Friday, April 15, 2011

Ernie Ball Gig Bag Amp & Touring Gear

Road-ready cases from C.F. Martin, Levy's Leathers & Hercules Stands
Spring is the time to get back on the road if you've been locked up in the studio during the winter months.  Now is the time to assess your flight cases and touring bags for wear.  You might even want to look into some lighter, stronger upgrades to carry your gear.  While touring needs will vary from band to band, for more local venues, most of us find ourselves packing & transporting our own rig.  Your most important gear (read expensive) is often going to be your guitar and mics so we've included ideas for these pieces and more!

NEW! Ernie Ball Gig Bag Amp UPDATE

Ernie Ball's Gig Bag Amp with an iPod
Newly released at this year's NAMM Show, the Ernie Ball Gig Bag Amp pairs a padded guitar bag with Stereo Marshall Amplification.  This could be the perfect space saver when you just want something to practice with on the road without setting up and plugging into a half stack!

Really though, bands often have down time between shows and you can warm up back stage with one of these.  This compact lightweight battery- powered amp features 2 channels with independent gain, tone, and volume controls. On the busking option, it boasts the power to cut through any loud subway tunnel or busy street corner. The plug and play portability and transformable gig bag stand makes this a multi purpose unit. The Marshall Amplifier also features an MP3/IPOD input so you can jam along to any backing track of your choice or listen to your favorite songs through the stereo speakers.
UPDATE: We plugged it in using the Sanyo Pedal Juice to power it up while playing a Fender Strat.  The overdrive channel had the most volume of course but it really was more than adequate for playing backstage.  We plugged in an iPod and were able to jam along with our tracks but the volume was a bit difficult to control.  The iPod drowns out the guitar so you'll really need to to crank up the volume on your axe to play along.  The bag is well padded with roomy pouches and shoulder straps and appears to accommodate most electric, solid body guitars.

Martin Thermoplastic Acoustic Guitar Cases

C.F. Martin 600 Series Thermoplastic Case
Now maybe you've gotten away with a padded gig bag for local jams BUT when you are playing a professional gig, you may not always be handling your own guitar.  If you are flying in, you'll need to invest in a serious flight case.  So what do you do?  Well you could spend about a grand for a high tech Carlton Carbon Fiber Case or get real and invest in a Martin 600 Series Thermoplastic Case for well under $200.  The latter will protect your prized dread with a padded, plush lining plus keep it from suffering drastic temperature changes during traveling.  Not as light as their padded gig bag of course but I've transported my guitar in 90+ degrees and the Martin 600 Series kept it totally cool.

Lightweight, padded Tour Bag by Levy's Leathers

Levy's Leathers Tour Bag

Levy's is mostly famous for their gorgeous guitar straps and leather gig bags but their 600 Denier Tour Bag is also worth a serious look.  Padded in all the right places with two outside pouches and a double zipper for the middle compartment.  Very lightweight, use it to carry your mics, cables, boutique stomp boxes and more.

Levy's Leathers Padded Gig Bag
Levy's Leathers Padded Gig Bag for Electric Guitars

Just based on how they are constructed, solid body electric guitars tend to be a little more forgiving of abuse on tour.  Still, Levy's Leathers padded all leather gig bag is what I pack my Fender Strat in.  Extremely plush and well padded. Heavy duty dual zippers with a small upper & saddlebag pouch, large enough to hold full sized song books and sheet music.  Comes with a black luggage ID tag embossed with the Levy's Logo.  Has backpack straps, a carry handle and front handle all riveted for extra strength. A hardshell case for flying but this bag will get you in and out at your local gigs in style.  Most electrics will fit snugly in this bag with no shifting.
I really can't tell you how many compliments I've gotten on this bag!

Hercules Microphone & Speaker Stand Bag
Hercules Guitar, Microphone & Speaker Stand Bags

These days we only use Hercules Microphone and Guitar Stands in the studio so it would make sense to take this gear with us on the road.  Hercules makes heavy black canvas carry bags for nearly all of their folding stands.  In the photo I have a tubular speaker stand which I use with my Roland SA-300 and Fender Passport 500 PA systems.
This bag has a padded carry strap, inner Velcro braces and expands to accommodate extra wide gear. Really you could almost fit a snowboard in this thing!  The smaller tote is a Hercules Guitar Stand Bag.  Basically a pack and go feature for their EZ Grip Guitar Stands.

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