Playing in a gigging band will generally require you to invest in a few extra pieces of kit. Here’s our ultimate list of recommended gear, along with some recommendations from Amazon:
1. First Aid Kit
This is one that bands never seem to think of, yet will almost-always need at some point. Your first aid kit should include the following:
- Band Aids
- Pain killers
- Pro Plus
- Cold packs
It’s worth investing in a cheap, well-stocked first aid kit such as this one. Each kit will generally last a couple of years and come in handy on many occasions.
2. Duct Tape
Duct tape is great for taping down setlists, marking stage positions or temporarily fixing equipment. If you’re going to be marking out stage positions, it’s worth getting a few rolls of different-colored tape to stop things from getting confusing.
3. Blu Tack
Blu tack is useful for pinning up setlists, signs, charts or schedules in a venue or practice room.
4. Ear Protection
Ear protection is absolutely vital if you’re playing in a band. Whilst cheap foam protectors will do the job, they severely muffle the sound and limit your ability to identify problems within the arrangement (such as tuning issues). As a result, I’d recommend investing in a more-sophisticated pair of ear protectors such as the SureFire EP4’s, which fully-protect your hearing without compromising sound quality.
5. Extra Cables
Cables are very easily lost or broken. As a result, it’s important to have extra:
- Instrument cables
- Speaker cables
- Patch leads
6. Extension Lead
You should never rely on a practice space or a venue to provide enough power sockets. In addition, wall sockets can often be placed in inconvenient positions. Power strips offer you much greater flexibility over both the number of outlets and their subsequent positioning.
7. In-Ear Monitors
In-ear monitors are a true game changer; once you used them, you’ll find it difficult to use anything else. In-ear monitors allow you to achieve a crystal-clear mix whilst simultaneously protecting your hearing. Sennheiser’s IE 40 PRO Monitors are the best-value monitors I’ve found and offer a great mix at an affordable price. If you’ve got a little more budget, it’s worth investing in a dedicated set for the whole band, such as the Audio2000’S AWM6306U.
The last thing you want is an effects pedal running out of juice in the middle of a set. Make sure you always have extra batteries to-hand if you aren’t using a power adapter.
9. Pen & Notepad
These are essential for scribbling out setlists, charts or song ideas on the spot.
10. Video Camera
A video camera is essential for two main purposes:
- Content creation: Indie Panda advocates creating a diverse range of social media content on a regular basis.
- To video your rehearsals: This is one of my favorite rehearsal tips. Videoing your rehearsals lets you see and hear your band from an audience perspective and serves as a great point of reference. I’d recommend buying a dedicated ‘rehearsal camera’ in order to leverage the camera’s memory and keep everything in one place. The best-value camera I’ve found is the WEILIANTE Digital Camcorder, which stores up to 30GB of data.
11. Compressed Air
This is another one that bands never seem to think of, yet will certainly need at some point. Compressed air can be used to fix crackly instrument/amplifier pots or to deep-clean an instrument.
12. Extra Fuses
Amplifier fuses can and will blow out when you least-expect them to. This can easily bring a show or rehearsal to a screaming halt if you don’t have extra fuses on-hand.
These are useful for either wiping down your instrument or wiping away sweat during a live show.
I can almost-guarantee that you’ll find yourself searching around a dark stage floor for a piece of equipment at some point. Whilst the torch feature on a smartphone may suffice, you might consider getting a dedicated flashlight with wide beam and adjustable light modes, such as this one.
15. Microphone Set
Whilst venues and practice spaces will often provide a set of microphones, the quality can be hit-or-miss. In addition, using a microphone that’s already been used by thousands of other people isn’t the most pleasant experience. I’d recommend investing in a decent set of microphones for the entire band, such as the Behringer Ultravoice XM1800S mic pack.
16. Drinks Holders
Without a drinks holder, it’s only a matter of time before you accidently knock your drink down the back of your amplifier or over your pedalboard. A cheap drinks holder such as this one could save you hundreds in equipment repairs.
17. Musician’s Tool Kit
A musician’s tool kit is great for essential instrument repair & maintenance. It usually includes:
- A ruler
- A cleaning cloth
- Hex keys
Ernie Ball offer a great musician’s tool kit containing everything you’ll need.
