It's the night of your show and you're about to take the stage. You can hear the crowd's excitement, and maybe your nerves are kicking in or your confidence is about to set off, but then it happens: something breaks. Your pedal's batteries die. You lose the only pick you brought... oops. Whatever may happen, you always want to be prepared.
Much like the bottom of a purse, instrument cases can be bottomless pits for strange items. Personally, my instrument case was always home to a variety of weird accessories like plumber's tape, tiny screwdrivers, and a Tupperware container full of warm water. While all these items had a purpose to me, there were other times when my case acted like a gym locker.
But as musicians, we need to prepare for the best, the worst, and the weirdest. You never know what might happen just as you're about to head onstage or while you're in the middle of a performance. So the next time you need to schedule a spring cleaning for your case, ditch the broken pencils and the mystery garbage for these helpful items.
1. A tuner
I don't care how good your ear is or how long you've been playing your instrument, a tuner is an absolute necessity. Your band members and audience will have a much better time if you're in tune.
I think batteries are overlooked in this world. There's a stock of them at the back of your hallway closet at home, but when you really need them (like right before a show), they're nowhere to be found. Always keep some AA batteries for your wireless transmitter, nine volts for pedals, and AAAs for your flashlight.
3. A small screwdriver set
You might not have to use them every day, but you'll definitely be thankful you've got them when something needs screwin'. A crescent wrench and a hex wrench are also helpful to keep around.
Hearing damage sucks, period. Seriously, protect your ears and bring extras for your next show. You'll be thankful the day – and years – after.
5. Extra picks
This one is pretty self-explanatory but, hey, you can't be too prepared. You never know when you'll forget or lose one!
6. Drum keys
Again, drummers probably feel this one is self-explanatory, but it's a smart idea to keep extras on hand.
7. Gaffer tape
Bless gaffer tape. It's better than duct tape because it doesn't leave a residue, and it can help you fix a broken mic clip, cables that are all over the place, and much more.
8. Business cards
Instead of writing your email down on a bar napkin for a potential contact, you can just slip them one of your trusty business cards. They're easy to carry around, don't take up a ton of space, and they look much more professional. You never know who might be listening to you!
[The Simple Guide to Musician Business Cards]
Rachel Bresnahan is an editorial intern at Sonicbids.