Making a List, Checking it Twice

ImageI know it’s finally spring in New England. The headline refers to the best strategy that I’ve found so that I don’t forget anything for a gig.  It’s not idiot proof (I can be very resourceful), but it’s darn close. It goes my many names, but for simplicity, let’s call it a gig list.

Your gig list itself may be incomplete at first, but should be darn near perfect after a gig or two. If you play in multiple bands or otherwise require different equipment on different times, you may need multiple lists—or just ignore part of it. For example, I play bass in both bands, but keys in only one, so I ignore the keyboard-related items when that stays at home.

Here are some pointers that you may find helpful when creating your gig list:

  • Think about your gear in order of your “sound path.” For example, a singing bassist will need such items as: microphone, mic stand, bass, effects/tuner/pedals, amp.
  • Don’t forget the cables. Pack 2-3 times as many as you need.
  • Consider your power needs. If your gear uses batteries, make sure you’ve got ample spares of the various types you use. If you plug in, consider bringing spare power cords and adapters.
  • Speaking of power cords, make sure you have enough cords and a power strip or two. (Not every venue was designed with enough electrical outlets for a band.)
  • If you use song charts during a gig, don’t forget those. Also, don’t assume there will be sufficient lighting; bring a light(s) to clip to the music stand that you should also bring.
  • If you use a laptop for charts or instrument control, pack that carefully and don’t forget its power adapter.
  • Make sure you clean your earplugs and pack them in your pants pocket or a readily accessible compartment (e.g., the outside pocket of the backpack that will be near you on stage). These are easy to forget in those seconds before the set starts.
  • You do use earplugs (or in-ear monitors), right? Maybe we’ll cover that another time.
  • Of course, don’t forget your instrument(s) and amp(s).

Other non-gear supplies that are good to have with you:

  • Electric fan (I leave mine in the car. Don’t count on venues to be cool in the winter, either!)
  • Spare t-shirt or other clothing
  • Hair brush, tooth paste/brush, deodorant, and other personal care items
  • Band promotional items, such as business cards
  • Basic tools (screwdriver, pliers, etc.)
  • Flashlight (go to the Dollar Store and splurge on a few)
  • If you play more than one guitar (i.e., just about everybody), bring a guitar stand and a strap for each one.  You don’t want to deal with taking one out of the case during a change. (I read somewhere that most guitar damage involves case-related mishaps.)
  • Instrument “consumable parts” (e.g., strings, picks, reeds, sticks, etc.)

A final thought: Some people swear by bringing a spare instrument. I used to bring a spare bass and leave it in the car, but I stopped  doing this after a half-dozen times.

Okay, was this helpful? What did I leave out (ooh, aspirin!)?

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