Essential Gear For Buskers!
The sun’s out, the streets are mobbed with people, and if you’re a musician, there’s no better time to get out there and start busking! Below we’ve rounded up the main essentials to get that hat filled with pound coins…
If you’re moving about a lot, you might want to look at investing in a dedicated travel guitar. These have smaller, lighter bodies and are generally built more sturdily to put up with the stresses and strains of life on the road.
Coming in under £200, the Yamaha APXT2 is a great option. It’s a ¾ size version of Yamaha’s ever-popular APX guitar and features a decent pickup, a built-in tuner and comes with a gig bag. If you want to spend a bit more, the Fender CT140SE is a super-playable option and comes with a hardshell case to protect against marauding pedestrians. At the higher end of the scale is Martin’s iconic LX1E “Little Martin”, featuring a solid sitka spruce top and benefiting from Martin’s legendary build quality.
No-one’s going to hear you if you don’t plug yourself into something that pumps out a decent amount of wattage, and if you’re on a street or in a park, you’ll need something that’s battery powered.
Roland are known for their lightweight (under 8kg!), battery-powered Cube Street and Cube Street EX amps. Both feature in-built effects and mic, guitar and aux inputs, with the EX model being louder at 50w, better sounding, and featuring extra inputs.
If you want something that kicks out a bit more volume, also consider the Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge.
Although you could just shout really loudly, you may get strange looks, so it’s worth investing in a mic and stand. The Shure PGA58BTS is an ideal all-in-one solution, featuring a decent Shure mic, stand, and XLR cable.
Playing solo for hours on end can be pretty hard work, so if you need some backing but don’t want to share your earnings with anyone else, you may want to consider a looper pedal. These allow you to layer sounds on top of each other to your hearts’ content (or at least until the sample memory’s full). The Boss RC series are a great place to start, with a full range starting with the Boss RC1 at around £70 which offers only basic sound layering, right up to the RC300, which offers a huge amount of control over your loops.
The number one percussion product for buskers has to be the cajon. These combine a bass drum, snare, and comfy place to sit into one portable box. What’s not to love? A good option is the Performance Percussion PP142 which comes with a gig bag so you can sling it over your shoulder. You may also want to get a tambourine for those Bob Dylan moments (speaking of which – maybe a harmonica could come in useful too…).
We don’t sell umbrellas, but considering the unpredictability of the weather in the UK, you may want to slip one of these into your gig bag…