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How did you afford equipment as a teenager?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Ottsworth, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    Christmas + birthday presents, holiday money, harassing my parents. I didn't start working until I was 19 so aside from the occasional street pharmaceutical transaction I didn't have a lot of my own cash. Luckily there was no internet then, no music stores in Burbank to tempt me, and I didn't have a ride to get to music stores. All I had were Bass Player magazines that were full of gear I could never afford, played by guys I had never heard of, making music I had little interest in.
    el murdoque likes this.
  2. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Generally, same as today. I worked and saved and prioritized. My first guitar and bass were gifts from my parents, and if people asked what I wanted for a gift for Christmas or birthday, I might ask for a donation to my music fund (I still do that today, but at my age, other than my mom, there aren't many takers).
    Bodeanly likes this.
  3. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    This was a fun read. Thanks all.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    lawn mowing + theft. :laugh:

    seriously: jobs --- i went to work at age 14. i'd ask my parents for help ("loans") sometimes.
  5. tfer


    Jan 1, 2014
    Got my first bass for Christmas in 1983. Vantage X-77.

    Had no amp, so I bought a cable and 1/8” adapter and plugged it into my Pioneer ghetto blaster until I managed to save up enough money to buy my first amp; a Peavey TKO65 with a Black Widow speaker.

    Took me 7 months of saving from mowing lawns, and pumping gas.
  6. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I started playing in a band when I was 14. What I had at the time was a cheap classical guitar which someone had given my mother. I saved up my allowance for a pickup ($6.95 mail order) and a Wards Airline guitar amp ($40 from a pawnshop).
    Teddy Bears 2.

    At some point, the guitar got crushed. My friend (middle guy in picture above) and I took the neck, tailpiece, bridge, and pickup, and attached them to two sheets of plywood glued together. Guitar, amp, record player, and tape recorder shown here:
    My closet in San Antonio.
    I didn't have anything remotely worthy of playing until I sneaked $175 out of my college savings account and ordered a Univox guitar by mail order. To hide the purchase from my parents, I had it shipped to my residence hall when I was a freshman in college. I was in big trouble when my Mom found out.

    Bass gear came a couple of years later.
    Humbled and el murdoque like this.
  7. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    At the age of 14, I started off with a set of cheap gear. One bass (cheap J copy with a decent setup), one head (Peavey Mark IV) and one cab (no name 115). One cable and a gigbag. that was pretty much it.
    I saved all my cash for one and a half years to buy a decent bass and had some skills with a soldering iron, so I scavenged dead cables and repaired them. My only pedal was a pawn shop Fuzz Face.
    The gear I looked at usually was so far out of my league that I did not even hoped for buying that stuff sometime soon. Now that I'm older, my smallest pedalboard financially outweighs the complete gear on which I did my first gigs by no small amount.
    I still have that bass I saved up for, though.

    Not having the internet as it is today helped a lot, I'd wager.
    No big music stores close by and no flood of new gear I'd get all the info about made me use what I got and work on my chops instead. A 14 year old me was not impressed by expensive gear, but by skills on the instrument alone.
  8. In my youth, equipment purchases were on newspaper route money (yes, I'm that old). All equipment was bought used except strings, cables and my EHX Bassballs. Based on the money I made, I could not be a gear-hog so it was generally one in, one out (sold, scrapped, etc.).
    Great thread!
  9. NG51

    NG51 Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2010
    When I was a teenager, I had a single cheap bass, and a Sears amp. I have much nicer gear now(I’m 67), but good gear doesn’t make the player.
    I’d say maybe spend a little on getting your bass professionally set up, and concentrate on your studies. Your skills will always be transferable to the new bass gear when you get it. If your existing bass plays well, don’t sweat it. Better to be a good player with cheap gear than a mediocre player with great gear- trust me!
    Wow- oboe! Color me jealous! That’s a tough instrument!
    pellomoco14 likes this.
  10. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    How did you afford equipment as a teenager?

    Shoveled snow off neighborhood sidewalks and porches in winter, mowed lawns in summer, had a paper route all year round, worked at the donut shop on Saturday mornings, worked at McDonalds after school.
  11. slapshot


    Dec 22, 2018
    Here's how I did it: I asked family for money for birthdays, Christmases, and anytime they would have given a present. I explained that I wanted a bass amp (dad bought my bass for Christmas), and asked that the money go to my dad for safe keeping. Later, when I was older, I got a summer job and saved.
    Try to find someone who has been playing bass for a while, and ask them to help advise you when you go to buy the next piece of gear.
  12. Badwater


    Jan 12, 2017
    Back in the era, I had several jobs at age 16. That's how I payed for everything I had. Thanks and Kudos to my parents for making me learn the value of money and how to earn it. Times have changed.
    tfer likes this.
  13. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Paper route, mowing lawns, babysitting and buying cheap crap. Wasn’t until I was in high school that my friends and I started hosting for-profit social events (“pubs”) for our peers and we spent those profits on band equipment.
  14. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I didn’t. My parents bought all of my initial gear. Bass, strap, case, cable, tuner, amp. Anything else was my responsibility.

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