What’s in the bag?

Ok, my brain is fried, so for now, I thought I’d write about something a bit on the lighter side of things. I’m not much of a gear junky, but I am picky what I use out on the road. As I’m doing the solo acoustic thing a lot these days, I’m traveling very light. But what I do carry has to earn it’s keep when it comes to carrying it all around on my back like a pack mule.

First and foremost, I’m playing a Taylor 810ce. She always gets the most attention, so I’ll save space for my less acclaimed gear.

I recently added a Taylor T5-C2 to my quiver. It’s a Koa topped hollow body electric that Taylor describes as blurring the line between electric and acoustic guitars. It’s an accurate description. Currently, I’m running it direct, interchanging on the same line as my acoustic set up. Basically, I’m working the vintage, hollow body sound, and getting the front of house to add some reverb. It’s a nice aural change from listening to the acoustic all night.

L.R. Baggs Para DI

My gear on the floor is pretty basic. There are tons preamp options out there pitched to acoustic players that promise to deliver the warm tones of the unplugged, natural sound of an acoustic. For years I toured with a Demeter VTDB-2B tube DI. It is amazing, but it’s also a bit pricey, heavy to carry around and needs to be handled with a bit of care (although mine took a pounding and seems to have survived!) That’s where the LR Baggs Para DI comes to the rescue. It’s no accident that just about every performing acoustic artist has had one of these in their gig bag for better than a decade. It performs exactly as promised, it’s affordable and always reliable. It has saved my bacon on more than one occasion from feedback & EQ nightmares.

Boss TU-3

Of course, good tone is pointless if you’re not in tune, so before my guitar hits the DI, I run it through my Boss TU-3 Tuner pedal. The TU-3 is a very accurate chromatic tuner, which makes it versatile for alternate tunings. It also mutes while tuning which is handy.

Now that it looks like the T5 is going to stay on the road with me, I need to get a dedicated line for it, which means carrying a little more gear. So I’ve just ordered an LR Baggs Venue DI. It’s basically the same specs as the Para, just updated a bit and has a chromatic tuner built in for good measure.

Last, but certainly not least, are my Mono cases. The M80 series of guitar gig bags are without rival. They are durable, water resistant and not to mention… sexy! I feel like a rock star with these bags strapped to my back. Oh, and did I mention it is the best protection I’ve ever seen in a soft case? As airlines have started charging for every checked bag, I try to carry on all that I can. (This tactic also avoids the lost luggage dilemma when I’m traveling the same day as a show!)

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. With a different stage every night, bringing some of my own gear is one of the easiest things to help me feel at home.