I was reading an article about useful ideas that you can easily create and I thought about the checklist for your gigs. Then I thought about your Guitar Gig Bag. It’s probably one of the most important things you can have when you are heading out to play. So I thought about what you might have on your list, what sort of bag you would need and what would go in it.
What Sort of Bag Do You Need?
Obviously that is going to be different for each person. Some people carry a lot of stuff in their guitar case. Soft guitar cases tend to have more pockets than a hard case, but really, they are only designed to carry small things like your capo, spare sets of strings, a string winder, guitar picks. I do have one a bit like this one which also has a pocket that neatly holds my A4 chart folder. That’s about it. So really you need another bag. I like to use my Berklee Music bag. It isn’t big but it holds a lot and I’m proud of having learned from some finest teachers. It also has zip up sections so little things like my Spider Capo, won’t fall out.
Your Check List
If you bookmark this page, I will create some checklist tools for you to come back and find. You might want a checklist on your phone, maybe on paper, but personally I prefer one that I can blank off and add to when I think of things or find things that might be useful that I wish I had brought with me previously. A check list is also handy when you have finished the gig and maybe you have loaned items to different people, or you have left things on different parts of the stage.
Think about it. I’ll bet you have left things behind at gigs or jams, in some cases a long way behind like in a hotel room in a different city, on a bar where it has disappeared. It all adds up right.
The worst thing though is arriving at a gig, a long way from home and too late to go and buy something or play without, so that list is really important.
What Should be on your Check List for your Guitar Gig Bag?
I’m just going to brainstorm a little here and do a bit of a list.
- Set list, possibly multiple copies.
- Song Charts, possibly multiple copies
- Spare strings (full sets unless you are prone to breaking specific strings)
- Guitar Tuner
- Guitar Capo or Spider Capo
- Guitar Slides
- Spare Guitar Picks
- 2 Guitar Leads
- Any pedals you use
- Music Stand
- Foot stand
- Polish and cloth (in case your guitar neck gets sticky
- iPhone, iPad or Tablet
- Microphone stand
- Blues Harp Microphone
- Harmonica Neck Holder
- Business Cards
- Finger file and gear to repair damaged nails
- Your Amp
- Power Multi Box
See How Quickly That Added Up?
And I was only brainstorming. You can probably think of loads more things, especially when you find yourself at a gig and you have forgotten something. Why wait until I have provided a checklist tool. Maybe it’s a good idea to start writing one yourself! Remember though, if you create it on a piece of paper, paper gets tatty or lost. Write it in a notebook, but what happens when the notebook is full and you start your next one? Just a few more things to think about.
I think it’s pretty obvious from this short article that a guitar gigs bag is essential. I believe having a dedicated bag is really important because otherwise you are starting from scratch every time. Plus, sometimes you might get an invitation to play at a gig when someone hasn’t shown and you need to race out the door immediately if you want the gig. That’s when having a bag all set up ready to go is worth it’s weight in gold. So just to recap:
- You need a gig bag. It can be any bag, but it needs to be reasonably secure and it needs to hold everything that’s on your list.
- You need a check list. It can be on paper, printed off from your computer, it can be a digital list on your phone or tablet. Wherever it is, it needs to be able to be edited, reproduced and always to hand.
- You need to spend some time thinking about your check list. What things have you arrived at a gig and realized you haven’t brought with you? What things have happened, like a broken g string, that ruined your gig?
- Do something about it now.
I hope this little article full of obvious things will help you to go forward. I used the word obvious as a bit of an oxymoron, you know, like common sense? Have fun setting up your gig bag and remember, whenever you find there was something you needed and didn’t have, put it on your guitar gig bag checklist straight away.