One of the things every gigging bassist needs to refine is what they bring to the gig, in addition to their bass and amp (if appropriate). We all have items we might need for gig emergencies and unforeseen circumstances. Showing up to the gig and having an equipment problem is no fun and ultimately it makes you look bad. Everyone is different, but today I’d like to share my gig bag so that those of you just starting out might have an easier, and less embarrassing, road than others have had.
One abiding principle I follow, without finding myself without an important accessory, is this:
Be able to load and unload in one trip.
This principle comes in handy when you are crunched for time, when a great deal of walking is needed to get to the venue, or when travelling by plane. It is also valuable for security reasons, i.e. in many cases it is not wise to leave equipment unattended either in the vehicle or at the venue.
The Classical Bassist’s Gig Bag:
This is the easiest one, and most everything fits in my bass case.
- Two working bows: I always have one as a backup, lest my main bow fails and I find myself without a bow. If both bows fail….I’m in trouble.
- Three pencils: One in the bow case, one in the bass case and one on my person. Whatever you do, don’t get caught without a pencil!
- Two mutes… just in case
- Two rosins: One in the bow case and one in the bass case. If one is misplaced or doesn’t work well in a certain climate I’m ready.
- Bow hook: My personal compact version of a bow quiver.
- Electronic tuner: Not a necessity, but valuable.
- Complete extra set of strings: I have had them break on me before. It’s a drag.
- Extra endpin: I use one for sitting and one for standing. The backup is for the possibility that my stool isn’t functional, or won’t work well at a particular venue. Also, occasional endpin calamities happen. Either way, I have a backup.
- Earplugs: On my keyring and also cheaper versions in my case. Those tuba and percussion folks can get loud!
- Extra endpin stops: Just in case one doesn’t work on a certain surface or there is a technical problem with the strap I use when sitting on a stool.
- Rag: To wipe down strings and the bass.
- Stool: I use a stool in the orchestra, so I bring that as well as my bass (of course!)
- Toothbrush: (not my personal one!) to use on bow hair if the rosin gets clumpy.
- Bass wheel/Buggy
- My sheet music!
- Extra tux parts: I keep an extra tuxedo bow tie in the car, just in case. If I’m playing a lot, I keep extra tux parts (i.e. different styles of coats, etc.) in the car. That way, I won’t find myself with a black tie and short coat when the gig is actually white tie and tails.
Different types of gigs require different accessories. So, next time I’ll share what’s in my gig bag for Jazz/Rockabilly and share some notes on flying and performing with a lot of electronic equipment.
What’s in your gig bag? Tell us about it in the comments!