10 Essential Items for the Gigging Guitarist (Part 2)
We are back with the final half of the list- and with no further ado, let's jump right in!
6.) Fender Mini Guitar Stand
Yes, most stages will have guitar stand already, but if you’re headed to an unconventional venue or practice space and don’t feel like leaning your guitar on an amp and crossing your fingers, this is an ideal option. This little guy will fit most any solid body electric guitar or bass, and folds up tiny to fit right into your gig bag. It is the perfect little utility guitar stand for the player on the go, and it is the size of a folded up guitar strap!
7.) Extra Batteries/ Power Supply
If you use a clip-on tuner (which you absolutely should) or you use pedals or play an acoustic electric guitar, you’re already using batteries and adapters. If you haven’t noticed from a few of the items above, we’re trying to prepare you for anything that may go wrong. Carry extra batteries! Carry an extra 9V adapter if you must. Maybe you’ll be a lifesaver for someone else. Maybe you’ll need them. Be prepared!
8.) Cable Ties
Setup and Breakdown may feel like a ritual, and for some, I’m sure it is. But there’s no reason to make it last forever, and there’s no reason to be messy. Cable ties are super cheap, and allow you to keep your cables neat and tidy for a quick setup and breakdown without spending a few minutes onstage untangling or jumping rope with some stubborn wires. I also mark my cable ties with a marker, so I always know which ones are mine, even if someone else has the D’Addario Elastic Cable Ties. These are no expensive, but they saved me time and made me more organized, so I could focus more on the things that matter over the course of a gig night.
9.) Ear Plugs
I don’t want to spoil the party, but hearing damage is a serious problem, and usings reusable musician’s earplugs that filter frequency allows you to get great clarity both on and off stage while still dampening some of the sharpest sounds that could cause auditory damage. These are another absolute essential! I bring my D’Addario Pacato Hearing Protection to any concert I’m playing or just attending. This lets me enjoy the music without getting blasted out at the venue no matter where I’m standing. They are reusable and washable, and even come in a small simple carrying case that fits right into a pocket. Don’t wait until your ears are permanently damaged! Start protecting them now!
10.) The Fly Rig RK5 V2
Want a smaller rig, but don’t know where to start? Want a headphone practice setup with some great built in effects? Hate the amp you’re about to plug into? Worried your amp might blow up spontaneously like the drummer’s head from Spinal Tap? This is definitely the most expensive item on the list, but it is a great tool for practice, recording and performance and holds its own as an awesome mini-rig. Tech 21 NYC makes a bunch of amazing DI Guitar and Bass Pedals that allow you to hone your tone with minimal amp-lugging. You can plug your Fly Rig into the Effects Loop Return to use the backline amplifier like a stage monitor or run a line direct to the board and bypass amplifiers completely! This is something to seriously consider if you are looking for some uniformity in your sound when traveling and using different amplifiers constantly. The SANSAMP portion of the Fly Rig itself allows you to dial in a Tweed style amplifier with REVERB and all, while the overdrive section allows you to beef up your tone with searing hot signature OMG overdrive or FUZZ that is bursting at the seams. There is a BOOST for overall drive increase that can be swapped for FET compression to heat up the signal. Over in the effects section is a DELAY with TAP tempo functionality that can swapped for ROTARY swells. This entire unit is completely analog and built tough. Whether you decide to use this as an effects board with overdrive with your favorite amp, or as an all in one rig, the Tech 21 RK5 V2 delivers the goods.
There you have it- don’t brave the next gig without rethinking how prepared you are. Hopefully you found this list helpful, and are at least contemplating how you can streamline your live rig to be more organized and efficient in terms of a timely setup and breakdown. Open up that music closet and go through each piece you’ve bought over the years and figure out what is worth keeping, what is worth parting with and what is next on the list to acquire. Consider how you can utilize things you already own in a different way. Go clean out your gig bag and make room for the essentials!