The 1000 €/£ European Rig Challenge

Guitar rigs are not usually put together in a single, inspired shopping spree. They evolve over years as our tastes, budgets, and gear knowledge change. That’s part of the beauty and joy of being a musician.

But what if you were handed a check for 1000€/£ and told to build a complete rig in a single session on Reverb?

Consider this a thought experiment. A scavenger hunt to build a hypothetical rig for a hypothetical player. An exercise in pragmatism to illustrate what’s possible when you’re open to used gear and some creative pairings. Proof that low-cost doesn’t mean boring.

The Challenge:

Build a rig that:

  • Includes a guitar, an amp, and some means of staying in tune.

  • Is giggable in a small to medium club (i.e. no headphone amps or 4-watt microamps).

  • Is something you would get a kick out of using.

  • Employs any mix of new, used or handmade items, but they must be available on Reverb.

  • Costs less than 1000 €/£ in total. Claimed prices must reflect past transaction history.

In this game, there’s no room for “look at me” purchases, vanity gear, or hot new releases. It could have been a build-a-dream-rig-for-10K €/£ challenge, but I think the constraints and unavoidable compromises of a limited budget make it more interesting - and reflective of real life.

I sent this out to some of the Reverb staff, and here’s what they came up with. Click through to find these items on the site, or hunt down your own listings.

Let us know which ones resonate with you - or what you’d build - in the comments.

The Fender Fanboy

"There’s something magical to me to about the silverface era Fender amps - and the best way to bring out that sparkle and spank is of course with a Fender guitar - I’m a Telecaster kinda guy so that’s the direction I’d go. When it comes to tuners, I’ve always loved the TC Electronic Polytune Clip - it’s one of the most responsive, and most beautiful clip on tuners you can get. " - Mark

Back to Bassist

"A simple and effective rig for a clean and unadorned sound. What are you waiting for? It's up to you to groove now!" - Manuel

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David Gilmour on a budget

"The Squier vintage modified series are offering the most guitar for your money at this price point. Large headstock and vintage correct looks, but without the three bolt neck and bullet trust rod give you the best of old and new." - Iain

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Psych/Garage Rig on a Garage budget

"Give me a vintage soviet guitar, a fuzz, a reverb, a delay and a small tube amp that can overdrive easily. That’s the kind of rig that you could play in the middle of a stage covered with beer or on an Italian beach" - Antoine

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Back to the roots

“I normally go for a detailed rig with lots of options and an amplifier with lots of headroom. But it’s nice to know that I could always go back to a simple setup, if needed. That’s actually how I started. A single channel amp that works well as a pedal-platform and a bunch of pedals that would achieve a nice array of sounds.” - Frank

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Post-Challenge Reflection

Forcing yourself to develop several viable rigs on this budget surfaces a few things:

  • It's surprising what quality, affordable music-making tools you can find when you have to look hard.

  • There are tiers of products at different price points from the big brands - but you can also find used or vintage specimens with more character for the same price.

  • If you're not recording professionally, going on world tour, or trying to impress gear snob friends, there's no reason why you'd want to spend any more on some of these rigs.

  • Everyone who participated in the challenge was smiling the whole time, itching to actually play what they had chosen.

Limits spur creativity and redirect your focus on making music, rather than worrying about what gear you could or should be using. 99% of us face limits when choosing our tools. This is a good thing.

The work of an artist includes trying to transcend the limits of their tools. No matter what you're playing, finding the edges of your gear's capabilities isn't always a signal to replace it. It may just be your rig pushing you to be a more inventive, creative musician.

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