David Amram by Jennifer Hasegawa/Courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons

Playing live brings a thousand lessons and a thousand adventures. Here’s one, courtesy of John Sinclair and David Amram, at the old watering hole of Jack Kerouac and Edgar Allen Poe.

I’ve preached the gospel of playing gigs before—and how they can lead to all kinds of benefits, from honing your chops to making new connections to unexpected adventures. Here’s an example.

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Wondering how to join a band and get some sweet gigs? Then this episode is for you. Rhett and Zach share their advice, from how to get in front of audiences and make more connections—if it’s all about who you know, how do you get to know the right people? And how do you impress them enough to hire you?—to the skills you’ll need to hone to get the job done. Sure, knowing your way around your instrument is really important, but it’s not just about scales, arpeggios, and chord voicings. And different gigs—cover bands, wedding bands, singer/songwriters—require different skills. (Hint: Know how to get a good sound out of the gear you already have!)

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From string changes to amp maintenance to networking, techs to the stars tell you how to maintain your setup like a pro.

Guitar techs love to talk gear. As we talked with our panel of expert techs to get the inside scoop on what it's like to be a touring tech [you can read last week’s feature “Gear Nannies – Life of a Guitar Tech,” here], the conversation inevitably shifted back to equipment. Thankfully, these purveyors of gear and repair are in a position not only to help artists reach sonic nirvana, but have agreed to share some of their wisdom to help in your pursuit of tone.

In the following pages, the techs share tips, tricks, and cautionary tales of repair and troubleshooting to help you avoid being at the mercy of the gear gods in the middle of your next gig. While you may already be familiar with some of the tips, we hope this gentle reminder can help you get back to the basics and remember that sometimes your tone and onstage comfort is made in the smallest, most miniscule things in your signal path.

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