(Left) Got a couple of these in your gig bag? If not, you’re playing with fire!
There’s nothing worse than having an equipment malfunction or failure at a gig. Not only is it embarrassing, but it might also cost you the gig. No one wants to tarnish their good reputation, or let down their bandmates, client, and the audience with something that with a little preparation and planning could be avoided.
The easiest time to do this is when you’re changing drumheads. When the heads are off check all the screws on the inside of your drums to make sure they’re all tight. When you reassemble the drums check that the tension rods are clean, lubricated, and not stripped. Don’t forget to check your pedals, stands, and hardware for missing or stripped wing nuts and screws.
Now is the time to do it, not under pressure at a gig. I suggest you have the following items at the gig, or at least nearby in your vehicle.
1. Spare snare drumheads top and bottom, snare wires and straps, string or cable. If you can carry a spare snare drum, it’s easier to change out a drum than change heads and wires on the gig.
2. Spare kick drumhead, beater patch, and a drum rug to keep the kick drum from sliding off the stage.
3. Carry various spare tension rods, wing nuts, and screws for the drums, pedals, and stands. An extra hi-hat clutch and cymbal felts are a good idea too.
4. Spare pedal spring and beater. Like the snare, carry a spare kick pedal – it’s easier to change the whole thing out rather than making repairs on the spot.
5. Carry a small tool kit including: Phillips- and flat-head screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, vise grips, drum keys, scissors, or safety knife and Allen wrenches. You never know when you or your bandmates might need to use them.
6. Gaffer’s tape, cable ties, and bungee cords. These little goodies have been known to save gigs and prevent wardrobe malfunctions.
7. Have a set of drum mikes and cables – there’s no guarantee the venue will have these things.
One last tip: Have a routine when you set up and tear down. This way you can check for any issues before you start the gig, and at the end you can check for any damaged or missing items before you put your drums in the cases. Happy drumming.