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Author Topic: Finding gear
Thecoslar

Posts: 45
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Post Finding gear
on: March 18, 2013, 15:33
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I've started teaching guitar and bass at a local church near me, and I've had a hell of a response. I've got a class of about thirty students, all outfitted with second hand gear. Now there's nothing wrong with that. But lately, the kids (and adults) have started splintering off into their own bands. So in addition to the "varsity" church band that plays in the service, I've found myself with five solid bands of varying genres that want to play. Which is awesome. The problem I've found myself with is that my students are swiftly out growing the small collection of gear I've managed to scrounge up. I need more amps (right now I only have a 65 watt fender solid state from the 90's, a Champ reissue, a 50 watt solid state Peavey amp, and some strange no name solid state head with no information on it). I need more guitars (the church owns three electrics and two acoustics), strings, cables, effect units (right now we're relying on my ownpersonal collection, but there's not near enough to go around for the whole program), ect. You name it, we need it. So. I come to you, by string slinging brethren, where do I go that would be willing to donate gear? Any thoughts?

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: Finding gear
on: March 18, 2013, 18:20
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hmm, good question. Free stuff that plays is always preferable, but there are so many great sub $300 starter instruments out there that finding a little money might be a better target. Asking the kids to work together and earn a little cash is perfectly acceptable and would actually increase their stake in the activity so I wouldn't hesitate to involve them early on in the effort. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest a combination of the following:

1. If you are able to do some basic restoration, put an ad on craigslist explaining the situation and asking locals to consider donating some of their old and/or idle gear. It sounds like the church is pretty big so make an announcement, put a notice on the website and/or in the bulletin there too.

1b. Don't forget to ask for 'accessories' - cables, strings etc. I'm sure many folks have old packs of strings that they fell out of favor with and tubs of old cables that can be salvaged by cutting, resoldering, or putting new plugs on.

1c. Don't forget about other 'teachable moments' - if you can get the above, then spend an afternoon with a couple of the more capable kids showing them how to fix cables, do a basic setup, etc. I'm sure they will be happy to learn and their help could save you a lot of time and effort.

2. Do some fundraising gigs. You've got the facilities so have the kids put on a show or two and invite the church/family/friends/community to come out for it. Put the cause plainly in the announcements, have a fair entry charge and/or just pass the hat.

3. If you've got a couple handy woodworking types in the church and the kids can come up with a little money (see above), then perhaps consider putting together some of the cheap GFS (or whoever) kits. Actually, their house brand (Xaviere?) is surprisingly good for the money and of course its hard to go wrong with the recent batches of squiers.

4. Maybe send an email to some of the big online vendors to see what they do with the stuff that is too mangled to sell as 'scratch and dent'. They might be willing to donate some of that stuff. If it plays, play it.

5. If you can get some money together, some of the manufacturers give discounts to churches (or at least they used to). Peavey used to. I think that Carvin used to be (maybe still is) run by a couple pretty vocal Christians and they might give you a good discount or find some b stock for you.

6. If it's a smallish town, maybe see if you can get the local paper to do a little article about what the kids are doing (or the fundraising show) and have an invitation to donate gear included somewhere in that.

So, try to find the free gear first, but don't be afraid to encourage the kids to earn some money for gear - either on their own or doing some fundraisers or work projects. I've worked/gigged/advised in around 250 churches and been directly or tangentially involved with more youth ministry/activities/bands than I can count. If the kids are truly digging the bands, then tap into that juvenile energy and just steer them towards a couple good fundraising activities. Set a goal for them and let their creativity and enthusiasm do the work. Also, the parents will surely pitch in what they can just out of relief that the kids are happily engaged at church.

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Finding gear
on: March 19, 2013, 04:04
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An ad on Freecycle is a good way to ask/look for unwanted gear.Thrift shops ,yard sales and flea markets can also provide cheap alternatives.

Thecoslar

Posts: 45
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Post Re: Finding gear
on: April 2, 2013, 13:40
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https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/community-vision-fellowship-music-program/x/2753088

We've started a fundraiser to earn some cash for the gear. Hate to bump a zombie, but shameless promotion is the name of the game here.

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