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Bringing a Backup?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by MilwMark, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    How often do you use your backup guitar at a show?

    I always used to bring a second guitar. Sometimes I still do.

    But after awhile I noticed I never used it. Unless I manufactured an excuse to do so.

    So lately I've been bringing one. If it's a really big show or we're getting paid a lot, I'll bring two. But I never really use the second one, unless it's out of spite. Today we played to a packed house for two and a half hours. Probably 200 people jammed in the bar. I brought a backup, but sized up the stage and the crowd and put it back in the car.

    I have three electrics. I like all of them a lot. Any of them will make good enough sounds and play well enough. Once I pick one up for a show, I don't like to put it down.

    I remember bringing 3 to some shows early on. And finding a reason to use each of them.

    We have no roadies or techs, so I really like the flow that comes with playing only one.

    So do you guys bring a backup? If you do, do you use it? Because you need to? Or because you find a reason to "need" to?
  2. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Jan 23, 2007
    I bring one extra guitar , usually play the same guitar all the way through
    Also bring an extra amp , just a 1/12 combo. If not too far away , it stays in the car
  3. TimothyC

    TimothyC Tele-Afflicted

    May 12, 2016
    I bring a backup combo and guitar. I've never had to use them, but they seem to cover for other short comings in the band.
  4. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    no back-up guitar but YES, a backup amp. I carry a GK MB200 in my gig bag ! I have needed it once in the last couple of years. I tilted the SS amp that I used back against the wall, it overheated and shut down ! ( shame on me ) .

    Stopped bringing backup guitars years ago , they just sat on stands and looked good. Other than that they never got played.
    Durtdog likes this.
  5. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    I always use two guitars. I always carry a backup guitar amp and back up PA PWR amp. I don't think any of this new tube stuff is as reliable as it was 45 or 50 years ago.
  6. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Holic

    Mar 19, 2014
    Madrid, Spain, EU
    I, well... WE carry one backup guitar. Just in case. One backup guitar for the band. We are two guitar players that play Telecasters but the backup is a Ginson SG. Is not very professional stopping the gig and change the string. I'm not as fast as Wilko Jonhson...

    For me is like having a condom in my wallet... Is better bringing it and not using it that need it and don't have any!!!!
  7. acrylicsuperman

    acrylicsuperman Tele-Holic

    Nov 17, 2010
    I always bring a spare. Most of the time, it doesnt get used but i have had some moments where i thought i would never need one only to discover that i did in fact need the spare.
  8. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    That's my approach as well. The importance of the show dictates. It's not that some shows don't matter... it's that some shows are casual and some are not. EG: When you get 45 minutes on a festival stage.... I always bring a backup!

    Then there are fly in gigs, which I do often. I can only bring one guitar on those even though they are always big shows, sometimes there is no choice.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
    Jakedog, Dennyf and MilwMark like this.
  9. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I use my backup (avatar) fairly often.
    I prefer my #1 Chet, but when I need a B bender, it gets pressed into service.
    I am very much a Boy Scout (on the bandstand) and I am prepared for both my emergencies, and the emergencies of my bandmates.
  10. Strum und Twang

    Strum und Twang Tele-Meister

    Sep 4, 2011
    Amarillo, TX
    I always have some manner of backup. I’m frequently playing out with both acoustic and electric - and our sets are such that I can finish a set with either one .

    Recently, I’ve been taking just the Tele and my PR to gigs, but another Tele and a Vox Pathfinder are ready to go in the trunk...

    And I like Brookdalebill’s image of the “band stand Boy Scout.”
    Twang Deluxe likes this.
  11. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

    Feb 14, 2014
    Denver, co
    It really depends on the show. If it is a festival type show or something on a big stage I bring my two Tele's: One with a B-Bender and one without. However, I can do any show with just one guitar. I change the strings every two shows so I never have to worry about string breakage.

    Honestly, and I hate to admit this, but sometimes it has a lot to do with how hard the load in is! If it is a late night and a load in from hell like the one here, then it is one guitar!

  12. Kingpin

    Kingpin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    A backup amp is more important than a backup guitar, but backup tubes are the most important of all!

    I've had amps crap out a few times over the years, but it was always just a quick tube replacement fix. That said, I always have a small spare amp or POD in the car.

    I've never had guitar problems. Not even one broken string! Still, I generally keep my old '79 Strat onstage because I occasionally feel the need to quack.

    The day I don't bring backups is the day I'll finally need them.
  13. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    I bring an amp as I use mostly vintage amps. I should bring a guitar and have been neglecting lately. My guitars are Clapton strat mid-boost equipped, so more electronics in there to go wrong, although never have.
  14. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2013
    I used to bring a backup guitar, till I tripped on the stand and crashed it.
    And a backup amp, is like saying " I bought the wrong amp".
    Instead I pack some strings and a preamp tube.
  15. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Meister

    Mar 15, 2012
    I'll use my backup maybe 5%-15% of my gigs. Whether it's a broken or damaged string (cut the winding on a string not too long ago), it's nice to have a backup. If i'm just not playing well i'll switch it out for a set. I read something a long time ago that if you're going to be gigging out you really should have a backup for every critical piece of gear.
  16. Rockerfeller

    Rockerfeller Tele-Meister

    Feb 14, 2014
    Denver, co
    Or it is saying "I will never be in the situation again where my amp quit working and ruined a gig."

    I always bring a EH 22 caliber. It is a 22 watt amp in a foot pedal. It is easy to switch out if you lose a tube mid set. 5 minute switch over and your back to playing/. Yes the tone is different, but the crowd won't know.

    I have never needed the 22, but I did blow a Celestion Gold once at a gig in a 1/12 cab with no back up. I just told the guys, to keep playing, and I sang back up and played air guitar the rest of the night. Seriously, nobody even noticed!
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
    Jakedog, Shango66 and jimash like this.
  17. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

    Jan 23, 2007
    Im the same , the day I dont bring anything , I will need it, surely
    My son is the other guitarist , and we share the extra guitar and amp
    None of Us bring spare strings or tubes
    I have a large bag of extra power and instrument cables.I allways bring an extra power supply for pedal boards , and an old strap in that same bag..
    Macrogats likes this.
  18. jackal

    jackal Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Jun 14, 2010
    mojave desert
    I always have a back-up guitar that usually stays in the car. I've used a couple of times due to switch failures. I also have a back-up amp head, mic, cables of all kinds, power supplies etc.
    Rockerfeller likes this.
  19. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

    Nov 5, 2013
    That 22 caliber does sound handy.
    But seriously, I have blown speakers and heard noises that needed attention, but never have I had an amp quit working at a gig.
    If I thought there was a remote chance that it might, I'd get something else.
    Not letting the smoke out is one of the reasons to play Fender amps in the first place.
  20. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Holic

    Feb 9, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Me too. And if there's a number two, it may stay in the car. Definitely stay in the case unless needed. (It's never come out of the case so far.)

    Amps: I think I've taken a spare on maybe three occasions. I used to carry a spare set of tubes in the gigbag (which probably got more banged up than the ones in the amp.) Now that I have a Joyo American sound on the board, I figure I'll just go straight to the P.A. if the amp takes a crap.
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