Battle Of The Bands [and lessons therein…]

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I learned a hard lesson once when I was a young guitar player. It was our very first “Battle Of The Bands.” We only got to play two songs, and we had worked very hard to create a cool transition between them – at the end of the first song, we built and built, ending on a huge, dramatic note, and then kicking into song number two. The day arrived, we made it through the first song strongly, got to the big dramatic note, and – as I hit that final chord – I broke a string. I was the lead guitarist, and it was my B-string – no way I could play around it. Unfortunately, we hadn’t thought to bring a spare guitar and have it ready to go. So…we stopped…someone loaned me a new string…and I tuned it up…on stage. People [mainly the other bands] clapped in derision as I tuned. Needless to say, we didn’t win…I learned that day to make sure that our band had backup plans for each instrument. Things WILL eventually break or malfunction – know what you’ll do when that happens. Have an extra guitar and bass available – even if they’re “cheap-ies.” Have extra drumsticks and strings – even bass guitar strings [I’ve broken those in live settings, more than once]. Have direct boxes in case an amp goes down. Have an extra snare and drumheads. If a backup keyboard is impossible, have a track option available with the keys mixed in.Be prepared – and nine times out of ten, no one will have any idea that there’s a problem…

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