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Backups

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by bobpick68, Jul 27, 2021.

  1. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    I have been gigging a good part of 40 years now and one thing I learned is to have a backup of everything. Can't say I have had a ton of catastrophic failures, but I'm ready when they do happen. I was just going through my stuff and cataloging it for insurance purposes and started thinking about the people I know, who don't use a backup of anything other than strings and cables.

    I also run sound and do DJ work and I have to make sure I am covered in case something bad happens.

    When I do guitar gigs I bring 3 with me. A hardtail with P-90's, a FR loaded with HB's, and a Fat Strat. My pedal rig is basically my backup because I can easily go direct with it but I still bring a small extra amp modeler with me.

    Honestly not bragging. It took me years to get to this point. What I am wondering though is how people gig without backups? I'd be sweating bullets all night just waiting for Murphy's Law to come n get me.

    Do you bring backups to gigs? if so what is your backup solutions? I love discussing this stuff.
     
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  2. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't you be OK for 95% of everything with an HSS strat and some kind of modeling gadget with an out to PA for backups?
     
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  3. RCM 800

    RCM 800 Well-Known Member

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    I always take at least 2 guitars, 3 if I plan on doing any songs with drop tuning. Lately Ive been taking 2 or20h heads but I used to back up my TSL or 2204 with a tiny terror that Id leave in the car unless needed. Way easier and quicker to swap a head than try and swap tubes while youre supposed to be playing. I carried around a V-amp for a bit but thank god I never had to use it. Back in the 90's I had no backup amp so I had to carry tubes but fortunately I never had an issue on stage.
     
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  4. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer _ Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    I always gigged with backups, though I never needed them after my early, less experienced days. What I learned was that there are usually signs that your gear is on the verge of breaking down: issues with amps, guitars, FX pedals & pedalboards, etc. The simpler your rig, the less that can go wrong. Moreover, I realized by watching others who brought backup gear, that whenever they did need to use it, it was never truly "ready-to-go", which negates the entire reason for having backup gear. My policy worked for me:

    Has the amp been acting up in the slightest way at home & at band rehearsals? If no, no backup needed, but an extra set of tubes (AND A SCREW DRIVER & FLASHLIGHT) are wise. Otherwise, have it looked at. No time for a checkup? DON'T USE IT! Man, the idiocy of things like dropping a 12AX 7 in the middle of a set, only to realize you can't change it out w/o you bring a damn screw driver and a flashlight.

    Has your guitar EVER broken strings? If so, have your guitar looked at. No time for a checkup? DON'T USE IT! Either way, always bring one (ONE) extra guitar and make it ready-to-grab, and also bring spare strings. When I was new, I used to break strings. I always blamed the string manufacturer. Then I learned that if I change strings before EVERY gig, they never EVER break. Since then I've done hundreds of gigs and not once did I ever break a string again. A few younger kids made fun of me once: "he probably wastes $500/yr. on strings". To which I say, "Maybe, but at least I'm never up there with my cheese blowing in the wind like you guys who try to squeeze every last minute out of a pack to save a couple bucks". Think about it: $6.00 for a fresh set of strings before every gig is pretty cheap insurance against embarrassment, pissing your band off, and looking unprofessional.

    I could go on and on - so many tricks I've learned. If you bring nothing else, change your strings, and bring a flashlight and proper screwdrivers. If you can't at least do that then you should just stop gigging.

    A true professional makes the most out of the minimum, and is always prepared for everything within his/her control. Nobody except touring musicians (who often rent gear they're unfamiliar with) need two of everything.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
  5. Sapient

    Sapient   Silver Supporting Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    I used to make sure I always had a couple ceramic solid oxide zirconia fuel cells on hand. I didn't like being in risky/chancy situations, myself. It's not fair to the audience either.
     
