Reminder: Always bring your #2

johnnylaw

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I could fake my way through alot if I should break a high string. I’d be struggling without the low E, A, and D.
I do bring spares, duct tape, flashlight, bug dope, clean dry shirt, etc., etc. to gigs.
Come to think of it, I’ve never broken a bass string.
 

RCinMempho

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Each guitar case has one set of the same strings that is on that guitar. Also in there is the paper label from the strings on the guitar with the date the strings were put on. I have one small bag with fuses, pliers, string winder, screwdriver, clip on tuner, some picks, and some batteries. That will be in my main guitar case or my pedal board case.

The cases and bags that go into the venue (this for a duo) has only the mics, mic adapters, xlr cables, power strips, power cables, and instrument cables that we know we will actually need. We've been gigging the same places enough to have this stripped down to what we use. We might carry an extra shirt each and a couple of hand towels. Those could be packed better.

The extras bag has extra xlr, instrument, and power cables. Backup microphones, backup mixer, windscreens, clothes pins, garbage bags, sunscreen - all kinds of stuff you might need. Depending on the distance to the stage, that might not even make it out of the car. Lately it doesn't.

Less is more to carry to the stage. More is more in the backup bag.
 

TunedupFlat

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My cases always have at least 2 spare string sets.

It's been over 25 years since I had my last malfunction. I have a much lighter touch now than I I did.

These days I always have at least 1 extra guitar for the open "C" tuning I use, so even though it's tuned open after playing that for the past 15 years I can reasonably manage playing leads and rhythm with everyone else tuned to standard E.
 
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teletail

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It’s really simple; are you a professional or not? Nobody wants to hear your excuses or how you “got by” with your half fast effort because you weren’t prepared. There is NO reasonable excuse for not having a couple of extra sets of strings for gigs or rehearsals, that’s just a fact. With the plethora of gig worthy inexpensive guitars like Squiers there is really no good excuse for not having a backup guitar for gigs either. You can get a Squier Affinity on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for $100 pretty easily.

As far as the “I maintain my equipment” excuse, that’s just BS. You never know when something is going to break. I had a tuner on my ‘73 Gibson Les Paul break while I was playing at home. Try getting around that at a gig.
 

ReverendRevolver

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I used to always bring 2 guitars. Never needed the second one. Now, I'm leaning towards the one, and extra strings. Every practice, I bring a backup amp, pedalboard, and big bag of cables n such. I don't use my pedal board for current band, it's a just in case thing. But I need to be able to swing through if something goes wrong with my main amp.
Guitar, I may bring the second tele if it's a bar with a door to load/unload. But bringing 1 tele makes life easier for setup and teardown.
I last broke a string tuning in 2014ish. I don't use a pick, haven't for almost 2 decades. Getting excited and breaking strings tends to be pick related most of the time. My primary tele was set up with 9s when I got it and I haven't shelled out the money to get it setup on 9-46s because I'm always in standard (instead of half step down) now. I'm not super worried about breaking strings, but I don't keep regular 9s around so may have to invest in some after the 1 last pack gets used.
I've considered a 2 guitar gig bag for my small offsets if/when I'm in a band I'd use them in, otherwise leaning towards 1.

I will say I've thought about buying a Squier tele or '51 as a beater/backup I could leave at the practice space. If I snag a workable one for around $100 I'd probably drag that to gigs as a backup too.
 

chris m.

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I bring a second guitar because if something goes wrong with the electronics, good luck. It also serves as an emergency backup for the other guitar player in the band, who typically just brings one. I’m also the guy stuck schlepping the PA so a spare guitar in a gig bag is no biggie. I usually play both during the gig just for some variety for my own entertainment.
 

Jakedog

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If strings are breaking on stage, or anywhere else, one (or more) of three things is happening-

1. Bad right hand technique/playing too hard.

2. Something is wrong with the guitar and it needs fixed.

3. The strings are too old and fatigued to be on stage with.

Number one can contribute greatly to number three.

I change my strings every gig. Every single one. Sometimes that means five times a week. So be it. It’s a business expense.

I’m also insanely anal about maintaining my instruments and keeping them in top fighting shape. They may get beat up and look worn, but functionally they are 110% at all times.

Between fresh strings and constant maintenance, I have not broken a string in almost twenty years. Even though number one is definitely an issue for me when I get caught up in the moment. I stopped carrying a backup guitar probably ten years ago, because I never used it. Not once. I always carry a tool kit, including soldering stuff, but I even go on tour with just one instrument.
 
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McGlamRock

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I always bring my guitar "fix-it kit".

It's one of my wife's old nail bags that I keep stocked with a Dunlop multi-tool, spare batteries, picks, tuners, capos, string winder/clippers, and a shorty 1/4" cable or 2.
I store all my strings in my cases and gig bags.

