#1
So I just thought of this the other day, how much would a rig cost for a musician who was touring an arena tour if they actually had to pay for all of their gear (considering some high level musicians would get some endorsement deals).

Me being a guitarist who will jam occasionally with friends, how much would this cost. I can pull up the musicians friend website and add amps, guitars, pedals i might use to my shopping cart but i'm sure there is some gear that I might not understand or know is even needed.

So for those that might understand what might be needed, how much would a rig cost if you had to pay for 100% of it.
#2
it really depends

if you only use the one tuning and the same type of guitar tone you'd only really need maybe 3 or 4 guitars (backups), and the same for amps if you get all the tones you need out of the one amp. conversely if you use a load of different tunings and lots of different types of guitar and amp tones you could multiply those numbers several times

then you have the other pro audio/PA type stuff that I have no clue about.
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#4
It's just too long a list, and includes at least two of everything.
So when you think you've thought of everything, double it (and triple up on some things and maybe an extra bag of things like cables,switches).
Add road cases (Anvil, etc.) for the works.

Add in a bunch of expendables and spares (tons of strings, tape, vinyl sheeting (you'll find out soon enough), solder, soldering iron, etc.)
Your sound folks (mostly rentals) will handle mikes, but you want to have your own vocal mikes just in case they put one up for you that smells like someone's garlic and chewing tobacco and puke. It's happened.

You'll probably want your own traveling tech to restring guitars, hand you guitars on stage, flip switches for you when necessary, fix the tuner you broke when you smashed into the other guitar player, etc. And roadies. Lots of roadies. What you do NOT want to do is cart around your own gear. Oh, did I mention insurance? Sooner or later someone is going to leave some piece of your gear on a dock somewhere, or drop it off something, etc...
#5
So essensially for starters 2 of everything as a rule of thumb. Got it.
#6
"Last night the voncorky five stopped their arena show about a third of the way through their first set when voncorky announced that his amp had blown a speaker. Bodies are still being discovered, and voncorky himself is currently spread over four counties."
#7
Quote by voncorky
Well that really helps lol.


LOL

yeah i mean it's hard to answer, because it's going to be different for every player

Quote by voncorky
So essensially for starters 2 of everything as a rule of thumb. Got it.


yeah pretty much
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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#8
Why would it be any more than just having kit for smaller gigs? You still need backups for everything no matter what size venue you're playing.

The only difference with an arena tour would be that the venue would have it's own PA system that would mic up your amp etc.

Taking that into consideration, as a band playing small local gigs would need to provide their own PA, the equipment needed for an arena tour would actually cost you LESS.
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#9
Im not sure if you are asking how much it would cost you specifically to buy this stuff or is it some hypothetical situation?

If its for you, then you only need an amp, cable and guitar to jam with your buddies. Even for local or semi local gigs and shows, you don't really need a backup amp. If it blows in the middle of the set, you pretty much just ended 20 minutes before you had to, so no big deal. I personaly do carry around a spare guitar for gigs, but i never actually used it yet (luckily).

If you're asking what a professional musician needs, well that depends. Some lug around a bunch of amps so that they have a specific tone set for each one, and then a spare for each amp, so that's like 6 or 8 amp heads, and then some cabs as well. I think metallica does this (kinda bad example, but here you go). Some guys just have an AxeFX with them instead of actual amps, to handle all the tones, and i guess they have a spare. Coheed and Cambria does that, and i think Periphery as well.
Some carry around a bunch of guitars for different tunings and a spare for each of those. I think Slash has like 10 guitars with him on tour. Coheed and cambria comes to mind again, they are at about the same number as well. Then again, some just carry around 2 guitars, a main and a spare, like Joel from Killswitch engage.
Then it of course depends what pedals or rack effects you have, and if you use a wireless system or cables. The only thing that is kinda constant here is the fact that you need a spare for everything you have (except if you like to live dangerously, or can make do without a certain piece of equipment). So if you want an actual pricetag, figure out what you would like in a setup when you tour, and include cables and all the other minor things in the price, and then double it. Thats your cost. But like someone said, it just varies hugely from person to person.
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#10
Do a YouTube search on "Rig Rundown". There are tons of different variations of arena rig, depending on the player. Guitar techs go through their players rig from start to finish. Awesome series.

