Play To Stay – Australia
October 15, 2015
The Buskers Guide goes Anime!
What the hell is The Buskers Guide?
October 16, 2015
The Boys
Simmo & GH Music offered us affordable options and were happy to sit with us as long as we WANTED to get exactly what we NEEDED.
What is the right gear and what can you afford?

This is one of the big dilemmas when you decide you want to busk, it actually resurfaces every time you want to do something different then what you already do and it probably applies to any field where you rely on something other than yourself.

The first thing you usually consider after the decision to start busking, like any other poor ass musician is 'what do I already have?’, ‘what do i need?' and 'what can I afford?'

We suffered because we tried to save a few $$ anywhere we could, ultimately it cost us more money, time and energy.
We had an amp, some simple audio gear so the obvious thing to do would probably be fill in the gaps.
A 400 watt Skytec Speaker, a big 11kgs but we already had it so we thought 'ok maybe it’s a bit on the larger side (which is normally Wally Howlett’s Specialty) but SWEET we ALREADY have an amp with a few inputs, lets get a small mixing desk and battery.'

Next stop was a battery store, we wrote down all our gear specs and played music on the shop floor until we walked out with a deep cycle battery $450, a 700 watt inverter $150 and a battery charger $50 and a lot poorer than we expected… ok, fine… so be it … at least we have what we need now to be comfortable on the streets.

Traveling, charging, walking, lifting, pushing and sweating RPT. It was mission carrying and pulling the gear, We had the battery strapped inside a milk crate which was strapped to the fold up trolley which ‘claimed' it could carry 80kgs. We would transport the speaker on top of the milk crate and strap it to the trolley also along with strapping the 2 mic stands. Throw all our leads, mic’s, desk and other bits an pieces in a backpack then of course our instruments, a Cajon and Guitar in a hard case.

Carrying it up stairs at hostels/ venues to charge it and back down again for a busk, up and down hills, onto trains, public transport, taxis, the whole kit and caboodle. We carried that battery from Melbourne to Airlie Beach and back again, we had over kill and it was affecting the pre-busk vibe… hard.

This particular set up chewed through 3 different trolleys and chewed through a lot of patience. The first trolley was after a particularly uneventful busk in Sydney and we were a few hundred meters from our Hostel. We took it in turns to walk the gear back, it was heavy, a long walk and the first seed was planted about how we were going to start resenting this setup. We broke another back in Melbourne and then another which wasn’t ours on our way to a busk with Leading Micro Potato Biologist Wally Howlett Music.

When we finished our stint at Vipassana we had a long 24hr drive back to Melbourne and we spent most of it wired awake due to 10 days of hardcore meditation. We were discussing how we can do what we do better, more efficiently and how we should upgrade our gear which was in short… dying and killing us at the same time.

The Guitar wasn’t holding its tuning, cajon was softening, and all the meditation in the world wasn’t going to change how we felt about the rest of the stuff.

When we got back we gave an old mate who lives in sometimes sunny Melbourne, Simmo a call from GH Music and told him the problems we had encountered on our first busking journey, ‘alright lads, why don’t you come on down to the shop and we will test and try everything you think you need, eliminate on practicality, durability and of course your budget, afterwards we’ll have a Coopers Pale Ale, my shout.'

You bloody beauty

We paid him a visit and not only were we able to go in a TEST everything we wanted, GH Music offered us affordable options and were happy to sit with us as long as we WANTED to get exactly what we NEEDED.

One of the big purchases and the most important was going to be a new Axe for Curly George. A Guitar that can be pulled out on any street corner, in any venue, be loud enough to project acoustically and sound natural when plugged in. It needs to be durable for the constant changing environments and humidities we will put it through.
Essentially we needed a work horse that doubled as the show stopper and sounds like angels ejaculating. We don’t want it a big as a dreadnought and we were not sure a mini would hold its own un-amplified on the street either.

We had a few guitars in mind but had not really committed to the idea of any. We had heard a ton of Guitars in different environments over the last few months and one that stood out from the rest was Cole Clark, the dream guitar.

