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Musical Instruments - Borrowing is the new buying

Guest Blog Post by Music Broth

Musical instruments are expensive, right? And do you always know exactly what you want? Or is there an element of risk in a big investment in an instrument which may not work out as well as you’d hoped? Maybe your choices are very much restricted due to cost? Perhaps you’re a young person who’s not sure yet about your musical path and want to try lots of instruments? Maybe you just need something one-off for a recording? Or a band starting out and don’t have the amps you need for a gig? And what about the environmental impacts of purchasing brand new instruments?

It was questions like these that led to the foundation of Music Broth, Scotland’s musical instrument and equipment library, a social enterprise with charitable status (SC048299). Music Broth grew from an idea, the ethos of supporting those less able to access music, and also reducing waste and increasing reuse; saving instruments from landfills, getting neglected instruments repaired, restored and shared, and bringing joy and opportunities to new hands. Since 2017 thanks to the hard work of many volunteers and the generosity of the Glasgow and broader Scotland community, the Music Broth sharing library has grown from an initial 8 instruments to over 2000 musical instruments and equipment. Everything from violins to full drum kits, keyboards to stage pianos and PA systems!

Music Broth offers affordable memberships for those who can contribute; tailored for individuals, bands and organisations, with income generated supporting an access fund for those less able; providing instruments for learners and established musicians alike to take home long-term, short-term occasional use of unusual instruments for recording, backline for gigs, PA for events, musical workshops, use of their library hubs for jamming/rehearsing/videoing, and training and volunteering opportunities. They are a fully inclusive organisation; all are welcome.

To support the mental health and wellbeing of our community during COVID-19 lockdown, Music Broth delivered over 500 instruments, zero contact and fully sanitised, direct to people’s doors, along with creating over 50 free online tutorials and weekly workshops. You can still access these from Music Broth YouTube Channel, and check out their Life in Lockdown video which premiered at the No Labels No Walls international online festival. You can drop into their library hub in Govanhill, Glasgow, with a second site in Sighthill in North Glasgow, currently hosting drumming workshops on Saturdays, and a monthly pop-up in Edinburgh in partnership with Edinburgh Tool Library.

Music Broth has supported young people with additional needs to access skills they didn’t know they had, refugees and those in the asylum process take instruments home to allow them to express themselves and their stories, get more involved and make friends and connections locally. Music Broth has supported fledgling bands to do gigs they might not otherwise have had a kit to, and volunteers grow in confidence and develop into tutors and mentors.

Music Broth has just been listed as finalist in the Natwest 100 top social enterprises 2022. Everyone is welcome to come and get involved, as a Music Broth member, a volunteer by donating funds or instruments to help others, to come and be part of what they do, bringing joy through music!

Get in touch: by email: or call 0141 478 0799.

Borrowing is the new buying, come and be part of this growing musical community!

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