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Gig Tips to Live and Learn By

"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"
Music Stand: This is for those of us that have set lists and key structures written out. The stand is better than picking papers off of the floor that were on your amp.

Instrument stand: I can't even count the times that my guitarist kept forgetting his, he'd prop up the guitar and I would watch it fall across the amp...oh well, save your own instrument.

Ear plugs: For the obvious reasons, loud drummer, super loud guitars, etc.

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

Practice: 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.

Towel: To sop up the spilled beer on your amp that your guitarist denies he did.

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

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.

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

Extra bass 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: For some reason you always need this, I just don't know why.

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 into or to change if someone spills something on you.

I know you will feel like a walking hardware store, but don't tell your bandmates what you have, otherwise they will rely on you every time. 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.

Joe Benedetto is a bass player and ever-striving to find the perfect balance of family and music.
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