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FinnDave

Taking spares to gigs

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There was a thread about the futility of taking a spare bass to gigs on here but I can't find it now, and I recall that some people suggested you could take it as far as taking a spare amp if you were really paranoid.

At tonight's gig I had a brand new amp delivered to my house shortly before I left to drive to the gig. I tested it while the guy from the shop watched. I decided to take my old amp as well. The new amp lasted about 30 seconds into the first number before losing all power. I was able to swap it over for the old one (same speaker, power and speaker cable) and continue. Had I not had a spare amp in the car, it would have been a disastrously short gig!

I was using a Fender Jazz bass, bought new last March, for the gig tonight. During the between sets break, it was in a Hercules stand when I saw stand and bass fall into the drum kit. No one was near it at the time, and the fall left some damage to the fingerboard and left the G string unplayable due to it hitting a cymbal. Again, the gig was saved because I had a spare Precision with me.

I think the only things not duplicated in my gig kit now are speakers and me!

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I can never understand why folks here are so against taking spares to gigs,just commonsense to me. The biggest gig I've played in recent years was to 2,000 bikers with no soundcheck when my main bass decided to pack up in the intro to the first song. I just pulled my spare out of the gigbag and no one (including the drummer) had any idea there was anything wrong! Would have been completely screwed if I had only brought one bass...

Edited by peteb

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[quote name='FinnDave' timestamp='1494633958' post='3297551']
There was a thread about the futility of taking a spare bass to gigs on here but I can't find it now, and I recall that some people suggested you could take it as far as taking a spare amp if you were really paranoid.

At tonight's gig I had a brand new amp delivered to my house shortly before I left to drive to the gig. I tested it while the guy from the shop watched. I decided to take my old amp as well. The new amp lasted about 30 seconds into the first number before losing all power. I was able to swap it over for the old one (same speaker, power and speaker cable) and continue. Had I not had a spare amp in the car, it would have been a disastrously short gig!

I was using a Fender Jazz bass, bought new last March, for the gig tonight. During the between sets break, it was in a Hercules stand when I saw stand and bass fall into the drum kit. No one was near it at the time, and the fall left some damage to the fingerboard and left the G string unplayable due to it hitting a cymbal. Again, the gig was saved because I had a spare Precision with me.

I think the only things not duplicated in my gig kit now are speakers and me!
[/quote]

You should bring a spare bassist next time.............accidents do happen ;)

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[quote name='gjones' timestamp='1494645164' post='3297561']
You should bring a spare bassist next time.............accidents do happen ;)
[/quote]

A drummer in the audience suggested that as well!

The Leningrad Cowboys have already thought of that, here is a clip of the first film featuring them. The bass player froze to death while practicing and so (obviously) they took him with them when they toured America. At the start of this clip you can see the bass sticking out of the coffin in the boot (trunk) of the car...and at about 1'40" in, he comes in useful.

If you've never seen the film, I can thoroughly recommend it, a Finnish classic by Aki Kaurismaki, the band were a real band called the Sleepy Sleepers who became the Leningrad Cowboys for the movie (and it's follow-up, The Leningrad Cowboys meet Moses). and then became a popular band in real life. I saw them in 2007 in Kouvola, a real good time fun band!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3KaJIrPGjc

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I break a string at least two or three times a year, and any one of those times could be on a gig. I always take a spare bass! My tone is all from my pedalboard which has two DIs on it so I'm sorted if the amp fails. If the pedalboard fails I will just have to go direct to the amp and live with not having lots of compression and gainto hide behind 😉

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We had our powered mixing desk fail once. We put the vocals through my backup amp (Streamliner) and it got us out of a jam. Sounded fine in the circumstances.

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[quote name='Dapper Bandit' timestamp='1494663231' post='3297636']
On an unrelated note I'm pretty sure I have the box set of Leningrad Cowboys movies in the to watch pile, is it worth bumping it up to the top?
[/quote]

Absolutely, they are simply wonderful. Go America was fired mostly on the road with real people and places, the band is utterly surreal, it takes you into a strange world. Lines like 'I wonder when we will get murdered. Everyone on New York gets murdered, I've seen it in the movies' delivered totally deadpan..watch 'Go America' first and then 'Meet Moses'. If you have them, the live gigs with the Red Army choir are well worth it too. Huge crowd of uniformed Russian soldiers singing 'Sweet Home Alabama' is something you won't forget in a hurry!

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Sounds like a nightmare gig that was overcome. I had an amp die on me back in 2010 and we wound up putting the bass through the PA.

Suddenly it doesn't feel so wrong to keep a bass dep in the boot of the car, Tarantino style... I must remember to feed him though!

