Used Vs. New Gear- First up…Finding Used Gear
Many people have the perception that second-hand is synonymous with beat-up or worn out. They’re not wrong, sometimes. However, before we go down the “new versus vintage” deep deep rabbit hole discussion, let’s focus on second-hand gear. In this post we’ll explore the how and why used equipment will usually work to your advantage.
To begin with, we really want to clear up that there’s nothing wrong with new gear. Conversely, when we talk second-hand gear, we’re discussing gear in good, fully working condition.
The first and most obvious benefit of not buying retail is pricing. Even if the items are in mint condition, second-hand is almost always be cheaper.
Another reason to go for used gear is its life cycle. Good quality items tend to have a very long use period. Rivington Music proudly house all kinds of backline gear. Most of this equipment was bought from musicians and bands from all over NYC. This allows both young and old musicians alike to extend the equipment’s creative life.
A third reason is mutual support among musicians and other industry workers. As the saying goes: Keep It Local. A couple hundred bucks means a lot more to a local musician or store than it does to a big chain.
There are many ways of finding great used gear online and locally. We listed a few here…have fun exploring.
Finding equipment Online
The web is the biggest marketplace for gear, so we’ll start there. The easiest and most obvious are classified pages such as Craigslist, OfferUp, and the more recent Facebook Marketplace.
There are also online music stores specializing in general and specific musical equipment. Reverb, Guitar Center and Sam Ash are just a few websites selling musical instruments.
Try Shopping locally
Most local instrument stores have a nice selection of used gear. Anything from guitars to keyboards, pedals, drums, synths…you name it. With that being said,the gear might be a little more costly than an online search. However,there are at least two benefits to buying from a shop. The first, you get to try out the item. The second, the store will have checked the item’s condition before listing it for sale. A good place to start and a friend to RMRS, Main Drag Music in Williamsburg. Also, our namesake at Rivington Guitars (no relation, funnily enough) stock some amazing vintage and used gear.
While in Manhattan, we also recommend heading over to 30th street to check out Rogue Music and their neighbor, Steve Maxwell Drums. Rogue has all kinds of amazing gear, while Steve Maxwell, specializes in drums and percussion, as you can probably guess. If you like electronics, synthesizers, and keyboards you really need to check out Armen’s Music Shop in the Garment District. This store is packed with all kinds of audio gear.
Another shopping adventure might be flea markets. Lot’s of random gear ends up in outdoor markets. If you’re looking to experiment, modify, or deface equipment, this is a fun place to go hunting.
Lastly, There are always pawn shops. You never know what people need to get out of their houses.
Social interaction and social media
“Putting the word out” is as old as stale bread, but it works. In a city like NYC, your message can spread quickly, especially in the age of social media. A post on your feed or a conversation over a drink might light up someone’s lightbulb. Just like that, a transaction can happen. Also, put up notices in locations heavily trafficked by musicians. For example, Rivington Music Rehearsal Studios has a bulletin board near the front door.
Finding used gear shouldn’t be a headache. It should be fun, like a treasure hunt. The payoff will be a new-to-you piece of artistic inspiration. As for the new equipment how’s and why’s, look for our post of where to resource fabulous new finds at a future date.