Reminder: Always bring your #2

Buell

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 27, 2020
Posts
450
Location
Bagley, mn
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.
It was due to old strings. I figured I could get one more practice out of them and I darn near did. I should mention that I have NEVER broken a string at a gig (shoot, I said that out loud).
 

Cyberi4n

Tele-Holic
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Posts
984
Age
49
Location
Chester, Uk
Broken one string once in 35 years of gigging. And that was 2011 I think. Last band I was in simply wasn’t feasible to bring two guitars out. And so I always put on fresh strings before each show. I also carried with me

Fresh strings
Fresh wireless batteries
Tool kit
Torch
Fresh patch leads
Fresh power cable
Spare guitar strap
Spare network cable (for the floorboard I used)
Spare speaker cable
Spare DI box in case the venue didn’t have one
Spare picks

Always best to be prep’d right?
 

Ricky D.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Posts
11,636
Age
71
Location
Marion, VA
A side-benefit for me to carrying just one guitar to a gig, is to hear how music played, maybe not associated with the guitar I bring, comes out sounding...( clunky sentence, I know)
It's fun!

It always seemed to me that as long as I got the tone in the right neighborhood and got the hooks in right, it just didn’t matter what guitar I played. Maybe a shoegazer in front of the stage might think I should have some particular guitar or effect, but so what? A crowded room and people going off, lots of energy coming back at us. That’s what they were there for, and that’s what I was there for.
 

Peegoo

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Oct 11, 2019
Posts
13,330
Location
Beast of Bourbon
I've never been a pick dropper. I walk out with a pick and I'm good for the show.

Last time I played onstage (March), for whatever reason, I stuck a pick in the strings behind the nut, which I never do. Good thing I did, because when I started the 2nd tune, my pick went PING and it was gone in the darkness. WHAT? YAY! I have an extra! So I grabbed it and missed only two beats. WHEW.

It was then that I began to panic: WTF do I do if this one goes AWOL? Holy anxiety, Batman! But luckily it stayed in place for the rest of the gig.
 

Chiogtr4x

Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 29, 2007
Posts
14,322
Location
Manassas Park, VA
It always seemed to me that as long as I got the tone in the right neighborhood and got the hooks in right, it just didn’t matter what guitar I played. Maybe a shoegazer in front of the stage might think I should have some particular guitar or effect, but so what? A crowded room and people going off, lots of energy coming back at us. That’s what they were there for, and that’s what I was there for.

Play well, sing well, be entertaining. That's the priority.

My 'attitude' about guitar choice ( just 1 for me at a gig) came from a weekly ( Monday!) gig our band had for years in early 2000's, in Alexandria, VA.

Because there was a 'noise issue' from live music at the bar ( ONE home resident nearby, complaining to cops), I HAD to play my acoustic guitar. I did not mind ( to keep the gig), but it was silly as we were still plugged in, we were rocking out, and I would deliberately crank my Martin to overdrive PA ( we had bass, drums, keys, 2 singers)
So I'm playing Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Stones, Cream, on a Martin. I don't think it was any quieter- they ALL have Volume knobs and amps!

And now today, I may play Bluegrass, folk tunes with a Strat or SG, "Hey Joe" on a 000 acoustic...

It really doesn't matter, just give me a guitar!
 

MickM

Poster Extraordinaire
Platinum Supporter
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Posts
6,508
Age
65
Location
A steel guitar engagment.
Most of my guitars have at least a spare set of strings in the case but if I'm going anywhere outside the house to play I have a bag with strings, dykes, peg winder, spare cord, small tool kit etc. My stuff is usually good to go but you never know when something is gonna' go where it ain't supposed to go. If I take an amp I'll throw a few spare tubes in the back.

I just don't like to be that guy asking "anybody got a spare .010?" or "my cable's shot, can I borrow one"? Being prepared means I don't have to be that guy.
 

johnny k

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Posts
9,637
Location
France
Happened to me not long ago. The band took a break and i had changed my string in a short time, tuned up, and was ready to go before the other guitar player had finished his smoke.
 

String Tree

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Posts
18,213
Location
Up North
This weekend, we had our final rehearsal before our 1st gig in a couple of years. We ran thru the set and were working thru it again and just killing it. All of a sudden, bwam, broke a string on my number 1. My number 2 was in a case at my house and no 2nd set of strings. Practice over.

I'm thinking something or someone was trying to tell me something. Like, "hey dingdong, don't forget your number 2 guitar!". At least it was rehearsal and not at the gig!

It also got me wondering if anyone has had anything like that happen AT the gig?
It did.
But after that, I always brought two Guitars.
BEST Insurance Policy for a Performer.
 

NoTeleBob

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Posts
3,336
Location
Southwestern, USA
A spare set of strings is a gimme, although I confess to not doing it more than once.

But these days, even if you don't have a second guitar (is that anyone around here? LOL) you could pick up a Squier for $100 as a "just in case". If you spend a little time in setup, it can be a nice player too, and perhaps not just a backup.