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I'm a bit of belts and braces guy, spare bass, and I use a Fender Rumble as an extension cab so I've got a spare amp as well and I use a 1 x 15 in my stack so I've got a spare speaker, as Japhet mentioned what happens if the PA packs up?, I've got that covered as well with a spare amp and cab, I think you owe it to the venue to be able to complete the gig

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If I start taking a spare cab to gigs I'll need a bigger car, and I only changed from hatchback to estate this year because of gigs!

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There's no way I would ever have used an amp straight out of the box for a gig, same as I never would have left a bass on a stand unattended. Just asking for trouble.

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I always take a spare bass to gigs but I have stopped taking a spare amp I take a David Eden pre amp instead so I can go direct into the PA if the worst happened

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[quote name='hiram.k.hackenbacker' timestamp='1494667390' post='3297683']
This sounds very odd to me. Almost the polar opposite of those who never change their strings.
[/quote]

People always ask how I break so many strings.

Poor technique :lol:

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[quote name='RhysP' timestamp='1494669323' post='3297704']
There's no way I would ever have used an amp straight out of the box for a gig, same as I never would have left a bass on a stand unattended. Just asking for trouble.
[/quote]

I always use new gear on the first gig but I always take a backup for the first few months. If I'm really not sure I'll have both amps set up on the top of the cab with the backup just needing the speaker cable to switch over. I agree with not using a stand. These days my basses always go into the gig bag when I'm not playing them. Just safer that way.

I'm not a big "backup" person and I do regard myself as being more "professional" than the next guy. My experience is: I have never broken a string or had a bass fail. I've twice had a battery run out but not since I started to change them on a regular basis, and this is not an issue now my main bass is passive. I've never had an amp fail since I switched from valve amps to SS and D class and a cab failure? Never.

The only guys I see and play with who regularly carry backups are guitarists. The keys and brass players don't and drummers mostly only seem to carry breakables, sticks and spare heads. We never have any redundancy in the PA systems. There are single points of failure everywhere in everyone's gear on every gig but the guys I play with hardly ever have problems. I did get a call from the guitarist, he'd broken down on the way to a gig. Fortunately I was able to divert and pick him up. Drive a Volvo. IME they never fail. My thinking is, buy good gear, treat it well and it will support you. Complacent? Maybe or not really. Depends on your point of view. But my approach has worked for me for many decades.

Everyone should do what they feel comfortable doing. If you feel it's "more professional", or you are prone to gear failures, or it just gives you a warm feeling, you're a very careful person or just have OCD then carry as many backups as you like. IMO it's not "more" professional to take backups but if you have failures, don't treat your gear well or buy unreliable gear and [i]don't[/i] take backups then you are definitely being "less" professional than you should be.

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[quote name='chris_b' timestamp='1494672192' post='3297731']
Everyone should do what they feel comfortable doing. If you feel it's "more professional", or you are prone to gear failures, or it just gives you a warm feeling, you're a very careful person or just have OCD then carry as many backups as you like. IMO it's not "more" professional to take backups but if you have failures, don't treat your gear well or buy unreliable gear and [i]don't[/i] take backups then you are definitely being "less" professional than you should be.
[/quote]

Well said.

I don't take back-up equipment to gigs but I certainly would describe it as 'futile' or dismiss anyone who does.

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[quote name='RhysP' timestamp='1494669323' post='3297704']
There's no way I would ever have used an amp straight out of the box for a gig, same as I never would have left a bass on a stand unattended. Just asking for trouble.
[/quote]

I had tested the amp at home with the shop staff guy who brought it over, it worked fine. It didn't fail until the gig started. I reckon to got nervous.

I have left many basses on stands at gigs between sets I never move far away from them in case of inquisitive fingers, there was no one near the bass when it fell. Unfortunately, I was just one step too far away to catch it. I'll change the G string as it was nearly severed and the set was almost new, the dents in the (made) fingerboard are minor, so I hope to be playing it again at tonight's gig. The shop is dropping off a set of strings when they bring back the shop demo amp for me this evening.

If this carries on, we'll start using it in our advertising....come and see what the bass player will break tonight!

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It's not like gear fails all the time but Murphy's Law ensures that when it does its on a big gig! In nearly 40 years, I have broken one string onstage, had a handful of wiring problems with a bass, had an amp go down 3 or 4 times and one cab failure. Most of these were simple 20 minutes repairs (except the amp, which was a major fault that was eventually corrected) but more than enough to ruin a show. I do occasionally take one (passive) bass to a gig when there are logistical issues, but never when it is a bigger show.

PS. I drive a Volvo these days and even that has failed on me once (big time - the central computer crashed, cost £1.5k to fix)...!

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I'm starting a shopping list...

1) spare cab
2) bigger car to carry two cabs
3) spare car in case new bigger car fails to start
4) clone of self in case I break down (again!)
5) spare drummer, spare guitarist, spare vocalist
6) spare venue
7) spare audience
8) spare planet

I think that covers most eventualities!

