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  1. #1

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    For years I have been bringing a second guitar to every show, on the theory that if the guitar goes down, the show goes down, unless I have a spare - mostly I play duo or solo. Never had this happen, of course. I'm tired of schlepping a second guitar around, but a bit paranoid.

    Anybody else bring a spare guitar to their performances? Thanks.

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  3. #2

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    I bring a back up to every single gig. Always have.
    I'm really tired of moving them so I am considering getting some type of usable cheap beater that lives in the car.

  4. #3

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    Get a travel guitar, light, small, easy to move, if you feel that you need an extra. Or find a Hohner copy of a Steinberger "paddle".

  5. #4

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    I always bring a backup guitar (G&L Bluesboy) and amp (Cube 80GX).

    Both stay in the trunk, ready for duty...just in case.

  6. #5

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    Never have and never needed one.

    Never on a big band gig, but have used both flat top and arch top on a solo gig for different styles.

    Tonight will be bass, banjo, and flattop.

    Too much to haul all the time.

  7. #6

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    Never bring a backup and it bit me last night when I broke the high E string w a couple tunes to go.
    Not enough time left to change it but I managed to finish the gig ok.

  8. #7

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    I don't bring a backup guitar. Never needed one.

    I do think about amp failure, because it has happened. It used to be that everybody used an amp with multiple inputs, so in an emergency you could plug in to the bass or kb amp.

    If there was no way I could do that, I used to bring the Lunchbox amp and leave it in the car. I didn't like the amp, but it was small and it wouldn't have bothered me much if it was stolen. I have an old Crate practice amp that I might use that way next time the situation comes up.

    I have an M80 guitar bag with extra strings, picks, earplugs, strap, pencils, emery boards and cleaning cloth. For gigs I bring another bag with extra cables, extension cord, LED light, and power supply for my pedal board.

    The Little Jazz uses a detachable power cord -- so I have an extra one of those I leave permanently in my car. Sooner or later ...
    Last edited by rpjazzguitar; 09-14-2019 at 08:09 PM.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtfree View Post
    For years I have been bringing a second guitar to every show, on the theory that if the guitar goes down, the show goes down, unless I have a spare - mostly I play duo or solo. Never had this happen, of course. I'm tired of schlepping a second guitar around, but a bit paranoid.

    Anybody else bring a spare guitar to their performances? Thanks.
    I've never done this and never seen anyone else do it, it would be almost impossible in NYC. Honestly, I never bring spare anything: strings, cables, amp, guitar, nothing. I know this is terrible, but in 25 years and many hundreds of gigs I've never had to not play because of equipment malfunction. Once or twice I've had an amp malfunction, but been able to pair with someone or use house PA in these cases.

  10. #9

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    I bring spare strings, cables, and a small backup amp. I only bring two guitars if I need the second for variety (e.g., nylon string) or if I’m not sure which will have the best tone in a room.

    A few years ago I attended a concert at Jazz Alley that was delayed due to an electrical problem in the guitar. The performer had no spare, but an audience member had a nice archtop in a nearby apartment and scrambled home to get it!

  11. #10

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    I used to do it when I played in a rock band. The backup would have noiseless or HB pups, and was left in the trunk, to be used if the venue too brutal with 60hz hum for my #1, a jazzmaster.

  12. #11

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    I used to bring a spare guitar on tours, but never needed it. I’ll sometimes bring another guitar if the gig is far from home, but I’ve never needed it. 3000+ gigs and no guitar problems. (I never break strings)

    Of course, I always check to make sure everything’s working before I leave home. And always have basic tools, strings, extra cords and pedal power supplies. Most of the time my spare stuff gets used by my bandmates!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilpy View Post

    Of course, I always check to make sure everything’s working before I leave home. And always have basic tools, strings, extra cords and pedal power supplies. Most of the time my spare stuff gets used by my bandmates!
    ^^^^^ 100% this. I have always brought a backup guitar, spare strings, a backup amp, extra mics and cords; tape, tools and a first aid kit; throat spray and Pepto Bismol; and sundry other items to numerous to list. I have been ribbed about this. Nonetheless, each and every one of these items has been used - 99.999% of the time by other band members - and in each case The Show Went On with nary a ripple and The Band Got Paid. Like the man said, "Be Prepared".
    Best regards, k

  14. #13

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    I have a spare pick in my front pocket.

