what’s in YOUR GIG BAG?

Take it for granted that things will malfunction, break or get lost at the worst possible moment! It’s essential to be prepared when they do. What do you carry in your gig bag? Here is our list of ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ items.

6 must haves…

Guitar tuner
A tuner is obviously an essential. With so many options out there (clip-on tuners, pedal tuners, tuners on effects units, tuner apps for mobile phone) covering this base is easy. If you play bass, make sure a tuner is equipped to handle those lower frequencies.

Spare picks (plectrums)
Picks are easily lost or dropped, and sometimes they crack or split. They’re cheap, light and take up no space so buy a bunch of them in your preferred gauge. Keep some in every guitar case so you’re never without. I always keep some in that tiny front pocket of my jeans…

Spare strings
It goes without saying that spare strings are an absolute must. Everyone will break a string at one time or another. If you use one string from a pack during a rehearsal, gig or recording session, don’t forget to replace it! Consider stocking up on strings you break often (e.g. high E).


Spare guitar strap
We’ve all done it – removed a strap and forgotten to pack it or left it on another guitar. Consider keeping a spare in your bag for emergencies. Even if you never use it yourself, you’ll feel very smug when you’re able to whip it out for a bandmate! If you use strap locks, make sure you bring a strap with the corresponding parts of the lock attached.

Spare cable
An instrument cable gets yanked, bent, twisted and stepped on routinely. It’s a good idea to carry a spare for when yours gives up the ghost. Consider owning cables of different lengths so you can mix and match to the size of the venue you’re playing in. Generally speaking, you don’t want to use a longer cable than you need to.

Output jack tightener
The benefits of this tool are covered in our blog item on tightening a guitar output jack. It allows you to tighten the jack output’s nut safely without having to remove any screws or reach into any cavities – essential when you have to make the adjustment on-the-fly. If you play live, you really need one of these.


Some nice to haves…

This might be a ‘must have’ item depending on the style of music you play. Regardless it’s useful to have a capo handy for experimenting with or playing songs in different keys, or just to bring a different ‘voicing’ to a guitar part. Spring-based capos are quick and easy to put on and remove with one hand.

Ear plugs or in-ear monitors
You’ve heard it before but it bears repeating: your ears are your greatest asset as a musician, whatever level you play at. Anything that reduces the strain on your ears is advised. Ear plugs are cheap and offer varying levels of protection, while in-ear monitors have the benefit of on-board volume control.

Spare 9V battery
If your guitar has a preamp of some kind, or active pickups, it probably runs on a 9V battery. Keep a spare handy for those annoying times when you’ve left your guitar plugged in overnight, and inadvertently drained the battery (d’oh!). Also useful for effects pedals if you power them by battery.

Screwdrivers and allen keys
Occasionally, you’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver to remove a pickguard or cavity cover, or an allen key to adjust electric guitar saddles. Drop spares in your gig bag and forget about them until they’re called into action.

Guitar cleaner and cloth
Wiping down your strings after playing can really help to prolong string life. Our blog on the subject explains all. Wipe down the guitar body too while you’re at it. A clean guitar is a happy guitar!

Anything we’ve missed?

Tell us what you carry
in your gig bag…

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