Good guitar playing and tone are bred from home. Your guitar personality should be a result of experiments you have regularly made with the right gear you have in your home guitar practice space.
No, you don’t need a whole room space but just a corner that can be used for daily practice is enough. A place where you can look forward to coming home to practice is worth the effort or cost of setting it up.
Today I’m going to explore how to get the right basic guitar setup for your practice corner for a small budget. Hope everyone can get a chance to enjoy a guitar practice space of their own.
Step 1: Get Your Basic Tone
Your Good Guitar + Your Good Amp + Your Good Effects Loop is the starting point. Have fun and go crazy with getting your signature sound. Yes, most of the time, it is an endless quest. But to be able to seek for that tone is itself an exciting journey worth taking. When you are near, it is very rewarding to pick up your guitar with that that ‘righteous’ tone you that is ‘uniquely you’.
Step 2: Get A Rhythm Station or A Looper
Invest in a good rhythm station. It can be a drum machine, an mp3 player or your laptop playing a track off iTunes. This is so that you can practice on a rhythm track or other interesting ways to play along with a backing track. Better start playing by practicing with correct timing than random practice without. Then, you may find yourself spending longer time correcting the habit.
I recommend using a looper instead. There are many benefits to using a looper as your rhythm station. For an important one, it is a device that will help you learn to play rhythm and also solo equally well. So I suggest to go this route.
Other alternatives are rhythm generating devices that comes in pedals like Digitech Trio or software like Band in A Box or even a good old turntable. They are excellent gears for a highly effective practice space.
Step 3: Get It Connected
Wire up with quality cables because cheap cables are after all, cheap cables. They are usable. But when trouble comes (which can be quite often), the time taken to fix a hiss or a crackling sound is takes you away from the time to practice.
I have in the past invested in a lot of cheap patch cables. I admit I was attracted to them because they came in different bright colours. Who doesn’t think, multicoloured cables will not liven up a dull pedal board? But beautiful coloured cables will rob your joy when one fails and you have to go on a hunt down to identify which one.
Investing in good patch cables such asCanares cables using Neutrik plugs as an example. If you custom make it according to the exact length needed you also reduce deterioration of the signal in the chain.
That’s the general rule about cables is that the shorter the path you create for your audio, the higher fidelity it will be. So use quality cables in the shortest (and hence most economical) way.
Step 4: Set It Up To Record
As your goal is to develop into a musician, you should consider routing your signal to a recording device. It’s good to make music to play-back whether it is a demo or just to hear or evaluate how you sound at the end of the day. It’s a great thing to train yourself to practice ‘play to be heard’.
It helps to just keep it as a simple recorder so that its not too complicated to operate. I’ve been using analogue tape recorders since it’s available years ago. Then I moved to using a computer based DAW (or Digital Audio Workstation).
Today, its as simple as connecting it directly to my Macbook with GarageBand fired up. Garageband is a software that is already bundled when you buy your Macbook.
Step 5: Invest In Good Furniture
As you connect your instrument to your pedal board and then to your amp or your recording device, pay attention to the human connection as well.
Invest in how your body is connected to the space. A good place to seat with the right height connects you to how you play sitting down. I recommend swivel chairs (one that rotates and turns around) to give you better movement. When the rhythm gets you and you need to respond to it, the extra space and bandwidth helps.
I dream of a classy tulip chair, but for budget reasons, right this moment, I am using a Cajon as my sitting place. It doubles up as another instrument to lay a rhythm track I input via a microphone.
Step 6: Invest In Inspiration
Posters of your guitar heroes, decorations or inspirational paintings you can hang on the wall gives you that extra inspiration to play everyday.
What I do is to install a guitar wall hook. It’s not a lot of money but that avenue to have every time a ‘featured’ guitar on the wall helps to inspire me to pick it up and play. I have many guitars but the one that is out of the case and placed on the wall works well for me.
That way I have a corner that not only looks good and also one that enables me to grab a guitar and play it instantly.
It has helped to inspire me to play more. Every few weeks, I change the featured guitar and the rotational system also ensures all my guitars get my attention.
If I find any guitar in my collection never featured, I know its time for that piece to go to someone who will love it more than I do. Hence it’s a space saving exercise to make more space for creative practice and play.
Here you have it, the right gear for your home guitar practice space.
What do you think? How do you setup your home guitar practice space? What kind of gear do you have in yours?