Back by popular demand, I'm here to add a few more things to the list of what you need to troubleshoot any potential situation at a gig. If you read my last article, you've already become accustomed to marking and fixing your gear. Here are some more items that tend to go awry or missing during gigs that you'll definitely want to keep an eye on. Thanks to sstony for bringing a couple ah-duh items to my attention that I overlooked in my last article while I was busy dragging my knuckles and drooling on the keyboard. Let's get started, shall we?
First, extra cables. This includes all sorts. Microphone, , Patch, etc. If it plugs into something during your gig, you should have another one to back it up. Cables, more often than not, are prime culprits for a dead signal at any point in your signal chain. Let's face it, they get stepped on, tattered, thrown around, battered, used by drummers as floss the list goes on. It's important to have a few spares. Everyone's had a cable dud out on them at some point in their career, we all know the pain.
Next on the list we have batteries. I accidentally left this last one off the list, as I run all my power through a daisy chain for my pedals, hence my feverous importance on power strips. The other half doesn't use power like this; however, they use batteries for their maybe one or two pedals. For this extra 9volts are absolutely essential. It's pretty easy to pick up on when your power starts to go down, and I've heard it happen to more than one person at more than one gig. It's easy to buy a big pack and just throw it in the back of your amp so you have it whenever you need it. We all know that's where you keep all your other guitar odds and ends anyway.
If you've never broken a string at a show; you're lucky, but you're not immortal. Most people I know have broken strings at shows and had to completely stop it to fix the problem. I've always been lucky enough to have a second guitar in which to truck on with, but not everyone has that luxury. Always keep an extra set of strings. There's always a guy who just brought his shitty guitar as-is, breaks it, then expects someone to lend him their much better and well-maintained guitar so the set can be finished. Don't be that guy,' because I'm sure as hell not lending you one of mine.
Recon. Take a moment, if you've the time and distance, to go check out the venue a couple days before you actually play there. This will allow for you to plan on who stands where, where who is plugged in, where you're going to release the giant inflatable pigs, etc. It's also great for you to start establishing a relationship with the staff at the venue (for which is the topic of my next article). Nothing is more important to a pre-gig than information. If you know who's coming, what conditions you have to set up under, the venue's resources, and everything else, you're given the power to plan ahead, thus eliminating all the what-ifs' that come with trying to get a good show cookin'.
Lastly, as I said last time, the biggest factor is you. Your ability to stay flexible and adapt to the situation will ultimately decide the success of the show. These are all just tools that will make your job that much easier. If you have any questions I'd be happy to discuss them with you. Add/PM me or just comment below.
Thanks for reading, and happy axe-slaying!