Instrument and Gear Recommendations for Rookie Rockers

Howdy, future music makers!

Whether you’re the parent of a future rockstar or an aspiring maestro yourself, finding the right instrument and gear is key to turning those musical dreams into reality. Today, we’re here to share some of the Rockdale Squad‘s recommendations that will help you hit all the right notes on your musical journey! 

As you or your child embarks on a musical journey, having the right equipment can be just as important as the notes you play. It’s all about finding what works for you and helps you express your musical voice. 

Here’s a roundup of top-notch instruments and gear that will help any student reach their musical goals without being held back by cheaply made gear. The best part… most of these items will be in stock at your local music store, so you can support small businesses in your area and not have to worry about shipping times! 

Remember, these are just a few picks from the vast world of musical gear out there. Take your time, do your research, and choose what resonates with you and your musical style.

Rock On! 🤘

🎶 Gear For ALL Musicians 🎶

Whether you’re practicing in your room or preparing for the stage, these recommendations will help set the tone for a melodious educational journey. So tune up, plug in, and let’s make some noise!

Korg TM60 Tuner/Metronome

Ahh the metronome... a musician's best "frienemy"! Although there are many apps that you can download on your phone or tablet for free or low cost, it is great to have a standalone metronome for practice without the distraction of app notifications. We recommend this Korg tuner/metronome that has all the features you need for effective and efficient practice.

Musician's Gear Tripod Music Stand

It's tough to practice with your lesson materials and sheet music sitting on the floor or on your coffee table while you struggle to read the notes. A good music stand is a must if you want to give your eyes, neck and back a break during practice time!

🎸 For the Guitar and Bass Gods-in-Training 🎸

Your quest for the perfect instrument is as thrilling as the first string you pluck or chord you strum.  So, let’s dive into our handpicked gear recommendations. 

Squier by Fender Sonic Stratocaster Electric Guitar Kit

Young guitarists will find the perfect start with the Squier Stratocaster Pack, offering everything needed to get started on their six-string journey.

Yamaha F/FX series and JR series

For those who prefer the soothing sounds of acoustic guitars, Yamaha's F/FX series and JR series are excellent choices, providing great playability and rich tones at an affordable price.

Ibanez Talman TMB100 Bass Guitar

Bassists, check out the Ibanez TMB100 in mint green. It's not just about the cool color; it’s about the deep grooves you’ll be laying down.

Ibanez M510 Mandolin

The mandolin shot to the forefront of the American musical landscape as a lead instrument in the 1940's via Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass. Now Ibanez offers beginning to intermediate mandolin players an affordable, great-sounding mandolin with the M510.

Fender Mustang LT 25 1 x 8-inch 25-watt Combo Amp

If electric guitar is your jam, the Fender Mustang LT25 might just be your perfect partner. This 25-watt beauty is not just an amplifier; it's your gateway to sonic excellence. With 30 presets and USB connectivity, this combo amp is a beginner's best friend and a practicing pro's reliable companion. Its 8-inch Fender special design guitar speaker delivers that quality Fender sound we all know and love. Plus, it’s compact enough for bedroom practice sessions yet powerful enough to fill a room with sound. And at $159.99, it’s a steal that sings!

Vox AC10C1 1x10" 10-watt Tube Combo Amp

Now, let's talk about a little British invasion. The Vox AC10C1 is a 10-watt tube combo amp that brings that iconic British amplifier tone into your home. It’s perfect for those recording sessions and small gigs, offering a chimey clean and crunchy overdrive that’ll make any '60s rock fan swoon. With its Celestion V-type speaker, this amp provides that classic Vox warmth and is sure to be a hit in practice spaces and small venues alike. The all-tube power ensures that you get a full and rich sound every time you plug in.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Overdrive Pedal

The TS9 Tube Screamer is one of the most imitated classic distortion pedals ever made. Now you can get your hands on a reissue that's every bit as authentic as an original.

MXR M101 Phase 90 Phaser Pedal

The MXR Phase 90, the wildly popular phase pedal, has found its way into the rigs of guitarists as wide ranging as Eddie Van Halen to Dave Grohl, as well as countless other discerning guitarists looking to add a touch of shimmer to solos. The Phase 90 also provides smooth, watery effects to chords and muted strumming. Not just confined to guitar, the Phase 90 fares equally well on bass, keyboards, or vocals.