Suffice to say the answer, in monetary terms, is "lots".
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#11
Well; you are going to rent a huge P.A. system, so there is that cost. That one will vary based on size, components, length of the tour, and the location of the place where you rent it. Count on shelling out about US$4,000.00 per week. That's US$80,000.00 for a five-month tour. You will probably have to purchase insurance on it, too. More money down the drain!

Amplifiers? A lot of that depends on what kind of music you play. Plenty of mega-stars have played outdoor football stadiums with a 1x12" combo, microphoned into the P.A. system. If you are a metalhead who just has to have a huge on-stage rig, figure on two 100-watt full stacks of the Marshall sort. That's two heads and four cabinets. How much that will cost you depends on the brand and model of the amplifier.

You will need backups for literally everything. If there is any piece of gear in your arsenal that is necessary, you must prepare for it to break down at the worst possible moment. You need to have a spare right within arm's reach, so that is two of everything.

Let's take a look at some prices, using the old standby of rock & roll amplifiers - Marshall. A Marshall full stack with a JVM410 head and two 4x12" cabinets sells for around US$4,300.00, so a pair of them will cost you US$8,600.00. If you are a major metalhead and want the "classic" shock-and-awe rig, then you need four amplifier heads on top of four 4x12" cabinets. The JVM410 head goes for US$1,700.00; so that means you throw in another US$3,400.00. That brings your amplifier rig up to an even US$12,000.00. And that is just for your amplifiers.

You will need cords, connecting cables, and flight cases for your massive rig. A Gator flight case for a single 4x12" cabinet sells for about US$550.00, so you will need to shell out US$2,200.00 for the cabinet cases. The head cases go for around US$350.00, so that is an additional US$700.00 for two; $1,400.00 for four. Assuming you use four amplifier heads, your total outlay for amps, cabinets, and cases is now US$15,600.00. And it just keeps going up from there.

Oh, and depending on where it is you are playing, you might have to rent a stage to go with that rig and P.A. Ouch!

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Last edited by FatalGear41 at Jul 9, 2014,
#12
If you are in a band like Slayer, all you need is a bunch of empty cabinets with one 50w Marshall head in the back with a speaker emulator output to the house line array. Mike Campbell plays arenas with a Fender Princeton and Tweed Deluxe mic'd. A grand total of 27 watts.

Those huge walls of real amps behind A-list bands? Product placement. The amp company contracts with the band to supply gear for the tour. They transport the amps, provide a tech crew to set them up, maintain them, assist the artist with their sound, and load them out after the show. The artist just shows up to play and lets those guys worry about gear.
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#13
Quote by Cajundaddy
Those huge walls of real amps behind A-list bands? Product placement. The amp company contracts with the band to supply gear for the tour. They transport the amps, provide a tech crew to set them up, maintain them, assist the artist with their sound, and load them out after the show. The artist just shows up to play and lets those guys worry about gear.


This is true with some companies, but not with others. A lot of the big names have severely cut back on giving/loaning gear to musicians at no cost, no matter how much star-power they pack. Back in the late 1970s, there were quite a few interviews with A-list rock & roll acts in which they lamented the passing of that practice.

Some companies have always had a policy of never giving or loaning gear to anyone, under any circumstances. Chief among them was (and is) Marshall. They have always taken pride in the fact that they do not give or loan gear. The best you can get from them is a chance to purchase their products at wholesale cost, plus England's V.A.T. Jim Marshall used to say: "If you've got a Marshall amp, you either bought it or stole it (or got it as a gift from someone else, I suppose)." Marshall has at least occasionally offered to train a band's amplifier techs on their products, so they can repair them on the road.

