Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

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tioJim
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Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by tioJim » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am

Thinking out loud.

There’s so much amazing gear these days, often in competition with similar features, and whilst there are forums like this and lots of reviews and demos online; ultimately you can’t be sure If a piece of gear is right for you until you own it.

Furthermore all that deliberation, research and window shopping doesn’t always feel healthy and takes time away from not only music making but simply enjoying the instruments we do have.

Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library. I don’t think that’s quite the intention though and I’ve never felt comfortable doing that. Am I being daft? Are the rest of you doing this all the time? I’ve never tried doing it say once a month for a year! Surely the retailers place a limit somewhere. Regardless this isn’t really a solution as you have to pay the entire cost of the item upfront and then wait days for a refund.

The big retailers shift high volume, relative to market size anyway. They get a number of returns as it is. These often end up as B-stock. There’s shop demo units too if they have retail outlets.

There’s a number of units of any given item with varying degrees of use slushing about anyway, in other words.

What if you could borrow these? You place a deposit to cover theft, damage or late return. It turns up by courier, a week later a courier collects it. There’s all sorts of legal and admin and business to consider, no doubt, but the larger retailers have all those smarts anyway. If it’s economically viable they’d know.

One issue is demand versus supply obviously. I really don’t know the numbers. There might have to be queuing and certainly time limits and no repeat borrowing. It could be limited to gear above a certain value.

Perhaps it could be funded by a subscription. Would you pay a hundred bucks a year say to guarantee you can properly evaluate any item for a week no strings attached? With that sub the retailers buy a pool of instruments specifically for customer evaluation.

I don’t know, perhaps that’s what they do anyway and cost it all in so we really should try before we buy with abandon. Other retail sectors do it. How?

Thoughts? Seems there’s a problem to me. How to effectively evaluate complex and expensive gear without buying it outright.

Jim

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by kwaidan » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:16 am

I believe SynthCube tried it.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by starthief » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:38 am

Pedal Genie does that sort of thing with pedals. It's $40 a month for the "standard" subscription level though, or $20/month plus $16 round trip shipping for each one you try. I imagine a service that involved more expensive gear,, bigger and more expensive to ship, and more fragile gear would cost much more.

Also it's been a few years since I tried them, but most of the time I could not get the pedals that I really wanted to try, just a few that were further down my list. I felt like I was actually better off buying used pedals, and then i could resell them for about he same price, to essentially rent them for the cost of shipping.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by rowsbywoof » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:44 am

Before Covid hit, I would stop by Perfect Circuit or ProAudioLA a few times a year just to play. I could definitely spend a whole afternoon playing in Perfect Circuit with all of the newer stuff I'd only read about online. Would have a blast, too. ProAudioLA is pretty similar, especially if you want to try out some higher end compressors, 500 series modules, or Mics. Usually playing with the gear would satiate that GAS for me, not because the stuff wasn't cool, but the sheer amount of it was enough to make you go... Yeah, there's a lot of cool stuff... Definitely can't Pokemon this shit, and go home with maybe some new cables or something else practical and feel pretty good about it ;)

That's so not helpful to your question, but having a place like Perfect Circuit around definitely makes me say, "Nah... I wouldn't pay for a lending library."

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by tioJim » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:10 am

rowsbywoof wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:44 am
Before Covid hit, I would stop by Perfect Circuit or ProAudioLA a few times a year just to play ...
Yeah that's cool and I've sated GAS before simply by playing for a few minutes even. Two things to note though. First we are now in a post-Covid world and second here in the UK retail space is rarely of that scale. I do have a big retailer near me (GAK) but their actual shop size is modest. I think if I spent the afternoon there they'd be a bit freaked out. "Uh, is this dude ever gonna leave? Should we get him a chair? Order a pizza in?" :hihi:

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by Mr.Kus » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:12 am

There's a local bike shop here that has a great try before buy arrangement in my mind. You pay 500 € deposit, they send you a bike, which you can ride for couple of days before sending it back. If you decide to buy the model they send you a new one and the deposit is reduced from the price. If you decide not to buy it they return the deposit minus shipping costs. At the end of the season they service the test bikes and sell them on discount with full warranty. No need to pay for subscription.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by tioJim » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:26 am