18. Soldering Iron
Most instrument malfunctions (such as broken pots or loose wiring) are easy to fix. However, you will need a soldering iron such as this one to carry out electrical repairs. A soldering iron costs less than the average setup at a music shop and will last for years.
1. Spare Picks & Strings
An obvious one. Make sure you have plenty of extra strings and picks to-hand.
2. Pick Holder
A pick holder such as this one is a great way to keep your plectrums in one place. They can also be attached to the headstock of your guitar, allowing for easy access.
3. Spare Guitar
A string break or instrument malfunction will happen at a highly inconvenient time (such as in the middle of a show). Having a spare guitar set up and ready to go will minimize any interruption.
4. Guitar Stand
When that inevitable string break or instrument malfunction happens, you’ll want the spare guitar set up and within reach. It’s well-worth investing in a cheap stand such as this one.
5. Spare Amplifier
It’s well-worth having a small amplifier that acts as a backup for your main one. In addition, a second, smaller amplifier can also be used for rehearsals or smaller shows. The Yamaha THR10 is a fantastically compact and versatile amp that also doubles as an audio interface. For bassists, the Behringer BXD3000h serves as a versatile and great-sounding backup.
6. String Lubricant
Guitar strings are particularly susceptible to dirt and grime. This can not only dull the sound, but also stop your fingers from sliding freely across the strings. Fast Fret is the industry-leading brand and each tube will generally last a few years.
7. Instrument Polish
If your instrument has a glossy finish, it’s almost-guaranteed to get covered in fingerprints. Fingerprints can be very visible, especially under stage lights. My favorite instrument polish is the Dunlop 6516 polish.
8. Spare Strap
Yet another one that seems to catch band members out. A broken strap is something that’s near-impossible to recover from in a live setting. As a result, it’s well-worth having a spare in your case.
9. Strap Locks
Strap locks are one of the most important pieces of kit you can have. As the name suggests, they lock your strap in place, preventing it from coming loose and sending your guitar crashing to the floor. Schaller offer a fantastic set of strap locks at a competitive price.
10. Hard Case
11. Effects Pedals
Whilst effects pedals aren’t absolutely necessary, they can significantly enhance and develop your live shows. To find out whether or not effects pedals are right for you, check out our dedicated article.
1. Spare Sticks & Skins
An obvious one. Make sure you have plenty of sticks and skins to-hand.
2. Stick Bag
Stick bangs have two main advantages:
- They keep your sticks in one place: Some stick bags even feature separate compartments for different types of sticks.
- They allow for easy access whilst playing: A stick bag can be easily hung off of another part of your drumkit, such as a cymbal stand or floor tom. This will allow you to quickly grab a fresh stick if you break or drop one whilst playing.
OnStage offer a great-value stick bag which can be hung off of your floor tom.
When playing a show, it’s common for all the bands on the bill to share a backline. However, drummers will generally be expected to bring their own ‘breakables’. In other words, the more-expensive parts of the kit. These often include:
- Cymbals + stands
- Bass pedal
- Snare drum
If you don’t have your own kit, it’s worth investing in a set of breakables to use at shows.
Moongel is a gel-like substance that can be applied to drum heads or cymbals to eliminate unwanted overtones. It’s a quick and easy way of getting a punchier sound out of your kit.
5. Drum Rug
If your drums are situated on a wood or concrete floor, you’ll almost-certainly need a drum rug such as this one to stop them from sliding around.
6. Drum Key
A drum key is essential for tuning your drums. If you’re using house equipment at a show, it’s worth bringing a drum key along as you won’t know what state the shells will be in.
7. Spare Hi Hat Clutch
Hi hat clutches are easily lost. A lost hi hat clutch can easily ruin an entire performance. As a result, it’s worth having a spare one in your kit bag at all times.
8. Stick Wax
Stick wax allows for a more comfortable grip on your sticks. Once applied, it activates with normal playing heat. Vic Firth make great value stick wax.
9. Drum Cases
If you’re planning on playing live, drum cases are both an efficient and protective way of transporting your kit. Most drum case sets, such as this one, also offer extra compartments for any accessories.