Traveling as a Street Musician on Public Transportation

As a street musician, the probability of having to travel with your instrument is quite high. Many street musicians choose to use public transport to keep costs low. However, we’re often left lugging heavy instruments with us onto the bus or train in the hopes of getting to our next gig on time. Here are some tips on how to travel as a street musician so that you can get around more easily.

Do You Need Your Instrument?

Sometimes you may want to play a bit of acapella. On those days, do you really need to take your instrument with you? The answer will more than likely always be yes, but on those rare occasions, you should leave your instrument at home. Don’t be tempted to take it with you just in case. It will make the whole journey a lot easier.

Plan It Out

Traveling as a street musician takes careful planning. It’s such a vital part of getting around safely and on time. Buses and trains both have steps and gates that make it difficult to carry larger instruments around with you. Make sure you are considering what instruments and kit you need for the day, and plan your trip accordingly.

Regardless of what method of transportation you are using, you should check on baggage policies first. Many forms of transports will have weight and size restrictions, impeding you from traveling as a musician. Knowing you can take your gear and instrument with you before you set out could save you a lot of time down the road.

Another thing you may want to look into as a street musician is insuring your instrument. Our instruments are expensive, and unfortunately, damage can happen when we travel with them. If something does happen, having insurance in place means you won’t be left without your most prized possession.

Buy a Hard Case

Instruments that aren’t appropriately protected will get damaged when you’re traveling as a street musician. Soft cases are more comfortable to carry and won’t be as heavy, but sometimes your comfort has to go out the window to save the cargo inside. If you don’t already have a hard case, now is the time to get one. This is especially important if luggage handlers will be involved. Hard cases also protect your instrument from the elements like rain and snow that could otherwise damage it.
Buying a hard case is relatively straightforward. Your instrument should fit snugly into it without you having to apply any force. Browse online reviews and find the right case for you.

Add Additional Padding

If you already have a hard case, but it isn’t the perfect fit, you don’t need to go and buy a new one. Instead, use your improvisational skills and add in some extra padding. This could be old clothes, bubble wrap, or even bed covers. Whatever keeps your instrument in the right place and stops it banging about inside the case does the job nicely.

Plan Your Time

Some street musicians have to work under time constraints as you can only play in public between certain hours of the day. If this is the case, you need to plan your time strategically. Try to arrive early and add in extra time for traveling with an instrument and gear. Having this spare time will also help you deal with any setbacks you may encounter, like tricky train ticket gates, without getting too stressed out.

Pack Some Snacks

Being a street musician is hard work, and you’ll be out there all day, playing your music for the masses. Take with you as many snacks as you can. Instrument cases are a wonderful place to store your favorite snack items, especially if your journey is a long one.

Stay Fit

If you have a heavy instrument as a street musician, you need to have the muscles to carry it. Not only will you need to carry it with you, but you will also need to think about the strength required to store it in luggage racks on trains and buses. The best thing you can do here is to prepare for the weight and keep yourself fit. Whatever it takes will help massively.

Beware Of Others

Unfortunately, we live in a world where people aren’t sympathetic to our journey as musicians carrying an instrument. Non-musicians will tend to react badly if you hit them with a sharp corner of your case. You need to be prepared for the complaints and not take them to heart. Traveling as a street musician is hard work, so don’t let the general public get you down.

Plan to Handle It Alone

There won’t be anyone to help you carry your instrument and gear as a solo street musician. You are utterly alone in this situation and have to plan accordingly. Make sure you are capable of lifting and carrying everything you are taking with you.

Use Your Kit As An Advantage

Sometimes we are stuck on train platforms or bus stations because of long delays. Now, this is where your kit can actually come in handy. Use it to perch on and take the weight off your feet while you can. You’ll soon be on your way again, and your body will be thankful for the rest.

Embrace the Experience

It takes someone genuinely passionate about being a street musician to undergo public transport and travel like this. Remember that traveling is a necessary evil of sharing your music with others, and it’s just a small part of the overall experience. Good luck on your travels!

Instrumentio.com

Introducing Erik Gyepes

Erik Gyepes, the founder of instrumentio.com, contacted me about writing a piece for my blog as a guest author. We emailed a few times about what type of content he would like to write, and I agreed that this information would be useful to our readers. Erik’s first piece with us will be about street musicians traveling on public transportation. You can learn more about Erik here.

VST Plugins for Guitar

Check out this article from Beginner Guitar HQ about VST plugins for guitar.

https://beginnerguitarhq.com/best-vst-plugins-for-guitar/

Choosing a New Guitar from a Scientific Viewpoint

Rob Beck from Beginner Guitar HQ contacted me about his article “How To Choose the Best Guitar, 15 Factors to Consider According to Science”. I read the article over and decided I would add it here for my readers who are looking for a new axe. There are some good points of view to consider when trying out and purchasing a new guitar from a scientific point of view. Especially if you are new to playing guitar. Experienced players usually know what they like and are looking for in a new addition to their arsenal, but even they may learn something new from this information. The article is definitely worth checking out. You can read all about it here.

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Popular Guitar Pedals for Under $50

This was posted on Reverb.com by Dan Orkin on June 20th. Great information I just had to share.

The Most Popular Pedals You Can Buy for Under $50 : https://reverb.com/news/the-most-popular-pedals-you-can-buy-for-under-50-dollars

Enjoy!

 

 

Rockin’ the Guitar!

I haven’t written anything for my blog in quite a while. I’ve been quite busy playing guitar. I have been testing lots of picks, and am getting ready to write some more pick reviews. Stay tuned…

9 Effective Ways to Increase Your Guitar Picking Speed

Working on increasing your picking speed is not just for the hell fire speed guru wannabe’s. Once your speed increases your whole style of playing loosens up. Your fingers will feel light and flexible and you’ll gain more freedom in your playing. Your fingers will float easily across the strings without …

Source: 9 Effective Ways to Increase Your Guitar Picking Speed

Warren Haynes: Man In Motion

Out of all of Warren Haynes’ work that I have had the pleasure of listening to I really like what he did on the Man In Motion album. I love the sound. Warren’s guitar tones are tasty as heck. The songs are really good. I’m a hard rock guy and this album sucks me right in with the smooth R&B music on this album. Every time I listen to the songs I hear something I didn’t before.

Check Warren out here for the live versions of the songs plus more.

You can check out samples of the studio version here.

Keep Pickin’!

Dave Brons Rockin’ The UK

If you like Trans-Siberian Orchestra you will probably like Dave Brons’ new release Based On A True Story. Anyone who is interested in guitar oriented instrumental music should check Dave’s music out for sure. As a disclaimer, Dave and I are friends, but he did not give me the album to listen to on my iPhone for free. I bought the digital download from his bandcamp.com page. You can listen to the music streamed for free if you like, but I prefer to have actual .mp3 files on my devices, plus I want to support as many musicians as possible by purchasing their music. Creating and recording music is hard work and the people who take the time to do such things should be compensated for their efforts.

The really cool thing about Based On A True Story is that the each piece tells a story without any lyrics whatsoever. The album is very well done, and there is plenty of space for the music to breathe. Plus for a guitar oriented album the guitar parts are not overdone and fit together nicely, which is refreshing.

I highly recommend giving this album a listen. Click the link below and enjoy…

Based On A True Story

Keep Pickin’!

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Check out Rock Bytes. I really like this Facebook page. I find out about music here I have not ever heard before or versions of old songs done in new ways. Very cool…

https://www.facebook.com/rockbytesandmore

Keep Pickin’!