April 23, 2018

Help! My church needs to buy new praise band equipment, and we don’t know where to start!

Never fear, this is a common dilemma. Whether your congregation is starting a new contemporary service, wants to upgrade existing contemporary music equipment, or needs to furnish musical instruments for the youth program, there are solutions for you. When I receive inquiries related to equipment acquisitions, churches are often working with limited funds and need help getting the best instruments and equipment for their dollar. For today’s discussion, here are a few suggestions.

Acoustic Guitar: Takamine GF30CE – $459

Since most contemporary worship is acoustic guitar driven, this is an area that I suggest not cutting corners. You need an acoustic guitar for your group that has good tone, stays in tune, and will last for a long time. For the price, this does all of those fairly well.

Electric Guitar: Ibanez RG421 – $299

Ibanez makes electric guitars that are versatile and easy to play, and this guitar is a perfect example. I have several students that own this guitar. It has a slim neck and low action, which makes it less of an obstacle for beginner to intermediate players.

Guitar Amplifier: Boss Katana 50 – $219

Guitar enthusiasts will usually steer you toward buying a guitar amplifier that is powered by vacuum tubes. However, amplifiers in that category don’t sound good when played at low volumes, and you need the ability to perform church music quietly. This amplifier is cheap, sounds similar to a tube amplifier and sounds good at low volumes.

Bass Guitar: Squire Vintage Modified Jazz Bass V – $379

I own this bass guitar. For an “off-brand” instrument, this is very good. It is reliable and sounds similar to instruments that are three times the price.

Bass Amplifier: Fender Rumble 100 – $299

Simple, easy to carry, won’t break down. Not a very big sound, so if you’re leading music in a large room, skip this and plug the bass into your sound system.

Keyboard: Yamaha PSR-E453 61-key Portable Arranger – $279

Not an awesome instrument, but it won’t break down. If you already have a nice piano in your sanctuary, just use it. This is great for getting a traditional keyboard player some experience with electronic and modern sounds at a budget price. Warning, this is not a full-range (88-key) keyboard.

Drums: Roland V-Drums TD-1K Electronic Drum Set – $499

Acoustic (real) drums are awesome, but most drummers struggle to play them quietly enough to serve church music. This electronic drum set alleviates that problem to a certain extent. This also gives your team the opportunity to perform music that has a more contemporary “feel” that acoustic drums can’t help you achieve.

 

I know what you’re thinking. All of this equipment runs for a total value of nearly $2,500. To some, that may seem like a lot. There’s good news. Much of this can be purchased on the used market for 75 percent of the value listed above. There’s also a possibility that you won’t need everything listed. Guitar-playing volunteers often own their own instrument and even their own amplifier. The bottom line is be sure to consult with a specialist in the field if you aren’t sure which direction to go.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me at any time via email at rmclouth@centralmethodist.edu or phone at 660-651-9964