Always Come Prepared

There are only a few things classical players are expected to arrive with for a concert: instrument & bow, rosin, shoulder rest and parts. As an electric player performing at a venue you will need to bring all these things, too, but there are other gear components that not only is it poor etiquette to show up without but you can't always rely on bandmates or the venue to provide. In short, you must take responsibility for everything required to get your sound into the mix. At minimum this includes:

  • Extra strings -- Even in classical music strings can break at any time, but in band settings you may play harder and break more strings. Violinists should carry 3 extra E and A strings and 2 of everything else. It's also a good to practice fast string changes that can be accomplished in between tunes or during a short song that doesn't require your part.
  • 1/4" instrument cables and patch cables -- bring as many as needed to connect all your gear, plus at least one extra.
  • DI box -- many venues or sound engineers will provide a passive DI (though not always). It's best to bring your own DI, especially if you prefer an active DI (like the LR Baggs Para DI).
  • Power supplies -- most effects pedals, preamps and active DIs require power, either from an AC power adaptor, a pedal board power plug or a 9-volt battery. Make sure you have enough power supplies to reliably run each unit and if using batteries, plenty of extra 9-volts (it's safest to install fresh 9-volts before each performance).
  • XLR cable -- You'll connect from your DI box (or your amp's direct out) to the snake or the sound board using an XLR cable (see the Making Connections video from earlier in this series) but you don't want to assume that the venue will provide one, so bring your own.

How to coil cables

Using the over/under method Matt demonstrates in the video below will not only extend the life of your cables but it will make it far easier to quickly access them and lay them out when setting up for a gig. The over/under method also prevents them from developing a pig tail coil, so that they will lay flat on stage.

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