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The Musician's Survival Guide

Packing a few extra items in your road kit can make the difference between a great show and a dismal failure.

You're playing a showcase gig to grab a possible recording contract or get into the best venue in the area. Suddenly, disaster strikes!

Your guitar amp stops working, the drummer breaks a head, the lead singer's mic shorts out after it falls into a pitcher of beer, and a clumsy patron trips over a speaker cable and breaks the plug right off. It's 12:30 AM and there's no music store open.

How do you get through the rest of the gig?

Accidents happen. And they seem to occur at the worst possible times. That's why a survival kit can get you through the gig, make you a hero, and maybe land you that recording contract! (Well, two out of three ain't bad!)

Suggested Contents of Your Gig Emergency Kit
gaffer's tape
scissors
XLR to 1/4" adapters  
XLR mic cable
thumb tacks
bandaids
pocket knife
screwdriver
small flashlight
toenail clippers
$5 in change
duct tape
replacement AC cable (computer-type)
aspirin
electrician's tape
audio adapters (1/8" to 1/4", RCA to 1/4", etc.)
1/4" jumbo plug with screw connectors
Sharpie® permanent marker
pen or pencil
paper tablet (small)
cellular phone
phone numbers

Guitarists will also need replacement strings, picks, strap, trem wrench(es), vibrato arm, key for cases, fuses for amp.

If you're a drummer, pack extra replacement heads, drum key, lugs, and a spare strap for your bass pedal, unless you use a chain-drive pedal.

Gaffer's or duct tape is probably the most indispensable. Duct tape is the cheaper of the two, but it leaves behind a sticky residue. Gaffer's tape costs more, but peels off cleanly so you can tape cords to floors, set lists to monitors or walls, repair microphones, affix mics to stands, attach mic stand bases to floors, banners to walls, keep finicky AC cables attached to amps, and lots more. When the gig is over, peel it, toss it, and you're done.

And you'll find lots of uses for the cash. Use it to make calls from a pay phone, pay for parking when setting up, or grab a quick burger before the gig! Better keep your cash stash a secret, though, or it'll be gone when you really need it.

Oh, and toenail clippers are about the smallest sized wire cutters you can find. Use 'em to repair cords, clip guitar strings, or even ... cut your nails!

Best of all, your survival kit will save you time. Even if a 24-hour convenience store is open, it may be across town when the emergency happens. It's not worth the risk of being fired from a gig because you were late getting back from a break. Not to mention that some of the coolest places to play aren't in the best of neighborhoods. Be safe out there!


American Recorder (ART) Gig Box
American Recorder (ART) Gig Box

Hosa 2-in. Gaffer's Tape 60 Yards Black
Hosa 2" Gaffer's Tape 60 Yards Black

American Recorder (ART) George Lynch Guitar Survival Kit
American Recorder (ART) George Lynch Guitar Survival Kit

Zildjian Survival Kit
Zildjian Survival Kit

Fender Electric Guitar Survival Pack
Fender Electric Guitar Survival Pack

Musician's Friend Gig Light Silver
Musician's Friend Gig Light Silver

Monster Cable Powerline 100 Upgrade Power Cord 8 Foot
Monster Cable Powerline 100 Upgrade Power Cord 8 Foot


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