Gaffer or Gaffa tape (not to be confused with Duct or Duck tape!) is that ultra strong, super adhesive tape that comes on a convenient roll. As every seasoned Live Band Musician and Roadie knows, this guardian angel of the live circuit should not only be the first thing into the gig bag, it should never be without it!
From trying to seal the van door to prevent the band from being poisoned by diesel fumes, to taping the drummer into a shopping cart and then taping the cart to a bus stop (he knows what he did :-), Gaffer Tape is the most versatile tool any live band or musician can have in their toolbox. While it’s uses may be endless, here are five practical reasons why you should not forget the Gaffer:
1 - Tie Down Cables: No matter what the stage set-up, there always seems to be cables to stand on or trip over. Apart from being unsightly and running the risk of being damaged, they are also a huge safety hazard. A few lengths of gaffer tape will hide them all neatly and safely.
2 - Fix a Drumhead: Split or holed drum heads don’t happen very often, so drummers can be forgiven for not having spares at a gig. However, when it does happen and a replacement isn’t an option, some strips of Gaffer Tape can be just the fix to get you through the gig.
3 - Emergency Strap: It shouldn’t, but it does happen; arriving to the gig without a guitar strap. If sitting down during the performance isn’t an option, a few strips of Gaffer Tape stuck back to back can make an ideal temporary replacement.
4 - Mark Your Territory: It’s amazing how effective a piece of tape can be at stopping people from coming onto your stage. Pulled at waist height around all open sides, it creates a seemingly magical barrier that most will not cross, even when you’re not there. If you’ve set-up early and don’t want anyone touching your stuff, just call on the Gaffer!
5 - Drink Holder: As a rule, there should be no drinks around the desk or on top of amps. But when the gig going is good, and the atmosphere ignites, sometimes the rules can get bent a little. To help prevent spills, turn the Gaffer on its side, and put your drink into the hole!
MacGyver may have has his paper-clips, but when it comes to getting Musicians, Live Entertainers, and Bands out of a jam, they have nothing on the Gaffer! With its uses ranging from fixing a brush handle to a chair leg as a mic stand, to repairing cables without a soldering iron, no right-minded performer would leave home without it!