TECH TIPS: 15 Other Things You Really Should Have in Your Gig Bag (Besides the Guitar)

Here is a great check list from our friends at Fender.

Gig bags—those bastions of convenience for the working musician—have undergone something of a renaissance in the past decade or so. They're cooler looking, tougher and more utilitarian than ever before, as attested by all manner of water-resistant fabrics, comfortably padded shoulder straps and the part we love best: all those cool pockets.

Even a modest gig bag of today has room for several other accoutrements besides the instrument it was designed to transport, so we've compiled a list of 15 Other Things You Really Should Have in Your Gig Bag:

  1. 1. Strings. Most important. Don't be the guy who didn't have a spare set of strings when one broke halfway through the first set.

  2. 2. String winder. And don't be the guy who had a spare string but took half an hour to replace it.

  3. 3. A tuner. A small digital one will suffice. There is absolutely no reason in this enlightened technological age to say things like, "Hey, would you give me an E?"

  4. 4. Another strap. In case you forget your usual one for some strange reason. Or if it breaks. Or if another guy in your band forgot his. It's inevitable.

  5. 5. Another cord. The day will come when you hear the maddeningly annoying crackle of a bad cable. Be ready for it.

  6. 6. Picks. These are always disappearing; probably to the same mysterious void your other sock went.

  7. 7. A pen. Indispensable for everything—signing merch, making set lists, labeling the soundboard, getting numbers, emergency tracheotomies, etc.

  8. 8. Tape. Duct tape or black gaffer tape, for which there are so many uses that we won't even attempt to start listing them all.

  9. 9. Power strip. When you show up at the gig, count on there not being enough outlets.

  10. 10. 9-volt batteries. Not every rehearsal or gig is near a convenience store. A must-have spare for effects pedals and active instruments.

  11. 11. Ground lift. Spend the buck-fifty and get the little adaptor that will reduce hum, accommodate ancient two-prong outlets and occasionally save you from being zapped by your mic.

  12. 12. Flashlight. Just a little one, small enough to hold between clenched teeth. Indispensable at bars, most of which are monuments to inadequate lighting. When setting up and adjusting your gear, it helps if you can actually see your gear.

  13. 13. Business cards. You really should have these anyway if you're working consistently. But you still need the pen.

  14. 14. Ibuprofen. Two words: club owners.

  15. 15. Some paper. For set lists, notes, song charts, on-the-spot lyrical inspiration and myriad other uses. They say Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope. On the way to the gig.

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