November 7, 2023
There are all kinds of challenges that come with playing music live. By buying certain gadgets and accessories, it may be possible to overcome some of these challenges. Below are a few examples of equipment that can help make gigging easier.
Transporting instruments and amps to music venues can be a palaver. Many musicians end up having to rely on friends or family to help transport equipment. This may involve having to pay other people to transport gear when travelling long distance or going on tour.
Buying a large vehicle like a van could be a solution, as it could allow you to transport all your equipment yourself without extra help. However, there’s a cheaper option – and that’s to buy an equipment trailer. These can be attached on the back of an existing vehicle and used to securely lug your equipment around.
Trailers come in different sizes at a variety of different price tags. It’s worth taking the time to compare options so that you buy one that is right for your needs and budget. It’s worth noting that you can hire trailers for tours or single gigs. This could be cheaper in the long run than buying a trailer if you don’t perform frequently.
Effects like loops, reverb, chorus, flangers, phasers and distortion can be fun to play around. However, having to use your hands to press buttons and adjust knobs can be tricky if you’re also using your hands to play an instrument at the same time.
This is where foot pedals come in use. They can allow you to easily switch on different effects using your feet while continuing to use your hands to play. This could include switching seamlessly from a clean to a distorted guitar riff, or adding some reverb during a solo.
The likes of this MIDI foot pedal controller allows you to program various different presets using a variety of different foot-operated buttons to trigger them. This could be better than having lots of different separate pedals. It’s worth also considering expression pedals that can allow you to adjust the intensity of effects using your feet (popular for things like wah-wah).
Drum mic bundles
While some venues can mic up your drums for you, you’ll often get a better live sound by using your own drum mics.
Drum mic sets provide you with a variety of different microphones with clips and holders to position around your drum kit. Buying these kits is much cheaper than buying individual microphones separately, plus such kits will usually have different mics designed for different parts of the kit (such as bass drum mics and snare mics) to get the best sound out of each component.
There are a few guides online that compare drum mic kits to help you buy the right mics. You can also find guides online telling you different ways to arrange drum mics to get different live drum sounds.
Another problem that drummers can encounter while playing live is losing drumsticks. Having spare drumsticks handy is important. Ideally, you want these spares to be in easy reach so that you can keep playing with minimal disruption.
Drumstick holders are a great piece of equipment for keeping drumsticks contained and close. These can take the form of bags or cylinders which can be attached to cymbal stands on your kit or to your stool. These are often better than freestanding drumstick holders, which can be easily kicked over by accident during a performance.
Wireless mics/guitar systems
Cables can be a nuisance on stage, particularly if you like to give quite energetic performances. Many musicians have tripped over them while performing or stood on them and caused them to come out of the instrument. They can also get tangled during transit, which means having to untangle them when you reach the venue.
A solution to this could be to embrace wireless technology. Wireless microphones can be more freely used around the stage. This includes microphone headsets and handheld wireless microphones. Meanwhile, wireless guitar systems can attach to your guitar jack socket and connect wirelessly with an amp.
Wireless mics and guitar systems have come on in leaps and bounds, now providing better connectivity and better sound quality. However, they can still have their issues such as connection cut-outs caused by wi-fi disturbances, which has led some musicians to continue to avoid them. The key is often to invest in good quality wireless tech – cheap wireless mics and wireless guitar systems are more likely to encounter problems.