I love new music gear. There’s nothing like the feel of a brand-spanking new instrument in your hand, full of possibilities. There’s just one small catch- I’m not filthy rich. Here are 6 ways I’m getting the gear I need to be successful in Nashville:
1. Sell the small stuff. Instead of a ton of cheap equipment, I’m pairing back my gear by selling off all but my best pieces that I can’t bear to let go. The money I’m getting for them goes in a jar in the bedroom, so I don’t accidentally spend it on something other than equipment.
2. Get passive income. As many of you know, I sell worship keyboard presets as I side business. I net around $100 each month from this without actively doing much for it. I’ve left all of that money out of my monthly budget, and I’m letting it accrue over the next few months so when I finally buy equipment, I’ll have a nest egg. If you don’t earn passive income, try to figure out something you can do to get this kind of income generated. Even a few bucks makes a big difference each month.
3. Figure out what you need. I usually don’t buy a piece of equipment unless I have a specific project I’m going to use it for, which keeps me from wasting my money on gear that’s just going to sit on the shelf at home.
4. Buy long-term gear. Don’t waste your money on gear that you’ll need to upgrade (unless you absolutely can't avoid it-I hate spending money on computers for this reason). It’s much better to spend slightly more for a quality piece of gear that you’ll use for 30 years, than something you’ll have to endlessly pay to upgrade.
5. Go authentic. While I struggle with this as a keyboard player, I am more convinced every day that buying vintage, high-quality equipment will net you more gigs in the long run and are worth the price tag. If you’re a producer, with all other factors being equal, are you going to go with the guy who owns a classic Hammond organ and Wurlitzer, or a guy that uses software to get it “close enough”?
6. When in doubt, don’t buy. If you’re not 100% sure that you need it, or it’s the best deal, don’t buy it. They’ll always be another sale, and the worst thing that could happen would be you’d walk away with money in your pocket for another gear purchase.