As usual Simmo was 2345543554 steps ahead and told us he already has a guitar that does all of the things we need but it was smaller than a full size and larger than a mini, not only did he pull the perfect magic guitar out of thin air, it was also made by Cole Fucking Clark.

A Cole Clark Angel Series 2, and what an angel she is.

With a bit of emailing back and forward and a sprinkle of luck, Simmo was about due for a tour of the Cole Clark factory in Melbourne. Talk about timing!
We brushed our teeth, put on our best manners and before we knew it we were going to tour the factory with Simmo and Georges bother also being a guitar enthusiast came along too.

Not only did we play with everything we think we may want, we got a PERSONAL tour of the Guitar Factory where dreams are made. We picked our size, series, finish, woods (Blackwood back and sides, Bunya top) and had our very own Cole Clark ordered. Couldn’t believe it. Big tick off the list.

Next up was retiring the Amp and Battery. Again Simmo knew what we did, had and needed. We bought a Roland BA330, the best Busking amp we could afford and honestly probably one of the best available for what we wanted to do. It’s a around 13kgs and 30 watts……..30 watts? This thing delivers. Sonically the sound range lacks nowhere and it sounds great soft and loud. It has built in effects and anti feedback technology.

Have you ever set up, powered it on and you had some nasty feedback give the punters the first unintentional taste of your performance? Flick the switch and this baby will detect the ugly sound and fuck it off.

This unassuming beast can run powered or run on 8 AA batteries. Pull the pack out, recharge the batteries and it will go for a few hours without being plugged in while you all are. Super economical amp suitable for a whole range of applications and I highly recommend it to any buskers that are a duo, a portable DJ or the 'trying to hard to be cool’ uncle who takes it upon himself to deliver speeches at family gatherings.
We paired it up with a Behringer XENYX 1002B. This is a cool little mixer, its not the best money can buy but it can run on battery and gives us plenty of options for more instruments and plugging in other musicians. Rechargeable batteries are a must, as this little guy does seem to chew through them. Its light, compact has phantom power, very affordable and a monkey could use it.

The Cajon had its head kicked in at a drunken christmas party, to be fair it was only a matter of time as it was well and truly beaten by the time I had actually figured out how to play it properly.
I picked 5 different Cajons form the shelf at GH Music who have a large range, took them into the carpark and slapped and tapped away until i had narrowed it down to one, the LP Aspire. This Cajon cost around $300 and looked nice.

Another cool thing we picked up was a small Arturia Mini Lab - Midi Controller, to write on the road and do a few key lines live here and there and some new JTS mics. Poor sounding mic’s without pro price tag. New leads, stands, pics, straps, capos blah blah blah things were coming up Busker House.

We started this quest with beginner gear as we were a beginner duo who had never sung or even really played together. Now we had pro gear and had to catch up to it.
Check out these videos we made with GH Music and our Cole Clark factory tour.
So what is the perfect Busking set up?

Honestly it depends on what gear you’re running and where you intend on playing it. Musicians setups vary so much and you always want room to add things & other musicians if needed. If you have a speaker and are looking for a battery and inverter combo I suggest you go to the local battery place with your gear power specs, and see what they recommend. Go home and find the ones of the same specs that suit your budget.
Also be aware resale of batteries is not very good, its SHITHOUSE. For us it will be trial and error, we’re happy with what we have at the moment but as we travel and grow.

We can’t make the decision for you on the perfect amp, guitar or bell bottom jeans and the bots with the fur but we can show you what we have and give you some links to our favourite music with our resident GEAR GURU ‘Simmo’. We actually asked him to be our Gear Guru for us and anyone else with questions. We set him up an email address at [email protected]

You can find GH Music at 100 Mount Alexander Rd, Travancore VIC 3032, Australia or visit their online store at www.ghmusic.com.au

To see Cole Clarks range and to find you local dealer visit www.coleclarkguitars.com

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