Things You Should Take With You To A Gig
After many of my students started venturing off into the world of gigging, I wanted to help them be prepared for the unexpected. This list would have been a great asset in my first few years of gigging, which is why I put this together for my students to use and benefit from. This list has been in effect since Tom Hess enlightened me to the Gig Bag!
The Gig Bag is your 911 when something goes wrong at a show such as forgetting your tuner, guitar strap, instrument cable and the list goes on and on. I have personally supplied other bands playing with HESS, SAGE or The Guzaks with items that were in my Gig Bag. So, here is what will make your life, and even your band members lives, less stressful when the unexpected happens at a show.
1) Gig Bag. It should have a large center area for storage along with a front and back pouch for smaller items. I have it on stage with me, but I hide it behind my rig or cabinet.
2) Extra Picks, Strings, Instrument/Midi/Speaker Cables, Guitar Straps.
3) Mini Screwdriver Set and longer Philips Head and Flat Head Screwdrivers. These are great for those unexpected volume knob disappearing acts as soon as you take the guitar out of the case at the gig. Ask me how I knew to add this to the list?
4) Mini or medium-sized Flash Light. Good luck trying to find a loose cable in your rig when its pitch black and you go on in two minutes.
5) Tuner. Please, tune that thing before you leave the house, and many times before you step on stage. It will make the performance more enjoyable for tuning freaks in the crowd like me.
6) Batteries. Whatever your items use, carry plenty of extras with you. If you use pedals without AC adapters, bring a ton of these. I have seen some big time players have pedals die on them during the show. And if you use active pickups, make sure you change them out at least every season.
7) Wire Cutters, String Winder, Allen Wrenches. These are use for those rapid and unexpected broken string changes. By the way, I have only broken one D'Addario string in the last 10 years of using them.
8) Guitar Polish and Rags. Use these to clean up the guitar's body. You can use a clean rag to help dry off your hands if you get really sweaty while playing, just leave it on top of your amp. Try to match the color so that it does not stick out. I also have some Lemon Oil to condition the fret board so that everything is in one place when maintaining all of my guitars both at home and on the road.
9) Mic Stand Pick Holder. This will be a God send for those of you who use those cheap slippery plastic picks.
10) Clear Tape. I use it to hold down set lists to the floor sometimes, but I am sure there are other uses I will find out about soon.
11) Surge Protectors. This will help out in those instances where you need some extra length in plugging in your amp, or the club looks like it's going to melt down from a power overload.
Hopefully this list will save you from embarrassment or a stressful situation during any of your future shows. I know the Gig Bag has helped me out more than a few times, as well as helping out complete strangers playing along with me at shows. Make your gigging life easier and get a Gig Bag to take with you to all of your shows.
Mike Walsh is an internationally renowned progressive guitar virtuoso, composer and teacher. For more information about Mike Walsh, his bands Sage and Hess, to hear samples of his playing/music, and to read more articles, visit his web sites.
His latest CD with Sage is entitled "Lightning Strikes".