The Ultimate Tour Kit!
Who doesn't love packing lists?! When I hit the road, these are the things I bring. This list may seem a bit extensive, but I rather take too much than too little. Not everything might be available on location, and this way you can even help a bandmate in need!
If you have multiple instruments, bring 2 bass guitars. Two different ones, so you have a different sound and a backup. An amplifier. Tube amps are great, but they can be fragile and heavy in weight. There is a ton of solid-state alternatives out there. Just make sure it has enough volume. Apart from that, it is mainly a matter of taste. A (simple) pedalboard with a good pre-amp/DI, a tuner and a few effect pedals. I could write a separate piece about the pre-amp/DI. These days you find them in all shapes and sizes, and in my opinion worth their weight in gold. They help you stay in control of what's being sent to the monitors and front-of-house at all times. Solid guitar cables. Don't skimp on this. A cheap cable might destroy your sound (signal loss/interference) and is unreliable. And while you're at it, buy extra cables of all kinds; jack, patch, XLR, 9 volts, speaker, USB and euro plugs. In-ears, in case you play with these of course. If not; a pair of custom earplugs is also a wise investment. Great for on stage when things are getting loud, and off-stage after the show. You adjust your sound quickly with some picks in different sizes and a piece of foam for under the strings, to instantly get that "old-school" sound. Strap locks you grab from under those well-known beer caps. Life savers. A headstock tuner is useful backstage and to help the guitarist out. iPad, charger and stand are a must for the reading session musician. Or if you prefer to read from paper, a music stand. Of course you also need guitar stands. There’s all kind of compact foldable ones available. Some tools; screwdrivers, hex keys and pliers. Fader F5 quickly helps when you have a scratchy potentiometer. (don't use contact spray!) Headphone adapters (mini jack <-> jack). Gaffer tape is useful for anything or to silence a drummer. A few blank pieces of paper and a marker for the setlist. What's also smart to bring yourself is a power strip and/or extension cord. And don't forget those spare strings, tubes and batteries. A spare strap might also come in handy one day.
We’re almost there! Sturdy bags, covers and flight-cases for all that precious stuff. It’s not the first thing you’d want to spend your money on, but you will use them for years. Last but not least; a trolly or multi-cart with some good wheels is an absolute must. Your back will thank you.
Once you've packed all this stuff, you are completely ROAD-PROOF! Now you only need to learn those tunes..
Ps: did I forget anything?! Let me know!
This article was published in the march/april/may 2020 edition of Dutch Magazine De Bassist.