This is a rather subjective list as different gigs necessitates different needs, however there are some baser level pieces of equiptment that usually come in handy no matter what the situation. Here’s my top 5 list of essential pieces of gear to keep in your gig bag.
1: The Multitool:
The only thing certain about a gig is that nothing goes perfectly according to plan. Whether it’s a last minute neck adjustment or an emergency string change, you can rest easy knowing that you came prepared with your trusty multitool!
2: Extra instrument cables:
I cannot stress enough how important it is to carry a spare cable or two. Imagine, you’re up on stage tuned and ready to kill. You flip off the stand by switch and immediately realize something is very, very, wrong. Losing output? Excess noise? Switch your cable!! Also don’t be cheap. Buy quality cables and save yourself some grief. I recommend Mogami.
3: EXTRA STRINGS
Ok this should be a no brainer. We all break strings from time to time. Carry an extra set always! There’s really no reason not to. I recommend D’Addario, they’re not the cheapest but their packaging keeps your strings from corroding prematurely.
4: Picks (plectrums)
One can never have enough picks. I mean they seemingly disappear into small inaccessible pocket dimensions once they leave your fingers, so you might as well stock up. There are a seemingly infinite amount of companies that produce guitar picks. I use Windspear custom plectrums from the UK. I find that the taper helps prevent me from over gripping. Essential to avoid repeat stress injuries.
5: String dampener
This is probably the least essential item on the list, but it’s my list and I like it. String dampeners are these super simple devices that are totally brilliant. String dampeners reduce sympathetic resonance and cuts the overtone series. Basically it’s a third hand that can help mute unwanted noise during complex passages or dense texture situations. I use Gruv Gear fretwraps. They’re pretty inexpensive and come in a variety of color and sizes.
So there you have it folks. That’s my top 5 essential pieces of gear I keep in my gig bag. Remember that there’s no such thing as overprepared when it comes to giging. Keep these items in your gig bag and I guarantee you that you’ll be prepared for whatever situation that arises.