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#042- What's in Your Instrument Case? Every Musician Should Have These Essential Things In Their Instrument Case - Lesson Pros

What's in Your Instrument Case? Every Musician Should Have These Essential Things in Their Instrument Case

by Lesson Pros

What's in your instrument case? Hey all, in this article, you will hear about the essential things to include in your guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, violin, or fiddle instrument case. Every musician should have these things in their instrument case.

Whether you are a performer, have just started lessons, or a seasoned instrumentalist, you need a case for your musical instrument.

A case helps to keep your instrument safe when you are not using it. If you don't have a case, you may consider getting one.

A good case is sturdy and has several compartments or pouches for your items. If you show up to a gig without a strap or your favorite picks, it can throw off the whole show.

Some musicians value the items in the case just as much as they do the instrument in the case. Here is a list of things you may or may not want in your case. What's in your instrument case?


Throw a couple of extra picks in your case. Picks are an easy thing to lose. Trust us, we have lost plenty. It can turn into a bad day when you lose your Blue Chip picks. I have lost two of these bad boys. At $45 a pop per pick, that is a big ouch, but it is good to have some spare picks. There is certainly no need to spend $45 on a pick, but it is a great idea to try out different picks to see which one is easiest to play with and which ones make your instrument sound great.

Honestly, you can just bring your instrument into a music shop and try out different picks. This is a very fun experience and each pick will sound totally different on your instrument.

Have some fun experimenting with different picks and keep a few extras in your case. If you don't want to bring your instrument into a music shop or there isn't a music shop near you. Here are a few sample Variety Pick Pack, 24 Pack, or more variety of pick packs.

If you are a violinist or fiddle player, make sure you have your bow. Chuck recommends this Carbon Fiber Violin Bow 4/4.


With cell phones today you can download a tuner app on your phone. However, if your phone dies, which we have had happened during a few of our shows, it is always good to have a spare tuner in your case. We like the clip-on tuners. They clip right onto the headstock of your instrument and are easy to read. One suggestion would be to get one that has a backlight so you can see it when it is dark.
Clip-on Tuner


Double check your case to make sure you have your strap. Also, our suggestion is to have a spare strap which may come off as a surprise, however, Chuck had one break during a show so he had to hold his guitar with his right arm while standing. An extra strap is a good idea.

There are times you might need to borrow a strap to someone else who forgot theirs. You can be the hero if you have a spare strap to loan to your buddy.

Straps are very inexpensive items so it is a great idea to have a spare. They do take up space in your instrument case, so you have to decided if you want to have a spare or not. You can find hundreds of straps to choose from online.

We are big fans of Levy's Straps:
Guitar Straps
Mandolin Straps
Banjo Straps
Bass Straps


It may seem odd to carry pencils and/or pens. Packing these items in your gig bag means you are more than ready for making a last-minute setlist or jotting down notes at your music lesson.

A Black Sharpie Pen is great for signing autographs for your biggest fans at your next show. Ohhhh, here's a good one, when the sound man forgets his pens or pencils but needs to write on the masking tape which channel belongs to which musician, a sharpie comes in handy.


Remember your capo, and it may sound like a silly idea to have a spare, but if you happen to lose your capo, you have the backup capo. This is totally something I would do and have done. I seem to lose things. Soon you will realize that a spare capo is a good idea.

Apart from easing your mind on knowing you have a spare, you could help someone else in need just in case they lose or forget theirs. Bonus!!!

A Kyser Guitar Capo is what we recommend for our students or this seems to be a very popular Capo these days because it will hold your picks too. Both these capos will work for mandolins and ukuleles, too.

Banjo and Mandolin Capo

Violinists and fiddle players don't use capos, but I bet sometimes they wish they could, especially when playing in Ab or Bb. Hahaha. When I recorded my first album, our fiddle player wished he had a capo for a song I sang in Ab. The musician ended up dropping tuning his fiddle to do the song.


A humidifier is especially a good idea if you live in areas where the air gets really dry.

