11 Oddly Useful Accessories Bands Should Bring On Tour

Not only will this article give you some useful accessories to bring on the road, but (5-9) used together help keep you productive for your band and cure tour boredom during the long, gruesome hours of being stuck in the vehicle. After seasonally touring for roughly eight years of my life, I have acquired some beneficial things to bring on the road so that you don’t learn things the hard way by mistakes as I did. Keep in mind, all of these “oddly useful accessories to bring on tour” can be used for bands, DJ’s, rappers, artists, etc.

The Basics Of What To Bring On Your Bands Tour 

Most of us know the basics of what to bring, here’s a list if you don’t feel like making your own. Give or take a few.

  • Music equipment
  • Clothes, Belt, Shoes
  • Shampoo (and conditioner for the flow rock n roll hair like mine)
  • Wallet
  • Phone and Chargers
  • Headphones
  • Extra guitar or bass strings
  • Extra drum sticks
  • Pillow
  • Lunch box /Snacks and water for the road
  • Drum key
  • Batteries for wireless, in ears, etc
  • Dufflebag

Now that you have the basics, here is the list. Some are essential items that we quickly forget or don’t think about bringing. Most are pretty original but very useful.

1. Extra Guitar Strap

You may think bringing an extra strap is not needed for now. It’s rare that we even think about it from the first place. However, I tend to learn the hard way in life. I from now on always carry an extra strap in the cubby of my bass case. Musicians that put on a high energy show are far more susceptible to breaking a guitar or bass strap. I’ve had my previous bass straps break in every way possible.

It may be easy to say to yourself,  “If I break a strap, we can stop at a music store tomorrow.” Unfortunately touring is far more complicated than that. Making time for a single stop to a music store in many areas of the united states may not only waste time and gas money going out of the way, but the time crunch for the next day may also keep you from sleeping an extra hour.

In this video we were in Pennsylvania, luckily my guitarist had an extra strap I borrowed for the rest of the tour. I also typically use a wireless guitar system, but that theater was not working well at all with my old wireless, so I plugged in the cord. Overall, a bad luck day for poor me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Les20CO1WqA

As you can see in the video, it’s highly possible for your strap to break completely. The lock at the end ripped off; it was hopelessly unfixable. Be smarter than me and bring an extra strap.

2. Turmeric 

Say what you want, turmeric has been my best friend on the road for multiple reasons. At least hear me out.

  1. Turmeric increase Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor, which is linked to better brain function and a better mood. It is vital to be sharp for your shows. You never know who’s in the audience, so it’s essential to always be at 110% of your game. Better mood also plays a factor for me while playing shows and meeting the fans afterward. I can’t speak for everyone, but when I’m in a bad mood, it affects my performance.
  2. Turmeric is good for muscle and joint pain. This is vital for those who put on a high energy show. Typically the day after the show I hit up my gym’s sauna; unfortunately, our vehicle doesn’t have a sauna. Turmeric helps tremendously for me to have a better recovery from headbanging and to go crazy on the stage to where the next day I’m feeling good and ready to tear the stage again. I must say, I do also add yoga and stretches before my gigs every night, which also plays a factor.
  3. Turmeric boosts the immune system. It has one of the highest Anti-Inflammatory properties and highest Antioxidants of most foods. The absolute worst time to get sick is on the road. I know this from personal experience as I was so excited for months to tour out west just to be miserably ill and ruin my experience and live performance.

These are some of the more critical benefits of turmeric for touring purposes. There are many other benefits of this herb. It is essential to know that the most active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. I highly recommend using a high-quality brand with a high percentage of curcuminoids.

Here is the turmeric that works like a charm for me on Amazon.

3. Microfiber Cloth

Dead skin cells, sweat, changes of climate/humidity from traveling state to state, and grease from food are all factors that kill your strings and frets significantly faster when touring and playing every day. It’s important to not sound bad at your shows, obviously, so don’t play with dead strings.

Know that feeling on your fretboard that feels like its oddly sticky when you’re touring from state to state? You keep wiping the fretboard with a towel you got from home or your shirt, but it’s still feeling oddly sticky? I’m not sure of the science behind either, what I do know is that I stopped having that issue with a microfiber cloth.

Any microfiber cloth that is designed to wipe down an instrument is a much better choice than a regular cloth. Microfiber designed to wipe an instrument does an immensely better job at getting rid of all the grime, dust, sweat from your strings and fretboard than any household cloth.

