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Got a tech gig - would appreciate some advice!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by LeopoldBoom, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. LeopoldBoom


    Aug 27, 2012
    Hey everybody.

    I responded to a classified ad seeking an instrument tech/roadie for an up-and-coming local band and they asked me to work at their next gig which is on this coming Saturday.

    Has anybody got any tips or advice for a first time guitar/bass tech?? I'm fairly confident in my repair/setup skills so I'm not too apprehensive in that area, but since I've never worked a role like this before I'm trying to be as prepared as possible so as to make a good impression.

    Any words of advice would be great, thanks!
  2. frozenbolt


    Jan 28, 2013
    Let me premise this answer with this: I've never been an instrument tech and other than setting up and tearing down my own equipment after every gig I've ever played, I've never been a band roadie. :)

    That said, I've spent 20+ years as an electronics tech, so the biggest thing I can contribute is what fundamentals a tech of any kind should exercise: Know your equipment.

    For an instrument tech, it means just that: find out what instruments the musicians are using and start doing some homework.

    For example:
    • Check out the wiring setups for the electronics in each instrument and the setup of pedals, if you can. i.e., passive? active? battery requirements?
    • Ask the musicians what types and gauges of strings they use on their instruments and make a means to quickly and easily find them in the dark during a gig
    • Make up a basic set of tools that you can use on the fly to cover any unanticipated breaks, adjustments or changes. A good penlight in a belt case will be your best friend in the dark.
    • Learn the setlist and note any instrument changes occurring. Quick changes assisted by a roadie make for smooth shows.
    • Show up early. Unanticipated requests from musicians will probably fall on you. Having a bit of extra time will make them easier to deal with.
    • Buy plenty of Duct Tape. :)
    • Have fun!
    It sounds like an awesome opportunity. As long as you go in there with the attitude that you're going to help the band put on the best show possible, I'm sure you'll do fine.

    Rock on,
  3. LeopoldBoom


    Aug 27, 2012
    Thanks bolt! Great advice there.

    I went along to their final rehearsal last night and had a chat about their gear (all Fenders thankfully!), strings, common problems (apparently one guy is a fiend for breaking strings on his acoustic guitar - might need to take a look at the saddles at a later date).

    Effects wise it's a very simple setup, just Boss multi-effects units run from AC so no major headaches there.

    My toolbag should cover any eventuality, and I'll have a little trauma ward set up side-stage should anything go wrong.

    No quick guitar changes either, just two guitar changes in the whole set - happy days!

    I'm really looking forward to it, a sold out show in front of 2000 people. Talk about a baptism of fire!
  4. frozenbolt


    Jan 28, 2013
    Sweet! Looks like you got your bases covered. :)

    A good expression is: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."

    Sounds like you'll have good luck in this gig.

    Rock on,
  5. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Gaffer's tape big claim to fame is that while it is sticky as all-get-out, it will peel off without damaging what it's stuck to. You still have to be careful but unlike many tapes that are designed to be permanent, Gaffer's Tape is designed to be temporary.

    I get mine from Summit Racing, but it's widely available if you know what to ask for...

    My two favorite flashlights are the FourSevens QP2L-X which can go from a night-vision-preserving glow to 480 Lumen searchlight (for the Gen-2 model). This uses Lithium 123 batteries which will cost a fortune at someplace like Lowe's or Staples but are available cheaply in bulk if you shop around. Their shelf life is measured in years... Shirt-pocket small too.

    Slightly larger is the LEDLenser T7 or the almost identical P7. 3 brightness settings, adjustable beamspread from broad to tight focus. This takes AAA's you can get anywhere.

    I'd also suggest a pad of Post-It's and a Sharpie.

    And earplugs...
  6. LeopoldBoom


    Aug 27, 2012
    Duct Tape - Check
    Gaffer Tape - Good call! I'll keep my eyes peeled over the next few days
    Flashlight - Check! Head torch and pen torch.
    Sharpie & post-its - Check
    Earplugs - Check!

    Thanks artechnika! I don't think the band have a multi guitar rack. I'll try and fish mine out of storage before the concert. It's either in storage or out in the shed with my dog!

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