If there’s one thing Dave Tynan has learned from gigging every week, non-stop for 2 decades, it’s that there’s always something important you forget. We caught up with Red Dog Music‘s Shop Manager to get his top 11 critical, but easily forgettable “gig essentials”.
1. Spare Strings
Spare top E and B-strings are essential, but you never know when you might bust your G-string (ahem) so you might as well just have a whole spare set ready just in case.
2. Gaffer Tape
It’s hard to rock out when you’re dodging guitar cables and mic leads. Spend a few minutes at the end of your soundcheck securing cables to the floor. Make sure to give yourself enough slack to move around, though!
Your instinct tells you it’s overkill, but when you need to snip the end of a string, pry the adapter off a mic stand or open up an effect pedal to install a fresh battery you’ll be glad you’ve got one in your bag.
4. Business Cards
No matter how awesome and memorable you think your band’s name is, people aren’t going to remember it when they’re nursing their hangovers. If you want people to find you, remember to stick a web address in the details.
Remember to keep your pedals juiced up, and make sure any active instruments you use have a spare just in case it dies mid set.
What’s the point of spending days, months and years refining your tone if – on the night it counts – your valve amp blows a fuse and you have to use the venue’s backline?
7. Paper & Marker Pen
You’re not always going to have time to agree on a set-list and get it printed before the gig, so keeping some stationery around is always a good idea. The thicker the marker pen, the better: You won’t be able to see pencil or biro under stage lights.
8. Spare Leads
You should test your cable regularly to make sure they don’t crackle or cut out, but it’s also a good idea to keep a couple of new cables in your gig-bag just in case.
If you perform regularly, you have to take care of your hearing. You’ll need to check that your tone is right and that your mix is good with ‘naked’ ears, but you should plug them up when you’re doing serious long-haul noise-making.
10. Power Extensions
It’s a good idea to keep the amount of power sources you’ll need from the venue to a minimum – you never know how many will be available on the night.
11. Instrument Stand
You’ve arrived on time, set up and sound-checked. Now where the hell do you put your guitar while you wait your turn? Guitar stands usually fold up tiny, so there’s no excuse not to keep one in your bag of tricks.
Dave Tynan currently plays with Edinburgh-based rock band Size Queen