Mr.Kus wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:12 am
There's a local bike shop here that has a great try before buy arrangement in my mind. You pay 500 € deposit, they send you a bike, which you can ride for couple of days before sending it back. If you decide to buy the model they send you a new one and the deposit is reduced from the price. If you decide not to buy it they return the deposit minus shipping costs. At the end of the season they service the test bikes and sell them on discount with full warranty. No need to pay for subscription.
Yes that's good. 500 bucks is still a wedge to stump up but it's not prohibitive I don't think. Particularly if you're considering buying a bike three or four times that anyway.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by Mr.Kus » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:34 am

tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:26 am
Mr.Kus wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:12 am
There's a local bike shop here that has a great try before buy arrangement in my mind. You pay 500 € deposit, they send you a bike, which you can ride for couple of days before sending it back. If you decide to buy the model they send you a new one and the deposit is reduced from the price. If you decide not to buy it they return the deposit minus shipping costs. At the end of the season they service the test bikes and sell them on discount with full warranty. No need to pay for subscription.
Yes that's good. 500 bucks is still a wedge to stump up but it's not prohibitive I don't think. Particularly if you're considering buying a bike three or four times that anyway.
Some of the test bikes are actually worth 15 times the deposit and they are mountain bikes meant to be ridden in pretty rough conditions.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by cat_abyss » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:39 am

tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library. I don’t think that’s quite the intention though and I’ve never felt comfortable doing that. Am I being daft? Are the rest of you doing this all the time? I’ve never tried doing it say once a month for a year! Surely the retailers place a limit somewhere. Regardless this isn’t really a solution as you have to pay the entire cost of the item upfront and then wait days for a refund.
I had a friend in uni who did this with laptops. For a few months he had a new one ever so often, just copied over his data or stored it in some cloud or whatnot. But as you say, it felt dishonest, i wouldn't join him myself and after a while he stopped. Seemed to be a lot of work anyway.

More OT, i live in a small town without a showroom. I would definitely pay a subscription to try out things. Maybe even keep less things around then. No volca FM, no TR-08, no beatstep, etc... things i don't vibe with but somehow can't get rid of since they "might come in handy one day"... but i might just donate them if there was some local gear pool.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by KSS » Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:26 am

tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library.
Yes, it's done. And it's A DISGUSTING PRACTICE! <--intentional shouting
I don’t think that’s quite the intention though and I’ve never felt comfortable doing that.
not "quite" the intention, eh? There's nothing "quite" about it. And you -and everyone else doing it- know it. Returns exist to deal with REAL problems. But human nature being what it is, sure some people DO mis-use it. How many -are trying to- delude themselves and 'pretend' otherwise? I don't know but it doesn't change the CAPS above.
Am I being daft? Are the rest of you doing this all the time? I’ve never tried doing it say once a month for a year! Surely the retailers place a limit somewhere.
I hope any retailer seeing someone doeing this would CUT THEM OFF permanently. As a supplier to the industry, i can't stress how much this affects all of us in negative ways. So it's okay to think that buy-return -on purpose- is A-OK? WTF! That's criminal. Justify it however you want. But if it's not done with the FULL understanding of ALL involved it's not cool.
Regardless this isn’t really a solution as you have to pay the entire cost of the item upfront and then wait days for a refund.
This implys that if you *didn't* have to pay full cost up front it'd be okay? :foul: :despair: :bang: SMDH.
So the mfr pours their heart and soul and money in this -already- high risk venture so some sick fk can twiddle some knobs for 'free'? MFRs and dealers giving returns on perfectly good gear, and reviews online from people who can honestly? say they've owned it or played it and skew the public response? Without being willing to pay for the right to do so? Sounds like some Beavis-Butthead teenage fantasy.
The big retailers shift high volume, relative to market size anyway. They get a number of returns as it is. These often end up as B-stock. There’s shop demo units too if they have retail outlets.

There’s a number of units of any given item with varying degrees of use slushing about anyway, in other words.
Rational-lies-ing it doesn't make it right. Might just as well say that there's automobile accidents anyways, so it doesn't matter if I wreck or damage this rental car.
There’s all sorts of legal and admin and business to consider, no doubt, but the larger retailers have all those smarts anyway. If it’s economically viable they’d know.
I believe you've stated the answer in the underlines.
One issue is demand versus supply obviously. I really don’t know the numbers. There might have to be queuing and certainly time limits and no repeat borrowing. It could be limited to gear above a certain value.

