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A Reasonable Budget For Your Tools Of The Trade

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by FFTT, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    I read pretty much all of the gear related forums and
    see so many people buying either their first rig, their first upgrade rig
    or a truly professional set-up.

    I know far too well how hard it is to scrape together the money
    for your gear, but wonder why so many players don't keep saving
    until they can afford better gear?

    For new players fine, we all have to start somewhere, but once you
    have a good grasp on your playing ability, why skimp on quality.

    Guitars aside, what do most of you feel one should budget for
    a professional set-up?

    I'm finding it very hard to keep my budget under $3500.00
    for an amp, cab, cases or covers cables etc.
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    With nice high quality but reasonably low cost gear by companies like Markbass, Avatar, GK, Genz, etc., it seems to me you can get a LOT of rig and bass for your money these days.

    As an example, a 4ohm Avatar 410 neo (I think around $500 shipped), an LMII or GK700 (around $600... less if you get one of those GC coupon things) and one of the new Fender J or P MIA 5 strings (I think around $1,100), would give you a rig good enough for literally anything at under $2,500, including a nice tuner and high quality cables.

    Replace the GK or LMII with the mighty Carvin B1500 (around $650), and you have a concert level rig!

    Spending three times that on 'top of the line' boutique stuff will be 'better', but not 3 times better by any stretch. The boutique stuff costs a LOT for a modest improvement in performance. That's worth it to me, but you can get a DARN great sounding rig/bass/accessories for $2,500 IMO.
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Heck, 3500 bucks didn't cover my bass. :confused:

    Honestly, you can do quite well for low $$$ and people have a variety of priorities. People also have a variety of fiscal realities.
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I think the $2500 mark is easily achieved considering what's available these days. Of course you can spend more, alot more, but for arguments sake, and as a base line, 2500 should set any player up with pro quality gear across the board.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    For that matter, you can get a great sounding rig bass and rig for less than $1000. I used to use an SVT 3 Pro I bought used ($400) and a Tube Works 410T ($250) and never had a single complaint about my tone and could play any size gig I needed, even arenas. Add a used Mexican Fender in there and you could easily be under $1000 for the whole she-bang.

    Yeah, I use more expensive stuff now, but only because I can afford it. But it's certainly not a necessity to spend over $1000.
  6. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    +1.. of course, used you can really get some deals. I was focusing on new.
  7. Lunchbox4u_6


    Dec 1, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    +1...and i think until you know what your playing style and tone will be that you should probably stay away from boutique stuff. What makes boutique stuff so great is that, IME, they do 1 or 2 things really well. You wouldn't go buy a Divided by 13 amp if you weren't looking for that specific sound. So once you've spent the time with a rig that allows you to dial in a multitude of tones and feels then if you really want to you can start looking at the crazy stuff.

    I still buy used, i just buy nicer used stuff from guys who like to buy nice stuff and not use it (j/k KJung).
  8. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    We all have other financial responsibilities, but for a serious pro player,
    getting tone, power and rugged roadworthiness does not mean that
    well built is boutique.

    Even looking at good vintage amps, the prices of something that had not been
    abused or neglected were all easily in the over $1500.00 range and way higher.

    Those fortunate to own vintage gear purchased previously at reasonable prices
    would find it quite difficult to replace that sound or that quality new without
    going well beyond $2000.00

    When I think of how much other tradesmen like, photographers, recording studios, auto mechanics or framing carpenters spend on their gear, I don't think it unreasonable
    at all to save up for the good stuff.
  9. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    :D I do love to buy and try!

    And, your point is a very good one. Don't jump into a DB750, a Berg IP, a TecAmp rig, a Thunderfunk750a, or whatever else is out there at the extreme high end until either you've done your homework to really nail down the vibe you are going for, or you have enough cash that you don't mind taking a loss in order to really give a piece of gear a good workout over time at home and on gigs!
  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's not at all unreasonable. It's freakin' great! But it's not by any means necessary.

    As an example, I did a gig a couple weeks ago where there were 3 bands on the bill. I brought my trusty P Lyte/64 B-15N, one guy brought a Tobias 6-string/Walter Woods head/Schroeder 112, the last guy brought a MIM Jazz/Hartke 3500/Crate 215, and everyone used stage volume.