Luckily, the one that works great for me is only 7$ on amazon called Fender Factory Microfiber Cloth. This cloth will not harm the glossy finish, unlike many regular household cloths. There are also many other microfiber cloths designed for cleaning instruments as well; this is just the one that works best for me.

4. Tea’s For Singers 

One of the main things on most singers minds on tour is protecting their voice. Not only lead singers, but backup singers as well have issues of keeping their vocals healthy. Many musicians, including myself, who does a lot of back-ups or lead singing, are unwilling to sacrifice talking to fans or having a beer after the show.

In many cases, it doesn’t matter how many vocal exercises you do before and after the gig, your voice for the next day is still screwed playing a 2 hour set in a smokey bar. To be even more of a realist, your voice is screwed if you play 4-5 shows back to back, even if you warm your vocals up for 30 minutes every day, don’t talk at all, don’t drink or smoke.

Many of us have heard of hot tea and lemon. The reality on the road is how accessible you are too hot tea with lemon at a bar or venue. I ran into far too many problems, and inconveniences at far too many gigs where I would either forget to ask for the hot tea and lemon (considering I have much more on my mind) or the venue doesn’t have tea at all.

Roughly two years ago, I decided to do some research on herbal tea’s to protect and hydrate the vocal cords. I was skeptical at first, and to be honest, I went through a few brands until I found the two that work for me in their different ways. The best part is, I never have to find hot liquid anywhere considering I put one bag of each in my gallon of water. I always carried my water bottle everywhere I went as I sipped it throughout the entire day/night. The tea naturally spread throughout the gallon slowly on its own. If you are skeptical about mixing two teas, no worries at all to use one or the other.

Throat Coat Tea- Running at 5$ per 16 pack on Amazon, it has incredible components that not only soothe and protect your throat but also gives your immune system a boost. This is an astonishing combination for touring musicians.
Naturally caffeine-free, Throat Coat Tea carries the following.

  • Organic Echinacea – Immune system
  • Organic Licorice root – Coats throat, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of glycyrrhizic acid
  • Organic marshmallow leaf and root – Rich in mucilage which provides hydration for the throat
  • Organic Fennel Fruit – Clear mucus from the airways
  • Extra herbal properties include sweet orange peel, cinnamon bark, lemon peel, lemon myrtle leaf.

Gaia Throat Shield Tea– Running at 6$ per 16 pack on Amazon, it has a few of the same herbs/roots as throat coat, yet also has Grindelia which supports respiratory function. This Tea is meant to nourish your throat and voice along with protecting your respiratory system. As many of us know, that will definitely come in handy when playing a smokey bar.
Naturally caffeine-free, Gaia Throat Shield Tea carries the following.

  • Organic Grindelia – Supports healthy respiratory function
  • Organic Marshmallow Root – Provides hydration for the throat
  • Organic peppermint leaf – Boosts Immune System
  • Organic Sage Leaf -Mental performance
  • Organic Licorice root – Coats throat, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of glycyrrhizic acid
  • Organic Fennel Fruit – Clear mucus from the airways
  • Ecologically harvested essential oils include: Peppermint Leaf, Sage Leaf

5. Arkon iPhone Tripod Mount 

If you want to film your bands’ performance with your phone but you don’t have a hired videographer, the Arkon iPhone Tripod is the cheapest and most effective tripod I could find. I have been through 4 tripods all on the budget-friendly side. Most of them break or don’t work correctly at all, considering you usually get what you pay for. In this case, I think I found the gem, a quality $20 tripod that’s actually durable and works great.

Getting a tripod to film your band is one thing, but it will be a semi waste of video if you have poor audio. See number 6, the next useful item for your band’s tour.

6. Shure MV88

Right: the mic that attaches to your iPhone
Left: the case in which it comes in

Shure, an innovative music gear company since 1925, will never stop impressing me. For the size, convenience, and price, this easy to use a mini mic is genuinely a phenomenal deal that works like a charm for me. It comes with a mini durable case that fits perfectly in my gig bag, a far more convenient approach than any other method of getting quality live audio.

The Shure MV88 works hand and hand with the free ShurePlus MOTIV app that comes with built-in settings for live music. With the App, you can adjust the mics compression, add a limiter, stereo width, wind reduction, equalizer, and mic gain. This mic is the highest quality audio I could possibly find for the price and convenience, and trust me. Convenience becomes very important when touring.

If your band also does videos for social media where you guys are just talking, interviews, etc. This mini mic can also be used for that as well. It’s not only created for live music.