  15. #14

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    Play a Tele. They are bulletproof.
    Check out my tracks at www.soundcloud.com/billmcmannis

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    I have a spare pick in my front pocket.
    I always have couple in my wallet. Sometimes when thinning out I find four or five there!

  17. #16

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    I never bring a second guitar. If I happen to break a string it's time for an organ solo.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcsanwald View Post
    I've never done this and never seen anyone else do it, it would be almost impossible in NYC. Honestly, I never bring spare anything: strings, cables, amp, guitar, nothing. I know this is terrible, but in 25 years and many hundreds of gigs I've never had to not play because of equipment malfunction. Once or twice I've had an amp malfunction, but been able to pair with someone or use house PA in these cases.
    yikes , no spare strings !!
    I bring spare strings and leads , that's about it

  19. #18

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    One ending up in Timbuktu is bad enough...

  20. #19

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    You are not paranoid, this is normal practice. Each musician should take a spare instrument, because if people came to the concert they spent time, money and time, it will be sad if something happens to the instrument and the concert or performance is disrupted.

    I play guitar and drums myself and I always have spare drumsticks or a guitar with me on performances, depending on which instrument I play.

    They told me a good idea, is to take a small guitar or use a case that you can roll. As an option

  21. #20

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    I always have spare picks, strings, an extra cable and an extra power cord. If the gig is in a remote location, I bring a spare guitar and amp.

    It can come in handy. Here is a true story: I had a high dollar Gypsy jazz gig in a very remote location in Big Sur, California. I intended to do the gig on my Gypsy guitar (Dupont MD-20) which at the time had no internal pickup. I forgot the Krivo pickup that I intended to use and so the Stratocaster in my trunk saved the day. I felt that the optics were not perfect, but sonically it worked surprisingly well. And there were no complaints from the client. Years later when Bireli Lagrene began using a Stratocaster with his Gypsy Project band, I thought to myself, "Been there, done that"!
    _____________________________________________
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by LiamBlack View Post
    You are not paranoid, this is normal practice. Each musician should take a spare instrument, because if people came to the concert they spent time, money and time, it will be sad if something happens to the instrument and the concert or performance is disrupted.

    I play guitar and drums myself and I always have spare drumsticks or a guitar with me on performances, depending on which instrument I play.

    They told me a good idea, is to take a small guitar or use a case that you can roll. As an option
    I've played hundreds of gigs on the east coast and literally have never seen someone bring a backup axe (that goes for guitar, sax, bass, anything). Spare strings, sticks, reeds, etc of course. But an entire second instrument is not the norm.

    Maybe the disconnect is between "concert" vs "gig". If I was playing madison square garden I suppose I would bring backup everything. Local jazz bar, restaurant, etc not so much.

  23. #22

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    I always have my Yamaha silent guitar in the trunk. It's a nylon string, but in a pinch, a change in sound is better than no sound!


    (I've never had to use it, never even broken a string at a jazz gig!)
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  24. #23

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    Back when I had only one guitar, I would occasionally break a string mid-show and have to quickly change it. Got a second guitar, started bringing it to gigs, but never broke string again. Nowadays, I just say really loudly before I leave the house "I'm bringing two guitars to the gig in case I break a string!" to fake out the gremlins, but only bring one. It seems to be working.

