15 things you need for your gig…Don't forget them
1. Spare pack of strings
You might laugh at this one but trust me, I have seen so many players do this same mistake. It is not enough to just change your strings before you leave the house. And here is why: once you come on stage, all the lights will increase the temperature of the wood and the strings by up to 15 degrees. When this happens, your strings are more prone to breaking! Bring a spare pack, or even better, second guitar.
2. Guitar cable or XLR cable
No matter if you are guitar player or singer, don’t rely on other people to supply you with cables. Best case scenario is that you get a cable that is already crackling and you need to be extra careful around it. Worst case scenario is that you don’t get any cable and you are in rush to find one so you can start your gig. Always one cable!
This one goes to all the people without pedalboard or without a tuner in their pedalboard. Trust me, you will do this mistake only once. When the band is ready to play and you are using your phone as a tuner, you are all of a sudden without band. Don’t be cheap and get a simple clip on tuner. They go for as little as 10$.
4. String winder
This goes great with the first point. If it happens that your string breaks in the middle of your performance (and it will), string winder can save you minutes of awkward kneeling over your guitar. I am using Dunlop String Winder for 5$ since I was 16 and it still works just fine. Best investment ever!
Club mics are like public toilets. Are you sure you want to put your mouth on it? Be safe, bring your own. Even as a guitar player, you can save your band from ultimate failure if your singer forgets his microphone or even worse, it breaks during the performance. If you happen to have one lying around in your apartment, bring it along. Just in case
6. Guitar stand
There is nothing worse than coming to a gig where they are not prepared for you at all. This can happen more than often, especially if you are not playing in a club. Be safe and ready. Fender even made a guitar stand that is collapsible into a case. Consider this if you have fellow guitar players in your band who might use this.
7. Batteries and power supply
If you run your effects solely from batteries (in case you are gigging outside) be sure to bring a spare battery or two. Unless your pedals have a true bypass like ours you can be quiet disappointed to find you your whole circuit gets broken because of one battery.
8. Tabs, chord books, note sheets…
It does not matter if you can read the music if you forget your sheets at home, does it? Especially for session musicians and cover bands, it can be challenging to remember all the parts of new songs. Print out those few pages and throw it on top of your cables to make sure you won’t forget it.
9. Multi tool and screwdriver
You never know what can go wrong and as it happens in life, things might. Having an option to fix simple things on stage might save your band a fiasco and half the money for the gig. If your drummer needs to tighten the kit or if the mic stand falls down, it’s better to have an option to fix it at the spot.
10. Permanent marker
And this is not only because autographs. Many times you come with a same cable or stand as other musicians, if you happen to play at a jam. Marking your stuff is essential in that case and let’s face it, it will take you only few seconds to throw it in the gig bag.
If you happen to join a heavy metal core band, this might save you your hearing. Earplugs are widely used by musicians on stage who are playing with loud, distorted sounds. If you have in-ear headphones for monitoring (which you should) you don’t need to worry about this.
12. Business card
We can all agree that landing a gig is not an easy task. Bringing a business card with you might help you land your next one. More than often you will find at least one person in the club that knows a guy who knows a guy who runs a similar place. Be ready for business!
13. Extension cord
Guitar players with a large pedalboard will all agree that power supply cables are too short without an extension cord. Pack one and you get extra 2 meters of possibilities for your board.
14. Vacuum tubes
If you are using a tube amp or if you have one of the boutique guitar pedals with vacuum tubes inside, such as this one, you might want to bring one extra just in case it dies on you during gig.
15. Picks, picks, picks
There is never enough and chances are, you will lose at least one during a gig. Get one of those fancy pick holder for your mic stand and the whole band will thank you for it. For the money, it has great value and unless you want to dig through.