You can easily make one with a plastic travel soapbox and a sponge. You can pick up both these items at a dollar store. When you get home, drill some holes in the top of the soapbox and cut the sponge in half. Then, wet the sponge and slightly ring out the excess water. Place this in your case and dampen the sponge as needed.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of making a soapbox humidifier you can find them online. Here are some examples:
Guitar or Banjo Humidifier
Mandolin, Violin or Fiddle Humidifier
Upright Bass Humidifier


It is always a great idea to have a couple of extra sets of strings.
Here are the strings we use on our instruments:
Chuck's Acoustic Guitar Strings
Sandi's Acoustic Guitar Strings
Electric Guitar Strings
Mandolin Strings
Violin/Fiddle 4/4 Strings
Banjo Strings
Upright Bass Strings
Electric Bass Strings


A string winder/pickers pal is a good idea in case you are out and about and need to change your strings or if you break one.
String Winder, Cutter Tool


As instrumentalists, our fingernails can grow too long which makes it difficult to play our instruments. It is handy to keep a fingernail file or fingernail clipper in your case.


Again, you can download a metronome from your app store if you have a cell phone. If you don't have a smartphone, a small metronome is a great idea, especially if you are going to practice alone or with your band.

A metronome helps keep you in time. Most musicians waver at least a little in their timing so it is helpful to have a metronome to keep you on track.
Windup Metronome



If you are a performer and are planning on plugging in, have a couple of extra instrument cables in your case. We've had many cables go bad over the years, and luckily, we always had a spare.


A patch cable is a cable that is typically used to connect pedals together. If you have some pedals that you string together, be sure to have a couple of these also.


For a violinist or fiddle player, it is essential to have a shoulder rest. A Kun Shoulder Rest is what Chuck uses when he plays.

A chin rest is handy and will make playing your instrument much more comfortable. Most violins and fiddles come with one, but it is a good idea to get one just in case yours doesn't.

Rosin, for rosining up your bow and, yes, of course, the bow which we talked about above.


Batteries are needed for the following items: pickups, Tuners and pedals, Wireless Microphones, and In-Ear Monitors.


These may come in handy if you need to make adjustments to your instruments on the fly.


It is definitely a great idea to have some breath mints, especially if you just performed a show and have to greet a bunch of raving fans.


Some musicians like to have a good luck charm, whether it is a bracelet or keychain hanging from your instrument case handle. Maybe it is something you hang on your microphone stand like a scarf.

It could be a special bummer sticker or a family heirloom that you keep in the compartment of your case. Not everybody has one, but it is something to think about.


It's a good idea to have a cloth or rag of some sort in your instrument case. This is very helpful for wiping the sweat off your instrument. It can also come in handy for wiping the sweat off your face or neck when you are on stage and the lights are extra hot. Trust me we have played many shows baking in the sun or under really hot lights.


You may want to get yourself fancied up, so having a comb, toothbrush, and/or makeup kit will help you look and feel your best.



One reason I like to have pockets in my case is that I need a place to put my car keys.

Coins for vending machines if you need to get some food at a gig. Sometimes, the car is too far to go back and get money, so it's a good idea to have a few extra dollars in your case.

Sometimes we will use a few coins or dollars as seed money when we were busking. It's always a good idea to put a few dollars in your case to let people know you are busking. We typically would collect more money busking if we put a few higher bills in the case to get it started, 1-$20 dollar bill, 1 - $5 dollar bill, a few $1 bill. Just a suggestion.


If you want to do music as a business, always have business cards in your case. This way, when someone comes up and asks you to do a gig after they've seen you play, you look professional and are ready to book your next gig.


What's in your instrument case? Never leave your house with an empty instrument case. By following these essential things to include in your guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, violin, or fiddle instrument case, you'll be the most prepared musician out there.


What other things have you found helpful to have in your instrument case?


Making a checklist and adding it to your case of all the things you need before you leave the house is a great idea. This way you can quickly glance over the list and see if you have everything you need.

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