A lot of big-name acts have some serious amplifiers, but they do not tour with them because they have found that it is cheaper to rent them from a store in the same city as the venue. Now; if you are into some esoteric brand/model of amplifier, then this might not be an option for you. For instance: if you just have to have a couple of Soldano SLOs, you might have a hard time finding a rental place that rents them in every city on your tour. Yngwie Malmsteen ran into a problem like that not too long ago when he played in Israel. He was used to renting his wall of Marshall amplifiers from music stores, but he did not realize ahead of time that there aren't a whole lot of Marshall stacks in Israel. He said in an interview that he had a hell of a time getting them, and that in the end, he thought that he had actually rented every Marshall amplifier and cabinet in the country. Lesson here: it pays to plan ahead.

An amplifier company might have its employees function as roadies - at least, for the amplifiers - in some places, but not in others. In the United States, most roadies are members of the IATSE Union. They would not take kindly to anyone employing non-union labor to do that job, no matter who they worked for. And if the venue is a "Union Shop," then they probably would not allow it, either. But I am sure they could do it in some places in the world.
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Last edited by FatalGear41 at Jul 10, 2014,
#14
I don't know about you guys, but I wouldn't want to play a gig of that size without some pretty serious rack effects. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it.
#15
Quote by GaryBillington
Why would it be any more than just having kit for smaller gigs? You still need backups for everything no matter what size venue you're playing.

The only difference with an arena tour would be that the venue would have it's own PA system that would mic up your amp etc.

Taking that into consideration, as a band playing small local gigs would need to provide their own PA, the equipment needed for an arena tour would actually cost you LESS.


Arena tours usually have massive complicated contracts that cover each venue's sound system, techs to run it, etc. The same goes for lighting and staging, power requirements, etc. The average band member doesn't get involved with that; it's usually handled by their tour management company. As you note, personal gear is the tiniest part of things. You may be paying for your own personal tech (or it may fall under the contract), but there will be contracts involved for all personnel that are on the tour.

The size of the contract diminishes as the size of the venues do, but each one is specific in its requirements. Playing the Indian Casino tour, for example, has a pretty standard set of requirements, as you're usually playing indoor venues that support fewer people.
#16
Quote by In-Flight-Radio
I don't know about you guys, but I wouldn't want to play a gig of that size without some pretty serious rack effects. I'm surprised no one has mentioned it.


Nah. If you don't play with it normally, you're not likely to want to add it to go on tour.
#17
If you really need an arena rig, it will not mater what the price is, because you'll be making 10's of thousands of dollars every show. And most of the gear will be rented
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#18
Some companies have always had a policy of never giving or loaning gear to anyone, under any circumstances. Chief among them was (and is) Marshall. They have always taken pride in the fact that they do not give or loan gear. The best you can get from them is a chance to purchase their products at wholesale cost, plus England's V.A.T. Jim Marshall used to say: "If you've got a Marshall amp, you either bought it or stole it (or got it as a gift from someone else, I suppose)." Marshall has at least occasionally offered to train a band's amplifier techs on their products, so they can repair them on the road.


Unfortunately this is definitely not the case. I know many bands endorsed by Marshall who routinely get loan stock for tours. They do also get to buy gear at crazy discounts but the loan stock thing is still going on. Blackstar also practise this routinely. It's a great way to expand a back line for a bigger tour on a budget (more cabs etc)
#19
Quote by Robbgnarly
If you really need an arena rig, it will not mater what the price is, because you'll be making 10's of thousands of dollars every show. And most of the gear will be rented

That's not necessarily true if you're the opening act. And the other thing is that you're not seeing most of the money the tour makes. The music business is first and foremost a business. They expect to you to pay back the advance, the money you used to record the record and shoot videos, the marketing, the money for the tour, and everything else they give you. The music industry only works because they get back what they invest in the artists. It's up to the artist to earn enough that to pay them back. The label and everyone else gets the money before the artist sees it. The artist is one of the last people to see a check outside of advances. Some artists end up owing the label money after a major tour. And it's very difficult to be a headlining act in an arena tour as an independent artist or even on an indie label which is one of the only ways to avoid a major label sucking you dry.

