Six Of The Best: Function Band Essentials

Whether you’re doing it for a giggle or looking to set up a second income, if you’re a guitarist in a function band, you need to take care of the essentials…

Fender Blues Junior III

Price £509 | Contact www.fender.com

Function bands very rarely come with their own roadie – or soundman, or driver, or even complementary sandwiches. So, as with printing out business cards, setting up PAs and lighting, and politely prising a bridesmaid’s cake-covered talons from your iPod’s scroll wheel, carrying gear is down to you.

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Fender’s Blues Junior has been excelling at small- to medium-sized gigs since it debuted over two decades ago, and the current MkIII incarnation, with its 15 watts, twin channels, master volume and Eminence Lightning Bolt is a portable 14kg, is supremely versatile, takes pedals like a champ (not a Fender Champ) and has a great reverb.

Allianz Musical Insurance

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Price from £33 | Contact www.allianzmusic.co.uk

As a professional performer, you also need to take the subject of insurance very seriously – and not just insurance for your gear, but also Public Liability Insurance (which is protection against claims that may arise if someone is injured while you’re using your equipment).

G&B recommends Allianz, the UK market leader in the field, which currently covers 70,000 UK musicians with its tailor-made policies. Be sure to check the details of your policy to ensure you’re covered for damage in transit, for unattended vehicle cover and whether you’re covered if your instruments are taken or damaged while left unattended.

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PAT testing

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Price Varies | Contact Your local electrician

Okay, so it ranks some way down the list behind breaking into the riff to Play That Funky Music White Boy in terms of exciting things to do in your covers band, but the fact is, you need to have your electrical equipment certified as fit for use by a qualified electrician – this is a Portable Appliance Test (PAT).

If you don’t do this, a venue has the right to cancel your performance if your equipment is deemed unsafe for public use, and there are plenty who insist upon it. Thankfully, PAT testing is a relatively quick process, and shouldn’t cost you too much, either, with a fee of less than £10 per item a reasonable benchmark.

Line 6 M9

M9-large

Price £330 | Contact www.line6.com

The quandary for many a function-band guitarist boils down to the luxury of bringing along separate effects pedals which few ears in the crowd will appreciate the nuances of versus the efficacy of buying a multi-effects unit with a decent approximation of all the sounds you could need, all in one place.

For value for money, ease of use and versatility, we’d recommend you begin by auditioning the Line 6 M9 – with 100 effects accessible three at a time, and 24 available `scenes’ to cover any eventuality in your set, it’s rugged, ergonomic and has a tuner, a looper and a tap-tempo facility.

Audio-Technica ATM510 mic

AudioTechnica mic

Price £79 | Contact www.audio-technica.com

As a guitarist covering a diverse set, you’re going to need to help out on the singing front. For something to sing your BVs through, the traditional choice has been the hard-wearing and inexpensive Shure SM58 cardioid dynamic vocal microphone, and if you want to go with tradition, there’s no doubt one of these will see you right.

However, we’ve also been seriously impressed by Audio-Technica’s ATM510 – a similarly priced contender, which performs slightly differently and has an internal shockmount system and an internal neodymium magnet. Plus, it has a grille designed to reduce plosives and sibilant sounds, which you’ll inevitably produce as you crane your neck awkwardly to keep an eye on your chord changes, mid-vocal.

Pedaltrain pedalboard

Function Band

Price £44 (Metro 16) | Contact www.pedaltrain.com

From the dinky Nano to the prog-rock-ready Novo 32, pedalboard expert Pedaltrain has the perfect range of products to keep your precious stompboxes safe from the hooves of drunken wedding guests while looking super-stylish and being easy to set up into the bargain.

Our personal recommendation (unless you’re an FX fiend on a par with The Edge) is the Metro 16, a portable three-tier design, which comes with a choice of soft or hardcase and plenty of hook-and-loop pedal fastener. It’s big enough to house a selection of essential stompboxes, but small enough to tuck under your arm and take on public transport.

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