company in London. Based in Harringey, they're a reputable choice for North London locals, with a speciality in brass and woodwind instruments. Their 'rent to buy' scheme allows you to deduct the cost of 3 months of hire off the cost of purchase.

They also provide a delivery service to the boroughs of Haringey, Barnet, Islington, and Camden, where a trained technician will deliver your instrument, show you have to look after it and answer any questions that you have. This service costs an extra £15.

  • Stock: Clarinets, flutes, saxophones, trumpets and guitars are all available for rental.
  • Budget: Prices start from £20 per month for clarinets. For quotes on other instruments, contact London Music Co by email or fill in an instrument rental sign-up form on their website. You must pay a refundable security deposit of 3 months worth of hire in advance.
  • Requirements: Minimum hire term of 3 months for long-term rentals, and 2 weeks for short-term rentals.

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Image of brand logo for music equipment instrument hire company, FX Rentals

9. FX Rentals - Best for: Keyboards and DJ equipment hire

FX Rentals are Europe's leading audio rental company and the go-to for backline, DJ equipment and keyboards. They work with a number of regular film and broadcast clients, including the BBC and Warner Bros, as well as top studios like Abbey Road and Air.

They're open for bookings and technical support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so you don't need to worry about restrictive opening hours or closures over holidays.

  • Stock: From pianos, keyboards, and drums to microphones, PA systems and turntables, FX Rentals offer a diverse selection of music and audio equipment.
  • Budget: See FX Rentals' Equipment Listing page for a full itemised list of pricing.
  • Requirements: New customers are required to verify their identity and provide a refundable deposit.

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Image of brand logo for music instrument hire company, Bridgewood & Neitzert

10. Bridgewood and Neitzert - Best for: Strings instrument hire

Bridgewood and Neitzert is a specialised violin dealer, maker and repair shop in Stoke Newington, that offers instrument hire on a range of violins, cellos and basses. As well as rentals, Bridgewood and Neitzert offer sales, repair, restoration, and accessories. You can also claim back up to 3 months' worth of hire fees through their Hire Scheme if you choose to purchase the instrument on loan. All hire instruments are insured, and bows, cases and rosin are all included.

  • Stock: Violins, violas, cellos and double basses are all available for hire.
  • Budget: Prices start from £15 per month for violins, £18 for violas, £30 for cellos, and £50 for double basses. No deposit is required.
  • Requirements: Minimum 3-month rental, and you must provide one form of ID.

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Image of brand logo for music instrument hire company, Bell Music

11. Bell Music - Best for: Percussion instrument hire

Bell Music is a music instrument hire company in West London, specialising in percussion. The company was founded in 1990 and has since expanded its business to provide a number of services, including transport, studios, and repairs.

They have been the chosen suppliers for a number of film soundtracks recorded at London's top recording studios, including the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Harry Potter films.

  • Stock: Various percussion instruments and equipment are available for rental, from authentic African, Asian and Middle Eastern percussion to beaters, mallets, gongs, sambas, and drum kits.
  • Budget & requirements: For all enquiries and quotes, visit their website and fill out the enquires form. You can also visit their store and Music Academy in South Acton.

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Image of brand logo for speaker hire company, London Speaker Hire

12. London Speaker Hire - Best for: Speaker hire

London Speaker Hire is a (you guessed it!) speaker hire company in London. They also provide a range of other audio equipment such as microphones and karaoke systems. They have worked as suppliers for a number of high-profile clients such as The X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing, MTV and the BBC.

They will help you set up your equipment should you need assistance and you can even hire a sound engineer for your entire event.

  • Stock: London Speaker Hire rent out a wide selection of audio equipment, including speakers, subwoofers, line arrays, power amps, microphones and DJ tables.
  • Budget: Full quotes are provided via email once you've filled out a hire form. Delivery and collection costs start from £15. Sound engineer hire starts at £20 per hour. They have a Lowest Price Guarantee and will price match if you find a cheaper kit (providing it meets the criteria).
  • Requirements: You must provide three forms of ID that include your current address, one of which must be a valid UK passport.

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Wrapping up

With so many affordable options, hiring music equipment and instruments in London has never been so easy. But with so many choices, it can be difficult to find the one that best matches your requirements and budget. This list of the 12 best places to hire music equipment in London has hopefully helped to narrow down your search and take you one step closer to finding what you need.

So, whether you're a student having lessons, a seasoned pro sourcing gear for your tour or music video production, or a musician testing out equipment for your home recording studio, music instrument hire in London is a great way to try new products in a reliable, burden-free way.

If you're looking for more affordable ways to grow your career as a musician, check out our 10 music marketing strategies for musicians.

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Cover image by Sam Moqadam

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