I've been playing live for years and it never surprises me that you manage to learn something new from each gig. On the weekend I did 2 gigs in two days (one on Sat, one on Sun). Here's what I learnt.

1. (First Gig)
Soundcheck goes really well, ran through some songs and randoms applaud. Everything is good. At the very end, I make one last check to make sure that the sound is ok for me to jump in and start. I play, the sound is low, it has lost a lot of tone. What? That's weird. I go to my drummer, "does this sound like it's lost tone?". "Yes" with confused look on his face.

I remove my lead from the effects and play directly into the amp. Tone is back...interesting. Unplug all leads, straighten each lead out, replug, tone is still gone.

Ahhh...I get it now.

I turn the wah pedal off.

Lesson: Usually the simplest answer is the correct one. Also if you've lost tone mysteriously, it's probably because that pedal which controls your tone is on.

2. (First Gig)
On one of my songs my guitar goes notably out of tune, extremely rare for my guitars which are all set up great. In between those songs I tune up and start again. It was rushed. The next song is played completely with me out of tune. Try to tune inbetween for next song, rushed again, still out of tune for next song ****!

I can't tune, I feel helpless, this has never happened before. Why is this guitar acting so funky, I'm loosing audience attention due to extended breaks between songs.

Ahh....I get it now.

I grab my other guitar, which is in tune, and complete the set.

Lesson: If you're out of tune, instead of tuning on stage, grab another available guitar if possible. Otherwise invest in a pedal tuner, not a separate one. Speed is the key.

3. (Second Gig)
On one of the songs I need to use a capo. I know I packed it, I can't find it anywhere? Singer is looking at me going, "we need that right? what do we do?", I don't know, I swear I brought it up with me. I've got the car keys in my hand ready to rush out. I know I can transcribe the song in my head, but it definately isn't going to be perfect. Where the hell is my capo?

Ahh...I get it now.

It's in my back pocket. I pull it out, singer pokes her tongue out at me and we continue with the set.

Lesson: Keep the capo on the top of your guitar.

4. (Second Gig)
I switch to my acoustic guitar. To my horror it is notably out of tune, despite tuning it 15 mins earlier. I quickly anticipate switching back to my electric, but want to tune without unplugging from the sound system; it's too much hassle. Tuning sounds like crap, I'll have to do it quickly here. How can I tune without annoying people?

Ahh...I get it now.

I tune with reference to the harmonics, audience members are facinated by this; most people haven't seen it before.

Lesson: Learn to tune by harmonics, at the very least it sounds better to an onlooker.

5. (Both gigs)
They were both outside. I brought bottles of water on stage with me, however got very burnt.

Lesson: Wear a hat and sunscreen.

An interesting thing to note was that the guitars both went out of tune in the sun. I'm not sure whether this is relevant, but I'm going to put a towel over my guitar rack in case the heat affected the tuning.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
the lesson for the fourth one should be... buy a tuning lock...
and no... heat doesn't affect the strings in a span of 15 minutes (come on!?)
you didnt have much luck over these two gigs, did u?.

Interesting thread tho
Im not ready to play any gigs myself yet, but the tips will definitely come in useful later when i am.
Did you know that 37% of all statistics are made up on the spot?
man, tuning kept killing me this weekend too. the back room where the guitars were kept was pretty chilly, but out front, the temperature was way higher.
i had my guitar tuned and ready to go backstage but as soon as i stepped on stage, the temperature coupled with my new strings, just made the strings drop about an eighth of a step.
usually not a problem, but there's two guitar players in the band. his strings were fine, mine decided to go crazy.
all in all, an okay weekend though.
by the end of the set, we were rockin.
Quote by suppashredda
the lesson for the fourth one should be... buy a tuning lock...
and no... heat doesn't affect the strings in a span of 15 minutes (come on!?)

Wait, tuning lock on an acoustic guitar?

Buying a tuning lock would not help you if you are on stage with an out of tune guitar; I'm just suggesting a quick fix.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
I don't want to be a dick - but those aren't the kind of lessons you should be learning during a live gig...

Those are just careless errors.

You could have avoided all of that with a little planning.....and a pedal tuner!

Gibson '57 Les Paul Reissue
Marshall TSL 601
EHX: Big Muff, Metal Muff, Small Stone, POG, 2880
Ibanez TS808
Voodoo Labs Microvibe
Analogman Chorus
Morley Bad Horsie II
Keeley Compressor (C4)
Nova Delay
MXR 10-band EQ
Your band should make a check list of things to bring and do before a gig. My drummer brings a practice pad around everywhere, I tune the guitars and basses. It's good to give everyone a job and make sure they do it.

Holy Knight of the Crusading Order of the Stratocaster.

MIA Fender Stratocaster
MIA Fender Telecaster
MI? Fender TC-90

Fender Hot Rod Deville
Blackstar HT5, HT40

various pedals
You guys are assuming that I don't do all those things before a gig. Guitars go out of tune sometimes, it's a fact of life. During gigs, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. That is why there are so many "nightmare gig" stories.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
^ thanks for posting, but "Advanced Techniques"? Really?

I'ma moving this to bandleading, but good points raised. The last gig I played was a student concert for my music school, and they had misinformed my boss regarding which cables and connectors they had at the venue. He had to create a whole new system for 2 guitars, 1 bass and relevant stompboxes for the above, 1 electric drumkit, 1 acoustic drum kit, 4 vocal mics, all of which being recorded on a laptop throughout the gig as well as going out through the house speakers... in about 4 hours. Everything worked except the electric kit.
Nice thread! I hope more ppl would make threads like this other than making polls like who's hotter.
Hmm pretty cool yeah having alist of what to bring and to do is the best way to avoid it...
also have a little box where all the stuff (accessories) like extra strings, picks capos straps are all together so ya don need to search all the bags with you to find the thing ya need
the first lesson is what as known as 'occam's razor'
Last edited by richymisiak at Dec 9, 2008,