Some people take up an instrument like guitar, drums or piano simply for the fun of playing alone. But most musicians dream of playing in front of a live audience one day! When that day finally comes don’t let it be ruined because you forgot to pack all the little accessories that make a gig happen. The worst feeling in the world is standing in front of a crowd of music lovers and suddenly realizing that you just lost your last guitar pick!
A performing musician’s survival pack will consist of different items depending on the instrument you play but there are some basic things any musician needs to get through a gig. First, everyone needs power so packing extra extension cords is a no brainer. But do you have any ground lift adapters? A ground lift adapter allows you to fit a three-prong electric plug into a two-prong outlet. While grounding electrical devices like amplifiers is always safer, many venues have no three prong outlets near the stage. Ground lifts are available for less than a dollar, so pick up a bunch the next time you’re at a hardware store.
Speaking of grounding, make sure you have a direct box. A direct box, or D.I. box is a wonderful device that can save a gig in more ways than one. Without getting too technical, direct boxes convert a high-level instrument signal to a low-level one. They are useful for plugging guitars into microphone jacks on a P.A. system. But more importantly, they have a magical ability to eliminate ground hum from an instrument’s sound. You can get a direct box for under $100 and any musician that uses an electrical instrument should have one.
A few more items like extra instrument cables, a folding music stand, flash light, and duct tape round out the basics. The rest of the items in you musical survival pack will vary by instrument. Guitar players should obviously have extra guitar strings a picks. Drummers should have extra drum heads and sticks. Horn players need extra reeds, but what about keyboard players? Keyboards don’t really have parts that wear out at a moment’s notice like other instruments. But they do have something that can easily be lost.
Most keyboard players never think about their power adapter until they misplace it! Adapters are often specific to the keyboard brand so you can’t just replace them with any old cord from a hardware store. Whenever I buy a new keyboard I immediately order an extra power adapter from the manufacturer.
My musical survival pack has saved several gigs. I always love the look of relief on my guitar player’s face when a horrible electric hum goes away because I packed a D.I. box. Or, how happy my singer looks when a simple roll of duct tape repairs a broken microphone stand. Performing musicians practice too hard to let a missing guitar pick or broken drum head ruin a gig. So, get the items for your survival pack to-day, and don’t let anything stop the show!