Music and You – Your Journey Starts Here
Most musicians (good, bad, or otherwise) would tell you that your favorite instruments will almost always find you, and not the other way around.
However, you can definitely do a number of things to put yourself in the right position of “getting lucky” and helping your instrument find you – and a lot of that starts by picking and choosing the right pieces of equipment, the right instruments, and the right gear every single step of the way.
If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get your hands on the highest quality instruments and exactly the right pieces of musical equipment and technology to really take your music to the next level, but have absolutely no idea as to where you should start out, this quick guide is really going to bring a lot of clarity to your life.
Instead of having to worry about whether or not you’re making the right decision, whether or not you’re focusing in on the right things, or whether or not you are going to be happy with the instrument and equipment that you invest in, you’ll be able to lean on all of the information and the answers contained below to do a bulk of the “heavy lifting” for you.
Sure, this probably isn’t going to be a complete and comprehensive breakdown for every musician out there looking to purchase their first piece of equipment, their first instrument, or an upgrade for the pieces that they already have – but it’s not intended to do that, either.
No, all of the information contained below is designed to help you get started, to give you that 20% of information that will get you 80% of the way to musical happiness – the real leverage that you need to be comfortable with all of the purchasing decisions you end up making.
Ready to jump right in? Let’s get to it!
Types of Musical Instruments and Equipment You Might Be Interested In
Before you can even begin to think about shopping for specific instruments or pieces of equipment, you need to take a little bit of time to decide on exactly what kind of musician you want to be, exactly what kind of music you want to create, and how “involved” you want to get in the production process.
Each of these answers will inform your purchasing decisions later down the line, but it’s important that you realize (right now) that none of them are going to be set in stone. Like a fantastic piece of music, it starts off as one thing and then evolves over time into something else entirely – that’s how incredible songwriters take inspiration and molded into Billboard chart toppers.
With that in mind, here are a couple of types of musical instruments and musical equipment that you might think about investing in.
When the first digital piano hit the market a couple of decades ago, it absolutely revolutionized the musical world and transformed the way that we look at instruments even today.
Even though the technology used in that first digital piano is archaic by modern standards, people for the first time were able to get a good look at what the instruments of the future would be – smaller, more compact, lighter weight, and capable of shoehorning all different kinds of powerful features into their form factor.
Today’s digital pianos allow you to have instant access to a dozen or more “instruments” in one single system, well at the same time allowing you to tweak and modify just about every characteristic of the sound that they produce – without any extra training necessary!
You’d have to be at least a little bit crazy (or a very serious purist) to mess around with traditional pianos when digital pianos are available.
The guitar is probably the most popular instrument on the planet today, for a number of different reasons.
Pretty easy to learn (with a bit of practice) and instrumental to most modern music of all kinds, once you’ve learned how to play the guitar you’re going to be able to play just about any stringed instrument imaginable – just like how unlocking one of the “Romance languages” allows you to learn the rest with ease.
There are all different kinds of guitars out there, ranging from acoustic options all the way up to incredible electric guitars and everything in between, which is why you’ll want to figure out what kind of music you’re looking to play and then buy a guitar that fits that style instead of the other way around.
You’re really going to have two specific choices when it comes to buying a drum set today:
- Traditional drum sets that most everyone is familiar with and
- Digital drum sets that are a lot like the digital piano of the drum world
Traditional drum sets (understandably) produce a more “authentic” drum sound, but are also incredibly expensive, take up a ridiculous amount of space, and are generally a headache and hassle to deal with. Digital drum sets, on the other hand, are pretty inexpensive for what they are, offer you an amazing amount of flexibility, and can produce almost authentic drum sounds – and a million other sound features – all in one super compact form factor.
Harmonicas and Horns
Though probably not quite as popular today as they used to be in the past (though they are enjoying a bit of a renaissance) horns and harmonicas are pretty traditional instruments that pop up in all kinds of different music styles.
Super easy to learn how to play (though it’s going to take a bit of practice, like any other instrument, to get better), they also happen to be very low maintenance and relatively inexpensive – making them a picture perfect option for musicians that just want to get started in the music world.
Music Production Equipment
Musical production equipment used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even more), and had to be installed in specific studio spaces – the equipment was just too big to fit anywhere else. Because it was so expensive, only wealthy people, record labels, and big-time producers had access to it, but nothing could be further from the truth today.
Today, with little more than your laptop, a few pieces of mixer equipment and some other advanced solutions, and a piece of software or two, you can have your own studio up and running – all without spending any more than $5000 or so.
Sound Systems and Speakers
It’s one thing to get your hands on high-quality instruments and learn how to play them like a professional would and another altogether to be able to record that music and then reproduce it as close to the real thing as possible – which is why you’ll want to get your hands on the best sound systems and speakers money can buy.
There’s a world of difference between low-quality (and low cost) sound systems and speakers and more expensive (and better made and designed) equipment, and you’ll notice it almost immediately.
You don’t have to be an audio freak to get a kick out of listening to a high quality sound system with really killer speakers, but try not to be shocked if you have a really hard time going from your incredible set up to anything else and not feeling disappointed.
Not all headphones are created equally.
You have earbuds style headphones (the style of headphones that Apple really popularized with their iPod and iPhone), you have studio style headphones (favored by music producers and DJs), and then you have just about everything in between – workout headphones, Bluetooth speakers that double as headphones, on top of the ear headphones, and a whole host of other options that will make your life a bit difficult when it comes time to buy the right solution for you.
Thankfully, most headphones are pretty inexpensive, and you’ll be able to try out at least a couple of different kinds before you settle into the ones that make you happy. Don’t be shy about trying different kinds of headphones out until you find the ones that really match your lifestyle, your budget, and your comfort level.
When you come across a pair that are as close to a home run as you’re going to find, you’ll know that the search was worth it!
Features You Should Look For in Your New Instruments or Equipment
There are a lot of different things you need to look for when it comes time to buy new instruments or equipment, including (but certainly not limited to):
- The kind of music that you want to produce in the first place
- Your skill level and your passion for music
- How you see your musical endeavors unfolding in the future
- The kind of budget that you’re operating with right now
- How well made each piece of equipment and each instrument really is (or whether it is relying on brand recognition)
- How comfortable you feel using the instrument or the equipment
…And a whole host of other extras and features that you’ll need to address when you are getting ready to make your purchasing decision.
At the end of the day, if music is something that you’re truly passionate about, you’re going to find yourself diving headfirst into the world of musical instruments and the world of musical equipment with both feet.
But because there are so many products, so many instruments, and so many companies all vying for your attention – willing to say and do just about anything to earn your hard-earned dollars – you need to be pretty selective and smart about the purchases that you make.
Use all of the information above to focus on the critical details, while at the same time letting your common sense really in the form your decision-making process along the way. Always try to get your hands on the instruments and equipment themselves before you pull the trigger on a purchase, if for no other reason than to make sure that you really are comfortable with it.
After all, the odds are pretty good that you’re going to be using that instrument or that piece of equipment for hours and hours each week, and it’s going to (hopefully) become an extension of who you are in the long run.
Make the right decision the first time around by being smart about what you look for in your next purchase. It may not seem all that simple or that straightforward on the surface, but if you use the information in this guide (and any other resources that you come across), it’s going to be a lot easier than most ever would have expected it to be.
Hopefully now you feel confident enough to go out and get your hands on the best pieces of musical equipment and the best musical instruments money can buy!
Best of luck!