    All of us sounded fantastic in our own ways because we were all good players. And that, ultimately, is what matters...being as good a player as you can be.
  11. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    I've had plenty compliments just jamming with my Peavy Mark III or even my Blues Deluxe, so sure you can get by with all kinds of stuff in a pinch and you are correct that making good music is the whole idea, really.

    Most of us older experienced players can jam through anything and still make it sound
    good or at least acceptable.

    Most also have some sort of portable small club/jam rig along with
    their better equipment.

    But..... once you've been spoiled by the best gear, it's hard to get
    anything with that sound quality on a lower budget these days.
  12. Easy8


    Sep 5, 2007
    Austin, Tx
    Shop around and buy used.

    Here are some deals I've found in the last year or so that add up to a complete gigging rig for under $600.

    SX Jazz $85
    GK 1001RB II $400
    Avatar 115 $100
  13. If you have reported income from music, you need to depreciate your equipment. It's like milage, advertising or any other business expense. Your music equipment is like any other tool.
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In my view, there is no minimum. It's a mind game. If you don't believe this, then detach yourself from your own gear drama by watching your bandmates go through theirs. When your guitarist shows up with the latest boutique or vintage tube amp, you are thinking to yourself: "The last one didn't make him a better player, and this one won't either."

    Take two bassists of equal caliber, and you will see at least a 4:1 range in terms of how much they "need" to spend on gear, how much power they need, how long it takes to load in and out, and how often they show up with something different.

    Of course there's nothing wrong with splurging on gear. And if you play a lot of gigs, the cost per gig can be quite manageable.
  15. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    this part of your train of thought is key to this discussion. because many players, from weekend warriors to full time pros, no longer require or desire a huge stage rig for most or all of their gigs.

    I am a long time player, over 35 years, .. a "retired" pro ? I used to play for a living, and now I gig about 25-30 times per year. I refreshed my amp collection about 4 years ago for under $2k with a Mesa Walkabout 12 combo and a Scout 15 extension. And, as much as I like the Scout extension, I really only use it maybe 5 times a year, so probably could have gone with the $1200 Walkabout alone.

    And of course, this is all new cost. I could have easily got a well care for, used Walkabout, for under $1k and been set with a very pro level piece of gear.

    So, while I do personally have pretty much all the money I need to buy gear, its hard for me to figure where $3500 is a reasonable base (pun intended ;)) investment.
  16. IbanezATK


    Feb 24, 2009
    Monroe, LA, USA
    Thank GOD because I think I'm the poorest person on these forums :bawl:

    I like to think I can play as well as some of the guys with the big dollar rigs though :bassist:
  17. IbanezATK


    Feb 24, 2009
    Monroe, LA, USA
    As an aside, I got thrown into the bassist slot... I'm actually a guitar player.

    I paid 299.99 for my Ibanez ATK and it sounds as good as a Stingray to me, different but as good.

    I just bought a BBE Preamp for 200.00.

    A Carvin power amp and an Avatar 4x10 was another umm... 700.00 ish?

    There's 1200.00, and I think that's a fairly "pro" rig.

    A few pedals to get "your" sound and I'd think you'd be set.
  18. vegtard


    Apr 10, 2009
    Norway, Bodø
    I just started playing, so i dont really have a budget for it. But when(if) I become good at it I doubt I will buy poor-quality gear just to save a buck. But that might be due to the fact that whenever i have the money for something expensive that I really want, I tend to buy it even if I actually can't afford buying it. (if that makes sence)

    I'm not complaining, that's how I ended up playing bass in the first place. :p
  19. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    Toronto Ontario Canada
    Looking back, I think for most of us it's a case of buying the best gear you could afford at the time and repeating that as circumstances change. The gear I use now is of fully professional quality and I am very happy with how it sounds. I've had it now for more than twelve years and I see no reason to change. That being said, I am getting older and the rig isn't getting any lighter so I could see a lighter power amp in my future and if Acme every start using Neo drivers that too could be a possibility. If I had to replace it all it would run me about $1500.

  20. FFTT


    Mar 15, 2009
    I'm glad you brought up taxes and depreciation.

    I'm at the point where if I don't invest in myself as a start-up business with
    money earned from my day gig, I just end up owing more in taxes.

    So in effect, I benefit from buying the best, saving considerably
    in the long run.

    I can't argue that I'm spoiling myself a bit too after many years of getting by
    with inferior gear.

    I also don't mind supporting fine hand craftsmanship over mass production
    when ever possible.

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