As a musician, travelling and touring is perhaps one of the best ways to get your name out there and make a few contacts along the way. If you’re thinking about travelling as a musician, here’s a few handy tips to put your mind at ease and help you along the way.
First and foremost is protective casing for all your gear. Damaging gear at any point is a never a good thing. Damaging gear while travelling is really not ideal, especially if you’re just getting on your feet and don’t have money to squander on equipment that needs replacing. Buying hard cases can get expensive but it’s better than the gamble you take with your equipment when you don’t buy them. For guitar and bass cases you can’t go wrong with Gator. For more specialised equipment (keyboards and MIDI controllers etc.) you may need to do a bit of searching, but it’ll be worth it!
A personal recorder
It’s not unlike inspiration to strike at the most random times. If it does happen to strike unexpectedly in the back of a dingy van you’ll need something to quickly get the idea down and store it for later reference. The Zoom H1 is an industry favourite because of its price, small form factor and great sound quality. This will allow you to use your personal recorder as your scrap note pad. Fill it up with ideas then sift through them at a later date and see which ones are worth expanding on. Maybe that guitar lick you accidentally came up with in the toilets of a small venue could be your next hit. Then again maybe not.
Too often we hear about a musicians ability to write and perform music being hindered by sustaining damage to their ears while gigging. This is a problem that can be easily avoided with ear protection. While the idea of earring ear plugs and may seem unappealing, modern technology allows them to reduce volume while maintaining a flat response. This means they will reduce volume over the entire frequency spectrum equally so as to not sound filtered or muffled. The price of ear plugs can range from a few quid to hundreds. While any protection is better than none, custom moulded ear plugs are definitely worth saving up for. Being unique to your ears, they will offer optimum protection against those gnarly guitar tones, bro.
Travel specific equipment
While cases can offer you great protection for almost any equipment you’ll take out on the road, it’s always a good idea to start with equipment that was built with durability in mind. At Ruach we’ve taken this into consideration and lost countless hours of sleep trying to bring you products that will work as well on the road as they do at home or in the studio. Our Street cajon features a birch body and rubber feet to give the player peace of mind that their instrument will be protected no matter what the setting. The solder less jacks we feature across our range of pedal boards also makes for an easier and more solid connection, allowing the player to focus on, well, playing.
A backpack is essential for your most valuable items such as laptops/iPads but also for things you may need regularly like tuners and chargers or even a spare set of strings. A good tip when flying is to not check anything into the hold that can’t be replaced. If you have your backpack by your side constantly you can ensure the contents of it are safe throughout the entire journey. It’s good practice to get into the habit of backing your laptop up before and after you travel on two hard drives. Take one with you and leave the other at home, that way if the unimaginable happens and you break/lose your laptop you have everything backed up in two places.
Travelling as a musician is never an easy task and will require a lot of planing before hand. The main point is ensuring everything is safe and you can focus on doing your job instead of worrying about the safety of your gear.
Until next time,