If you play an instrument and have friends that share your passion for the same type music and also play instruments, starting a band is easy. If you don’t know anyone who plays an instrument, lots of music magazines and local rags usually advertise for members. Once you have started jamming (practicing) together and feel pretty ‘tight’ as a group, you’ll most likely start playing college halls, or pub venues, where you’ll only need basic equipment and no PA (Public Announcement System). It’s when you get to the point of local recognition that you may get the chance to support bigger bands at bigger venues, which means buying a PA system to ensure you have a big and perfectly balanced sound.
PAs aren’t exactly cheap; even a decent second-hand system will set you back a few thousand. Depending on the diversity of the music you are playing, the amount of speakers and mics will also determine the overall price. Some drummers use up to 4-5 mics, with a special mic for the bass drum. All guitars, bass guitar and singers will obviously also need a mic too. Then you have the main speakers and the amount of ‘foldbacks’ (monitor speakers) you’ll require on stage.
After you have toted up the amount of mics and speakers, you’ll require a mixing desk and need to work out how many watts you think you’ll need. In a pub 100Watt guitar amps will usually suffice, but in a larger venue 1000Watts should do it – the rule is 1 watt per person.
Now for the cost:
A decent microphone will cost around £100, more if specialised for a certain purpose like the bass drum.
Mixing desks usually cost from £400+ for a decent one.
You can buy speakers in sets: 2 main speakers, 2 ‘foldbacks’. Expect to pay around £700+ for a set. Expect to pay more if you need a larger wattage output.
Guitarists may feel the need to purchase a better quality guitar with superior pickups as they are going through such a loud system. This is completely subjective as the list of guitars with decent pickups is almost infinite, but expect to pay over £700 for a decent sounding axe.
So you see, sounding quality and loud can cost a fair few quid. An easy solution would be to spread the cost over the members, but again, this is still going to cost the individual member over £5-600. A lot of bands start up at school or college, when money isn’t exactly falling from trees. Another solution would be to consider securing a personal loan from a bank such as a loan from Clydesdale Bank. There are many loans out there, but for a relatively small amount (anything under £5000) an unsecured loan would suit this kind of borrowing. Go online and do some research, finding the perfect loan with the lowest APR%. Many lenders have their own website with a loan calculator so you can work out the amount you’ll payback each month. The longer you take to pay the loan back, the higher the monthly payment, so paying the money back quickly is cheaper. It all depends on your personal circumstances, but use lenders’ online facilities and get that band off the ground and rocking the stage!