-This month we’re going to take a look at equipment. This is aimed more towards those who plan on buying their own equipment than for those who plan on buying equipment for their kids/friends/etc. so lets get into it shall we?
-Every musician has a certain sound inside them-what I would call their “ideal sound.” This is the sound they have in their head-and it can sometimes be very tricky getting that sound out. A good place to start is with your inspirations. What are they playing? These days, it’s very easy to find out what gear your favorite musician uses. Make a list of what they’re playing and then go on sites like MUSICIAN’S FRIEND or GUITAR CENTER and get some more information about the gear. The 1st thing you’ll probably notice is how expensive most of that gear is. Get as much info as you can & make a list of several things you want. Then go to your local music store and try them out. While there are some sites that have sound demo’s on them (like BOSS EFFECT PEDALS), it’s best to actually go to the store and try out the gear yourself.
-When you’re first starting out, you usually don’t have the money to buy the equipment the pros use. For ex-your favorite musician is a guitarist who plays a Gibson Les Paul thru a Marshall 100 watt stack. Those 2 things alone will set you back around $4,000 at least. You want that sound, but you still need something to play right now. In this case, get the best equipment you can afford. You don’t want to buy a crappy instrument-especially when you’re starting on your journey as a musician. If you’re spending more time fighting your instrument than learning to play, chances are you’ll quit in frustration. Buy the best equipment you can afford.
-In addition, make sure to check out used gear as well. At times you can find some excellent gear at much lower prices. Recently I bought a used Fender MH-500 Metalhead amp at Daddy’s Junkie Music in Syracuse,NY.. Brand new the amp is $999.99. I bought it used (in excellent condition I might add) for $594-a savings of almost $400! There are times when you can find some hidden gems with used gear. But always try it out first.
-However, sometimes you’ll have to settle with what you can afford. My first guitar was a Gilbert Les Paul going thru a Peavey Bandit amp. It was a very muddy sound so I bought a DOD Overdrive Pedal-which took away the mud & replaced it w/ feedback-a lot of feedback. Sometimes a cheaper instrument can be made to sound better by replacing stuff in it. For example, buying quality pickups/strings/instrument cords/effect pedals for guitars & basses. Quality heads/cymbals/sticks for drums. Quality microphones for singers. All this can help improve your sound w/out breaking your bank account (at least not too much).
-Please note that just because your buy the exact gear that the pros use, you’re not going to exactly sound like them. Much of your sound is in your hands & in the way you play. For example-Eddie Van Halen can pick up a cheap guitar and play it thru a crappy amp-and it will still sound like EVH. The main advantage with using quality gear is less mishaps/problems on stage. You don’t want to be playing a show and having to tune up every other song (believe me-it sucks) or having stuff break on you.
-Finally, make sure to take care of your gear. The better you take care of it, the longer it will last. I used to play bass for a band called Four Large Men and I played thru a Peavey bass combo amp. Right now there’s only one knob on it-the chorus knob (the most important one of course). All the other knobs, including the volume knob, have been broken off because I’d just throw the amp in the back of my truck and not secure it before/after a show. Needless to say, the amp has had better days…
-Best wishes & see you next month!