Make Your Live Band Gigs Easier By Downsizing Your Rig

Almost all musicians hate hauling equipment, that’s why it makes sense to downsize your live band rig.

Haul Less Equipment With A Small Amplifier
Haul Less Equipment With A Small Amplifier

   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.
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Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

2 thoughts on “Make Your Live Band Gigs Easier By Downsizing Your Rig”

  1. Good Article. You bring up some good points and got me thinking.
    We have a 6 piece band with horns and everyone trades off vocals. Mics and stands, and monitors alone are burdensome. I was thinking of going with headset mics and IEM’s and maybe even wireless. That would eliminate 6-8 mic stands 2-4 floor monitors or personal monitors w/stands.
    Also, what are your thoughts about using a pod for guitar &/or bass and running through the PA? We could also run the keys thru the PA.
    Appreciate your feedback.

  2. Hey Dan, switching to headset mics and IEM’s would definitely cut down on the heavy equipment you would have to haul. That sounds like a great trade-off and would give you a lot of extra space onstage.

    I have a Korg Pandora that I haul along to use if my amplifier breaks down and I run it directly through the P.A. system. It sounds good enough to get me through a gig. If your guitarist and bassist are happy with their sound through a P.A. with a Pod system then I would go for it. Especially if you’re going to go wireless In-Ear Monitors. That would drastically cut down on the amount of equipment you’d have to haul around. I always run our Keys through the P.A. and our bassist uses a Zoom effects processor and runs it directly through the P.A. system. We haven’t hauled a keyboard or bass amplifier for years and it sounds great. -Matt-

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