Checklist of Items to Bring to the Jam

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TTK in the Studio. Notice the 50w Randall Amp Head and Wireless unit for easy travel within the rehearsal room

Boys & Girls – if you jam with friends, and travel to and from the jam session – I’m sure there have always been things you’ve missed along the way.  Hopefully this checklist will keep you prepared while on the go.

I personally like being able to travel in one fell swoop, meaning : Guitar in 1 hand, Amp in another hand and backpack on my back.

So, the question remains … what do I bring to the jam session?

GUITAR

If you play in alternate tuning, and only want to lug around one guitar – it’s best that you have an axe that tunes easily, and by that I mean a hard tail or fixed bridge.  Changing alt tunings with a trem is not that easy.  If you have a guitar with a trem – best that you include all of the tools to tune the guitar, especially the allen keys to open the locking nuts.

AMP

If you want your tone to be your own – it’s best that you travel with your signature sound.  in this department – I like a 50W compact and road worthy amp head (see the Randall Diavlo RD50 in the picture)  Sure, like many, I too love 100w heads, but in a studio (or even small venues), in many cases, 100w is simply overkill.  Plus, having a 50W amp will let your amp breath!  Nothing says loving like being able to get your amp past 5, and with a 50W head, you should be able to do that with ease.  It’ll sound bigger and badder than a 100w amp that you can’t get past 2 !!

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BACKPACK

Here’s what I keep in my own backpack.  And, I have yet to come to the jam unprepared!

The Roadie Rag - An EZer way to clean your instruments!

  • Several Guitar Cables (15′ in length)  At least 2.
  • Patch cables (12′ in length)
  • Wireless unit if you have one.
  • Tuner.  (Bringing 2 is not a bad idea, especially if you have one of the smaller clip-on tuners)
  • Power Strip that has a long extension cord to it.
  • Batteries (for you tuner, wireless unit or active pickups)
  • Guitar Strap
  • Guitar Picks
  • A camera!!  (Yes, if you’ve wanted to get your jam on cam – best that you have a cam with you)
  • Tripod (to mount the camera)
  • Money (to pay for the jam session)
  • Having an extra set of strings is not a bad idea (and should be kept in the guitar case)
  • String winder for easy string changes.

MISCELLANY

I know, I know – having 2 of everything is the best way to go.  Heck, having a roadie is even better, but for those Friday night jam sessions … as noted above – I like to travel light, set up quick and jam.  Of course – there are some other things you may want to consider, especially if the jam is in front of a crowd of people.

Tubes &/or a Back-Up Amp

Even though I have never had to change a tube during a performance – some will argue that having an extra few pre-amp tubes is not a bad thing to bring along.  And, now with some of the amps that indicate power tube failure – it’s not a bad idea to have a few of those either.  But, remember – I’d rather have a back up amp, than perform open heart surgery on my tube amp, mid set.  So, before you stock up on tubes – perhaps having an extra amp on standby is not a bad idea.  If you are practicing at a studio – you can skip the tubes and the back-up amp, as any studio should be able to provide you with a back-up amp as needed.

Back-Up Guitar

Same as noted above – it’s easier to swap out a guitar than it is to change a string mid-set.  If you’re in the studio – a string change is a lot easier than in front of a live audience.  So, for the studio – I don’t think you need to dual wield.  For a live set – perhaps having a 2nd axe on hand isn’t a bad way to go.

Summary

If you haven’t already caught on to the theme of this post, it’s important that you plan before you go to the jam.  I learned my lesson a long time ago.  When I was about 15 years old – I showed up to jam with friends, with a trem unit that was out of tune.  I didn’t have an allen key to open the locking nuts, since the tune was too far outside of the fine tuners range.  Needless to say – it wasn’t a fun jam.  But today, I always plan for the worst, all while being able to make it from the car to the jam in a single trip.

If you think there is something that should be included, that works for you … please share with the world by posting your ideas and comments below.  Thanks for reading & Rock ON!

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About the Author: The Tone King | TheToneKing.com | TTKRocks | REAL reviews for REAL players! ROCK hard, ROCK loud, ROCK ON!

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  1. how about a mic, stand and cable ?

    Do you ever post any jam night videos ?

    I have several different jam night play-lists on YouTube

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9D8F188033EC6047&feature=mh_lolz

  2. Joe Delaney says:

    Yeh TTK — good work!

    Here are some other items….

    EAR PLUGS — “it might get loud”

    Guitar Multi tool with all the allen wrench sizes, screw driver etc.

    Leatherman style multi-tool with knife ->> in case someone tries to grab your axe in the parking lot , you can stickem’ with your shiv.

    Capo – great to have!! – in case a song key changes in a way that is challenging to transpose on the fly.

    Pen, Notebook & cheap portable music stands – little song notes are a huge help, especially when playing songs you aren’t 100% familiar with –

    1/8″ Stereo to RCA-or-quarter-inch so you can pitch your iPhone/iPod into the PA to hear reference music, demos etc.

    Cheers,

    JOETOWN

  3. A clean towel to clean the strings and the body of your guitar once you´ve finished your rehearsel, water or some other beverage, big chips bag for all, a gum to avoid bad bread, you should wear confortable clothes after taken a bath before gathering with your budies, a cell phone with music so when you are in a middle break you can enjoy the chat with your favorite artist.

    Gretting TTK, IsraelCisne123…

    P.D.
    I like to share 2 songs that I´ve composed with some friends some years ago, this band doesn´t exists anymore. http://snd.sc/rpQuOj
    http://snd.sc/uLmkPp

  4. whatever says:

    you forgot the most important thing…..beer!!!!

  5. Karl says:

    you forgot the smelling salt and whips

  6. tvltnt says:

    Dear TTK, as you may know I am a bit older than you so may I also add in one other thing or things that I feel are or can be at times even more important than when using tubes or a solid state amp. Always bring a little box of SLO Blow fuses with you to a jam or a gig. You might never know when a spike can come through the electrical outlets and hence the size fuses that your nice amp(s) use will be safe from harm but that’s why your amp has that fuse to help protect the rest of insides from getting fried. So instead of being without the use of your amp again to jam or play the rest of the gig. All you have to do is take out to old blown fuse and simply replace it with a new one of the same size which you should know ahead of time and you’ll be back to making music in less than a couple of minutes.
    I hope you can recognize the importance of this helpful hint to add to your list of goodies to the CHECKLIST.
    Dr TNT :D

  7. Adam Meusburger says:

    Very kewl post tone! Seems no matter what i bring to a jam theres always something i wish i had brought with me. One thing to add instead of bringing another amp have a multi effects like a pod handy just in case.

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