How to be a Guitar Tech on a Major Tour

Hello readers. My name is Tom Spaulding, and I am a professional guitar tech and guitar player and a semi-pro and amateur everything else I guess! My goals in writing the Road Scholars column are to give you an insight into what I do everyday for a living. I’ll show you what being a guitar tech on a major tour entails, cover the daily routine, talk about gigging problems and hopefully offer a few solutions with the help of my fellow techs.


I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old, way back in 1974. I had a Teisco Del Rey and a Danelectro amp that my brother left behind when he went to college, and with that and the Mel Bay chord book, I began to figure it all out. The usual high school bands, college bands and post-college bands had me gigging all around Wisconsin for many years. I took jobs in music stores where I could feed my habit of all things guitar, and eventually ended up in Madison, WI on the phone with Gibson Guitar Co., way down in Nashville, TN. The guy on the other end was transferring to the Custom Shop and said I should apply. I did, they hired me, and I spent several years there, moving from the USA plant to the Custom Shop and oddly enough ending up as the Product Manager for their then-keyboard line, Oberheim.


A friend in the guitar repair department suggested I get into tech work and hooked me up with the Trisha Yearwood organization. From there, I worked for The Mavericks, The Warren Brothers, Lee Roy Parnell, Wynonna Judd, Amy Grant, John Fogerty, Aerosmith, LeAnn Rimes and am currently on tour with Keith Urban. I look forward to sharing some experiences with you and answering any questions you might have regarding the guitar tech life.

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