Gig Bag Essentials
A few weeks ago I had a gig with The Divided, the little league band I coach. During the second song, the guitar solo seemed a little off. I wasn't sure what was happening at first, but then I saw the high E string dangling from the tuning peg. I immediately became very nervous. When I play live, I have 2 or 3 guitars with me, plus the rhythm player has a couple. A broken string ruins the solo, but then you pick another one up and keep going. These kids don't bring multiple guitar, mostly because they don't own multiple guitars. As a teenager I drove a lot of Corvairs. Whenever we would change the fan belt or spark plug wires, my dad would always tell me to keep the old one in case I am stranded somewhere and need it. Especially since the air-cooled Corvair depended on that belt driven fan. I applied the same advice to guitar strings. "When you change your strings", I would begin, "Keep the old set in your guitar case, should you need them later". I ran back stage hoping to find an old set of strings in his case. This got me thinking. What do I bring with me that is critical to my survival on stage? As I peer into my gig bag (which is tweed, of course), here is what I have:
- 3 Cables: A 20' for the guitar to the pedals, a 10' between pedals and the amp, and an extra cable just in case.
- Harmonica: D and C
- Effect Pedals: Just two for me, this Hardwire Polyphonic Tuner, and this Hardwire Overdrive.
- Power Supplies and patch cables for Effect Pedals
- Extra 9-Volt battery for Effect Pedals
- Extra set of Ernie Ball Slinky strings
- Headphones for in ear monitoring
Nice to Have:
- Picks: Not required? Not in my case. Adam always has some, so I just steal his.
- Polish and Polishing Cloths: Great use of downtime between a soundcheck and the first song.
- Old Set Lists: In case you want to recreate the past
- Chord book: As a rule I don't play with music, but sometimes a quick refresher of that tricky bridge before you go on is very helpful.
- A black tie: For those formal gigs
- Extra of everything: Extra picks, strings, cables, you can never have enough.
- Bottle of water: Why is every gig 100 degrees? I can only remember one time I was too cold at a show.
- Guitar slide: To show up Adam if he pulls out his spark plug socket again.