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The Harp "Gig Bag"

  • Brianna
    Brianna Halpern

    Every harpist has that bag they take with them everywhere their harp goes. Call it the string bag, the gig bag, or whatever you want. What do you keep in your "survival kit?" I'm curious what kind of obscure things you could not live without on your outings with your harp. The extra strings, tuner with a pickup, and tuning key are a given. I have seen all kinds of crazy things come out of harpists bags so I thought this might be fun :)

    replies to "The Harp "Gig Bag" "
    • Emma
      Emma Graham

      Door stops x2

      Spare tights (pantyhose for those outside the UK!)

      Elastic straps to hold music onto stand on windy days

      Nail clippers

      Tissues

      Sewing kit

      Clip on light

      Sign saying "please do not touch"

      micropore tape

      4B pencil

      Aspirin

      WD40

      Photo of the dog

    • Patricia
      Patricia Jaeger

      Besides the obvious necessities: a rabbit-fur muff with a hand-warmer packet inside; several chunks of candied ginger (gets the circulation going in about 20 minutes): a health bar in case I need extra protein; business cards; 2 pens printed with my contact information, one to give away to the event manager; a blank contract; Tiny memo pad for any phone, hint of a requested piece I should learn, etc.;that special pliers with wire-cutter on the side from the roll-up kit of Lyon and Healy; complete set of extra strings along with tiny scissors and a small snack-size baggie with string anchors; good map of event location and several phone numbers including AAA in case of need.

    • Patricia
      Patricia Jaeger

      Almost forgot: Put all of these above into a lightweight attache case, much more business-like than a floppy purse on the job. 

    • Adam B
      Adam B Harris

      Small recording device.

    • Tonie
      Tonie Ogimachi

      I also add a doorstop in multiple sizes for different doors. I have a nifty pink one that's shaped like an apostrophe that I picked up at a hardware store. Before that I carried three different sized doorstops, for holding doors open while moving my harp.

    • Tonie
      Tonie Ogimachi

      Bug repellent (plastic loops that you can attach to clothes or music stand for outdoor gigs, and a roll of gaffers tape.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      I talked about mine here:


      http://barbarabrundage.com/2011/02/23/part-6-ipad-cases-for-the-gig/


      (My harp case has a string pocket so I don't have to worry about those.)

    • randal
      randal wolfe

      I find the packet of "baby wipes" is the gigging musician's best friend

    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      These days my gig bag is much lighter thanks to the addition of an IPad. I have put almost all my music in there, it has an electronic tuner, several apps that can record, and the ability to look up almost any reference material I need.

      Some of the other things I carry I haven't seen mentioned are a small flashlight, a bottle of water, a Swiss army knife, and a small first aid kit.

      I can't help it, I was a boyscout once.

      Plus all the typical stuff, including strings. Lot and lots and lots of strings.

    • Kay
      Kay Lister

      Emma - I'm curious, why WD40?

      Kay

    • Sylvia
      Sylvia Clark

      Very interesting topic!  I'll just describe things that haven't been mentioned.  (water bottle a given) I carry Vitamin C, a couple of plastic garbage bags (to cover stuff in case of rain), kleenex, chocolate, a little jewelry (ring case) about 3X3 to open upside down ... it makes a little stand for my mike, and a camera because sometimes I can get my pic takenwith the bride and groom or anniversary couple, whatever, if I can do it without interrupting anything...there's one on my harp forum bio.  (I have a cell phone, but it's not a camera phone)  Sometimes a little tape recorder.  If I am outside in the heat, I carry a piece of baby stuff (plastic on one side and soft fabric on the other) to put on my shoulder under my dress to keep the harp from getting wet. I carry the info about the wedding and two phone #s of people whose gig I'm playing...in case of any kind of delay.

    • Emma
      Emma Graham

      Hee hee! WD40 is a tribute to my Dad who never left home without it!! If anything is squeaking or sticking (my harp trolley wheel just last weekend for example) it frees it up. Good for damp spark plugs in the car too. Wouldn't spray it anywhere on the harp though just in case I did some damage!

    • Adam B
      Adam B Harris

      chocolate. great idea I will put that on the list.

    • Mike
      Mike C

      How do you trust something that has a limited battery life ? Or could potentially fall victim to a software glitch ? I'm a computer programmer by trade, and harp amateur for just 2 years on the side. If I were a pro musician, I would never trust a computer for something that important. I hope you carry paper music in your car just in case!

    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      Yes, I keep a book of music in my car (I have copies of all the music I use in a spiral notebook so I am not carrying around entire collections just for one piece). I just leave it in my trunk at all times. I also have a large number of pieces in my repertoire memorized so that in a pinch I could play for at least an hour or two without sheet music at all, although I always prefer to have it there just in case. I just may not be able to take requests.

