Gig Checklists


Jim Dunlop Tortex Fin PicksInspired by a post called Gig Preparation, I thought I’d make some checklists.  I think we’ll need one (and a half) for our stuff, one for setting up the gig, and one for doing stuff at the gig.  The lists would change depending on who’s working the gig or who set it up, but you should be able to help with the flow of things even if you’re not the organizer.  This is also from the point of view of a guitar player, because that’s all I’ve ever been.  I’m guessing it would be the same for a bass player & quite similar for a drummer.

Gig Checklists…

-·♠·-

Before the gig:

☐ Get all the details in order:

☐ The bands
☐ The place
☐ The time
☐ The price
☐ All ages or 21+
☐ Is it a benefit?
☐ Any specials if it’s a bar?
☐ Selling tickets?

.
Promote!

☐ …using social media - Link the crap out of details/event pages.
Flyers - Hang ‘em up, pass ‘em out.
☐ Word of mouth

.
☐ Communicate with the other bands…

☐ Sharing equipment? - Cut down on changeovers between bands.
☐ Playing order?

.
☐ Do you need your own door person?

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Stuff to take:

☐ Guitar - In a case or gig bag, I actually saw a guy use a bath-towel once.
☐ Backup guitar(s) - Don’t kill the show when you break a string.
☐ Amp head & cab (or combo)
☐ The merch box(es)
☐ Your gig backpack or briefcase. (“What’s that.” you ask? Keep reading!)

.

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An acoustic guitar string. 0.044-inch (1.117 m...I make sure to have my backpack full o’ stuff with me at every gig.  Over the years, every item in it has proved useful and one time or another.

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In The Gig Backpack or Briefcase:

☐ Tuner (Get a pedal one, so no one can hear you tune.)
Wireless system (Certainly not a necessity, but fun.)
9V battery (Are the lithium ones OK for pedals?)
☐ Guitar cables (1 more than you need)
☐ Speaker cables (1 more than you need)
Strings (At least a full set, …any leftovers you’ve got should be in there.)
☐ Extra power cord
Power Strip (w/ Circuit Breaker)
3-Prong to 2-Prong adapter (or 2)
Duct Tape or Gaff Tape (or both… Gaff doesn’t leave a mess.)
☐ Tablet (Setlists, Merch Prices, Boredom)
☐ A sharpie or 2 (Setlists, Rock Star Autographs)
☐ A Leatherman-type tool. (Crazy or not-so crazy.)
☐ Guitar picks (I use Jim Dunlop Fins.)
☐ An Extra Strap
☐ Flashlight (A really bright one helps)
☐ Extension Cord

[::( )::]

Stuff that I don’t have, but might be a good idea…

☐ Pedal(s) - Wah, Distortion, Foot Switch, Etc.
Mic clip(s)
String Winder
☐ Pick strip or holder
Slide / eBow / Capo
☐ Strap locks
Trem poker
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Nail clippers
☐ acetaminophen / ibuprofen / aspirin
☐ Band-aids
☐ Cloth or towel

.

\m/_(-_-)_\m/

At the gig:

☐ Set stuff on the stage for the 1st band & any bands sharing
Backline the “main” act if there is one & set up in front of them.
☐ Tune (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song! – Tune your backup guitar too.)
Let the Sound Technician do their job.
☐ Set up a Merch Table/Corner/Counter/Box.
☐ Put your door person at the door.
☐ Using a setlist? Reach into that backpack & get one made!
☐ Have a drink? Water, Beer, or something harder.
☐ Tune Again (Silently! – No one likes the tuning song!)
☐ Unless you’re awesome & have a tech, get a string-wingman.

.

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Danelectro Vintage Power Source A cool looking...

I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting, but I think this is a pretty decent start.  What do you think I’m missing from the list?  Do you have an emergency gig kit?  What’s in it?

D'Andrea Gmk1 Guitar Cleaner Maintenance Kit

11 responses to “Gig Checklists

  1. Great list, I have a list but not nearly as thorough. Mine usually grows as I have an oh shit moment. One that I have on my list is extra tubes if you use a tube amp, had a major oh shit moment relating to that. Others you might consider is a cheap multimeter and an outlet tester, after a bad experience with a bar I never trust anyone’s electricity, now I know for sure if the voltage is correct and the outlet is wired correctly before plugging in. Oh, another tip is always tell the lead singer the gig is an hour earlier than it really is so they can’t blame traffic for not getting there in time to help setup.

    • An Extra Tube really is a good idea. I might have to do that!

      If the electricity is “off” some place, do you not play? Ha ha.

      HA… the singer. I like to be in bands where there is no one that just sings… for a multitude of reasons.

  2. You bring a lot more stuff than me. I like to keep it simple otherwise I’d leave stuff behind.

    . amp head + cab
    . main guitar in hard case: pen/marker, extra strings, 9V battery, needle head pliers, screwdriver, setlist from 3 bands ago that should be trashed
    . backup guitar in gig bag
    . Magic Bag: amp electric cord, speaker cable, 2 guitar cables, tuner pedal, picks, wrist/sweat band, duct tape if i remember it

    I used to carry a small flashlight on my keychain but I dont even do that anymore. Keeping it simple is where I’m going for.

  3. I do tune both guitars prior to the start of the first band. Then I tune the one I’m playing again as we get on stage while the drummer takes forever to set his shit up.

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