How to Start a Band
So, you wanna be in a band? Follow the three chapters in this guide that will help you along the way to stardom!
Chapter One: Learn to play an instrument
You should probably start by learning how to play an instrument, what but takes your fancy? There’s a huge range of guitars, drums and keyboards to choose from – it just all depends on what type of music you want to play.
We’ve gone to some lengths to breakdown the top instruments and essential accessories for beginners, just pick your instrument category and read on!
First of all, let’s explain guitar sizes. Rule of thumb when it comes to guitar size is usually ¼ size for 2-5 year olds, ½ for 5-8, ¾ for 8-12 (¾ size is also recommended for petite adults) and full size for 12+ and adults.
All you need is some skill and creative expression for instant gratification when it comes to acoustic guitars, which is why they are still so popular in music today. Take a look at our acoustic guitar start packs here.
Let’s face it - electric guitars are probably the instrument that most people aspire to be able to play, and it’s certainly down to all those musical heroes that we desperately want to emulate. As a beginner’s instrument, the electric guitar is actually easy to pick up and affordable.
Bass guitars are also one of the more popular modern instruments, which we have an extensive range of products for you to view.
Drums. Loud. Cool. And they come in two different types: acoustic and electric.
Acoustic drums come as a ‘five piece’ kit, consisting of a drum, a snare drum, up to three tom toms plus cymbals and hi-hats. Drum packages will also usually come with a stool and a set of drumsticks, both of which you are essential for playing. However, please note that younger beginners might find it hard to play a full-size drum kit, however junior sets are available. Take a look at our range of drum kits in this link.
Electric drum kits are made up of electronically controlled pads that enable you to create sounds beyond the traditional drum sound. They are ideal for practice as they are much quieter than an acoustic kit, plus they more easily moved around than an acoustic drum kit. If you still can’t decide whether to go electric or acoustic have a look at our thorough comparison Electric drum kits are made up of electronically controlled pads that enable you to create sounds beyond the traditional drum sound. They are ideal for practice as they are much quieter than an acoustic kit, plus they more easily moved around than an acoustic drum kit. If you still can’t decide whether to go electric or acoustic have a look at our thorough comparison Electric drum kits are made up of electronically controlled pads that enable you to create sounds beyond the traditional drum sound. They are ideal for practice as they are much quieter than an acoustic kit, plus they more easily moved around than an acoustic drum kit. If you still can’t decide whether to go electric or acoustic have a look at our thorough comparison here.
Keyboards & Pianos
Piano is considered to be the purest form of music making, and for anyone wanting to learn how to play we have loads of advice to give on this classic instrument.
First of all, we would probably recommend keyboards to beginners, as they are much cheaper than pianos and easier to move around. For an in-depth buying guide to keyboards and pianos, click the link.
Get yourself a few picks. To start with you will need very thin picks that will help you to strum, and some picks of ‘medium’ thickness, as they are better for playing individual notes. They’re cheap as chips too!
There’s nothing worse than an out-of-tune guitar! When your first start out you will need a tuner, so take a look at the ones we have on offer.
You will need some spare strings! When you first start playing your fingers will hurt, but remember: the thicker the string, the better the sound. Take a look at our string selection here.
A strap will help you to keep the guitar stable and trains you up for when you start gigging. There’s no specific requirement for straps unless you’ve got a heavy guitar, such as a Les Paul – in this case try and get a padded strap to protect your shoulder. Just pick what you like from this selection.
Surprisingly, you will use your metronome a lot; it’ll help you keep rhythm when playing amongst other things. We recommend that you get an electric one, and not one of those old ‘tick-tock' ones. You can have a look at metronomes to purchase here.
The learning process for any instrument is a long one, but don’t be put off at the first hurdle – you never hear anyone saying how they regret learning to play an instrument, only that the wish they had! Get a jam buddy to practice with who is on the same level as you; a music teacher is also a good option as they will stop you from making common beginner mistakes and get you on the right lines. Also invest in a sound recorder, as listening back is essential when understanding what you actually sound like and where you need to improve.
Chapter Two: Playing your first gig
Bear in mind that even the top bands that do worldwide tours have problems on stage with equipment, so try and get the most reliable products that you can. Another good tip is to always take advice from the sound guys at the venue – they set up gigs all the time so they understand music equipment more than you do!
Once you’ve honed your skills as a band on stage it might be time to look at some of the equipment for recording, such as MIDI controllers and audio interfaces.
MIDI keyboard controllers
A MIDI keyboard controller is an essential part of a computer music making setup, and nowadays they come at a rather reasonable price. Take a look at some MIDIs we have available. MIDIs we have available. MIDIs we have available.
Vocalists only require an audio interface with two or, possibly four, inputs and a stereo output. A band will need an audio interface with a minimum of eight inputs so that a drum kit can be recorded. A DJ will need an audio interface with at least two stereo (or four mono) outputs. This allows your DJ software to be configured with, for example, a separate cue mix via headphones and a main mix, which is sent out to the main speakers or PA. We’ve got plenty of audio interfaces available for you; have a look at what we’ve got to offer here.
Live sound accessories
You’re going to need some live sound accessories for gigs, and microphones are essential. You don’t have to spend thousands on a mic, there’s plenty of low and mid-range mics out there that deliver great results. Take a look at our extensive microphone collection here. Remember to also get stands for your mics.
Chapter Three: Promoting music online
Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)
DAWs are electronic systems designed solely or primarily for recording, editing and playing back digital audio. We’ve got plenty on offer for you here.
Once you’ve got your music sorted on the DAW you can upload your tracks to the likes of Soundcloud and Bandcamp, which are audio platforms that enable you to share and sell your music to people.
Remember the power of social media too – put videos and tracks on your band’s Myspace, Facebook and Twitter accounts too and let people know when and where you’ll next be gigging!
To look at our beginner’s packs and bundles we have an entire section dedicated to the subject on our website, just follow the link to have a browse of what we have to offer!