Gear Rental Business... Could It Work?

Torren61

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I saw a business ad about ten years or so ago and what they were doing is, you send them a dry guitar recording file and they would run it through your choice of vintage amps and send the files back to you all for a fee.

Additionally, I've been pondering renting out some of my gear. I have a lot of cool pieces and I'm wondering if I can turn a profit or at least be able to buy gear and take advantage of the tax code.

Have any of you guys done this or know anyone who does do it?

My amps are: 1953 Champ Amp, 1960 Ampeg Rocket, 1962 Fender Pro, 1965 Fender Princeton Reverb, 1969 Fender Bassman, 1973 Fender Champ, 1973 Marshall JMP 50 Lead, 1977 Music Man 65R, 1979 Fender Bassman 70, 1992 Crate Vintage Club 50, Monkey Matic Lassen (Supro 1624 Clone), Swart AST Master, Emery SuperBaby, Custom 50 watt head (2 EL34, 2 12AX7, 1 EF86), Fryette Power Station, De Lisle Studio 15 (AC15 type)

My cabs are: 1X12 Fane A90 convertible cab, 1X12 Celestion Blue convertible cab, 2X12 Celestion Creambacks closed cab, 1X12 Celestion Gold Isolation Cab, 1X10 Weber Blue Dog open back, 4X10 Webers in a Traynor closed cab, 2X12 Celestion G12H semi-closed, 4X12 1972 Celestion G12S in a 1972 Marshall 1960A cab, 1X15 Weber closed cab, 2X10 1964 Oxfords in a Fender closed cab, 4X12 Music Man alnicos closed cab

Guitars: 1973 Fender Precision Bass, 1999 Gibson Les Paul, 1999 Taylor CE814, 1987 Martin OOO-18, 1970 Gibson ES335, 2000 Fender Strat, 2001 PRS McCarty (soapbars), '80s Greco Tele, PartsCaster Redwood Tele, 1975 Ibanez Custom Agent, PartsCaster Strat w/ Eric Johnson electronics, PartsCaster Strat with 60s single coils and a Gibson T-top hb, Custom Brian May Red Special Tele and probably some guitars I've forgotten.

I have a LOT of mics and ways to process the guitar signals to quiet them down or boost them or record them. I have Variacs and voltage/amperage monitoring equipment and even wireless.

Thoughts?
 

Ron R

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I wouldn't rent any gear you're particularly attached to. While it would be nice to think every renter would treat the gear with respect, I would not place a large bet on that happening. There are a lot of people in this world who have no problem abusing equipment and gear that doesn't belong to them.
 

Chester P Squier

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I used to work for a retailer that sold, among other things, karaoke machines. A lot were returned as defective, but I suspect they were actually internally damaged due to alcohol use by the owner.

Carrying karaoke machines was a colossal mistake.

And that was what the idea of renting out equipment made me think of.
 

JL_LI

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I wouldn’t ship anything. And I wouldn’t rent to gigging musicians. Are there enough vacationers coming to Humboldt county to make it worth it? If they’re wealthy, a $4000 or $5000 hold on a credit card wouldn’t make any difference to them.
 

BradKM

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It'd be a stretch in your location.

I've seen it work in major cities where the gear is rented out to studios, or to touring musicians (backline rentals.)

In the two cases where I've seen it locally, it was mainly amp rentals offered by the same outfits that were offering lighting and PA rentals... and both also offered expert tech services, so they could repair anything that was broken while out on rental. For that, you'd also want to invest in some Twins, Deluxe Reverbs, HRDs, Marshalls and Voxes... backlines that touring musicians typically work with.
 

KC

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There are backline rental companies and they do turn a profit, at least they used to. My impression is that they rent out pretty standard stuff: AC30s, Twins, Supers, SVTs, keys and drum kits. Also that they stuff gets rode hard and put up wet. Nobody's ever changed the oil in a rental car. Also that if one of your amps dies in Albuquerque, you have to have a replacement there before the band hits El Paso. I don't know if your more specialized stuff would really go over in this application, nor do I think you could charge enough to cover the inevitable damage.
 

aging_rocker

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I saw a business ad about ten years or so ago and what they were doing is, you send them a dry guitar recording file and they would run it through your choice of vintage amps and send the files back to you all for a fee.

Additionally, I've been pondering renting out some of my gear. I have a lot of cool pieces and I'm wondering if I can turn a profit or at least be able to buy gear and take advantage of the tax code.

Have any of you guys done this or know anyone who does do it?

