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A newcomers guide to being a musician written by a newcomer to music

Alright bruties and wannabes, as an intermediate guitarist and a complete noob singer songwriter, I have a few recommendations for basic gear for beginners who want to perform. First, you will need a guitar or keyboard, a microphone and a small P.A. So decide how much your wet dream is worth, man; set a budget! The cost of being a musician is a deterrent for most young people and even stops many people with good jobs from playing. There is hope! The quality of inexpensive guitars, keyboards and microphones has improved with better technology and manufacturing practices. You can get a decent set up for under $1000.

The little guitar that kicks ass. The Denver acoustic electric. It’s got the basic electronics, and the body and fretboard are encased in white inlay, making it an attractive guitar. The sound is better than typical for a plywood guitar and it stays in tune quite well. It comes with a gig bag making it an even better deal. The price on the instrument was $220 and the guitar is worth every penny, For bang for your buck, this guitar rocks.

Look man, I am a cheapskate, and in buying a microphone, I don’t wanna break the bank. Now for a good deal on a microphone I came across the Stagg professional dynamic. $70 and the sound is way better than average. It can’t be abused though. If you throw it around or punish it too much, it will die, but overall it is a fantastic bit of gear.

Sound systems: every performer who strikes it out on his/her own will need one. Either playing impromptu house parties, singing in your own basement, performing on Facebook or YouTube, or doing small gigs at coffee shops, a P.A. is essential. At $399, the Samson expedition XP 150 is your beginners dream. At 150 watts, it doesn’t have the power for audiences over 25, but most coffee shops and impromptu parties have less than 25 people there. It breaks up at high volume and only has 4/5 channels, but for entertaining small spaces the thing is more than adequate. I have used it for small talent shows, basement jams, and plan to use it for small pop up performances around central Alberta.

You don’t need lots of expensive gear to make your mark. If some gear snob makes you feel bad, just remember there are a lot of really talented musicians playing the absolute bag off of very inexpensive and often homemade equipment. While a large number of $5000 guitars are collecting dust almost unused in posh living rooms. I have a rule of thumb when it comes to buying gear: Buy what your skill level deserves, not what your ego wants.

Mike Wimmenhove

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