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Gig Tips For Success

By Rick Ferguson

Whether you're in a new band just starting out or an experienced musician familiar with the scene, you will always take something away from every gig you play. If could be something that didn't go as planned that you will know not to try at the next gig, something that was a huge crowd pleaser that will definitely make a reappearance, or something as simple as your own personal set of rituals that gets you and your band ready for each show.

Below are a number of helpful tips and suggestions to keep in mind at your next gig. Whether you play the guitar or the violin, these are all good general things for any musician to know, and could also help your next big show to run a little bit smoother.

Music Stand: This is for those of us that have set lists and key structures written out. The music stand is better than picking all your guitar tabs and sheet music up of the floor after they fall off of your amp.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Instrument stand: I can't even count the times that my guitarist kept forgetting his, he'd prop up his electric guitar and I would watch it fall across the amp after just a few minutes...oh well, save your own instrument. If you want to avoid potential costly damage, be sure to invest in a sturdy instrument stand.

Ear plugs: For obvious reasons, ear plugs are a necessity for anyone that plays an excessively loud instrument such as an electric guitar, bass guitars or the drums, as well as anyone in close proximity to any such instrument on stage.

At the Gig: Don't drink excessively or dope up. It shows in your playing and your professionalism or lack thereof.

Practice: Be courteous. Send a flier to the neighbors letting them know what time and when you practice ... so if there is a problem they don't call the cops first, they call you.

Band Politics: The band sits at a round table - no egos, everyone gets a say - democracy - discuss your goals, tunings, who knows what, song dynamics, etc. A happy band is a successful band.

Bring a Towel (or five): To sop up the spilled beer on your amp that your guitarist denies he did. This will also help to keep the stage cleaner and safer for everyone in the band.

Cable: Loop your cable through your amp handle and your strap so it doesn't fall out.

Guitar Picks: Different gauges for anyone in your band who uses one.

Spare Cords and Cables: Oh yeah it worked yesterday why doesn't it work today? BTW, wrap your cords when you are done - the copper wire has a memory.

Spare Microphones: If you sing it is always good to have a back up. There is nothing like watching, in slow motion, a microphone hitting the ground and splitting into pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuner: Guaranteed your guitarist thinks he's in tune and everybody else is out.

Extra Batteries: For the tuner (which proves your guitarist wrong) or effects pedals.

Extra bass guitar and guitar strings: Obviously for yourself but even a set of guitar strings. Guaranteed when a guitar string breaks, it's always the high E ... and it's on a Sunday and the music store is closed and the gig is in an hour.

Drum Key: Drummer arrives and can't tune his set, or can't put a new skin on.

Power Strip/Surge Protector: For some reason, clubs always have problems with their power, go figure - too many surges or blown circuit breakers than I care to remember.

Screwdriver: To get into your instrument or amp if there are any problems.

Allen Wrenches: A must have if you want or do any instrument adjustments.

Tubes: For all of you oldies out there.

Fuses: GK amps especially.

Pen/Paper: Whether for a song idea that pops into your head mid-show, or just any random idea you happen to think of, a pen a paper always seen to come in handy.

Crazy Glue: For your fingers or your guitarist's mouth.

Duct Tape: Repairs anything ... also for guitarist ... oh yeah broken drum skins.

Duffel Bag: To carry everything you are secretly supplying.

Spare Cloths: For yourself, not the kinky kind but something that is comfortable for either relaxing in before/after the show, or to change into should you or someone else have an accident with a drink.

Take every suggestion on this list to heart, and you are good to go for your next gig. I know you will feel like a walking hardware store, but trust me you will thank me in the end.

One final tip, don't tell your fellow band members all that you have. Otherwise, they will always rely on you every time to be there personal supplier. The purpose of having all of this equipment on hand is to be there to save the day ... for yourself and others, but most importantly to bring a sense of professionalism to your craft. Rock on!

 

About The Author:  Active Musician
Electric Guitar
http://www.activemusician.com
Guitar Tabs
Bass Guitars

 

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