Sunday, November 29, 2009

Considering the Every-Gig Carry

Ever heard the phrase "Every Day Carry"? I have a similar phrase in mind: Every-Gig Carry. (Kinda telegraphed it with the title, didn't I?) This is the stuff that, every time I go out to play, I carry. The stuff I have shoved in the gear bag.

Yeah, I bring an instrument. I have a multi-effects pedal and three outboard (tremolo, compress/sustain, wah) plus a selection of cables.

But that's not it.

This is the rest of my Every-Gig Carry.

  • String Sets: I try to always carry at least one spare set for anything I'm really playing, which means my electric and A/E guitars. What may make me weird is that I keep my old and empty sets. Try to remember what I have now, what I used to have. Is that weird?

  • Hardware: I have a pair of washers I used to use as string locks. I have the black pickguard that came with Blanc. I have the old bridge and control plate from my #1 and a volume speed-knob from the Les Paul lap steel. I also have 2 spare sets of bridge pins.

  • Screwdrivers: In theory, I should never have to pull out the screwdrivers during a gig, because the screwdrivers adjust intonation, and if you change a string in a gig, it should be the same gauge string as before and thus intonating correctly. I have 2 multi-bit screwdrivers and two phillips head screwdrivers.

  • Allen Wrenches: I need one big one for adjusting the truss rod on the acoustic. I also need small ones to adjust the bridges of the electrics. I have a few loose ones and a Guit-Tool, which is evidently no longer for sale. They're cool, like a swiss-army knife with screwdrivers and allen wrenches and, well, a fairly worthless wire cutter.

  • Wire Cutter: These are what Alton Brown would call multitaskers, because yeah you can clip strings, but if you have something like a book or catalog to protect the cover, you can use them to pull bridge pins. I carry two because? I don't know. One of 'em is kinda useless anymore for string snipping, anyway.

  • String Winder: It was meant to be a multitasker, but the pin puller in it has never been effective for string pulling for me.

  • Whammy Bar: No guitar in the house takes a whammy bar. Why do I carry this?

  • Capos: The two I no longer use. The wrap-around I find useful because it keeps the strings together when I change all the strings at once.

  • Feeler Gauge : When I do the whole hog for a setup, it means relief. This means putting a capo on the first fret (another reason to pack a capo) and fretting the pickup side of the last pickup. You then use a feeler gauge to check the distance between the string and the 8th fret. Which I only do when I change strings.

  • Battery: 9 Volt. Don't know if it's still good. Does anyone need 9 volts besides guitar players anymore? What else takes a 9 volt?

  • Sharpie: Some day I WILL need it. I just hope it isn't dry by then.

  • Velcro: There can be no modern rock music without velcro, duck tape and milk crates. Believe it.

  • Pot Cleaner: I had some scratchy pots. I might be good on scratchy pots for the next decade.

  • Nail Clippers: This one is kind of a mongrel, being curved out and not in, so it doesn't fit the shape of the toenail. But if you have fingernails on the fret hands that won't let you fret, you can't play like that, so there you go.

  • Scrunchies: I learned this one from Greg Howe. If you're playing legato or fingertapping or sometimes even just hard, sometimes your fingers are to busy to mute strings, and if you have open strings ringing, you sound bad. So, throw on a scrunchie. Jennifer Batten has a cool damper thing, but a scrunchie is cheaper, and allows you the chance to do like Greg and color-coordinate to your guitar. These were 6 for 99 cents, and black like my #1.

The thing is, I'm sure that a good chunk of that should not be an Every-Gig Carry. And seeing that I just got a great deal at Sears for a stewardess suitcase to use as a gear case, it's a good time to rethink what I'm carrying.

So, what do you carry with you each time? What should I box up and leave at home?

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