If you want to produce music, you need instruments – or at least something that makes noise. If you already know how to play an instrument, that’s a great start!
If you don’t know how to strum a guitar, slap the bass or tinkle the ivories yourself – fear not! You can use virtual instruments!
Musical instruments for your home studio
If you want your music to sound organic, recording a physical instrument for real is a great start. Some would rather use virtual instruments and others think it “just doesn’t sound right”. Either way, we’ve got you covered.
Where to buy instruments?
There are many online stores that sell instruments and any music shops that we recommend will be listed here. Go there now, buy some instruments and rub your hands and mouth parts all over them until it sounds good!
|Thomann.de is the biggest - and quite possibly the best - music shop in Europe. Huge selection of instruments, equipment and software.||Shop now!|
|Gear4music is another great online music store with 54,000+ products from 888 different top brands.||Shop now!|
Guitar and bass guitar
Guitars are fretted, stringed instruments that are played by by strumming or plucking the strings. There are acoustic, electric and hybrid guitars, with endless variations in sound due to sizes, types and number of strings, tunings, shapes of the body, the effects and pedals used and so on. There’s no wonder guitars are some of the most used instruments of all time. Some of the top guitar brands are Gibson, Fender, Ibanez and Yamana. Which kind of guitar suits you best?
Acoustic and classical guitars amplify the sound of the strings by resonating it inside a big, hollow chamber and projects them outwards. This means you can play it without any extra equipment, but there are also hybrid electro-acoustic guitars that can be plugged in to an amplifier.
Electric guitars have to be plugged in to an amplifier or other piece of hardware in order to work, but are able to produce many more different types of sounds than acoustic guitars.
Bass guitars typically only have the four lower out of a guitar’s six strings, which generally makes them easier to play. The bass is rarely the star, but you’d notice if it was gone!
The best beginner guitar
Most people find it easier to start with an electric guitar, since the neck tends to be narrower and the height of the strings is lower, which means it takes less effort to position your fingers in a chord. If you want to learn how to play the guitar, an electric guitar set/kit with an amplifier and other accessories included is a great choice.
They tend to give great value for the price and you can get a decent electric guitar set for under €100, although an electric guitar set from the top brands will cost a bit more. If you prefer acoustic guitars, then nothing beats an entry-level guitar from one of the top brands.
|Fender SQ Strat Pack SSS BSB GB is an amazing electric guitar set for beginners, as long as you can afford it. It's just as good for experienced players, so it will last you a lifetime.||239€|
|Ibanez V50NJP-NT Jam Pack is the perfect acoustic guitar starter set, which also comes with a tuner, a gig bag, a shoulder strap, some picks and an accessory bag.||105€|
|Fender SQ Affinity PJ Bass Pack is the bass equivalent of the Strat guitar pack. A fantastic bass with an awesome amp and all the accessories you need!||275€|
Keyboards, pianos and synthesizers
Sometimes collectively known as just “keys”; keyboards, pianos and synthesizers are some of the most common and popular instruments across all genres. USB and MIDI keyboards can be used to play any samples or digital instruments (and thus simulate any instrument). With such variety, how do you choose one? The two biggest factors are how much space you have and how much money you can spend.
The easiest and cheapest option that suits any beginner is a USB keyboard, but the size (number of keys) is highly relevant the purpose. A full-size piano has 88 keys, while a mini keyboard has 25. If you want to be able to play it like a real piano, with two hands, you need at least a couple of octaves to work with. If you only plan to use it as an analog input for your digital audio workstation, you might be fine with a smaller size.
Keep in mind that a MIDI keyboard requires a MIDI input, which is typically a MIDI interface device that connects to your PC via USB. If you don’t have or plan to buy a MIDI controller, make sure your keyboard has USB instead.
Drums and percussion
Drums and other percussive instruments make noise by being struck, shook or scraped. They are commonly used to keep the rhythm and beat of a track. If you are looking for a beginner drumkit, you can expect to pay around 300€. Anything less than that will only get you a children’s drum set or a stripped-down version.
|Drumkits typically consist of a kick/bass drum, a snare drum, a hi-hat, a crash cymbal and some tom-toms, but are obviously very modular and flexible.||Buy now!|
|Electronic drumkits are played the same way regular drum kits are played, but you can choose which sounds come out of which drums.||Buy now!|
|Pearl Roadshow Jr. Grindstone Spark is the drum kit we recommend for a beginner, if we have to pick just one. There are cheaper drum kits, but this one has fantastic value.||Buy now!|
Virtual Studio Technology (VST)
VST is an audio plug-in software interface for Digital Audio Workstations, which is highly flexible and uses digital signal processing to simulate instruments (VSTi) or effects (VSTfx) that would otherwise require physical hardware. There’s literally thousands of VST plugins, so no matter what type of instrument or effect you want, you can probably find it in VST form.
Samples are previously recorded audio clips that can be used to create new music. It can be a portion of a song, a single note played by an instrument, a single drum hit, a bird chirp or any other sound. With some audio engineering skills, samples can be manipulated to sound completely different, by layering, equalizing, speeding up, slowing down, repitching, looping and chopping it up.
SoundFont is a file format that was invented to improve on the default MIDI instruments from your OS or sound card, by replacing them with higher quality samples. The technology is far less flexible than VST and support is slowly being phased out, but with a SoundFont player plugin, they can still be used successfully with most DAWs.