Here is a video of a regular camera v.s. the Shure MV88 at the same show and same part of the song. Compare the Audio

 7. LensPen

If your planning on recording video for your bands live performance or wanting to take quality pictures of the tour to boost your bands’ social media, you’re going to need to have a clean lens for the best possible outcome. Cameras and especially iPhones go through a lot of dynamic conditions on the road where your lens gets dirty quickly. To be quite honest, I never expected to see the amount of difference my phones clean lens made in pictures and videos until I used the LensPen to clean it rather than my shirt.

Believe it or not, along with being abnormally convenient for traveling this little lens cleaner comes in a lot more handy than what I initially thought it would. I found myself using it way more than expected. The LensPen only 9$ on Amazon works very well where one side opens up into a patented carbon cleaning compound, and the other side opens up into a brush. No liquids required.

Video Example using/setting up the Lens Pen, Arkon iPhone Tripod, and Shure MV88 
Shure MV88 On Amazon

Arkon iPhone Tripod On Amazon

LensPen NLP-1 on Amazon

8. Lightroom CC 

Lightroom CC is an incredible photo editing app on your phone. Behind the fact that this is currently one of the most raved about photo editing apps, this app is one way to keep you busy and productive for your band while stuck in the vehicle to the next show. I prefer editing photo’s that were taken at the previous city for my bands’ social media rather than mindlessly looking at trees.

Lightroom CC, from my experience, can take a lame shot from a phone and make it look like your band hired a pro photographer. As a matter of fact, nearly every single picture on this website was edited with Lightroom cc on my phone. There are many different ways to edit your photos. I try to change the editing style for social media to make it look a bit versatile. This app makes editing pictures far too easy. Nobody should refrain from this app due to a limiting belief of “I’m not good at editing photos.”

Here are some pictures were taken on my last tour with John Pagano Band, before(left) and after(right) editing them with Adobe Lightroom cc.

9. LumaFusion

With the help of the Arkon tripod, and Shure mv88 to film your shows, now you can edit the videos on the road to your bands’ next city with LumaFusion. This app is the very best video editing app for your phone I have ever used. In my honest opinion, I think they are slightly underpriced for what it offers at only $20. This is another incredible way to keep you, and your productive band while stuck on the road.

On my last tour, I would edit together the videos from the night before with LumaFusion to promote the next show on our social media. I did this all while sitting in the back of the van on our way to the next city. This app is an incredible bang for your buck, and it definitely helps cure road boredom all while staying productive for the band.

Here Is One Of Our Music Videos Edited with LumaFusion (Edited by Allen Parker)

Here is a video I edited with LumaFusion while we were in Washington Dc

10. Foam Roller

I have never personally brought this on tour considering I do 30 minutes of stretching and yoga before shows along with taking turmeric for muscle and joint pain. I have, however, opened up for another touring band who does bring a foam roller with them in which they all share. Their argument was rather solid, they said they don’t have the time or patience to deal with there muscle and joint pain from the show the night before by 30-minute stretches, they preferred the quick fix.

The foam roller they used was the 321 STRONG Foam Roller for 22$ on Amazon. Considering that foam roller was compact enough to fit in there travel bag easily, yet effective. Space is vital on tour.

If your not too familiar with what a foam roller is or what it does, basically a foam roller gives you a deep tissue massage. When slowly rolling over parts of your body, you are breaking up scar tissue, adhesions, and lactic acid along with boosting the speed of muscle and tissue healing. You only need to use the Foam Roller for 30 seconds- 2 minutes at the area. It’s best used before and after the show. The foam roller is very helpful for body pain from putting on a high energy performance.

11. Contracts For Every Gig

If getting stiffed from money at the gig doesn’t interest you, make damn sure to bring your contracts. Nothing can be worse than counting on that $300 to get you from Maine to new jersey, just to find yourself sleeping in the van rather than a hotel with the $200 less you got from the gig.

Even more important, if your band doesn’t make contracts, consider starting. At a minimum, at least get everything in writing. If your group does the compensation deals over the phone, ask the promoter/booking agent to send all the information via email. I’m not a lawyer, but In my music business class at AIM, they said to do that at the very least.

Dear artists that hire musicians, please protect your musicians and yourself by doing this. I personally have had to quit playing with individual artists that claimed many times they got stiffed from the venue when a simple email or contract could’ve saved that.

Conclusion

Last but certainly not least, something I completely forgot for a show just 2 days ago that was vital for my bass playing…..Nail Clippers. For the bassist’s who don’t bite their nails, we must never forget nail clippers.

If you’re interested in getting better stage presence, view our 16 Tips And Tricks To Boost Your Stage Presence For Guitarists And Bassists.