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[quote name='peteb' timestamp='1494674405' post='3297753']
I drive a Volvo these days and even that has failed on me once (big time - the central computer crashed, cost £1.5k to fix)...!
[/quote]

I'm the source of most failures.

Once I even put petrol in the diesel on the way to a gig!! I was rushing and . . . . . bugger!

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I think if you are being paid to provide a service (i.e entertain 50 people in the Dog and Duck) you have a responsibility to make sure the job gets done. That means being able to complete the gig pretty much no matter what happens.

Its no good to the landlord if something goes pop and you just say "well, thats the first time in 20 years I've had an amp blow on me" - he has a crowd to keep in the pub drinking and its your job to ensure they do just that. If you appear unprepared or unprofessional he/she will just give your gig to someone else next time.

If its a more casual affair - maybe in your local and to a crowd you know, a jam night or something unpaid - then you probably have less of a responsibility.

Personally, i have a spare bass (usually in the gig bag, tuned up and nearby), spare amp of a similar power nearby, a spare lead on top of the amp and i run 2 identical cabs rather than a single cab. I can also DI from the amp/Sansamp or wireless unit if required.
I can change anything in under a minute while the band carries on.

I've had to use the bass once and the amp once in about 4 years of regular gigging but the longer nothing breaks, the shorter the odds are getting of something happening. And its the law of sod that the day i can't be bothered to bring something etc.......

Edited by Mudpup

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I seriously considering chopping in my Barefaced Super Twin for two of their 1x12 cabs, simply to provide greater redundancy. It's such a lovely cab, though, (and carries serial number 001) that I might just buy another and get a bigger car! I do carry a Sansamp in case of amp failure as well. Needed it once, last year, at the venue we are playing at tonight.

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[quote name='Mudpup' timestamp='1494681550' post='3297825']
I think if you are being paid to provide a service (i.e entertain 50 people in the Dog and Duck) you have a responsibility to make sure the job gets done. That means being able to complete the gig pretty much no matter what happens...
[/quote]

... and if the drummer's bass drum pedal breaks..? Then what..? Or the hi-hat..? He, too, carries spares of those, I suppose, plus a spare snare drum, floor tom and drum rack..? There's a limit, that's all, and a question of probability and practicality. A spare lead takes up little space, as does a DI. Spare cabs and amps are quite a different category, and at many gigs would have to be left in the car for lack of space, 500 metres from the venue and unguarded, in any case..! Not always a case of 'can't be bothered' or 'unprofessional', in my view. There's a financial aspect, too..!.

Edited by Dad3353

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It's absolutely nothing to do with being professional or otherwise. It's all to do with practicability and money.

If I'm catching the train to Bristol for a solo gig, like I am in a few weeks, I'm not going to be able to take 2 of everything with me, and yes I said a solo gig, so even more important that everything works. I recently played 2 gigs in a Paris, it's just not practical or cost effective to have 2 of everything.

I own one bass, one of each pedal, one amp, one MacBook. Imagine the expense of duplicating that?

But, I lpoj after everything that I use, I do carry spare leads and batteries. I've never ever broken a string and can't ever see it happening.

One thing I am going to start carrying a spare of is my Ebow, I dropped it after my last set in Paris. I managed to fix it and glue back together, but I do need a spare.

What size venues are you guys playing? To be able to store all this spare gear, amps and basses in cases. With my jazz gigs there's often just about enough room for the band. I certainly wouldn't be leaving spare stuff in a car in the car park.

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[quote name='FinnDave' timestamp='1494633958' post='3297551']
There was a thread about the futility of taking a spare bass to gigs on here but I can't find it now, and I recall that some people suggested you could take it as far as taking a spare amp if you were really paranoid.

At tonight's gig I had a brand new amp delivered to my house shortly before I left to drive to the gig. I tested it while the guy from the shop watched. I decided to take my old amp as well. The new amp lasted about 30 seconds into the first number before losing all power. I was able to swap it over for the old one (same speaker, power and speaker cable) and continue. Had I not had a spare amp in the car, it would have been a disastrously short gig!

I was using a Fender Jazz bass, bought new last March, for the gig tonight. During the between sets break, it was in a Hercules stand when I saw stand and bass fall into the drum kit. No one was near it at the time, and the fall left some damage to the fingerboard and left the G string unplayable due to it hitting a cymbal. Again, the gig was saved because I had a spare Precision with me.

I think the only things not duplicated in my gig kit now are speakers and me!
[/quote]when i used to gig with big valve amps, i always took a tranny amp as back up and needed this on several occassions, especially when i had an svt II pro - it was forever blowing power valves. Never had a bass let me down though

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