Save money as a guitarist (or a musician in general)
If you are new to music and gigging, you may find that it can be an expensive hobby. The purchases just keep building up and it will feel like you are not making any money! Luckily for me, I see it as a hobby, however, I know there are a lot of people out there that use Music and gigging as their full-time income! So let us all save money!
In this article, we are going to go over a few tips to help you save money as a guitarist (or a musician in general). These are tips that you can implement almost immediately. So without any further delay let us dive straight into the first time!
Travel & Flight Cases
Flight cases and Travel cases are a must! If you are a gigging musician you want to aim to put all your gear in a flight case, for guitarists this includes Guitars, Amps, cables and any pedal or a pedalboard! This will help protect and increase the life of your gear, Meaning you won’t have to repair or buy new anywhere near as much! It also has the benefit of helping you load in and load out faster! (Due to wheels, castors and also Handles).
The downside to flight cases is that they can be very expensive, Amp case can run you a few hundred pounds, and if you have a custom amp you will need a custom case which will be more. Now, if you are a touring musician I highly recommend you go this route, but if you are doing just the odd gig every now and then (Pubs, Weddings or Corporate events) then I highly recommend you try building your own cases.
I’m not the best when it comes to woodwork so I got a good friend of mine to build me one. He didn’t charge me anything (I did buy him some drinks and food to say thanks). It was custom built for my Boss Katana and makes loading in and out so much easier! If you have some experience with woodwork I highly recommend giving it a go! It will be a lot cheaper than buying one!
This one is a must for any musician! If you have anything you need to buy over and over then make sure you bulk buy! For guitarists, it would be things like Picks or Strings, maybe even straps and cables! If you are a drummer it might be sticks or drum heads! Every musician has their bulk buy items! Buying in bulk will make the price of each item lower and also mean you have to purchase them less often!
Where to bulk buy? Well, in my experience your local music shop will be able to offer a bulk discount! Or websites like Strings direct and other music webshops. Buy my strings 10 or 12 packs at a time brings the price of the strings right down and also means I don’t have to purchase strings as often (Which is perfect when you have multiple guitars).
Look after your equipment
This shouldn’t need saying but I want to mention it! Look after your gear! Each part is critical to your performance so take care of it off! This point kind of ties in with our first point of building your Flight cases. You will be surprised at how many knocks and scuffs equipment will get so putting them in a case to transport and set up, even if it’s just a fabric cover, will make the word of difference.
You want to also make sure you are getting everything serviced when it needs too. This may sound like an expense and that skipping it will save you money. However, if we looked at a valve amp, getting it serviced may be an extra expense, but if a tube was to blow and ruin the amp, then that will be the whole amp gone or at best a hefty repair bill! Check it checked and serviced!
A few things to do to care for your equipment is to wrap your cables properly, Wipe your Amps and Guitars down after rehearsal and gigs. Make sure you are getting your equipment serviced and checked over. Check over pedals after use to make sure of no damage, Unload and pack everything up as quick as possible. Finish your gig, Rehearsal or whatever and then put everything away. This will prevent any damage or any equipment from going walkies!
DIY What you can
Building your gear is not only a great way to save money but is also enjoyable. We don’t mean building your guitars or amps but smaller stuff, Like Cables, Cable Ties, Pedalboards maybe even guitar stands. It all depends on your ability but not only is building your gear great fun, but it also allows you to custom build stuff to what you need. Another bonus is if anything goes wrong (Which it will because things wear) then you will know how to fix it because you built/assembled it.
We have put together an article on how to make your own cable ties for cheap. This will not only save you money but also make your cables last longer and save you even more money in the long run! You can read the article here.
Another example is a pedalboard, You can purchase remade pedalboards for not a lot of money, however, you are stuck with a fixed size. So making your own allows you to build it any size, any shape and even do some clever things like cable management. Going to a shop like Homebase or B&Q you will be able to pick up everything you need. With a few basic tools, you will be able to create the perfect pedalboard for yourself.
Save money, Buys used or Refurbished
The biggest way to save money is when buying new equipment check out used, second hand and refurbished gear. Using a website like Reverb and Facebook groups you can pick up some amazing bargains! (You can also sell old gear and make some money as well). I highly recommend Reverb as it is a music selling website and also their buyers and sellers protections is good! When buying secondhand gear, you want to check the condition, if it works or not and also if it has a factory warranty or a sellers warranty.
You can even pick up some amazing bargains at music shops, a lot of music shops like Andertons, GAK, and Peach Guitars all have a second-hand section! And will offer a warranty with their products. As they are second hand as well they will tend to be able to do better deals for you. Don’t be scared to buy second hand! 90% of us musicians look after our equipment and keep it in great condition!
Buy High Quality when it matters!
This might not make a lot of sense at first, buying higher-quality items means you will have to spend more. So how does this save you money? Well, If you buy low-quality items they are likely to break meaning you will have to buy them again, meaning more cost!
An example of this is guitar cables, buying well-made, high-end cables will last longer meaning you won’t have to buy more down the line! Thus making them almost a one-time purchase! I use Axe’s Custom Cables and Practical Patch (Read our article here). For me, I use these in both the studio and the gigging and they are well made I know they will last and I can trust them!
I can’t tell you how to spend your money, however, I can make a few recommendations on what you should maybe spend more money on. For example; Cables, Straps, Shoes/Trainers (For Gigs) and also Setups/tech work. I would say, for anything you use a lot maybe consider buying higher quality!
So there you have it! A few tips to help you save money as, not only a guitarist but also a musician in general. Is there anything that we have missed? What tips or tricks do you do to help you save money? If you have any amazing tips let us know here! We would love to hear all your tips.
We have also put together an article giving you some advice on how to budget as a musician. If you are full time or part time doing music as a job can be expensive so we put together an article cover how you can make it a little bit easier! Check it out here.
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