Music equipment - amps, guitars, drums, mics

Music Equipment Tips for Bands

The following band resources information is based upon input from numerous bands and musicians, the Bandmonster staff, and our contacts and resources in the music industry.

Quick Advice

  1. Buy equipment objectively.
  2. Even if you're planning to buy online, try it out in person first (if possible). Bring a friend and have them help you blind test the gear you're interested in getting. Without knowing the brand name or price tag, decide what you like based on feel and sound. Only use the brand name as a guide for quality/durability/longevity. Brand name, along with price, should only factor in once you've decided what you truly like. (All the 4-star reviews in the world can't make a guitar, microphone, or even a set of strings feel or sound right to you.)

  3. Protect your gear.
  4. If you have music equipment worth protecting, buy some halfway decent cases. Particularly important if you're touring, playing a lot, or other people are moving your gear. Keep an eye on the classifieds or check your local music stores - if you're patient you can save yourself some money going used.

  5. Maintain your equipment.
  6. Dead heads and spent strings affect your sound and playability much more than you realize. Bandmonster's basic guidelines for music equipment:

    Guitar strings: change once every couple of months for guitar, every 3 to 6 months for bass). Signs your strings need changing:

    • The tone sounds dead; doesn't seem as bright
    • Dirt and grime buildup on the strings (causing poor tone)
    • Wear on the strings above each fret or string winding coming off

    Drum heads: change snare tops (batter side) every couple of months, toms and bass top every 6 months to a year. Double these time frames for the resonants (bottom sides). Signs your drum heads need changing:

    • Dents
    • Dead sounding (poor resonance) or sounds distorted or buzzes
    • Takes much longer to tune
    • Feels wrong

    Batteries
    Test and/or change regularly. Don't wait for a show to learn the value of fresh batteries.


Recommended Reading for Music Equipment Tips

These are recommendations from our clients and staff (most of whom are in bands). If you have a suggestion, please contact us. If it's good, we'll list it.

General

Performing Musician Magazine (www.performing-musician.com)
Monthly magazine for musicians and sound engineers. Performance tips, product reviews, and various other bits of practical information.

Guitar

Guitarist Magazine (www.guitarist.co.uk)
Monthly magazine & CD with gear reviews, maintenance info, technique tips and full tabs.

Guitar Player Magazine (www.guitarplayer.com)
Monthly magazine includes lessons, artist profiles, and lots of gear reviews. Diverse coverage of styles.

Drums

Modern Drummer (www.moderndrummer.com)
Monthly magazines with in-depth product reviews, tuning techniques, playing tips.


Additional Resources for Music Equipment

These are sites our clients and staff (most of whom are in bands) recommend. If you have a suggestion, please let us know. If it's good, we'll add it to the list.

Other

Craigslist.com
Local classifieds community for just about anything, including music equipment.


If you would like to contribute or make a suggestion for Music Equipment Tips, please contact us.

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