Using multiple guitars live - how do you switch?

kevphol

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Apr 26, 2012
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I currently use 3 different guitars for gigs and use a ABY patched to a AB for quick switching. Even though it will take more effort, I'm considering adding one or two more guitars to the mix just for the fun of playing them live. Anybody have an effective setup for doing this other than adding another switch? Is there a switch pedal with more than 2 in/outs?
 

Sekunda

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I always just kicked on my tuner then switched guitars using only the one cable... it worked well for me. It was quicker than hitting standby on the amp.
 

kevphol

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Yeah that may turn out to be my best bet. Much cleaner setup for sure. Thanks.
 

kevphol

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Thanks for the feedback guys! My band is a 3 piece and most of our gigs are typical 4 hours. We cover everything from rockabilly, 50's, 60's to classic and southern rock, blues and some 80's rock hits, so I have reason to switch around guitars. My mainstay is a '85 Shecter strat with P-rails, which is versatile but I also play a Gretsch hollowbody on rockabilly stuff and a Navarro SE on more rock tunes. It is more work to switch up but it is fun and I think it keeps our show more interesting. The bass player also switches between a regular electric bass and a full size standup.
 

LSchefman

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I always take 2 Les, in case I break a string. That almost never happens, but if I'm dragging 2 Guitars to a gig.................... I'm playing both of them :proud:

Makes perfect sense.

I am probably pushing my luck here, but I started playing guitar at gigs in around '66-7...and in those days, no one I knew even owned more than one guitar! So I never really thought about taking a backup. Also, I play keys, too, so I usually have to bring a keyboard along.

The strange thing is...I've never broken a string at a gig! But I do play with a pretty light hand. And I do bring spare strings, because...stuff might one day happen.

Thinking about it, though, it's been a few years since I played out. I really need to get back into it.
 

sergiodeblanc

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I break strings like crazy! One of the coolest things about PRS guitars is the fast string changes that I can make with those old winged tuners, if the song is a slow to medium tempo I can usually replace, stretch, and tune a new string in 16 bars.
 

Sekunda

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I always take 2 Les, in case I break a string. That almost never happens, but if I'm dragging 2 Guitars to a gig.................... I'm playing both of them :proud:

My last band took great pride in not having any large gaps in between songs when we played live, so if the worst-case ever happened... step on the tuner, switch guitars, step on the tuner and jump right back in while the other guys kept going. That way we got to jam more music down the throats of our fans! Plus I carried 3 guitars, we had one song which was in a different tuning. It was quicker than tuning back and forth in between songs... But that was a high-pressure situation which I'm glad I'm not dealing with anymore...
 

11top

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I always find it easier to take off one guitar before grabbing another. :D

....which is why we tend to make our set lists conform to the guitar used for those songs. For example, I try to group "drop D" songs together and acoustic songs together (in the latter case so I have my SC HB piezo on my shoulder). We're trying to keep dead space at a minimum as someone mentioned above.

That's why I take three guitars to a gig.
 
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Boogie

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I always just kicked on my tuner then switched guitars using only the one cable... it worked well for me. It was quicker than hitting standby on the amp.
^ This. We don't typically have enough room on stage for a vault of guitars, so 2 is the maximum. Same strap, same cord, silence brought to you by Polytune. ;)
 

watelessness

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Volume pedal or mute button on Tonebone, disconnect wireless jack, unbutton strap locks, put down one guitar, pick up second guitar, then reverse previous steps. This is typically done during singer's banter or while we geezers are sucking on the oxygen tank. I also attempt to arrange the set lists to accommodate my gear switching as well as the singer's pipes and a logical arrangement of moods.
 

Rango

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Always TWO - just incase one has an issue. I've swapped using volume pedal and tuner.... I've also gone to a "circuit breaker" type cable that mutes itself when you unplug it. It's nice at home where I tend to swap all the time... just unplug and drop it... swap guitars and plug it in. ;)
 

geese_com

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I either use a tuner or if I am using my VH4, I click the mute for the amp.
 

Twinfan

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Tuner and unplug here as well, however I'm switching to using just one guitar for the whole gig now I have a Tremol-no on my #1. Like Markie, I'll always take a second as backup though - just in case!
 
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