      However for the music related activities I use it for the battery lasts almost 10 hours, far longer than I would need it to for any gig. I also have a back up battery that plugs into the docking port and can run it for an additional 20 hours almost. I also have copies of all my music in PDFs on "the cloud" so if I had a software glitch and lost them off the iPad I can always back it up off the cloud. The software itself can also be redownloaded in a matter of minutes if necessary. So even if the entire iPad got reset back to factory settings I could recover everything I needed on the go.

      I've been using the ipad for over a year now and haven't had a single issue. The iPad is far more reliable than most computers.

      I know musicians who, due to how they make music and perform, have no choice but to rely on computers. Nothing is foolproof. A circuit board on an amp can short out. A tube can blow. The battery in an effects pedal can die if you forget to change it. You can drop a mic and ruin it. And a lot of effects, mixing and sound manipulation that are a part of live performance for many performers are handled by electronic equipment and computers these day. While most harpists can manage to not have to deal with computers when performing that just isn't the case with music in general, and having seen so many people I know manage it without much problem I am comfortable with it.

       

       

       

    • Mike
      Mike C

      I'm glad you've thought these things out. I'm particularly glad you have the backup battery as well. As you may already know, batteries decline over time, so a brand new ipad might run for 10 hours, but with with one year of heavy use the battery could easily wear out to 4-5 hours (those aren't the actual numbers, and since I don't own an ipad I can't say for certain ).  The classic example is a cell phone. When you first get it, you can talk for 4 hours or have it on for 3 days with one charge, but by the end you have to charge it once or twice a day, and even then a long conversation will make it go dead. It would be very unfortunate if after, say, 3 years of success with the ipad, the battery finally wore down enough where it happened to die during a special song for a wedding or other once-in-a-lifetime performance.

      Don't equate a computer that depends on software with an appliance like amps or other circuit boards that (mainly) depend on hardware to work. Software is unique in that it could work 5000 times in a row and then on the 5001st time fail for no apparent reason. And "failure" doesn't necessarily mean freezing or crashing: think of windows computers that pop up annoying boxes to "update java" or "do you want to restart" on top of what you were doing (I know ipads aren't windows). Or you could turn it on and it could say "applying patches, please wait" for 20+ minutes (this happened to me today at work). My biggest complaint about software in general is that almost no software is held to the reliability standards as an appliance. Manufacturers simply think it's ok for it to fail sometimes.

      I'm not trying to scare you away from this, just want to point out that there are many unexpected ways computers can fail you. But it sounds like you're very well equipped to handle any emergency.


    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      so a brand new ipad might run for 10 hours, but with with one year of heavy use the battery could easily wear out to 4-5 hours


      No. I have the original ipad and the battery life is as long as it ever was. The ipad battery is not anything like the batteries in a laptop and the drive is a low energy SSD. Also, the battery percentage is constantly displayed. Like Tony, I have never ever found this to be an issue.


      It isn't a netbook, laptop, or android device and doesn't behave as they do.

    • Barbara
      Barbara Brundage

      hink of windows computers that pop up annoying boxes to "update java" or "do you want to restart" on top of what you were doing (I know ipads aren't windows).


      In more than two years of heavy use I have never seen such a warning, ever. It is possible to crash an app, but they are totally sandboxed, so you just restart it if you do.

    • Tony
      Tony Morosco

      Same here. The battery life on mine is pretty much as it was when I got it over a year ago. I really got the external battery because I travel a lot and like to watch movies on it on long flights. It just comes in handy to have just in case.


      Indeed, it doesn't behave like a computer. It runs on a very different principle. An app can occasionally crash, but it is much rarer than on a laptop or desktop running windows, and typically easily recovered from.


      Over a year of heavy use and I simply have never had a problem with it. It works wonderfully for everything I demand of it.

    • Darth
      Darth Mom

      This is a great thread.  Thanks for some of the ideas!

      I do not gig, but there are times when I have to take my harp out.  When I do, I always stuff an extension cord in one of the pockets of my rolling backpack, along with the usual other stuff.  The other stuff I usually carry are extra tuners, tuning keys, pickups, benches, and music stands.  Whenever our AHS chapter has a function I know somebody will forget something.  I've become the go-to person for forgotten tuners, etc., and also for emergency items such as safety pins, bobby pins, and hair bands.

      And BTW, my sign does not say "please don't touch."  I'm not so polite - it has a picture of a tombstone on it and it says "Touch the harp and DIE!"