At Mass Street, we hold firm to the belief that you can make great music, no matter where you are. This month, we take a look at the best compact, grab & go setups to help you get the most from your music in situations where you might not have the luxury of a dedicated jam space. Whether you’re stuck in a cubicle at the office, in a tiny dorm room, or your lawn chair on a last-minute camping trip, we’ve got the solution. All of these rigs offer a compact setup, real value and quality, and feed your need for playing no matter where you are.
Gear for the Office Shredder
The cubicle requires a few unique considerations when planning an office based rig. Best case, you have to make sure it’s small and quiet. Worst case? You have to keep it completely hidden! This low-key, under-the-radar setup will have you rocking the office – uh, we mean, “working”, in no time.
At a glance:
Fender Mustang Mini Amp
This 7-watt amplifier is the perfect desk – or desk drawer – amp. Weighing in at just over 7 lbs, its handle doubles as a tilt-back stand, and it runs off an AC power supply or six C batteries. Plus, the Mini includes twenty-four onboard presets, eight digital amp models, and twelve digital effects that can be customized via its USB connection and included FUSE software. How’s that for giving off the illusion of work? Not to mention, it has an on-board tuner, just in case your coworkers are listening, and a headphone jack, just in case you don’t want them to. $129.99
Squier Mini Strat
What better guitar to match your Fender Mustang Mini amp than a Squier® Mini Strat? The smaller (3/4 size) scale makes this the perfect size to stash under your desk if the boss comes asking for those TPS reports, and it won’t get in the way if you actually have to get some work done. These Mini Strats are small, but sound and play quite well, especially after a free setup from one of our in-store luthiers. $99.99
Shure SE315 Earphones
Talk about discrete! You can plug these tiny, clear earphones straight into your Mustang Mini amp so you can rock out without bothering your cube mates, and stash them easily when you need to. And the 64” wire gives you plenty of length to move around if you’re really shredding. Warning: these are sound isolating earphones, so the chance of your boss being able to sneak up behind you is high! $199.99
Gear for the Dorm Room Acoustic Duo
Not only is the dorm room a very tight space, it’s shared space. Assuming your roommate is capable of throwing down on some riffs too, here’s a super solid, two-person rig that can easily fit between piles of laundry and dusty textbooks.
At a glance:
- Instrument: Fender CD-140 SCE Acoustic-electric
- Amp: Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Amp
- Pro Audio: Roland R-05 Digital Recorder
- Accessories: String Swing Guitar Wall Hanger; Fender Folding Stand
Fender CD-140 SCE Acoustic-electric
This Fender CD-140 SCE dreadnought crams a ton of features into a great sounding, durable guitar. You get great tone from the solid Spruce top and Mahogany laminate back and sides. But what’s more, it has a Fishman pickup system with an active on-board preamp so you can plug it in for a bit more volume, versatility, and recording abilities. This has a built in tuner too, so you know you’ll be spot on. $299.99
Fishman LoudBox Mini Acoustic Amp
Twenty pounds and only about 14 inches wide, this amp gives you 60 watts of beautiful acoustic tone, without taking up much space at all. The best thing? It has a second channel input for a microphone. Essentially, you could have your Fender CD-140 SCE acoustic plugged in to channel one, and a mic for your roommate plugged into channel two, either for vocals or for micing a non-acoustic/electric guitar. Jam away, until the RA says enough, or crank it up in the common room for an impromptu show – this Mini amp is seriously that powerful. $362.95
Roland R-05 Digital Recorder
You and your roomie could be the next big thing, but no one will ever know unless you have recorded proof. Enter the Roland R-05 Digital Recorder. This is super compact, really easy to use, affordable, and you get enhanced recording and editing features. Use the built in mic, or plug right in. Either way, it records directly to an SD card. And if it doesn’t instantly propel you into rock stardom, it’s also great for recording lectures and class notes. $199.99
Bonus: Dorm Room Decorating Tip – String Swing Guitar Wall Hanger
Forget posters and a bulletin board. A dorm room with guitars hanging on the wall is much cooler. These wall hangers ($12.95) are well-built, priced right, and are easy to hang – we use them throughout our store. Cinder block walls or worried about losing your security deposit for drilling holes? Try the Fender Folding Electric Guitar Stand instead. ($19.95) Equally cool, no install, and super portable.
Gear for the Great Outdoors
Chances are, you won’t be the only one slinging an instrument or two at the weenie roast. Especially if you’re at Winfield or another music festival. The least you can do is try and sound great, without having to pack your entire setup. Here’s a look at some camp-worthy gear that’s easy to haul, durable, and downright fun. Kumbaya!
At a glance:
- Instrument: Makala MK-B Baritone Uke; Gretsch Broadkaster Resonator Banjo
- Accessories: Kay Chicago Blues Harmonica; Hohner Plastic Kazoos; Snark All Instrument Clip-on Tuner
Makala MK-B Baritone Uke
Everyone will be bringing a guitar, so why not be on the cutting edge of cool and bring a Ukelele? This Makala MK-B Baritone Uke is a great option since it’s tuned to the 4 highest strings on a guitar – D, G, B, E – so you can jump right in like a pro. It’s durable and built for the long haul, but also affordable at just $81, so you ‘ll still have money left over to stock the cooler and grill.
Gretsch Broadkaster Resonator Banjo
There’s nothing like the sound of a banjo echoing through the woods. Beautiful, and only somewhat creepy, depending on how far from civilization you are. This 5-string Gretsch Broadkaster has classic banjo tone in spades. The Mahogany resonator and rim help it project like a champ, too, so you’ll be heard over the crackle of the campfire easily. It’s not one you’ll want to leave exposed to the elements if you don’t have to, so consider adding in a Boulder Cases Alpine Resonator Banjo Gig Bag ($54.95) to protect your investment. $419.00
Harmonicas and Kazoos
How about sharing the music? Forget the flashlights and bring a couple $5 Kay Chicago Blues Harmonicas, a couple of $.95 Hohner Plastic Kazoos, and you’re set. Until it’s time to find more wood. Then you might actually want that flashlight.
Snark All Instrument Clip-on Tuner
This little Snark Clip-On Tuner has a full-color display that rotates 360 degrees, making visibility simple on any headstock – even at night, in the woods, after the fire dies down! It offers precise tuning and can tune just about any stringed instrument – ukes and banjos included. It even has a built-in tap tempo metronome, which is great for keeping everyone in time, or for keeping everyone awake if you want to be “that guy”.
So whether you’re working hard, studying hard, or hardly doing either, these are some great options for ensuring you’ll have music to get you by, no matter what. Ah, we almost forgot. Wherever you are, make sure to also keep your Mass Street Music mug full at all times. Because coffee is almost as vital as music!