🥁 Give the Drummer Some 🥁

Choosing the right drum set for your young musician is crucial in their musical development. With so many options, it can be a bit overwhelming. Fear not! We’ve compiled a list of top drum set recommendations that are sure to inspire and endure the energetic journey of learning drums.

Ludwig Questlove Pocket Kit 4-piece Complete Drum Set

If you've been looking for a complete, well-priced children's drum kit in a box, your day has arrived. Thanks to Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Ludwig, your little rocker can now enjoy a capable, great-looking drum kit that comes complete with everything you need.

PDP New Yorker 4-piece Shell Pack

When you’re playing small venues, busking, or just jamming at home, a full-sized drum kit may be more than you need. With an incredible sound that won’t overwhelm a smaller space, the PDP New Yorker is an ideal compact kit.

Alesis Nitro Max Mesh Electronic Drum Set Essentials Bundle

If quiet practice is what you seek, then the Alesis Electronic Drum Sets are a great place to look. The Nitro Max churns out a whopping 440 sounds with 32 factory kits to choose from, Bluetooth connectivity for wireless jamming to your favorite tracks, and a device holder.

Meinl Cymbals HCS Basic Set - 14/16/20-inch - with Free 10-inch Splash

The Meinl HCS Basic Cymbal Set is perfect if you're just starting to bring cymbals into your setup. You start with an articulate, clean-sounding 14" hi-hat pair to help you drive the beat. You also get a 20" ride that gives you a well-defined ping and nice bell. A smooth-sounding 16" crash adds a complex spread to your kit and does a satisfying job of rounding out your drum sound. And finally, the immediate, cutting response of the FREE 10" splash cymbal is great for quick accents. The Meinl HCS Basic Cymbal Set is a great way to put the finishing touches on your new kit!

Sabian B8X Performance Cymbal Set - 14/16/20 inch - with Free 18 inch Crash

Bright, focused, and extremely vibrant, these Sabian B8X cymbals are great for anything from rock to jazz. This B8X Performance Pack starts off strong with a pair of delightfully expressive 14" hi-hats. A 16" thin crash provides all the punch you need without washing out the sound of the rest of your kit. When it comes to playing accents, the B8X Performance Pack's 20" ride gives you more than enough dynamic range for just about any playing style. This limited-time bonus pack comes with a FREE 18" thin crash, nicely rounding out your cymbal collection.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume Cymbal Set - 13/14/18 inch

Zildjian L80 Low Volume cymbals are real cymbals that play at reduced volume - up to 80% less volume, thanks to a unique perforated pattern. That means you can play them exactly how you play any other cymbal, using any stick, mallet, or technique. The full decay is there, and they respond to your every playing nuance.

Ludwig L4HPACK 5-piece 400 Series Hardware Pack

Many drum sets come as "shell packs", meaning the hardware and cymbals are NOT included. The Ludwig 400 Series 5-piece Hardware Pack is a great way to outfit your entire drum set without breaking the bank. This economical package includes a single kick pedal, stands for your hi-hat and snare, and straight and boom cymbal stands.

PDP PDDT710R Drum Throne

Treat your own seat to outstanding comfort while you play with the PDDT710R Drum Throne from Drum Workshop. This 12-inch, padded round seat features double-braced, tripod-legs and anti-slip feet for extra stability for when your performance gets spirited!

🎹 For Piano and Keyboard Maestros 🎹

Starting out piano and keyboards lessons is an exciting adventure. Selecting the perfect keyboard is a crucial step on this journey, so let’s explore some top recommendations that will help students of all ages tickle the ivories like pros.

Yamaha NP32 76-Key Lightweight Portable Keyboard

Exquisite tone in a light, compact instrument designed around the essential elements that let you concentrate on playing, the NP Series keyboards focus on the inspiration and enjoyment of playing piano, and feature the pure tone of one of the finest grand pianos that Yamaha has ever made.

Alesis Prestige 88-key Digital Piano with Graded Hammer-action Keys

Whether you’re a new performer or a seasoned veteran, the Alesis Prestige 88-key Digital Piano is a fantastic tool for both the practice room and the concert stage. At under $400, it's a great value for all of the included features.

Casio Privia PX-770 Digital Piano

The Casio Privia PX-770 packs a true grand piano experience into a slim, modern design. Experience authentic piano playability, thanks to 88 full-size scaled hammer action keys with simulated ebony and ivory textures.

