After gigging and performing for over ten years now, here are my best tips, tricks, and must-haves in order to have a successful gig! Most of the time, I am playing solo at a restaurant or bar for three hours at a time. However, these items can come in handy no matter the location— a local festival or event, a park, a hotel, a school, or a private party. To kick things off, the first, most important thing you need is a good sound system.
1. Bose Sound System
Obviously the exact make or model is not necessarily important, but it is hugely important to invest in a high quality sound system. Even though it's a costly expense, it is worth every penny, and that money will be made back. Personally, I have the Bose L1 with a B2 bass. The mixer, a Bose T1 ToneMatch, is pretty small with only 4 channels, but as a solo musician, it gets the job done. I'm not exactly sure when I purchased it, but it's been at least six years now, and I've had no issues. It's not too much to carry in and out, and it sets up quick and easy. The bass, however, is decently heavy. I've always received compliments on the clarity of my sound, and it projects sound well throughout a crowded restaurant. Whether or not you decide to purchase this brand or model, always do your research first! But highly recommended Bose and their products for amazing sound!
2. A Tablet
I don't know about you, but I can not memorize 5+ hours of songs. I wish I could, but it's just not happening lol. Up until last year, I had an enormous binder full of so many lyrics and tabs. When it was windy, papers would fly everywhere! Overall, it was a bit of an eyesore and a hassle to lug around. Purchasing this small tablet was a game changer! Now, I can upload all my tabs as pdfs and clip it in a holder that attaches to my microphone stand. This item has helped me become so much more organized!
3. Business Cards
Always have a stack of business cards on hand! You never know who's watching you and may want to hire you for a future event. Making connections at my gigs is how I have booked so many other events like weddings or private parties, and, overall, helps to get your name out there.
4. Extra Strings/Gear
Breaking a string is so annoying, let alone at a gig. I always try to have an extra pack as well as extra batteries, cables, etc. Better to be prepared in my opinion! These Elixir strings are my favorite. I have a Taylor GS Mini, and these strings pair so well with my guitar. They are a bit more expensive then the strings I used to buy, but the quality and tone is so much better, so I would definitely recommend investing in quality strings.
5. A Tip Jar
Pretty self-explanatory! But if you're putting in the work, you gotta have a tip jar out. Always nice to make a bit of extra cash. It also allows you to interact with the people enjoying and supporting your music.
6. Throat Care
It's so important to treat your voice with care and to warm up properly. Honey is so soothing on the throat, and I love to enjoy some hot tea before a gig as well. I also keep a few honey lozenges in my bag just in case my voice isn't feeling the best. My holy grail, however, are the Golden Round Crackers from Trader Joe's. For some reason they really help to clear my throat.
7. Rob (My Dad/Roadie)
My dad is seriously the best! He has helped me so much over the years and is so amazing and supportive. From researching gear to loading the car to setting up sound, he has always been there for me since day one, and I'm so grateful for him. Everybody needs a Rob, but I'm calling dibs! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these must-haves that have helped me to have positive gigging experiences. Cheers to more shows! Leave any questions in the comments if you want to know more specifics about anything!