Band Starting 101

If you've ever wanted to start a band and you don't know what equipent you need, or if you just want some guys to bang around with and don't know how to find them...

Ultimate Guitar

After seeing and answering many posts on different forums about how to start a band I have decided to write Band Starting 101.

So you want to start a band eh? Been playing for a little while and you want to find a group of talented musicians who will play with you? Well look no further. Here I will explain some simple ideas to help start a band.

Find players who play the same things you do. And I played bass for a while and wrote songs then I played drums for a while and wrote songs now I sing and play lead guitar and write songs. My point, anyone in your band can write them as long as the lead singer can sing them. Your best bet is to write with you and your lead vocalist together (and your lead guitarist if its a difficult song).

Next, write some quick and easy songs and chord progressions. Find local bands in the area and offer to open for them. Play these a lot. Soon you'll find that people are offering to open for you and then you just go to the places you played before. Establish a good relationship with your stages and don't treat them like your a god, your not quite famous, yet.

As for the band, invest in some good quality microphones a mixer amp and monitors. These days you can get a good PA system with monitors for around 300 bucks. Those will do for practice and small stages. At bigger stages they should have stuff for you to plug into. Get your band together and sit down and discuss where your going to go with the band. Make a living or play some shows? Work that all out. Find local festivals and such that you can play for. Look around. Find a real popular local band and ask if they have any equipment for sale. If they don't, there is always

As for recording, You need either a media center PC or a USB-RCA cable or a mixer with USB output. All of which run 70 and up. Your best bet would be the media center PC (quality is better. See the end of this article for prices, links and other things that are helpful for starting bands).

Other then that, make it a point to practice every week or every month. Make sure that some place has a drum set (its a real hassle to move the drum set. In my band we have 3 different drum sets at three different houses, that way we have flexibility.) If your lead singer cant make it, have a chord writing practice, if your guitarist cant make it, work on new songs with your vocalist. If your drummer can't make it work on some new songs with the guitarist and vocalist. Just keep getting together as often as you can.

Making The Contract

I don't have much experience on actually writing up the contract for a recording company other then make sure that you read it. But as for getting companies to notice you, just play locally. Invite some more local companies to watch you and record a demo tape or two. (See the article: Recording, For The Not So Technical Geniuses for more information.) And keep trying different companies. If you get denied find out why, or how you can improve. Next, write a letter to the company. Make it grammoricly correct!! Please! Save us all the time and headache. I don't know how many times I've seen someone make posts or emails like,

Dear (company), Hi! My names jimmy! I re4lly like ur bands that u recccord 4. its super duper cool! My bands name is (insert random emo band name here) and weerre really cool guys. We cant afford anything and haventt played anywhere but w3re sooooo cool!!!! PLZZZ!!!!!!!????? Thanks Jimmy and friend.

Please don't do something like this, it just bugs the living crap out of everyone there. Write respectfully, again, your not some famous rock star like Bon Jovi or Nirvana, you're a band starting out. Keep it neat.

Next, establish a band budget. Make sure your all serious though! Because you don't want to have the problem of the band breaking up and dividing the money and the equipment. So if your band is serious, establish a budget. There are two ways you can do this, make it so that everyone pays for their instrument and then pool for other necessities or pay for everything for everyone. Example of the first: Drumsticks, cymbals, microphones, guitar strings, bass strings. Some of that sort. Or have everyone buy their own stuff and then go in together on things like monitors, mixers, (I would say microphones and stands go here, personal preference.) cables and other things like that. Make sure that everyone pays the same amount.

Follow these steps with advice from other bands and you should do pretty well. Just keep your ego small until you get big. Then you can say that we got you there.

Prices, Links, Etc

You have seen me put in some things that you might need. Well I have to back that up. First off, I love this website. Their inexpensive and back their products. That's where majority of what my band bought came from.

The Microphones!

Honestly, if you have the money get a Shure SM58. Their expensive but excellent. However, many company's have copied the design such as Nady, Peavey, AKG. These are all great microphones and company's. I'm going to list reference numbers so all you have to do is go to and in the search bar copy and paste these numbers in.

  • Shure SM58 - $99.00
  • Peavey PVi2 dynamic - $39.99
  • Nady SP5-277174 This is a great deal! 3 for the price of 1! $24.99
  • AKG 8000S - Get 2 for the price of 1 (they come with clips as well!) 49.99

    It's a good idea to get a mixer for your band! Most bands start out with a PA system. This is a mixer that also is a power amp. As you get into big stuff an amp isn't that little thing with a guitar jack and tone and distortion, an amp powers monitors. Monitors are what give you the sound.

    I'm going to be posting the deals that come with monitors just to save new bands some time.

  • Kustom KPA4 package - This is a 4 input model, comes with cables and such. $199.99
  • Kustom KPA7212 package - This has 7 input with more adjustability such as tone, gain and fade. It's the KPA4 on steroids. More power as well. More power = more volume. $479.99
  • Squire 4 channel - Simply, it's the KPA4 with more options. Same amount of everything else though. $229.99

    If your looking to record though, your going to need a flat mixer, not a rack-mounted. That means that you have to buy a mixer, a power amp, and monitors. Now the way I recommend going about is getting the Alesis multimix 8USB mixer. This has a USB cable right in it, you get excellent quality. It's a 8 input mixer, with sliders and effects! (like one of those digitech pedals that does it all but this can go vocals as well.) Get what size you need. 8 is probably best because that's one microphone for the drums, two vocalists, two guitars, bass, and two vocalists. As always you can double-plug them, (you can plug a microphone [XLR cable] and a guitar [1/4 inch jack] in the same thing, I wouldn't recommend it as a regular thing though.)

