The Trash Astori
You don't need one of those expensive fancy astoris to learn how to play. I learned to play on an astori I found on a garbage heap.
The Trash Astori was clearly discarded for a reason. While it originally was a mid-range quality astori and far from a bad instrument, it had gone through something quite drastic and had a rather large crack through the back of its body. A crack as severe as this is guaranteed to distort the sound of the instrument.
However, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Just after the cracked astori had been discarded on a heap of trash, a poor teenager with ambitions of joining the Minstrel's University was bringing some trash to this exact trash heap. This teenager was none other than Thrannan Eralor, and this cracked astori was the instrument he learned to play with.
While Thrannan eventually became the owner of a really beautiful and ridiculously expensive top tier astori, the cracked instrument he lovingly named the Trash Astori was his main instrument through his time at the university and for almost a year after graduating. While he doesn't use his first astori much anymore, he got the crack fixed after a while. It is still a part of his instrument collection, however, as a way to remember where he started.
Playing A Damaged Instrument
A cracked instrument isn't exactly optimal, however. There was a distinct buzzing quality to the sound if it was played normally. Though, with no money it's hard to repair a damaged instrument, and it was all the young aspiring bard had. He developed a technique to lessen the buzzing sound.
However, since this was Thrannan's first instrument, this technique took quite some time to unlearn once he got an uncracked astori. And while the technique made the Trash Astori sound better, it made an undamaged astori sound a bit dull. Still, he did eventually learn how to play in a proper way through intense retraining.
Ah yes, the Trash Astori. I found it quite ridiculous that anyone would want to be seen with that atrocity of an instrument. Yet, as I got some experience and realized just how hard it is to make a crack like that to sound even remotely good, I couldn't help but feel impressed by Thrannan's skill.
Don't tell him I said that. I don't want to inflate his ego.