Perhaps it could be funded by a subscription. Would you pay a hundred bucks a year say to guarantee you can properly evaluate any item for a week no strings attached? With that sub the retailers buy a pool of instruments specifically for customer evaluation.
The best part of your whole post! :tu: Why limit repeat borrowing? Once a module's been out, it's no longer saleable as new anyways. Rental businesses *do* work, and already exist in places -like L.A.- where the numbers can make sense.
I don’t know, perhaps that’s what they do anyway and cost it all in so we really should try before we buy with abandon.
Aaaannndd, we're right back to the beavis-butthead me-me-me teenage mindset justification strategy. :waah:
Other retail sectors do it. How?
Examples please? Serious reply. Although much of my reply is negative, i agree that this is something to be looked at and other successful examples would be useful.
Thoughts? Seems there’s a problem to me. How to effectively evaluate complex and expensive gear without buying it outright.
Thoughts already shared on the BS 'altenative' practice some *are* using. But for those seeking a real answer, you're right. There's a difficulty in doing so. Especially in rural areas. But the other side of that is that's part of the life choice made in living where things like this are harder than if you lived somewhere else.

Hasn't the pandemic shown some ways to deal with this? Virtual personal tours of gear might be a useful thng for retail stores to go after. Call one of our associates and we'll explore the gear for and with you. Zoom it. You tell them what to do. Which knob. What view you want to see.. That's not too much different from a rep working with you in a store. And it's available now, tech-wise.

I can hear the cries already, But I need to do it in my own home. With my own gear. On my own time. Do car dealers let you take the car home for awhile? Or do they expect you to make your decision after a test drive?

There's two different strategies being discussed here. Gear rental. and Gear try out. And if you're honest it really comes down to *one* thing, since gear rental -and buy-sell- already exists. Money. Somebody wants gear rental at gear tryout pricing. Where the answer is in your words above, repeated here below
There’s all sorts of legal and admin and business to consider, no doubt, but the larger retailers have all those smarts anyway. If it’s economically viable they’d know.
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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by strettara » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:06 am

KSS wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:26 am
tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library.
Yes, it's done. And it's A DISGUSTING PRACTICE! <--intentional shouting
:tu:

This is just fraud.
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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by Mr.Kus » Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:36 am

strettara wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:06 am
KSS wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:26 am
tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library.
Yes, it's done. And it's A DISGUSTING PRACTICE! <--intentional shouting
:tu:

This is just fraud.
I didn't get the impression that the OP is using retailers as "libraries" without the intention to purchase something, just a way to try before buying. At least in EU I think the intention of the law about the 14 days no questions asked returns of purchases made online or by phone is to allow customers to try the goods in a way they could if they were shopping in physical store.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by Voltcontrol » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:05 am

KSS wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:26 am
tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library.
Yes, it's done. And it's A DISGUSTING PRACTICE! <--intentional shouting
Shouting is imho well acceptable in this case.

A gear lending service is an interesting idea but wouldn't work for me. I often buy gear second hand, use it for a while and then pass it on as my preconceived notions of how long I want to keep something are almost always wrong. Also I'm (or was before Covid hit) busy with- or away from home for- work irregularly, so planned periods of spending time in the studio or indeed a fixed day isn't going to work.

Come to think of it; Renting a studio space filled with goodies every now and then might make sense for me. There are none that I know of locally with modern gear, that studio filled with old test equipment Hainbach did a video on is 15 mins drive from here though and you can rent use of it, I just might do that. :cloud:

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by Kattefjaes » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:13 am

Mr.Kus wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:12 am
There's a local bike shop here that has a great try before buy arrangement in my mind. You pay 500 € deposit, they send you a bike, which you can ride for couple of days before sending it back. If you decide to buy the model they send you a new one and the deposit is reduced from the price. If you decide not to buy it they return the deposit minus shipping costs. At the end of the season they service the test bikes and sell them on discount with full warranty. No need to pay for subscription.
Hah, pre-covid there was a running shop near here who'd encourage you to take the shoes out for a spin, a few times around the block is a pretty good way to work out if they actually feel right.

With modules, it could get slightly complex, thinking about issues around liability- damage to the rented modules, or the host system and its modules. Legal boilerplate that over-reaches is sometimes not worth the paper it may or may not be written on.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by tioJim » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:23 am

Mr.Kus wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:36 am
strettara wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 5:06 am
KSS wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:26 am
tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library.
Yes, it's done. And it's A DISGUSTING PRACTICE! <--intentional shouting
:tu:

This is just fraud.
I didn't get the impression that the OP is using retailers as "libraries" without the intention to purchase something, just a way to try before buying. At least in EU I think the intention of the law about the 14 days no questions asked returns of purchases made online or by phone is to allow customers to try the goods in a way they could if they were shopping in physical store.
I'm certainly not and I don't do it. I've returned items because they didn't work out for me less than the number of fingers I have on one hand in twenty years of buying gear. I think it's extremely unfair on retailers.

