Friday, January 2, 2009

A Few Money Saving Tips for the New Year

You know that I love to look for bargains! Here are some more random tips that I've picked up for saving money.

  1. Learn how to do basic maintenance on your own gear. If you're playing for a living, you really shouldn't be paying somebody else to intonate your guitars or to change fuses for you. Besides, the ability to do a quick truss rod adjustment can save your butt on a gig.
  2. If you're going to a gig which will include long breaks or downtime, bring a book or something productive to do. Otherwise, you'll probably wind up going to waste money on overpriced coffee or fast food with the rest of the bored band members.
  3. Use rechargeable batteries and AC adapters when possible, and keep a log book for battery changes. I know lots of musicians and soundmen who waste batteries like crazy. You don't want to get caught with a dead battery mid-gig, but it's easy to learn the average battery life for each piece of gear and change them on a reasonable schedule.
  4. For Guitarists and bassists. Always wash your hands with soap before you play, and wipe down the strings with a clean cloth after every gig. Your strings will last a lot longer, but it only takes one song played with dirty hands to kill those strings, so this rule has to be followed strictly in order to really prolong string life.
  5. Carpool to the gig. I once came down with a bad flu bug in the middle of a gig 60 miles from home. Thank goodness I had carpooled with the drummer, so I didn't have to drive myself home in that condition! Good companionship, good for the environment, good for your pocketbook.
  6. For extended range bassists. Don't buy 5 string bass sets, as they are overpriced. Instead, buy 4 string sets in bulk and individual B strings separately. To save even more money, buy one B string for every two sets of 4 strings, and change your B string every other time you change strings. New B strings don't really sound noticeably better than old ones, anyway!
  7. If the gig includes a free meal, arrive early and hungry to take advantage of it (though it is courteous to offer a tip to the server). If the gig doesn't include a free meal, eat at home first and avoid cutting into your profits. In my experience, bands don't usually perform their best on a full stomach, anyway.
  8. Always have a friend who works at a music store! Not only will you benefit from rock bottom discounts on gear, but you will also undoubtedly get better service.
  9. Need a white bow tie just for one particular gig? Check thrift stores for great deals on cool stage clothes.

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