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  6. LPMarshall hack

    LPMarshall hack Well-Known Member

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    I bring two guitars. I have a EH .44 Mag pedal as my backup amp. An SD-1 plugged into that and a 4x12 sounds awesome
     
  7. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer _ Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    Bwahahahaaa! :D

    :hmm:

    [​IMG]

    Slappy.

    .
     
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  8. Sapient

    Sapient   Silver Supporting Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    Ouch! Felt like lionfish stung my head.

    Stir up. Post. Recycle.

    :D
     
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  9. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    It certainly creates more work to have all the backups in the van but makes me feel better about gigs to have them. I remember one big party thing we played for some mucky mucks out in the country at their estate. I asked them specifically not to put us on the same circuit as the outdoor heated pool. Being a trusting person I didn't go check where the extension cords were coming from.

    Halfway into the first set our bass player lost his entire rig when the pool heater kicked on. His amplifier rig cost him about 3500 bucks and it fried his amps, pre-amps and processor. We finished the gig with him going direct to PA but nothing we could do about his rig. I gave him my cut cos I felt bad but that was a good example. I think he managed to get new amps from QSC but the rest was a total loss. He had no backup so basically sounded like shite for the whole gig. At least compared to what his rig sounded like.

    That's a good example.
     
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  10. trax1139

    trax1139 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I do. I learned the hard way. I was doing a sound gig for a big St. Louis Rams (when they were still here) tailgate party when the FOH mixer went down. The local radio stations were there promoting the day and we were about 5 minutes from air time. Luckily, I was tight with the band and I worked frantically to spin around the monitor wedges and side fill cabs and just ran sound from the stage monitor mixer. All was good...no casualties!
     
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  11. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    Yep I keep a analog Presonus mixer with me to backup my Soundcraft Digital Mixers. Not optimal but will save my butt in case of emergency.
     
  12. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    I have gear OCD so I meticulously maintain all of it. I even keep a log book of when/what I did. Granted I am hard on my guitars because I give 100% on stage, so I spend most the maintenance time with those.
     
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  13. axe4me

    axe4me Well-Known Member

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    I bring 2 guitars, sometimes 3 guitars to a gig.

    I had an issue with my Alessandro Redbone Coonhound head at a gig once.

    The tube ends were rusted and did not make a good contact.

    The sound was going in and out and was, at times, was fuzzy.

    From that time on, I took 2 amp heads and 2 Marshall 1922 cabinets to a gig along with spare guitars.

    2 pedal boards too.
     
  14. neikeel

    neikeel Well-Known Member

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    I used to take two guitars, spare strings, batteries, two amp heads (but only one cab). I am probably a bit self conscious about having too much kit with me (you know, avoiding 'all the gear but no idea' concept and let the band and playing do the talking not flash kit, you've seen these guys at gigs.

    Now I make sure my guitar is spot on (change strings just before the last rehearsal prior to gig - I'm not a string breaker anyway) and only take one guitar now, either the LPR0 or Martyn Booth Sig. I set my pedal board up night before with PSU and fresh batteries (in bag with gaffa tape etc). I usually use my battered but trusty 68 4x12 cab and a smallbox (JTM45 or 50) with the Alex and keep the 18w 2x12 combo in the wagon, or for smaller gigs just the 2x12 combo for speakers and a spare amp head that I can plug into the combo speakers.

    Never had a guitar go down or an amp although have had pedals die before (eg my DD-3) and a battery die in my Tonebender with much shuffling of leads and wires and have had guitar lead pack up during sound check.

    Funnily enough I have a dream, that exhibits my insecurities, that mid gig (packed house) I step forward for a solo and there is no sound! Nearest I had to that was at quite a big gig and I'd been jumping around and stepped up for one of my bits and the guitar strap pinged off the body pulling the guitar lead out. I finished the truncated solo and the song on one knee flamenco style (I now always use strap locks!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  15. Crikey

    Crikey Well-Known Member

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    In 90s never took a back up amp. My musicman 150hd never let me down.
     
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