Guitar Players and Garage Bands thread

So, it turns out there are a lot of musicians active on the forum, for whatever reason. I’m going to take advantage of that and create a self serving personal thread to ask about some advice on setting up a garage band.

Just by way of background, me, my twin brother and our pal get together probably once every few months and since we all play some guitar we have been trying to work out a few songs for fun. My buddy is a pretty decent blues guitar player (on acoustic) and my brother is a professional former Tuba player (yes, that’s what I said) who took up guitar for fun and spent some time as a music teacher. He is a bit of a collector with lots of guitars, a couple of basses, drum kit etc. I play (badly) some acoustic guitar and at this point mostly acoustic pop songs or country that I pluck off the radio and can learn to play softly for my kids while they go to sleep. I’m a professional lullaby player.

Anyhoo, we’ve been getting together and trying to do more interesting things instead of just all making noise in the same room. I have an acoustic electric now, and my brother brings a couple of electric guitars and a bass and we see if we can make a song sound okay. My buddy is a pretty decent singer. The problem is my brother hauls like 900 lbs of equipment 90 minutes each way just to set this up. He has a mixer and a PA system that we need essentially just to let the vocals compete with the instruments in my basement. I’m looking to buy some gear that doesn’t take up the whole house and weigh a ton that will let us goof around and I’m just curious if people have recommendations. I know a lot of you guys are in to metal, but that’s not really our scene so I don’t necessarily need anything that’s going to rattle the windows. Just something for a trio to be able to play mostly two guitars and a bass while someone sings.

I’ve been looking at PAs and they all seem kind of large for my basement, while the smaller ones get dinged for low quality. I’ve also looked at a few Keyboard Amps that can take multiple inputs, since I understand these can do the job. My brother knows a bit about this stuff, but I don’t know ■■■■. Anybody have any thoughts on what it might take to run a (lousy) trio in a decent sized finished basement? I wouldn’t turn down advice on how to record ourselves either. Keeping in mind that we’re all pushing 40 and aren’t planning to release an album or hit the road any time soon. I’m willing to spend some money if it makes sense, but I don’t want to break the bank either.

Love to hear from any of you (@FallofSeraphs76, @Marbledecker I know you guys play).

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Hey Andy! Glad to hear you’re getting to jam and have fun :smiley:

For the type of practice you guys are doing, there’s no reason why a little Fender Passport wouldn’t work:

It’s pretty intuitive and easy to transport.

As for recording - I’m always going to suggest recording track by track into a DAW. Especially for a newer band. There’s lots of ways to go about this. Basically you buy an interface that you use to get your mic/instrument into the computer (I use a Scarlett 2i2) and a DAW of your choice (FL Studio is great for beginners but costs money; Reaper is free but not quite as intuitive).

Let me know if you have any more specific questions - this is one of my favorite topics! :smiley: Thanks for keeping me in mind!

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I got a decent PA from Musicians friend for the same reason you are wanting one. Just enough to have in the jam room and get louder than the drums ect… it cost me about 200$ I think?

I cant recall the name of it but Ill look when I get home…its really good for the price.

As far as recording since you have some PC skills Id just get a small recording software. I dont think you need too much crazy stuff since its probably just for your listening enjoyment to start.
Plus you didnt mention drums so thats a plus on your end. Micing drums is the hardest part… takes a lot of equipment to get it set up and a lot of time to get right.

thats great you gys are jamming… its a lot of fun… Make sure to keep it fun and never let it get to serious…thats when the fun drops out. Im real good at killing the fun LOL… to much of a practice practice practice guy that is always prepared while the others arent. lol

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Thanks guys!

My brother has an electronic drum kit that he is threatening to bring. Apparently you need an Amp that will handle low tones for the bass drum, but frankly he’s not a great drummer, so I’m not worried about it, lol!

I’m always by far the most prepared but I’m also the worst player, so it balances out.


They sale a decent Electric drum/ keyboard amp that also has an I-phone dock on it (so you can play along with your favorite Mp3s) at musicians friend. Its about 150-200$

Its perfect for what your trying to do. Our you can just get a decent Multi channel PA and Run EVERYTHING through it. That may be your best bet.

Being you are not playing \M/etal… it should handle your volume perfectly.

If you give me an exact list of what you are looking for… Ill research it for you and give you links to what I would buy if it were me. All musicians friend links.

Musicians frined is the best to order from… you can get 1 year interest free too! Thats if you want to make payments and cant just drop a ton of money.

have you ever seen my Electric Drum set?? oh man!!! Its a beast!!!

Err, yeah I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for. Something that I can run instruments and vocals through, preferably, rather than trying to separately adjust three guitar amps and a mic for vocals?

