This guide is for those that are ready to plunk down a bit more $ for some key music making toys. This gear is not top end, just well built, super fun, rugged pieces that will keep your musician exploring & playing for years. I own at least a few of these and have not regretted a single purchase. Some folks ask, “when should I buy a really nice guitar or piano.” My answer is always the same, “when it’s time to start spending large cash (thousands of dollars), you will know…if ya gotta ask, it’s not time.”
For now, though, these are gifts that (in my opinion) keep giving long after most others have started collecting dust. And won’t totally break the bank. Have fun shopping!
First Acoustic Guitar: My friend who has played professionally all his life, put it simply, “Yamaha makes a great entry level instrument that lasts forever. Always buy Yamaha.” I trust him for almost everything music or car related (he was a chief mechanic before becoming a jazz guitarist) & he has been absoutely right on this tip. We have at least five of these @ BMF.
3/4 Size (Ages 7-10): Comes with bag, picks, and some other goodies.
Full Size Guitar (Ages 11 & up): Also comes with some extras. The soft case, makes it worth spending a few extra bucks.
Martin Ukulele: This is the real deal. Why do you need to spend real money on a Ukulele? Because this one will NOT go out of tune every two minutes. Plain and simple & totally worth dropping the $250. This was my 2007 Xmas prsent to myself. I loved every minute of it until it was stolen at a gig…
Electronic Drum Set: If you have been to the BMF new and vastly improved waiting room/community room, you will have most likely taken a ride on one of our two electronic drum sets on the Main Stage. These things are the most popular part of our new space. Kids and adults LOVE them. You need to spend a bit of money to get something that will last, but I’m convinced every household in America needs both an electronic and a real drum set. Start here if you have the duckets this holiday season.
Digital Piano (with weighted piano keys): I get asked about digital pianos daily. Bottom line is that they are a great starter for your home and will work for the first 3-5 years. When it’s time to get a real piano, you will know (see above). If you are ready to make the move, here is a great package through Amazon. BUT, our friends at Big Wrench Piano on Smith St. have put together great deals for BMF families and it’s a local business. Walk over there when it’s time to buy. They even stock this guy or one just like it (complete with a stand and seat).
A Real (and apartment friendly) Drum Set: This is a drum kit designed by Quest Love form the Roots (and the late night band). We have one at BMF and I think it’s hands down the sexiest instrument I’ve seen in a decade. PLUS…it comes with bags to drape over each drum to cut the volume down in half when playing! It sounds amazing, takes up a tiny bit of room, and just makes buckets of sense for NYC living. Keep in mind, though that you will need to also buy hardware + cymbals. (I put a links below).
Quest Love Drum Set:
Mini Recording Studio Set Up: OK…so these days, the kids want to know about recording software and making their own electronic, dance, or otherwise wacky music on a Mac (or PC). It has become as important to musicians as mastering a specific instrument. It is incredibly liberating and the geek factor is huge when you get into crafting your own tracks & the learning curve is no longer very steep. Here is a great set up for keyboardist and vocalist (complete with software & mini keyboard…with lots of fun knobs to turn!):
Keyboard + Software:
USB Mic (plugs straight into the computer…super simple!):
And if you want to add the ability to plug a guitar straight into the Mac…get one of these (& it’s less than $30!!):
This list could go on and on. I love myself some gear when it’s user friendly and I end up making tons of music on it. Please don;t hesitate to add other great ideas (and links) in the comments below. And you can always contact me directly: email@example.com.
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