One of the least fun things about playing in a live band is hauling your equipment around. Of course, having the right equipment is crucial to being able to put on a live gig. So it seems like the longer you play in a band, the more equipment you acquire and then have to haul to your gigs. It’s a problem that can quickly get out of hand and can leave you feeling overwhelmed when it’s time to load up and haul all your equipment to the gigs.
When I started playing in bands I had one electric guitar, one distortion pedal and one amplifier. It wasn’t bad to haul that small setup even though my amp was really heavy. Naturally over the years I added more guitars that I used onstage, more effect pedals and multiple amplifiers. When my guitar rig was at it’s biggest I was hauling 3 guitars, two amplifiers, an effects rack, multiple effects pedals, wireless guitar system, microphones to mic the amps and all the necessary audio and power cables to hook everything up. I also had to haul my vocal microphone, mic stand, guitar stands and a couple racks of lights to the gigs. Needless to say, I hated hauling all that gear even though it was necessary to my show.
I finally decided that enough was enough and I started to look at ways to reduce the size of my rig. I started researching amplifiers and found the excellent Fender Cyber-Twin SE which could replace a big chunk of my guitar rig! Just by switching to this amplifier I got rid of an extra amplifier, the effects rack, the amp microphones and several effect pedals. Simply by switching to a more capable amplifier I was able to cut the size of my guitar rig in half and I am still able to get all the effects and sounds that I need live.
I also decided I didn’t need more than two guitars at a gig. I only use a primary guitar and a backup so I usually take a Fender Stratocaster and a humbucker equipped guitar such as a Gibson Les Paul or an Ibanez Prestige. Just by doing these small things I’ve cut the size of my rig way down and made my life hauling equipment to gigs much easier.
It’s always in your best interest if you want to keep playing in a live band for a lot of years to make things easier for yourself. I’ve never met anyone that loves hauling equipment to gigs so downsizing your rig is a simple way to make gigs easier. There are a lot of ways to downsize your P.A. as well, including getting more efficient amplifiers and speakers. There are some new technologies that look very promising like the Bose L1 Model II System which has the potential to save you a lot of P.A. hauling.
Finally, I can’t recommend enough having a good equipment hauling cart! So many musicians don’t use these and have no idea how much easier it is to load equipment in and out of a gig. There are many good equipment carts out there that fold down small enough to fit in the trunk of your car yet can still haul hundreds of pounds of equipment in a single load.