On-Stage KPK6500 Keyboard Stand and Bench Pack

The On-Stage Stands KPK6500 Keyboard Stand and Bench Pack takes two of the most popular keyboard accessories and bundles them in one convenient package. The KS7190 Classic Single-X Keyboard Stand is built from durable 1" square tubing and supports up to 90 pounds. The KT7800 Keyboard Bench included with the On-Stage Stands Keyboard Stand and Bench Pack features a comfortable 2" vinyl cushion, and non-slip rubber end caps keep it from sliding around while you perform.

🎙️ For the Vocal Virtuosos 🎤

No musical setup is complete without a reliable microphone, and the Shure SM58 is the industry standard. Known for its durability and sound quality, this dynamic vocal microphone is perfect for both budding vocalists and seasoned singers. Whether you’re laying down tracks in the studio or belting out tunes on stage, the SM58 delivers clear, warm vocals every time.

Shure SM58 Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone

If this is your first Shure SM58 dynamic microphone, then congratulations! You're about to discover why it's the most popular vocal microphone on the face of the planet. In fact, virtually every serious studio and live sound rig have several SM58s. Why? Because the Shure SM58 gives you three of the most important things a microphone can deliver: quality, consistency, and durability. In your hand or on a stand, in your studio or onstage, gig after gig, show after show, session after session, the Shure SM58 dynamic microphone will never let you down.

Blue Microphones Yeti Multi-pattern USB Condenser Microphone

Blue Microphones packed plenty of useful sonic options into the Yeti. It has an onboard master volume control, a headphone output, a mute button, and a microphone gain control button. But the coolest thing of all is its polar-pattern selector. Switch it into stereo for your first ASMR video. Use bidirectional mode to record two people at the same time. Drop it into the cardioid mode for focused recordings of guitars and vocals. And for meetings and band practices, omnidirectional mode will do the trick.

AKG C214 Large-diaphragm Condenser Microphone

The AKG C214 is the younger brother of AKG's legendary C414 condenser - similar to the 414's legendary sound, but at an entry-level price. The affordable C214 actually uses the same one-inch dual-capsule as the C414 in a single-diaphgram, cardioid-only design. The result? Highly-detailed, up-front sound on both voices and instruments with an overall performance close to that of the famous C414 B-XLS.

🎚️ For the Digital Producers 🎧

Before you go breaking the bank setting up a home studio (been there… done that!), take a look at these affordable entry level options to get your foot in the door to creating, recording and producing your own music at home!

Apple Logic Pro

Logic Pro turns your Mac into a professional recording studio able to handle even the most demanding projects. Create and arrange music in real time and quickly build beats and melodies. Capture your compositions and performances — from tracking a live band to a solo software instrument session — and flow them into your songs.

AVID Pro Tools

From idea to final mix, Pro Tools offers seamless end-to-end audio production that covers every stage of the creative process. Start to play with loops, MIDI, and recordings, and then move to the timeline to refine your arrangements using world-class editing and mixing tools.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio Recording Bundle

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio provides artists with everything they need to create high-quality recordings. This bundle is built around a 4th-generation Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface. The included CM25 MkIII condenser microphone yields a bright, detailed character that sounds good on any source, especially when paired with the 2i2's crystal-clear mic pres. You get SH-450 closed-back headphones, which make the most out of the 2i2's custom-designed headphone amplifier. You also get an XLR microphone cable and a useful array of free software to get you up and running fast. Artists searching for an effective all-in-one recording bundle will be mightily pleased with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio.

soundtoys Effect Rack

The Soundtoys Effect Rack turns our tried-and-true collection of powerful effects into a creative multi-effects system. It’s a single, self-contained plug-in that comes preloaded with 14 Soundtoys effects* including the new SuperPlate reverb, creative delays like EchoBoy and PrimalTap, essential saturation effects like Decapitator and Radiator and rhythmic modulation and filtering effects like Tremolator and FilterFreak.

Valhalla Room

ValhallaRoom is a versatile, true stereo algorithmic reverb. It features twelve original reverberation algorithms and produces a wide range of natural reverberation sounds. Sounds range from tight ambiences and rooms, through traditional hall and plate sounds, all the way up to vast modulated spaces. The sound designs have been influenced by some of the “classic” room simulation boxes.

If you have any further questions or need any advice before you make any major gear purchases, shoot me an email at [email protected] or give us a call a 610-459-4096.

Rock On!

Jared & the Rockdale Squad

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