Checklist of Items to Bring to the Jam

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?


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.


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

  • 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.


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.


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 | | TTKRocks | REAL reviews for REAL players! ROCK hard, ROCK loud, ROCK ON!

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