Dixon Brite Key

Drum Knowledge: 5 Essential Tools Every Drummer Needs in Their Gig Bag

Sometimes it can be stressful getting ready for a gig. Not only do you need to be prepared musically, you also have to make sure your instrument is in top-notch condition. Whether you are going to be playing on your own drums or a (sometimes questionable) house kit you’ve never seen before, having the tools to be prepared for any situation can save headaches and help you perform at your best.

We’ve got you covered. Here are 5 essential items every drummer should keep ready in their gig bag for a successful show.

1. Drum Key

Whether for memory locks, last-minute tuning, or (hopefully not!) a last-minute head change, having a drum key on you at all times is essential. Dixon hardware features key bolt memory locks to save you time in getting your ideal setup, but if you’re playing on a house kit, you’ll want your drum key on hand for quick adjustments. For those rare times you need to change an entire head, it helps to have a couple keys with you for an even faster swap. It’s a good idea to keep several in different places—maybe one on your keychain, one in your gig bag, another in cymbal bag or hardware case—so that if you misplace, loan, or drop one on stage, you’ll always have backups and won’t have to delay your entire setup looking for one.

Bonus Tip: Have another member of your band or crew carry a drum key too.

2. Flashlight

No one wants to spend time on stage trying to find their way around in the dark—especially when you’re sharing a stage and have only fifteen minutes to set up or tear down between sets. A flashlight is a really useful tool for those times you happen to drop something during setup, and for emergency pedal fixes. Cellphone flashlights always work, but to keep both hands free you can also try a wristband flashlight like this one from eSmart.

3. Compact Tool Kit

You can streamline setup with the Dixon Brite Key Plus, a multifunctional drum key with bottle opener and LED flashlight, perfect for any performance setting. Find out more about the Brite Key in this quick video:

You’ll also want to have a small, compact tool kit available (wrench, screwdriver, scissors), or a Swiss army knife with those features built in.

4. Extra Cymbal Felts, Washers, and Hi-Hat Clutch

These are those small but crucial things that are so easy to lose. They’re also inexpensive and easy to stash away in gig bags or cymbal cases, so go ahead and stock up! Hi-hat clutches in particular tend to disappear or break on those backline kits, so you won’t regret having a spare. Dixon has a variety of clutches to choose from, including our popular Super Clutch.

For an even faster setup, check out the Dixon EZ Cymbal Set. These clamps take the place of the traditional wing nut, saving time and energy with a simple release button that lets you attach and detach quickly. Never drop a wing nut again.

Bonus Tip: Another critical back-up piece is a bass drum pedal spring. There are few if any emergency remedies for a broken spring. Keep this in your tool kit, and one day, you will thank us.

5. Non-Slip Cabinet Lining

The walking bass drum…every drummer’s nightmare. Most of the time there will be a drum rug available, but someday, somewhere, someone will forget (it may even be you—we won’t tell). It’s a lot of extra stress when your big solo is coming up, but your bass drum has run away from you and you can’t stop in the middle of the song to reposition it. Fix it with non-slip cabinet lining or a non-slip rug pad. It’s amazing what even a small piece will do to keep your bass in place. It’s also lightweight and easy to store.

When All Else Fails…

Duct Tape

Duct tape fixes just about anything. Broken cymbal stand? Flyaway set list? Rowdy bass player? (Just kidding!) Duct tape holds it all together. Gaffer tape also works in a pinch to help with any ringing you might experience, depending on the venue, and leaves no residue. And who says tape can’t be stylish? Duck Tape® has pretty much every design you could ever dream up, from NFL, to puppies, to bacon. Get some.


For signing autographs, last-minute set lists, and drum notation. It’s easy to read on stage, in virtually any lighting. Dixon endorser Gregg Bissonette has even been known to write drum notation and messages to his family right on the drumheads. Genius.

Bonus Points: Carry some guitar picks on you as well, because you never know when your guitarist will run out (hint: all the time). Be “That Drummer” who has it all. Your band will love you!

What tools do you keep in your drum survival kit?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   000-089   JK0-022   101-400   70-533   70-417   CAS-002   JK0-022   400-051   200-125  , 000-017   1z0-808   200-355   9L0-066   1Y0-201   200-125  , 400-101   1V0-601   ITILFND   1V0-601   220-902   1Z0-051   1z0-434   OG0-091   300-135   70-270   400-051   300-206   200-125  , 350-030   ADM-201   70-488   300-075   LX0-103   101-400   70-462   640-916   9L0-012   70-177   101   70-486   70-412   210-260   70-488   LX0-104   100-105  , 1Z0-144   1Y0-201   70-270   1z0-808   220-802   CISM