I have absolutely no idea why KSS decided to turn my post into a personal attack on me. I'll be ignoring him.
Last edited by tioJim on Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by tioJim » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:25 am

KSS wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 4:26 am
tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library.
Yes, it's done. And it's A DISGUSTING PRACTICE! <--intentional shouting
I have absolutey NO IDEA why you've turned my post into a personal attack. I made it clear I don't use retailers as libraries. Please don't engage with me further in this post.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by carbonhazard » Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:32 am

We have something like that here in finland, it's for people who are in the musicians union or a similar organization. The price is 50 euros for 4 weeks, you can see what they have available here:

https://mes-soitinpankki.fi/

Minimoog and Jupiter 8 as far as synths go, but they've had more in the past. It's a great service, never used it myself but I could see registering for something like that if they had more pedals and synths available.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by gminorcoles » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:15 am

This is a great idea and I have been talking to friends who are also coders or investors about starting something like it. Each gear bought and sold so many times, with taxes, fees, just so more people can use it? Seems like and opportunity to find a lower energy state. A secondary feature of the service we considered was provenance - you would known the serial number of the synth and see its service and ownership history, etc.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by steviet » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:23 am

tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 am
Most of the big retailers allow returns. So there’s that. You could in effect use them like a library. I don’t think that’s quite the intention though and I’ve never felt comfortable doing that. Am I being daft? Are the rest of you doing this all the time? I’ve never tried doing it say once a month for a year! Surely the retailers place a limit somewhere. Regardless this isn’t really a solution as you have to pay the entire cost of the item upfront and then wait days for a refund.
I used to work at a "big box" electronics store. The week before the superbowl we would sell the most 60-70" TVs we had in stock. The day after the superbowl there would be a lineup of people returning their TV. I would say somewhere in the range of 70% of those TVs got returned. And that was just the best time of year to do it! People love this trick, but you have to weigh that against your conscience. There was no limit at our store either, we had many repeat offenders. I'm sure there were rules against this, but younger kids working entry level positions weren't about to argue with someone over their $1000+ return.

Pedal genie sounds dope though :sb:
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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by Voltcontrol » Tue Sep 15, 2020 8:04 am

carbonhazard wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:32 am
We have something like that here in finland, it's for people who are in the musicians union or a similar organization. The price is 50 euros for 4 weeks, you can see what they have available here:

https://mes-soitinpankki.fi/

Minimoog and Jupiter 8 as far as synths go, but they've had more in the past. It's a great service, never used it myself but I could see registering for something like that if they had more pedals and synths available.
Jupiter 8 is making me have second thoughts. That or a CS80 or a Kobol or SunSyn or Oberheim Matrix12 would make me join such a programme ASAP.
Last edited by Voltcontrol on Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by rowsbywoof » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:21 am

tioJim wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:10 am
rowsbywoof wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:44 am
Before Covid hit, I would stop by Perfect Circuit or ProAudioLA a few times a year just to play ...
Yeah that's cool and I've sated GAS before simply by playing for a few minutes even. Two things to note though. First we are now in a post-Covid world and second here in the UK retail space is rarely of that scale. I do have a big retailer near me (GAK) but their actual shop size is modest. I think if I spent the afternoon there they'd be a bit freaked out. "Uh, is this dude ever gonna leave? Should we get him a chair? Order a pizza in?" :hihi:
You should chip in on the pizza and accept the chair. No reason to be weird or stingy about it.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by RickKleffel » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:42 am

No.

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by soup » Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:16 am

Another wiggler tried something like this, seems to still be a going thing...

viewtopic.php?t=164860

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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by KSS » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:00 pm

I have no idea why someone who writes a post thinks they are immune from response to it.

I further have no idea why someone who writes a post decides they are being personally attacked when they already said in their post they did NOT do the thing that the strong response was talking about. Clearly the strong response is NOT directed at them personally. It *is* directed at those who DO the thing.

I even more do not understand why someone who writes a post asking for response cannot ignore the parts they disagree with and still comment on the parts that are still relevant apart from the disagreement. In this case i'm not sure there even is any disagreement?
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Re: Would you pay a yearly sub to join a gear lending library?

Post by KSS » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:08 pm

Lance Hill has the Vintage Synth museum in the East bay. SF Bay area There's a two hour minimum, but if you can get there, you can try out synths, record with them and so on. Only seen videos and articles, haven't been there.

Other similar ventures have existed -and some still do exist- in various parts of the world.
Treat utility modules as stars instead of backup singers.

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