You spent hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars on your
guitars. First, you entrust them to cheezy guitar stands that
would be lucky to withstand the breeze made by a good popcorn
fart. Then, once the gig is over, do you quickly put these
delicate, valuable instruments into their cases and out of harms
way? Hell no! You go off drinking and chatting
up the chicks. Here's the straight poop: When you are done
playing, get those guitars OFF THE STAGE! It will take you a mere
30 seconds each to put them in their cases. "But I gotta
clean 'em before I do that, and I need to relax first." Well
dude, it's better to have dirty guitars in their cases than dirty
guitars lying broken on the floor. You can clean them later. If one gets
a broken neck because the crappy stand fell over while the sound crew
was pulling cables, they do not share culpability. The
soundpersons most always start tearing down right away. You should
too. Remember, they were there first, so their cables are all
buried behind and under your stuff (literally - please try not to set
stuff on top of the cables next time!). Get it gone, or the PA will
cost you more next time.
If your stage rig is unstable (as most any cabinet on wheels with an amp
head atop it will be), it would be wise to strike this as well, or at
least strike the head. Drummers of course may leave most of their kit
alone until all the mics are removed.
The above are especially important if you are not the only band playing
the gig. I've seen two guys set up and tear down a nice PA in the time
it takes some bands to get their gear on & off. Spend a few bucks
and a little time and get your gear in order. Here's an example or two:
Bad Back Line Rig:
Head on top of cabinet.
Pocket-size tuner on top of the head. The
batteries die if you leave it connected, so you have to unplug &
plug & unplug & plug every time you tune.
AC Power strip on floor behind cabinet.
Amp footswitch cord coming from front line.
Guitar cord coming from front line.
AC cord running to front line.
Bad Front Line:
Footswitch cord running to amp.
Guitar cord running to amp.
AC cord coming to pedals.
AC Power strip on floor.
Amp footswitch on floor.
Pedals on floor.
Good back line:
Extra-deep caster board.*
Head-width rack on cabinet - contains lighted power
strip (upside down to illuminate amp controls) and Korg rack-mount
tuner (always connected, no batteries to run down, much easier to
see). Rack also has large swing-out hook on back (more
These four pieces are lashed together with ratchet
straps. You can push on it anywhere and it will roll without falling
over or falling apart, and two people can grab it and get it off the
stage FAST without a lot of messing about. That swing-out hook on the
rack? That's so you can grab all the cords, quickly coil them, and throw
them on the hook where they cannot fall off and get under foot while you
are striking the rig.
Good front line:
Footswitch cord running to amp, guitar cord running
to amp, and AC cord coming to pedals are all tied together with
velcro straps. Now there is one cable run, not three. (Use
Velcro in case you have a weird hum in a venue and need to separate
them in an effort to eliminate it. That won't likely be the
AC Power strip, amp footswitch, and pedals all
velcro'd to a carpeted board or factory made pedalboard (find an old SKB
125 pedalboard if you can, as it can house rack effects as well as
All guitar cords should have silent plugs on the source
end, so you can unplug them without making nasty noises.
Teardown, typical old way:
Turn amp to standby.
Unplug guitar cord from guitar and put guitar on
Get duffle bag and guitar case.
Unplug all front line stuff and put them into duffle
Put guitar in case.
Turn amp off.
Unplug cords from back line and put them in duffle
Remove head from cabinet and carry off stage.
Remove cabinet from stage.
Remove guitar and duffle bag from stage.
You are now out of the way. Time: 10 minutes if
you hurried. Usually 20. Really an hour, because drinking
and schmoozing come first.
Teardown, New way:
Turn amp to standby.
Unplug guitar cord from guitar, take guitar to case
and put it in.
Unplug cables from front line, coil guitar cord and
put it atop pedalboard.
Put guitar stand atop pedalboard and take them
Turn amp off.
Coil cables at back line and hang them on swing-out
Roll rig to stage egress.
Remove rig from stage.
Yes, you still have some packing to do, but all of your
stuff is now out of the way and safe. You got out of the way in 3
minutes if you hurred, 6 minutes if you didn't - unbelievably
fast. The soundguys are now your friends for life (unless you were
too loud!), and you have more time for relaxing and schmoozing.