How to See Your Guitar & Gear On a Dark Stage
Whether there’s no stage lights because it’s a dingy dive bar or they are turned off briefly as part of the light show, it can be a pain not being able to see your guitar’s fretboard during a show. This can cause you to miss a note or mess up a whole riff by playing it a fret off.
So, in efforts to be prepared and play the best show you can, here’s a few things you can get to make it easier to see your fretboard no matter what.
Let’s check them out below.
Glow in the Dark Stickers
In general, professional touring musicians use glow in the dark stickers placed on the top edge of the guitar neck where the inlay markings are in order to see their guitar on dark stages.
This might sound a bit silly. You probably haven’t even thought about glow in the dark stickers since you were 10 but they work well enough.
I am not a touring professional but I did buy the ones below from Amazon for super cheap. They are already cut out as small circles which saves the hassle and time to cut them out yourself.
You can just stick them on the top edge of the guitar neck where the inlays are and it will help you see where the frets are at. No one will notice and since they’re so small they probably won’t show in photos either.
I found this one thanks to a video I saw on Youtube from Fluff (Riffs, Beards & Gear) which I have linked further below.
As he explains in the video he uses a sort of glow in the dark glue called Glow-On which is originally used for marking gun sights. He’ll stick a drop on the neck’s top edge inlays and then apply nail polish on them so it won’t wear out. You need to charge them by shining a flashlight on them before you play.
Feel free to check out his video below.
Clip-on Reading Light
This one is cool to clip onto your pedalboard. Just clamp it on the end of a cable. This way you can see the stompboxes you’re stepping on and worst case scenario, if you need to, you could turn it around and point it at yourself to see your fretboard.
It has 3 different color temperatures (warm, kinda warm, and cool) so it might actually serve as nice lighting if it’s dark and a photographer is taking photos while you play. It’s also dimmable if you need something softer so it doesn’t ruin the mood if all the lights are supposed to be low.
Oh yea and it’s rechargeable via USB-C, which might be a bit of a hassle but at least you don’t have to spend on batteries.
Glow in the Dark Tape
This can be useful not just to stick on your neck’s fret markings but also to put on your guitar maintenance tools or cable jacks to make them easier to spot in poor lighting.
UV Light Sensitive Tape
Here’s some tape in different colors that glow under UV light (they don’t glow without the UV) which might also be helpful for marking the ends of cables so you can tell them apart if the stage has UV lights. They come in packs of 6 different colors.
Wrapping it up
This was a shorter one but handy to know nonetheless. Being prepared for anything that could go wrong during a performance is half the battle, and in many cases, it’s most of the battle lol. So it helps to take care of everything you can beforehand.
It’s inevitable to find yourself on a dark stage at some point. It sucks not being able to see your fretboard so hopefully these suggestions have helped you anticipate and deal with this issue.
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