It’s funny. Now that I’m playing “acoustic” music (i.e., Gypsy Jazz), it seem I'm carrying around more gear than ever before.
Ever been to a gig where you had everything you need from the PA system to spare ink pens, and you realize you forgot your guitar?! I have; not fun.
Anyways, I thought I’d jot down a few tips I learned by setting up and tearing down a gahzillion gigs. I hope you can pipe in with your tips as well.
-- When you arrive at a gig, be polite and respect the business that hired you. First impressions are important. It’s possible to lose your next gig without playing one note...
-- When loading in gear, don’t clutter your stage area with guitar cases, gear bags, clothing etc. Keep all that stuff off to the side while you set up your gear. And introduce new gear to the stage only as you need it. (Hint: The last thing you need on your stage is your guitar…)
-- Set up the PA first; then check it out with an iPod or CD player. There’s no bigger drag than being on stage, ready to go, and finding out your PA isn’t working.
-- Second, set up your mic stands and mics. Quickly check your mics. Then set up your music stands, chairs and guitar stands.
-- Tune up your guitars AT LEAST 15 minutes prior to the first set. This is my best tip! Nothing steals the thunder from your show like badly tuned instruments and having to stop and tune once the gig begins. If you don’t make it a point to tune up your guitar 15 minutes prior to the first set, you risk forgetting to do it since things often get crazy right before the gig starts.
-- Leave your guitar cases off the stage. After everything is set up, THEN bring your guitars to the stage. Quickly check your volume, and then stay still and quiet while others go through their sound check.
-- Don’t fidget with licks while sitting on stage between sets or while waiting for the band to get ready. Respect the stage. It is where you perform; use it only for your performance (except for very short sound checks). Anything you do on stage will be observed by your audience.
-- Finally, the time you spend on stage is why you do what you do. All the headaches setting up gigs, dealing with clubs and restaurants, promotions, emails, moving equipment, practicing material, etc., are endured for the small moments you are on stage. When you are on stage, leave everything else behind. You can deal with all your others issues 3 sets later when you’re on your way home. Those issues will still be waiting for you; at least you’ll have a good gig behind you.
So, how’z about it? Anyone else have some tips?