The Gig-Bag Essentials Guide!
Summer is finally here which means most of you will be gearing up for a busy few months of festivals/weddings/catalina wine mixers, sacrificing that beautiful British weather (LOL!) to play lots of drums for potentially LOTS of people. As such, it’s important to make sure all your equipment is up to scratch and ready for the busy summer season. Sometimes no matter how top-notch your gear is, sometimes it likes to surprise you by going against the grain and falling apart right when you really don’t need it too. It’s important to be prepared for the worst so if you’re a Weekend Warrior, Seasoned Veteran or going on your first Summer Tour, here’s the ultimate spares part survival guide to help you prepare for the worst and play at your BEST! Grab your “gig” bag and lets get into it! Oh, before we do…yes you should ALWAYS take a drum key. Anyway…
I guess there’s no perfect place to begin so I’ll start with an often overlooked component of the kit; the bass drum pedal. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a budget line or high-end pedal, they’re all designed to perform the same job and NOT fall apart while doing so. The three main parts of the pedal that are under tension the most, and are the most likely to break without warning are as follows; The Spring, The Chain and The Beater. It’s wise to keep at least a spare one of each of those in your gig bag. You can take an entire spare pedal if you wish but if room/budget is an issue you’ll be fine with these three if something goes wrong. Next up, cymbals!
Yeah yeah I know, you can’t carry round an entire spare set of cymbals. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to either! What you CAN take is spares for the stands your cymbals sit on. Notoriously the festival/venue house kit will be a complete shambles and have lots of missing parts. It’d suggest carrying around enough felts & cymbal sleeves to cover the amount of cymbals you intend to use, so if you use two crash cymbals and a ride carry three cymbal sleeves, six felts and three wing nuts. For the hi hat stand, absolutely bring your own clutch and ALWAYS carry a spare. Even if you’re doing weddings and are always bringing your own stands having these spares in your gig bag always helps (infact CODE have already done it for you!). Now we move onto the main event, the drums themselves!
If you’re able, ALWAYS take a spare snare. TRUST me, I’ve been caught out once and it was a LONG night (split the batter on the first hit of the first DANCE and spent the rest of the night tickling the resonant side…it wasn’t a good look). If space/budget is an issue or your flying to a show and just need the essentials, I’d recommend the following; spare batter and resonant side heads, spare snare wires & extra nylon straps for holding the wires on, some spare tension rods of various sizes and at least one form of dampening such as SlapKlatz or Snareweight. As for toms, if you’re taking your own drums I’d carry a spare batter head for each toms (if you still have the stock heads that came with your drums, keep them in the cases along with your drums. You never know when they’ll come in handy). At the very least I’d absolutely carry a spare bass drum head if possible. They’re extremely robust heads but if it’s got a huge dent in the centre from rocking out…time to change that bad boy. A spare impact patch will be ideal for those festival/venue house kits. With that, some things you might not have considered…
STICKS!! That’s a given. A multi-tool can’t hurt either, Pearl make a fantastic one that even has a drum key bit and lots of allan keys. As many cymbal felts as you can manage. WD-40 can help get rid of some squeaking here and there, and gaffa tape is always your friend. It’s maybe worth keeping some broken sticks in your stick bag as well, sometimes the venue won’t have a carpet for your drums and unless you’ve packed one it can be a slippery night. Tape two sticks down, one at each one of the bass drum legs and its going NOWHERE. Zip-ties can also be handy in a pinch!
So there you go, some things to consider when you’re out in the field over the summer. As I say it’s always better having these spares and not needing them, than not having them and urgently needing it! We’ve got everything you need and MORE on our site and in store so come by and stock up!