Same for the amp. For Under $100 you can have a 25W+ Fender or other SS amp that will at least finish a gig if someone needs it. Or get something like a Rumble amp, that covers guitars and bass if needed.

Sometimes it's a tiny thing, like a dirty jack, that stops you cold. In the panic and time frame of an important practice or gig, you don't want to be scrambling. Have a plan.
 

Jakedog

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2003
Posts
22,921
Location
The North Coast
I've never been a pick dropper. I walk out with a pick and I'm good for the show.

Last time I played onstage (March), for whatever reason, I stuck a pick in the strings behind the nut, which I never do. Good thing I did, because when I started the 2nd tune, my pick went PING and it was gone in the darkness. WHAT? YAY! I have an extra! So I grabbed it and missed only two beats. WHEW.

It was then that I began to panic: WTF do I do if this one goes AWOL? Holy anxiety, Batman! But luckily it stayed in place for the rest of the gig.
I almost never drop them, and I never lose them. I stick a half dozen in my right front jeans pocket, and use them until they wear out. I bought 36 Jazz XL picks four years ago. I’m still using them. For acoustic I use the dark green 1.5 mm Gator Grips. I bought a dozen of those in 2019. Still using them.

On the rare occasion I drop one, there’s plenty more where he came from. I just reach in my pocket.
 

Old Deaf Roadie

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Oct 11, 2017
Posts
4,500
Location
Goonieville, OR
Part of me wants to embark on a tirade about rookie moves and not being prepared. The other part of me knows that when it comes to being in that situation, there are those who have and those who will and that one of those guys is me. These are the lessons that you won’t forget that teach us not to question what we bring along to a gig.
 

chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Posts
10,405
Location
Santa Barbara, California
I almost never drop them, and I never lose them. I stick a half dozen in my right front jeans pocket, and use them until they wear out. I bought 36 Jazz XL picks four years ago. I’m still using them. For acoustic I use the dark green 1.5 mm Gator Grips. I bought a dozen of those in 2019. Still using them.

On the rare occasion I drop one, there’s plenty more where he came from. I just reach in my pocket.
I mostly lose them in the wash, but there's a little coin/pick catcher in my washing machine where I can find shiny coins and nicely cleaned guitar picks.
 

Edgar Allan Presley

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Posts
3,718
Location
Colorado
I almost never drop them, and I never lose them. I stick a half dozen in my right front jeans pocket, and use them until they wear out. I bought 36 Jazz XL picks four years ago. I’m still using them. For acoustic I use the dark green 1.5 mm Gator Grips. I bought a dozen of those in 2019. Still using them.

On the rare occasion I drop one, there’s plenty more where he came from. I just reach in my pocket.
This is me. Capo and slide in my left back pocket, extra picks in my right front pocket.

I don't bring a lot of tools or anything because if a problem can't be fixed with gaffer tape, I'm probably not going to try it on stage in front of everyone. I'll just make do.

I'd rather something go wrong and have to adapt than look like one of those amateurs who show up to a regular bar gig with a giant mission control pedalboard, a rack of guitars, etc., like they're pretending to be The Edge. That is more embarrassing than having to play a 5-string guitar straight into the board because a string broke and a tube died. I could handle that fine.
 

2HBStrat

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Oct 21, 2019
Posts
2,635
Location
Four Rivers Area of Middle America
This weekend, we had our final rehearsal before our 1st gig in a couple of years. We ran thru the set and were working thru it again and just killing it. All of a sudden, bwam, broke a string on my number 1. My number 2 was in a case at my house and no 2nd set of strings. Practice over.

I'm thinking something or someone was trying to tell me something. Like, "hey dingdong, don't forget your number 2 guitar!". At least it was rehearsal and not at the gig!

It also got me wondering if anyone has had anything like that happen AT the gig?
Rehearsals and gigs are two different things. Always have an extra set of strings at rehearsals. Always have a backup guitar at gigs.
 

TC6969

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Dec 28, 2007
Posts
3,365
Age
69
Location
Ruskin Florida
Two is One and One is none!

When I show up at a gig, not only do I have two of everything, but if the venue suddenly changed from a deck job to a 1,000 seat hall, I'm still covered.

Everything from two amps to the fuses for them, I'm covered!
 

Ron R

Poster Extraordinaire
Silver Supporter
Joined
Mar 23, 2016
Posts
5,207
Age
56
Location
Raleigh, NC
This weekend, we had our final rehearsal before our 1st gig in a couple of years. We ran thru the set and were working thru it again and just killing it. All of a sudden, bwam, broke a string on my number 1. My number 2 was in a case at my house and no 2nd set of strings. Practice over.

I'm thinking something or someone was trying to tell me something. Like, "hey dingdong, don't forget your number 2 guitar!". At least it was rehearsal and not at the gig!

It also got me wondering if anyone has had anything like that happen AT the gig?
In addition to always having a backup guitar at gigs, I've always got a set of strings in the case/gig bag for each guitar.
 




Top