This is it, the night you've been dreaming about since you first picked up your guitar, sat on that keyboard bench or held drum sticks in your hands. It's your first live gig. It's a big moment in every musician's life. Your first show should be fun and hopefully something you do many more times. You've been rehearsing for months, maybe even years. You've got your songs dialed in. You've written and rewritten your setlist a million times. All of your friends and family have their invites. However, your first live gig can also be stressful. It's one thing to memorize and perform your songs correctly, but there are so many "what ifs". What if you break a string mid-set? What if the venue doesn't have a keyboard stand? What if your drum heads give their last beat? These are questions even seasoned musicians forget to ask themselves. If you're not prepared, it can be the difference between an amazing show and a total disaster. We've compiled a list of accessories you should bring along to ensure your first gig is smooth, fun and stress free.
GUITARISTS & BASSISTS
Earasers Small Musicians Plugs and Carrying Case Bundle
Protecting your hearing should be priority number one. These Earasers earplugs provide -19dB noise reduction (that's a lot) and remove certain frequencies so you can actually hear your performance better. Bonus points for the cool carrying case that attaches to your key ring, so you'll never forget them.
Road Runner Avenue Series Gig Bags
Your first gig is probably in town, not 500 miles away and two states over, so a road case might be overkill. The Avenue Series Electric Guitar Gig Bag and Avenue Series Acoustic Guitar Gig Bag from Road Runner are padded, durable, offer great protection and best of all, they're affordable. Plus, they have storage pockets for all of the little accessories you might need to bring with you.
Snark Super Snark 2 Clip-On Tuner
Being in tune when you perform is kind of a no-brainer. The Super Snark 2 Clip-On tuner takes care of that for you. It clips onto your headstock, easily fits into your gig bag when you're not using it, and eliminates the need for a large pedal tuner.
D'Addario NYXL1046 Light Electric Guitar Strings
Nothing ruins the vibe and flow of a set like breaking a string mid-song. This is why bringing an extra set of strings is so important. D'Addario NYXL guitar strings are a great go-to, nickel-plated steel string with amazing output and flexibility.
Martin MM12 Retro Series Light Acoustic Guitar Strings
If you happen to be an acoustic player, all of the above still applies. These Retro Series acoustic strings from Martin are made from a nickel/copper blend that's corrosion-resistant, and offer bright, crisp sound. Don't leave for the gig without them.
Ernie Ball PowerPeg Battery Powered String Winder
The worst has happened and you did break a string on stage. Speed is key here, and the Ernie Ball PowerPeg will make your string change look like it's being done by a NASCAR pit crew. It's compact, easy-to-use and powered by four AA batteries.
Dunlop Tortex Standard Guitar Picks
Unless you play with your fingers, picks are vital for your live performance. These Dunlop Tortex Standard picks are great and come in one dozen packs. Throw a pack in your gig bag for back up to avoid the embarrassing "do you have a pick I can borrow?" conversation.
Fender® Guitar Polish and Treated Polish Cloth
No matter where your guitar loyalties lie, Fender Guitar Polish and Treated Polish Cloth are the one-two combo for making sure your guitar or bass looks its best when you hit the stage. The last thing you want is to be tagged in a photo with a guitar covered in smudges and fingerprints.
GHS Fast-Fret String Cleaner
While we're on the topic of keeping your instrument clean, the GHS Fast-Fret String Cleaner not only cleans all the grime off your strings and fingerboard, but also prolongs the life of your strings and improves their sound. So if you didn't have time to put on a fresh set, you can hit them with Fast-Fret before you hit the stage.
Musician's Gear Electric, Acoustic and Bass Guitar Stand
If you have a back-up guitar or bass, you should definitely bring it to your gig. The Musician's Gear guitar stand lets you keep your instrument on stage and out of its case or gig bag, so it's ready to go. It's designed to hold electric guitars and basses, as well as acoustics. Score!
Truetone 1 SPOT Space-Saving 9V DC Adapter or Duracell 9V Battery 2-Pack
If you use effects pedals, you know you need to keep them powered. There are two routes you can take: classic 9V batteries or a 9V DC adapter. Batteries can run out during your big solo, but as long as you replace them before the show, you should be good. On the other hand, the TrueTone 1 SPOT is slim, works with just about every pedal, and eliminates the need to constantly replace batteries.
