Planning a Tour in 2016? Getting the Kit Ready
The life of a touring band can be a mixed bag, with great highs punctuated by lows. Artists and groups of all sizes and statures make a living from performing live. In fact, for most gigging musicians touring and performances are usually their largest revenue stream, followed by merchandising. For this reason, and because every musician wants to make each performance their best and every tour the most successful yet, both for their fans and for themselves, preparation and planning are invaluable.
Travel, accommodation and financial planning may seem the most immediately relevant areas, but it is of vital importance that you consider your equipment – acquiring new gear, instruments or spare parts and making plans for how to store and transport them.
Cases and Storage
Although this may seem obvious, how and where you store your kit can make a massive difference to its longevity and condition, which can in turn effect the quality of a performance. Soft cases are relatively inexpensive and easy to carry, often even when full. In some instances they take up less space than hard cases, but due to their construction they offer poor resistance to fluids, impacts and temperature, and as such are recommended for shorter stints only. Hard cases are more expensive and take up more room than is often ideal, or even possible in your chosen transport, but most make up for that with robust toughness and increased protection.
Before beginning a tour, trial your chosen gear extensively in case you want or need to replace any of it. Whether it’s an aesthetic consideration such as switching your old amp transformers for new toroidal transformers or repairing your broken guitar pick-ups, it’s worth setting aside this time well in advance. Component manufacturers such as Siga Transformers and others, along with most equipment retailers, do the vast majority of their business online, making that advance planning and testing time vital.
Though this is a minor point it’s always worth reiterating. These sorts of things, including everything from patch cables to guitar strings and drumsticks, are among the first that people think of when establishing what kit they will need for touring. As they’re the smallest and often least expensive items, you can probably afford to stock up on numerous spares. It rarely hurts to have too many.