Before You Go On Tour...

Summer is here, and musicians everywhere are hitting the road for summer tours.

As I'm gearing up for 5 weekends on the road, I've been thinking about some tips that would help other travelling music-makers.

First, let's get a few of the obvious tips out of the way.

  • Have a gear checklist. Include all the guitars, amps, pedals, accessories, etc. that you'll need. Check it twice.
  • Know your gear. Be intimately familiar with all the pieces of your rig and know how to troubleshoot common problems.
  • Have a Plan B. If at all possible, carry a backup guitar, amp and extra cables.

    Now let's look at some of the not so obvious tips for the travelling guitarist.

  • Bring nail clippers. Seriously, is there anything worse than long fretting hand fingernails getting all up in the way when you're trying to play guitar?
  • Bring some fretboard conditioner. A clean fretboard is a happy fretboard. Carry some fretboard conditioner and apply every time you change strings.
  • Research your venues. Gather whatever info you can about the venues you'll be playing. Nothing like working on a different set of assumptions than the venue. "I thought you guys were providing the PA?!" Seriously, I've experienced this.
  • Research the route and the cities you'll visit. Chances are you'll be driving through and to a lot of places you've never been before. Do a little digging around to see what each town has to offer that's unique. There's no sense in wasting your time lounging around the hotel or the Flying J Truck Stop.
  • Hydrate. I know how tempting softdrinks, energy drinks, alcohol, etc. can be. Enjoy in moderation. Carry bottled water with you and be sure to drink several bottles per day.

    Hopefully, something on this list will help you out the next time you hit the road.

    Question: Do you have any traveling tips that you could share? Anything you had to learn the hard way?

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