  • Alesis Multi-mix 8USB - $149.00

    So pick and choose what you want and why, its all up to you and your band. These are just some basic guidelines for what you can do.


  • 78 comments sorted by best / new / date

      ok so maybe a broke ass white girl like me wants to start a band. Do you automatically expect me to have the money to buy mixers/mics/huge amps and what not. WHHAT HAPPENED TO THE OLE WAL*MART BRAND SOUND RECORDER?! lolz j/k ...crap
      I liked this, it gave me a good idea on what to use to record and what equipment to get, this is a better article than others for technical details.
      Those listed MICS are not the high quality designated units of recording I would choose... No-sir-ee.
      #1 nirvana fan
      It was a good article,but you didn't say how to get people that you don't want in your band out of your band.
      firstly, if ur nt gona say somthin gd, shut it. secondly, gd artical. givs gd infomation bout how 2 run a band.
      ["Find players who play the same things you do" ] Y would you do that. You wouldn't have a band of all drummers or bassists. Shouldn't you say like find people that play different instruments?
      Why must you speak to us like that? And don't try so hard. I know he was using it ironically, and in your post you tried to use big words... not very impressive ones either.
      Did it ever occur to anyone that "grammoricly" was being used ironically, or am I the only perceptive person to read this article? Oh, you Gestapo of Grammar, when will you allow rhetorical devices to go unmolested?
      Dude, you preach about being "grammorically" correct and dpn't even follow your own's grammatically!
      haha. Make it grammoricly correct!! will do. and it's "you're" not "your".
      I don't know if you're just joking or if you're stupid. I liked the article it was pretty informative and wasn't a waste of time, just wish I could find a local band to open for.
      microphone [XLR cable] and a guitar [1/4 inch jack] in the same thing
      Most mixers disable the line input if something is in the XLR input of the same channel
      not bad. this is quite usefull since i'm actually starting a band. it's better to know sumthing.
      Oh and Grammoricly is correct...idiots.
      Um, no it isn't you 'tard. "Grammatically..," look it up But like they said it was (i hope) being used ironically. Still though, lay off this guys grammar. He was basically saying make the letter formal and respectful. He didnt claim to be an english major.
      I love you, thats exactly what I needed. I just needed a rough outline of what gear i needed to get.
      microphones- Yes, the shure sm58 is a great mic, one of the best ever created, but if you can afford it, I strongly suggest the shure beta58a, it's the sm58 upgraded massively, sounds ten times better!
      les_kris wrote: Crap article, its about starting a band, and it has no info on meeting other musicians at all!
      WTF meeting other bands? TITLE: " STARTING A BAND 101" d***ss
      I think that is was usefull. WTF was that about "It doesn't say anything about meeting other musicians??" this was meant for those who are trying to start a band for those stupid f***s who didn't know that. man thumbs up to the author this could help. But man you should just check out some of your spelling just to keep it all good ya kno? ! ! PEACE OUT ! !
      I have been looking around for some guidance in purchasing such equipment such as, Microphones. They were either too expensive or of bad quality. One of my friends purchased a microphone for 100 - the sound quality was terrible.
      wow you guys are chuckin a ***in hissy fit cause of some article, lay off you crazy barstards, this fella has written a column and its obvious he knows what he's talkin about, who gives a shit about grammar and shit like that.
      Look, it was a great column. and it doesn't matter if its correct in grammar. its about the music. Geez,i thought this was a guitar website not the harvard grammar team!
      Oh and Grammoricly is correct...idiots. "There's a picture in a gallery of a fallen angel, looked alot like you." - Van Halen, Best Of Both Worlds
      I agree... Ithink tour article was great. i will remember those tips nextime i write a "Grammoricly correct" letter. "your" awesome.... "There's a picture in a gallery of a fallen angel, looked alot like you." - Van Halen, Best Of Both Worlds
      guys guys, it was a good article, just some of the suggested stuff to buy wasn't your oppinion he put his ass into it it was good-4*'s
      good article but, there are places you can get stuff cheaper then musiciansfriend
      More power does not always equal more volume for amps. A 50W tube amp will be louder than a 100W solid state. Also this is dependent upon the speakers you put it through. Not a great article.
      there are enough articles about starting a band and how to get famous, but this was pretty good I thought.
      I actually liked this one, basic guitar recording stuff as well as suggestions for Microphones, Mixers, Monitors, all the basics. More like 'How to get good equiptment for your band and start gigging 101'
      twas gd better than most startin band article 'eh- get sum mates and like errr play an stuff, like' u actually talk bout the stuff that really holds bands down like equipment and sound
      wasnt that bad. try Samson R11 microphones. they have a buy one get 3 free from . i boght them, they are very good.