The Center for Irish Music rents the following instruments:

  • Uilleann pipes
  • Irish flutes (delrin and wooden)
  • Harps
  • Bodhráns (Irish frame drum)
  • Tenor banjos
  • Mini-accordions for beginners
  • Full-size accordions for adults (both C#/D and B/C tunings)
  • Concertinas

If you are looking for a more common instrument such as a fiddle or guitar, we recommend contacting a local music shop to rent or buy a quality instrument.

uilleann pipes

A limited number of instruments are available for rent from CIM for current students only. To find out which instruments are available for rent, contact the office at admin@centerforirishmusic.org.  Generally, there is a $10-$20 per month fee plus a refundable deposit (20% of replacement value). The deposit is paid in full at the time of rental.

When the instrument is returned, the deposit will be refunded, minus the cost of any necessary repairs. The condition of the instrument will be determined by one of the CIM instructors upon the instrument's return.

Instrument FAQ

Where should I go to rent/purchase a fiddle?

Here are some places that our students have been happy with: Groth Music (Bloomington), Quinn Violins (Minneapolis), Fein Violins (St. Paul), Cadenza Music (St. Paul).

Where should I go to rent a lever harp?

We recommend Groth Music

What is the best first whistle to get?

Whistles in the key of D (sometimes called a "high" whistle) are the most common in traditional Irish music. We recommend Generations or Waltons. Irish on Grand carries them as do most local music shops. Groth Music has a wide selection of whistles in different keys. You can also purchase one from the Center for Irish Music. Contact admin@centerforirishmusic.org in advance to make sure we have them in stock.

What if I want a nicer whistle?

We recommend the following:

  • Michael Burke D whistle narrow bore in brass (expensive, but good and always available)
  • John Sindt (long waiting list)
  • Tony Dixon Alloy High D Whistle. Quality varies widely, so we recommend trying them out in person if possible. Available from Hobbgobblin in Red Wing
  • If you can get a hold of a O'Riordan whistle, they are great.
  • Jerry Freeman tweaked Generation whistles are a great dea
  • Keep in mind that there are always new good whistles being made, so we encourage you to do your own research.
What kind of Irish flute should I buy?

For your first flute purchase, we recommend getting the highest quality keyless flute that you can afford.* Keyless flutes are generally made of two materials: Polymer or wood. Polymer flutes have the advantage of being low maintenance in Minnesota's harsh climate and they are less expensive. Recommended polymer flute makers are David Copley (he offers CIM students a 10% discount!) M & E flutes and Desi Seery. Wooden flutemakers our students have had good luck with are Brian Byrne, Eamonn Cotter, John Gallagher, and David Copley. There are many excellent flute makers in the US and around the world, many of whom have wait lists. Talk to your instructor for wooden flute recommendations.

*There are some terrible, cheap flutes for sale online. If you buy a cheap Irish flute, make sure there is a good return policy and have your instructor try it before the return deadline.

I'm not a current student at CIM, can I rent an instrument?

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to rent out instruments to persons not currently enrolled in lessons or classes at CIM.