    John

  25. #24

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    I attended a fantastic concert a few months back featuring the group Special EFX fronted by guitarist Cheili Minucci. Halfway into the opening tune his instrument cut out. It was a solid body guitar that he was playing through a number of effects to get "his sound". He nonchalantly went through a troubleshooting process as the tune continued. No luck! As the intro for the next tune began, he immediately grabbed an electric acoustic guitar that was plugged directly into a separate amp with no effects pedals to keep the tune going. Prior to the start of the next tune he addressed the issue with the audience in a slightly humorous reference to the problem and noted that "the show must go on!"

    From that point forward he used the electric-acoustic which seemed to bring a completely different and exciting dynamic to the performance. It seemed the group all stepped up a level in performing the tunes with a totally different sound from the guitar. The audience loved it!

    As someone said earlier, there is the distinction of a gig versus a concert. It certainly paid off, in this instance, to have a backup.

    Albert


  26. #25

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    Great question, T! It's really a personality issue. I have always wanted to perform and act like a professional from my earliest days. I have always carried extra strings, winder and a tool kit. As a saxophonist, as well, I always carried extra reeds that had been "broken in" and were ready for performance. I've only had one mishap in over 45 years of playing--I lost a pad on my tenor sax while playing which I glued back in place between songs to finish the gig. I don't think a second guitar is necessary if your instrument is well maintained. I've never broken a string during a performance but have broken them during practice on my classical guitar on the low E and D string. I've never broken a string on my Gibson ES. I hope this helps . . . . good playing, Marinero.

  27. #26

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    Sometimes, instead of bringing a spare guitar just in case, I'll bring one just in gigbag.

  28. #27

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    I usually never bring two electric guitars at the same time. My setup is one acoustic and one electric guitar for gigs. As long as I use good strings and suitable picks there aren’t any need for ”spare guitars”.
    Last edited by Bbmaj7#5#9; 09-23-2019 at 05:59 AM.
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  29. #28

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    I am thinking about cloning myself ... just in case.... but how can I be sure he is going show up for gigs to be 'spare me'?

  30. #29

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    I bring spare E and B strings (not that I've ever needed them - 13's and 17's are pretty durable), tuning winder, and a wire cutter...but that's it. Oh, sometimes a spare amp in case I'm not sure of the room.

    Also, a pair of drum sticks and a high-hat clutch...

  31. #30

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    I don't bring a spare to my gigs, although I've been caught out by this on a couple of occasions where the high 'e' broke and I had to finish the gig with a 5 string guitar. Not much fun...

    Now I keep a spare .12 and .16 pair of strings in the case, so if either the B or E breaks I'm not stuck. It's been years since that happened... I have probably jinxed myself now.

    All my amps at this point in time are solid state, so generally I'm not too worried about an amp dying on me. Mainly I'm gigging with my Quilter Aviator Twin Ten or a DV Mark Little Jazz, both for which I don't really have any concerns about reliability.

  32. #31

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    i like to think about the other instruments... anyone bringing a backup trumpet or sax? nah, but they probably have another mouthpiece and reed.

    although i too worry sometimes, i think it's safe enough to bring a extra set of strings and cables.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonah View Post
    I am thinking about cloning myself ... just in case.... but how can I be sure he is going show up for gigs to be 'spare me'?

    Hi, Jonah,
    I think you both need to sit down and have a discussion. And, if you haven't done this before, may I suggest a padded cell for the meeting? I'm certain you'll work it out! Good playing . . . Marinero

  34. #33

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    In jazz, unfortunately, sometimes the question would be whether to bring a spare or substitute listener "just in case" ...

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bbmaj7#5#9 View Post
    I usually never bring two electric guitars at the same time. My setup is one acoustic and one electric guitar for gigs. As long as I use good strings and suitable picks there aren’t any need for ”spare guitars”.
    Earlier this week I went to a performance by 19 year old blues guitar prodigy Christone Ingram. On his opening number he broke a string on his instrument. At the end of the song he went to his backup guitar. On his last tune of the performance he broke a string on the backup guitar. He retuned and performed an encore, "Hey Joe", admirably on 5 strings.