I play bass guitar in a covers band. Not only am I the bass player but I’m the go-to girl when anything breaks, someone has lost something or left something at home. I don’t mind this (too much!) but I always think it’s great to be prepared for a gig or practice with a few essentials and spares just in case they’re needed. You’ll be amazed how often they are!
Here’s what I have in my bag of tricks:
Am I overdoing it?
Probably, but I like to be prepared. I have a few things not related to my instrument because I know how bad my band mates are (sorry guys!). The main things to have are spares of things you need for your instrument. For guitar and bass that usually includes cables and patch leads (for pedals if you use them), strings, picks, tuners and batteries.
Batteries, batteries batteries
Batteries are the one thing that people forget. Clip-on tuners need batteries and so do pedals if they aren’t attached to a power supply. Some guitars and bases are active (my main bass is) and if the batteries run out they might just stop working. Electro-acoustic guitars use batteries for their pre-amps. If you’re really organised, you will have a spare amp in the car just in case! I have been at a few gigs were guitar amps have failed (tube amps being the worst), so it is good to have a small practice amp that I can mic up if necessary. That’s the only thing I don’t take with me and probably should!
In general, a long extension lead and gaffa tape will definitely come in handy. You never know how far you are going to be from a power source. Gaffa tape is useful for many things from sticking down cables so people don’t trip over them to micing amps (sticking tape to the top of the amp to secure the cable and dangling the microphone in front of the speaker!). I have a friend who used gaffa tape to fix almost anything and says it is the most useful tool in the world!
The suggestions above are just a few examples of the tricks you can have up your sleeve when gigging. Remember, nothing compares to getting out there and learning for yourself what you need.
The main thing is to enjoy what you do and get gigging!
Do you have any comments on this article? If so, please feel free to comment below. The more we can help each other out, the better the musicians we will become.