Quik-Lok M-91 Monolith Single-Tier Keyboard Stand
You never know what a venue has for their backline gear. Always err on the side of caution and bring your keyboard stand. The Quik-Lok M-91 Monolith is a great choice that's lightweight, height adjustable and solid as a rock.
Musician's Gear Padded Piano Bench
Being comfortable while you perform is crucial and not all piano benches are created equal. Some are lightweight and portable but are unbearable to sit on for an entire show. Others are cushy and built like a tank but totally inconvenient for going to a gig. The Musician's Gear Padded Piano Bench offers the best of both worlds.
Road Runner Keyboard Bag
Rolling up to a show with your keyboard under one arm and your sustain pedal and sheet music in the other is not cool. Throw it all in a Road Runner keyboard bag with a convenient handle, super-tough exterior and roomy storage pocket to hold all of your extra stuff.
Musician's Gear Heavy-Duty Folding Music Stand and Proline PL10 Orchestral Music LED Light
If your first gig requires you to read off of sheet music, it's a good move to bring a sturdy, foldable music stand and a light so you can actually read the charts—unless you can see in the dark, which is impressive. The Proline PL10 is a bright LED-powered light that clips on and stays put. The Musician's Gear Heavy-Duty folding music stand keeps your sheet music in place and folds up into an easy-to-carry package.
Vic Firth American Classic Hickory Drum Sticks and Vic Firth Essentials Stick Bag
Drum sticks are a drummer's most important tools, but they're small and are easily left behind when loading up all the other pieces of your drum set. If you forget your sticks, you run the risk of having to rely on the kindness of strangers, and who knows what kind of sticks the other drummers use. Do yourself a favor and stock up on some reliable Classic Hickory Drumsticks, then fill up a Vic Firth Essentials Stick Bag so you have plenty for the show.
Gator GP-Standard-100 Padded 5-Piece Standard Drum Bag Set
Drums are big, bulky and heavy. Therefore, they run the risk of getting dropped, scuffed or thrown around. A good set of soft cases, like the Gator GP-Standard-100 Padded 5-piece set, protects your drums and their finish, giving you some peace of mind.
Road Runner Rolling Hardware Bag
Lugging around an entire setup of cymbal stands and drum hardware is a pain, but the Road Runner rolling hardware bag keeps it all together and cuts down on the trips. It's going to be heavy, but at least it rolls.
Evans Genera HD Dry Batter Coated Snare Head and EMAD 2 Clear Batter Bass Drum Head
Like the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared. You never know when your snare drum head or bass drum head are going to break. If your heads are looking a little worse for wear the night of the show, definitely bring a replacement. Chances are you won't need it, but never say never.
Gibraltar Standard Drum Key
Every drummer should carry a drum key on them, especially when they're about to perform. You might need to change a snare head or just tune up your toms. This trusty Gibraltar drum key has a hole so you can attach it to a key ring. Never leave home without it.
RTOM Moongel Percussion Dampening Gels
If you don't have drum tuning figured out yet, don't worry. Moongel dampening gels help control resonance and eliminate unwanted ring, which makes them a great way to get a good drum sound quickly. They come in a 6-pack with a small case that fits in just about any drum bag or pocket.
Drumeo P4 Practice Pad
Pre-show warm-ups are a necessity for almost every drummer. You need to be limber if you're going to nail that big fill in the final song. Before you hit the stage, it's a good idea to spend some time working on some rudiments and exercises, and the Drumeo P4 practice pad is an excellent way to do that. The four different playing surfaces recreate a realistic feeling of different elements in your kit, so you're ready to rock.
Make Your First Gig Count
You only get one "first show" and it's a memory you'll carry with you for as long as you live. Even with careful planning and preparation, things can go wrong. It doesn't matter if it's in front of 10 friends at the local coffee shop or thousands of people in an arena; playing live is the most fun you can have as a musician. Sure it's a scary thought, but with lots of practice, great bandmates and the right gear, it'll be a success, lighting a fire inside of you that grows and burns for years to come.