Is your guitar and gear ready for for your gig?

By: Mark Turko

Things to Consider

         There are many things to consider when getting your self ready to take your guitar out into the world and start performing. Getting yourself prepared and being ready for for a performance could be the difference to having a situation handled with ease or a complete disaster. Don't be that guy or girl that has a disaster. Get your guitar and your guitar gear ready for situations that may arise at a show. A little preventative preparation can save the day.

First Things First

         The first thing you want to address in preparation for a show is that your guitar or guitars are in proper functioning order. Make sure all your volume pots, input jacks and whatever electronics may be part of the guitar are functioning properly. Having that scratchy volume pot may not cause a show to cancel but will definitely make you look less professional. Also, be sure to have your intonation regularly check by a professional to ensure all that cool stuff you play above the 12th fret will still sound in tune. Having semi annual check ups with a qualified guitar tech / luthier will ensure your guitar sounds it's best. Last but not least, change your strings. It's isn't always necessary to change just prior to every show if you just recently changed them. If your unsure if they are still good, change your strings. This will give you guitar better clarity and help with tuning stability.

Acoustic Guitar Players

         If your an acoustic guitar player and all you do is take one guitar cable out of your guitar, give it to the sound engineer at the venue and heplugs it into the PA then your preparation is done. Just be sure to bring an extra cable or two. One of your back up cables should be brand new and never used , still with the packaging from the store so you can easily identify it as brand new. All others who have more gear than that read on.

Amplifier and Pedals

         For those of you who use amplifiers and pedals the amount of preparation is increase but having a check list of supplies to have on hand will lessen the chance that your rig wont “go down” for the rest of the night. If it does stop working it could be an easy fix with the proper resources at hand will get you back up and running quickly.

Cables And Extras

         Always bring extra cables, tubes, fuses, picks , strings. These are staples that should never be overlooked and be under supplied. Also consider having back up power for your pedals if you use them. There are rechargeable batteries now that can power your whole pedal board if your power supply to them decides not to work. You also can always keep fresh batteries in them and disconnect the AC barrel jack and run on battery power as well. Some newer pedals don't run on battery power at all. In these cases you can have a few 9V to 2.1mm barrel jack connectors to operate you pedal with a battery externally. In addition to having extra guitar cables you should have a handful of new shorter cables for in between pedals on hand as well.

         You want to keep all of these items in a specific bag or container all in one place so everything is easy to find. Keep all of these items separate from your regular supply of accessories. This will ensure that when you NEED it at a show it will be there. Do not dip into you gig stash of accessories at home, go buy more for your home use. Check your gig stash regularly and replenish immediately of some items that may have been used.

Nightmare Scenario

         If the nightmare scenario of an amplifier stops working mid performance and there's no time to troubleshoot to see if its a fuse, have a back up plan in place. I get my gain and effects from a pedals so I always have a direct box with a cabinet simulator built in handy to add to the end of my effects chain and can go directly in the PA system if necessary. If that is not an option for you, an all in one pedal board with built in effects/gain/ speaker simulator might do the trick in a pinch. It won't be “your” tone but will get you through the night.


         Last but not least, bring a backup guitar! If you don't have one borrow one. Even new strings can break at any time and that perfectly functioning output jack could stop working at any time. Be sure to get to the venue early enough so your set up is not rushed, if possible, and give yourself time to warm up for the best possible sounding and guitar playing performance. 

About the author:

Mark Turko is a professional guitarist with over 25 years of playing and teaching experience in Connecticut. If you are interested in electric or acoustic guitar lessons in the Orange CT, Prospect CT, Bethany CT, Cheshire CT .or any other towns in the greater New Haven area please be sure to contact Mark 

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