It doesn't matter if you are heading out to a jam session with friends or to perform a gig at a small club or coffee shop, it's essential to have some basic musician friendly supplies on you for the trip. Even if you take the time to prepare ahead of time and think you have everything you need, chances are you will forget something or need an item that you left behind. In a best case scenario, you borrow what you need. Worst case scenario, you look like a rookie who doesn't take his craft seriously. Don't be that guy.
That's why we thought about what kind of gear a guitarist or musician should be EDC'ing and came up with the following list. Some are obvious, others not so obvious - but we think our guitarist EDC bag will have you prepared for your next music session.
The most obvious thing to carry for a guitarist besides the guitar itself, picks don't take up much space so leaving the house with anything less than a handful is a mistake. We like Dunlop brand picks and they make a cheap variety pack you can get here. We like to take a small container and fill it with a mix of picks of various thicknesses so that we are prepared for metal leads, as well as softer styles like jazz and strumming.
You can purchase a lot of different pick holders, some of which stick directly on your guitar, others are key chain styled. We keep it simple and store all of our guitar picks in an old dip can that we cleaned thoroughly. We like to think of it as our effort to recycle. You can store whatever you want in there.
Spare Set of Strings
If you play guitar, then you know that the high E string will break at least once in every guitarists lifetime. And it's usually at the worst possible time. That's why the second most important thing in your EDC guitar bag is a spare set of strings. Better yet, carry two spare sets, or a set for your electric and your acoustic - that's what we do.
Everyone has their favorite brand of strings and preferred thickness. We have not settled on what string brand to endorse for electric guitar, but when it comes to acoustic we have been using Martin Marquis 80/20 Bronze for years and will not play anything else. They make our mid level acoustic sound rich and crisp with a nice bottom end. The price is right as well, so give them a try by clicking here and tell us what you think.
You could burn your fingers with a lighter trying to get a better look at your amp settings, or you could be smart and carry a small flashlight. It doesn't have to be anything fancy as long as it does the job and is bright enough to see what you're doing.
Cleaner and Cloth
You might not want to do a full tear down and fret board polish in the confines of a club, but what if a drunk patron spills beer on you gear? Sure you can keep playing, but things are going to be messy and a cloth to wipe off your instrument will make sure that nothing distracts you when the time comes for your wicked solo. A little cleaner can make things even smoother without taking up much space.
Sure, you might have a trained musical ear and think you don't need a tuner - but what if the noise is so much that you can't pick up a note? You might feel like an amateur relying on a tuner for help, but it's even more amateur to be out of tune. That's why you see even world class musicians using a tuner on stage.
There are plenty of cellphone apps that do the job and we use them ourselves for tuning up during practice or when sitting around the house working out a new music idea. But when it comes to playing out at a show - we don't want to rely on our cellphone and hope we have a charge when it's time to tune up. That's why we carry a dedicated clip on guitar tuner with us in our EDC bag.
There are plenty of options out there at various prices. We had a Fender one that broke the first time we dropped it so we refuse to spend a lot of cash for a tuner. Snark makes a cheap one that costs less than your lunch but has over 5,000 reviews and a five star rating.
We have talked plenty about how important a notebook is as part of any EDC bag, but for a guitarist or musician it's even more important. Inspiration always strikes when you least expect it, so having something to write down a catchy hook or the next verse in the song your working on is a must. There are plenty of notebook options out there, but we find that having a nice one helps to inspire us and set the mood for music writing.
Many processors and pedals require batteries, so keep a few in your EDC bag for emergencies. Just know what size batteries your equipment uses and keep an assortment in your kit. You don't want the distortion pedal to go out in the middle of a black metal set for obvious reasons.
Business Cards or Contact Cards
Having your contact info on a business card (which includes your website if you have one) is a must have for any musician who takes their craft seriously. Even if you are an amateur who is just jamming with local musicians, handing out a contact card shows you're serious about finding others who think the same. If you are part of a working band, being able to provide vital contact information to an executive or producer could mean getting signed or working on your debut record.
A Storage Bag
Most guitar cases have a small area that you can store accessories, but why not take all your gear and put it in a dedicated bag? It makes for an easy grab and go system that is easy to check before you leave for your gig or jam session. It also is a great way to carry what you need with you on stage - keeping it in easy reach. You could use any storage pouch you have laying around, something like a travel bag or dopp kit works great.
What do you think of our Musicians EDC Bag? Did we miss anything?