The Gig Emergency Kit - Tips & Tricks

We’ve all been there—those moments just before downbeat when you realize something is terribly wrong. Yes, as professional as we like to think we are, even the most seasoned touring veteran has those “oh crap” moments, where a piece of equipment is either malfunctioning or missing altogether.

It’s the worst of feelings… but never again!

We’ve seen this happen to the best of them, one too many times, so we’ve constructed this ultimate gig emergency kit—all the things you need to never have that “oh crap” moment again.


As a guitarist, you should always have a backup guitar and rig at home. You don’t necessarily need to haul them along each time, but you shouldn’t have just one—‘cause what happens when they suddenly stop working? It’s very wise to have a backup setup, even if the gear is not nearly as nice, just to give yourself options if your primary weapon of choice should go down.


Put the following items in a suitcase, box or duffle bag and bring it with you to every gig. There’s great value in knowing you’re covered and it’ll save your bacon more times than not!

a. Spare Batteries:
Whether they’re for your pickup or your guitar pedals, identify what kind of batteries you need (hint: it might be more than one kind, based on your setup) and have a spare set on hand. Nothing kills a gig faster than a dead battery!

Backup Cablesb. Backup Cables:
No more corralling cords before each gig. Once you have your stage setup nailed down, you should have a dedicated set of “gig cables” in your pre-packed gig box. Yes, pack the exact amount of cables you need, PLUS ONE, because you should always have at least one backup cable per variety (patch cable, XLR, quarter inch, etc.).

c. Guitar Picks:
No matter how many hundreds of picks are laying in the nooks and crannies at home, it seems they’re never with you when you need them most. As a solution, put a bunch in your “gig in a box” and, as a redundancy, always have some in your pocket and guitar case.

d. Replacement Strings:
There is no excuse for playing with a broken guitar string. They hardly take up any room, so always have a couple spare sets on hand and replace them on your break—believe us, fans would rather hear five minutes of silence than 50 minutes of out-of-tune guitar work.

e. Applicable Tools:
Whether it’s an Allen wrench, Phillips head screwdriver, multi-tool or string changer, there are certain tools that will make your life easier… and you should never leave home without ‘em. Identify all the little tools you need to service your guitar and/or pedals and have them packed and ready to go.

f. Whiskey:
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Yes, IF worse comes to worse and it’s time to chalk it up to a loss, at least you can go down in a blaze of gloryJ

A million things can go wrong in the minutes just before a gig; however, it’s usually the little things (that could have been avoided) that cause the biggest headaches. We think if you have a pre-packed emergency kit with all of the essentials above, you’ll be set for most challenges that might come your way. Good luck!

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