As a guitarist, all you need is a guitar and something to play through. But the price almost always depend on what you need. If you need a pedalboard with many boutique and vintage pedals, a few boutique amps, and vintage guitars, then your touring rig can easily get quite expensive. Some people get by with a cheap guitar through an amp. But you don't even need an amp. You can get a POD and go direct. Backups are good though. You should also have roadcases for your equipment. Accessories like strings and cables are a given. Your touring rig can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. You can also choose to rent most of the equipment you will use.
#20
Quote by JELIFISH19
That's not necessarily true if you're the opening act. And the other thing is that you're not seeing most of the money the tour makes. The music business is first and foremost a business. They expect to you to pay back the advance, the money you used to record the record and shoot videos, the marketing, the money for the tour, and everything else they give you. The music industry only works because they get back what they invest in the artists. It's up to the artist to earn enough that to pay them back. The label and everyone else gets the money before the artist sees it. The artist is one of the last people to see a check outside of advances. Some artists end up owing the label money after a major tour. And it's very difficult to be a headlining act in an arena tour as an independent artist or even on an indie label which is one of the only ways to avoid a major label sucking you dry.

As a guitarist, all you need is a guitar and something to play through. But the price almost always depend on what you need. If you need a pedalboard with many boutique and vintage pedals, a few boutique amps, and vintage guitars, then your touring rig can easily get quite expensive. Some people get by with a cheap guitar through an amp. But you don't even need an amp. You can get a POD and go direct. Backups are good though. You should also have roadcases for your equipment. Accessories like strings and cables are a given. Your touring rig can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be. You can also choose to rent most of the equipment you will use.

Bullshit If your playing arenas , your making money period.

Bands that don't make money, do not play arenas
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#21
Quote by Cajundaddy
If you are in a band like Slayer, all you need is a bunch of empty cabinets with one 50w Marshall head in the back with a speaker emulator output to the house line array. Mike Campbell plays arenas with a Fender Princeton and Tweed Deluxe mic'd. A grand total of 27 watts.

Those huge walls of real amps behind A-list bands? Product placement. The amp company contracts with the band to supply gear for the tour. They transport the amps, provide a tech crew to set them up, maintain them, assist the artist with their sound, and load them out after the show. The artist just shows up to play and lets those guys worry about gear.


This!
George Lynch "uses" a gigantic back line of Marshalls onstage, but offstage to the side is a Soldano SLO 100 half stack. Guess which cab is actually mic'd & driving every single cab. Yep, the SLO.

For arena gigs, I'd need 2 1x12 combos & 2 guitars. Guitar, amp, & backup for each.
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#22
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#23
And some guys will play an arena with nothing but a Fender Deluxe and a couple of pedals. They're playing with a monstrous PA and proper pro sound engineers so if anything, an arena gig is where you need the least gear. In reality you actually need **** all to do the arena thing. Those walls of amps are normally nothing more than stage props. Some want real complex setups all preprogrammed for each track, some want it simple. You can do it with either and everything in between.
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#24
As it's been said, it really differs from person to person. One could realistically play an arena show with a single guitar, a single amplifier, and some effects.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, take a look at the insanely rich guitarists that are prone to buying tons of gear. For example, take John Mayer. His Rig Rundown video by Premier Guitar showed some well expensive (and numerous) pieces of gear, including at least 40 guitars (e.g. his Fender Custom Shop, other custom Fender Strats, two of the same Martin customs, a Martin D-45. It wasn't shown on this video but he has a few Alembics), three amps: (Dumble Steel Singer, his signature Two-Rock- also wildly expensive but not as much as the Steel Singer, Fender Band Master 100) all paired with worthy cabs. He's got a Bradshaw system with loads of pedals. The list goes on.
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#25


edit: seriously though, this question is too vague to be answered. how much money does it take to get to the moon? do you have to pay for the food and gas?

you can look up any number of live rigs on guitar geek and see which one is closest to what you want to run, then figure in if you want a PA and sound guy too.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Jul 14, 2014,