It's small enough to fit in any case/gig bag. And it looks "girly" so no one will steal it :)
fix it kit.jpeg
 

Edgar Allan Presley

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Almost all my gigs involve me playing both guitar and fiddle. I guess my fiddle is my backup guitar and my guitar is my backup fiddle. I do bring extra strings and a backup bow. I keep strings and a winder in reach, but I haven't broken a string on stage in decades (knock wood).
 

teletail

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If strings are breaking on stage, or anywhere else, one of three things is happening-

1. Bad right hand technique/playing too hard.

2. Something is wrong with the guitar and it needs fixed.

3. The strings are too old and fatigued to be on stage with.

Number one can contribute greatly to number three.

I change my strings every gig. Every single one. Sometimes that means five times a week. So be it. It’s a business expense.

I’m also insanely anal about maintaining my instruments and keeping them in top fighting shape. They may get beat up and look worn, but functionally they are 110% at all times.

Between fresh strings and constant maintenance, I have not broken a string in almost twenty years. Even though number one is definitely an issue for me when I get caught up in the moment. I stopped carrying a backup guitar probably ten years ago, because I never used it. Not once. I always carry a tool kit, including soldering stuff, but I even go on tour with just one instrument.
Nobody needs a backup, until they need one.

Maintenance is no guarantee that something won’t go wrong. Before the plague, my bass player had his amp in for service. Two gigs later it turned on, but no sound. Fortunately my backup head works for bass or guitar. Could we have half fast our way through the gig? Yea, but because of my teeny, tiny effort of bringing an extra head, there was no loss in quality of our show.

I can tell you after 50 years of gigging, it’s not “if” something will break, it’s “when” something will break.
 

chris m.

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If strings are breaking on stage, or anywhere else, one of three things is happening-

1. Bad right hand technique/playing too hard.

2. Something is wrong with the guitar and it needs fixed.

3. The strings are too old and fatigued to be on stage with.

Number one can contribute greatly to number three.

I change my strings every gig. Every single one. Sometimes that means five times a week. So be it. It’s a business expense.

I’m also insanely anal about maintaining my instruments and keeping them in top fighting shape. They may get beat up and look worn, but functionally they are 110% at all times.

Between fresh strings and constant maintenance, I have not broken a string in almost twenty years. Even though number one is definitely an issue for me when I get caught up in the moment. I stopped carrying a backup guitar probably ten years ago, because I never used it. Not once. I always carry a tool kit, including soldering stuff, but I even go on tour with just one instrument.
I think the odds are definitely in your favor, but I can also imagine a scenario where your guitar gets broken....such as some idiot knocking it off the stand during a break, for example. I suppose if you always stored it in a hard case between sets that would eliminate even that unlikely catastrophe. The second guitar is pretty much a peace of mind security blanket for me.
 

HaWE

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I always bring 2 guitars to a gig.I like to be on the safe side :)
Once the band of a friend had a gig and the second guitarplayer broke a string.Because they had no extra strings or another guitar ( and did not wanted to play their songs as a trio without the second guitar) they stopped the whole gig.
There was a well known drummer in the audience, and also a singer who played harmonica.So I asked my friend if I could have his Les Paul , he grabbed the bass of his band, and my friend,the other drummer , the singer and I had a session for over an hour, playing songs like "Route 66" and "Midnight Rambler" .... we had fun, the audience was happy that there was music and everybody danced....
 

tfarny

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I've brought backups to a show but never needed them. I'm not a big string breaker. I will always bring spare cables, picks, batteries, slides and so on for obvious reasons.

I did break a string while practicing on the day before my last gig. It was my first legit string break in over 2 years though. I've been doing a lot more tuning into and out of open tunings and starting to realize that takes a toll on string life in ways my generally soft picking and moderate bending does not.
 

Jakedog

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I think the odds are definitely in your favor, but I can also imagine a scenario where your guitar gets broken....such as some idiot knocking it off the stand during a break, for example. I suppose if you always stored it in a hard case between sets that would eliminate even that unlikely catastrophe. The second guitar is pretty much a peace of mind security blanket for me.
I remember a time when nobody had backups. Of anything. Even most of the full time gigging players I knew back in the day only owned one guitar and amp.

For me mostly it’s been confidence gained through experience that I’m just not going to need it. For me *lately* it’s more a matter of the fact that I have absolutely no desire to play any electric guitar other than my number one. They’re all wonderful instruments, and I’m very lucky to have them. Most people would do backflips at the thought of getting to own them. I don’t even like them anymore since I got my current number one. Since I’ve gotten used to it nothing else is even fun to play.
 




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