I keep going in Guitar Center, Musician’s Friend and Amazon and “creeping” my way into $800 worth of ■■■■ and then I realize I don’t understand what any of it does and then I walk away.

The Fender Passport looks like a pretty good idea.

Well the guitar need to go through there own amps… you dont want to run all of them through the same PA. You can… but I dont advise it.

The Mic for the vocals, the key board and the drums can all go through the PA.

SOunds like you need a small combo amp, and a Midsize PA.

Your brother should have his own amp if he has guitars? He can bring an amp with him so you dont have to supply one for him.

Do you have a guitar pedal? Like effects pedal or do you like to just play clean channel?

Honestly I like to play acoustic. My brother has a couple of pedals and weird complicated ■■■■ that sits on the floor. I have a Fender Mustang v1 Amp that will do all kinds of effects that all make me sound terrible. Or maybe that’s just me, lol. I also have an acoustic amp, so I’m okay on that score. If we can run the mic through the PA and that’s probably good enough.

Either of you guys have any experience with the Peavey KB 3 keyboard amp? It has two channels and is a single speaker. But I’m wondering if I couldn’t get away with this instead of a PA.

Treat me like an idiot - I’m not really sure what any of these things actually do. I alway sort of figured they were just speakers…

oh well your good on the guitar end!

As for the keyboard amp…yes you can plug a mic into it and it will work… but if you want to do things right… I would go the other way around. Get a PA and plug the keyboard and mic into teh multi channel PA. It will be in stereo, much louder and able to handle so much more. You can plug the drums into it as well. Maybe you want to 2 mics/ 2 people singing?

But if you already have the keyboard amp… then go with what ever works… but in the long run… the PA is gonna get you more for your money.

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@FallofSeraphs76 @Marbledecker

Well, I futzed around for too long and my brother took it out of my hands by sending me a Kustom 200 PA. It works with my acoustic electric no problem and will work with the Fender Mustang amp as well. It didn’t come with a mic so I have one on order coming over the weekend to try out. It’s a nice size and really portable. Not quite as travel friendly as the Fender Passport, but similar in size and weight.

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Nice! What kind of mic did you buy? SM57???

I actually got an SM58 because the mic will be used primarily for vocals rather than mic’ing instruments.

Oh cool! I honestly didnt think you were gonna know what I meant! lol… I almost typed SM57 or SM58 but I just kept it short… lol

Thats cool man! I actually prefer the 58 because the 57 is just too small for being close to your mouth while singing.

I’m a bit of a poser, actually, because my brother did some mic research and came away impressed with Shure as a brand. I was going to get the usual $20 lookalike knockoff, but I decided that I wanted to be sure I had a quality mic so that I didn’t spend the next year wishing I’d gotten something different. Now if it sounds like ■■■ I know it is either me, or the PA rather than a cheap Chinese microphone.

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Sorry, I guess I should have said Kustom Profile 200 PA.

Dude that Sure Sm58 will last a life time! You should not have to ever replace it! Its a tank! It can take a beating like you wouldn’t believe!

I dont know much about PA brands and such but Im sure if you guys researched the mic and figured out the best then the PA is probably top notch too!

I can’t believe I only just found this thread. I’ve been missing out! :smile:

While I’ve never been in a band and my experience with group music stuff is limited to Music Theory and a few jam sessions, I’ve spent a lot of time personally trying to fandangle this whole music thing.

Around the time I was in 5th grade I started learning how to play guitar. I took a few classes to figure out how to hold down my strings and count my frets, and pluck out Smoke on the Water. After that though, I’ve been mostly self taught. I’ve taken a few basic classes in my later years to do more conventional chords and reading music, but primarily I picked up the guitar to do one thing: to figure out how to create my very own HEAVY METAL!

So here I am. I can both tune and learn by ear, and I’ve been writing my own material since middle school. I don’t have any recording equipment apart from my phone, which I use as a sort of “catalog of cool riffs” for when I make a thing I wanna remember.
I’m kinda fast, kinda pretty, kinda chunky. Not the best, maybe not professional, but I’ve won a few school talent shows for my performances (though whether those were due to talent for the dress I’m still unsure of.)
I also play bass, and I’ve tried a bit of drums and keyboard. Vaguely interested in the cello because it sounds dandy.
I also sing a bit (I’ve heard mixed reviews, ranging from Great to “Could use formal training”) though I’ve gotten some high regard for my death metal growls. I occasionally write lyrics as well.

And I think that’s it.
Super cool to know there’s other musicians here! Will need to skim through this some more to get advice on gear and getting a band started.
Rock on, dudes!