My amps are: 1953 Champ Amp, 1960 Ampeg Rocket, 1962 Fender Pro, 1965 Fender Princeton Reverb, 1969 Fender Bassman, 1973 Fender Champ, 1973 Marshall JMP 50 Lead, 1977 Music Man 65R, 1979 Fender Bassman 70, 1992 Crate Vintage Club 50, Monkey Matic Lassen (Supro 1624 Clone), Swart AST Master, Emery SuperBaby, Custom 50 watt head (2 EL34, 2 12AX7, 1 EF86), Fryette Power Station, De Lisle Studio 15 (AC15 type)

My cabs are: 1X12 Fane A90 convertible cab, 1X12 Celestion Blue convertible cab, 2X12 Celestion Creambacks closed cab, 1X12 Celestion Gold Isolation Cab, 1X10 Weber Blue Dog open back, 4X10 Webers in a Traynor closed cab, 2X12 Celestion G12H semi-closed, 4X12 1972 Celestion G12S in a 1972 Marshall 1960A cab, 1X15 Weber closed cab, 2X10 1964 Oxfords in a Fender closed cab, 4X12 Music Man alnicos closed cab

Guitars: 1973 Fender Precision Bass, 1999 Gibson Les Paul, 1999 Taylor CE814, 1987 Martin OOO-18, 1970 Gibson ES335, 2000 Fender Strat, 2001 PRS McCarty (soapbars), '80s Greco Tele, PartsCaster Redwood Tele, 1975 Ibanez Custom Agent, PartsCaster Strat w/ Eric Johnson electronics, PartsCaster Strat with 60s single coils and a Gibson T-top hb, Custom Brian May Red Special Tele and probably some guitars I've forgotten.

I have a LOT of mics and ways to process the guitar signals to quiet them down or boost them or record them. I have Variacs and voltage/amperage monitoring equipment and even wireless.

Thoughts?

Well, that's a seriously impressive list of toys you have there! I'm in awe...

However, if they were my toys, no way would I let some random take them out and play with them. Even if money changed hands.

As noted above, I suspect that hiring out 'normal' backline gear (Marshall, Mesa, Vox, Fender, Orange, Ampeg, MarkBass, etc. - all the usual suspects...) could potentially be a viable business, if you could get into that market.
 

geoff_in_nc

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If I'm reading right, I'm thinking OP wants to run clean guitar signals thru his amps in his studio, re-record the processed signal and send that back... Not handing out equipment.

I'll preface my thoughts by saying I'm a pessimist at heart. But with modeling amps getting better and better all the time, I'd prefer to buy one and get an array of possibilities (maybe not as wide as OP 's collection) that I can use repeatedly, from a fairly cheap box... My $0.02
 

aging_rocker

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If I'm reading right, I'm thinking OP wants to run clean guitar signals thru his amps in his studio, re-record the processed signal and send that back... Not handing out equipment.

I think he's talking both. And your comments about modeling amps, etc. are spot on too.
 

Ron R

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If I'm reading right, I'm thinking OP wants to run clean guitar signals thru his amps in his studio, re-record the processed signal and send that back... Not handing out equipment.

I'll preface my thoughts by saying I'm a pessimist at heart. But with modeling amps getting better and better all the time, I'd prefer to buy one and get an array of possibilities (maybe not as wide as OP 's collection) that I can use repeatedly, from a fairly cheap box... My $0.02
I read it as renting out the actual gear.
But to your point, not only are modelling amps getting better, so are the plug-ins for DAWs that do amp and speaker emulation.
 

sax4blues

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There are more and more rental type business of all kinds. I like them because for a couple shekels I can generally abuse someone else’s stuff and just give it back.
 

jvin248

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.

Do it remotely: they send you the raw files, you run them through your equipment and send the gear recordings back to them. You'll need examples of before/after on your website. Descriptions of all the gear. Low cost. Only you touches any of the hardware.

.
 

radiocaster

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If say, I was touring and needed an amp, that cab collection would have something I'd want, but the amps are not good for high gain if someone doesn't have pedals.
 

OmegaWoods

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There's a reason my dad used to threaten to beat me like a rented mule.

So you don't think ill of my dad, I used to say stuff like that to him all the time, too. We were pretty good buddies back in the day.
 

Hiker

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Let's consider-

Do nearly all people renting vehicles treat the vehicle well, and with respect? Probably not.

Are users of rental musical instruments or gear usually treating the gear in a proper way and returning it much as they found it?
Probably not.

If everyone took good care of things owned by others, maybe.

My 2 cents- Invest your money in other ways that do not involve renting gear (or vehicles).
 
Last edited:

aleski

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Have any of you guys done this or know anyone who does do it?

Big thumbs up for both ideas. I don't know anyone who uses their arsenal to re-amp pre-recorded tracks, but I do know a couple of places that rent out equipment for shows and recording sessions. If I were to do something like that, I'd start by calling a bunch of insurance companies to figure out what policies would best protect me in the event that something broke or vanished while temporary in someone else's possession. Then I'd try to figure out the pricing and maybe do an informal survey to see how much interest there'd be at the prices I decided on.
 




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