The Busker’s Gear: what every busker should own

Posted: July 17, 2009 in Read "The Busker's Handbook"


Besides protecting your head from the cold, rain, bird droppings, or, (in better circumstances) the sun a hat serves many pruposes in the busker’s life. It can be used after a set for collecting money. It also gives you street credibility by providing you an arty, yet bohemian look to compensate for your lack of real talent.

A hat worn low above the brow serves perfectly as a means to stay incognito when your highschool sweetheart drives by in the mercedes of her loaded boyfriend.

Guitar picks can be stored behind the rim of your hat. So can cigarets when you want them to get soaked from the rain or your own sweat.

Some cities have a policy that you can’t use the streets as an ashtray, so your hat can function as a mobile ashtray. But thinking about it: when a city doesn’t like cigarets on the street, chances are they have also banned buskers.

Guitar case

The Busker’s Handbook recommends strongly to use a guitar case rather than a bag. A case is sturdy and can function as a chair for example.

A guitar case can be used to collect loose change. It has a larger volume than a hat so you don’t have to run after loose change like a pathetic fool when people miss the hat while throwing money at it. Passers by will not try to steal a guitar case as fast as they would try and pick up your coin-filled hat. Guitar cases can be carried above the head to keep you relatively dry during soaking rain. If you are a homeless or just easily tired busker, a guitar case in combination with a coat, may function as a pillow. A guitar case makes a powerfull buskarate weapon, as explained in a following chapter.


Besides your voice, a guitar is your main instrument ofcourse. But too few buskers see the multifunctional potential of the acoustic guitar. In further chapters we will explain the use of the guitar as a rowing ore and a buskarate weapon. The hole in your guitar can be filled with paper money. While the task of getting the money back out can be difficult, it’s always a nice surprise to find some lost bills in it when you thought you were broke. Then again, a real busker should always be broke. don’t forget that if you chose to live the life of a busker, you’re guitar not only is your best friend. It will probably be your only friend.

People who play other instruments on the street are often also called buskers, though we prefer to call them musical entertainers for they are actually able to play their instruments and entertain people, talents that a guitar playing busker lacks.


Strings are expensive, so learn to play chords with as few strings as possible. Don’t throw away broken strings immediately as we will show you, they can still come in handy. Special buskarate skills regarding strings are included further in this guide. So is the use of strings as hunting gear.

Don’t wear strings as strings (the epynomous underwear) to avoid circumcision and/or castration, even if you dream of being a jewish falsetto singer.


If you are really broke, don’t spend money on guitar picks. Cheap as they may be, learning to play with your fingers may save you up to twenty bucks a year. That’s a lot of busking hours you can now spend in a bar, hoping someone will buy you a drink.

Broken picks can be used to rattle as fake coins in a tin can to make people believe your talented because other people already gave you some change.

Some buskarate techniques with picks will be explained in a future post, but illegal to use because of the possibility of lethal consequenses.

Further uses range from tooth picks, to cheap give-away merchandise when broken.


To stock your gear in, bohemian look, pillow, blanket

Other stuff

A printed copy of The Busker’s Handbook Blog for quick reference

Loose change: makes people believe you’re a good busker,

Fingerless gloves: to keep playing in very cold weather

Scruffy dog: optional, friendship, pity envoking

Beard: street credibility, keeping you incognito, warmth

cards: ID, for talent agents, picking up girls,

torn city map: to keep track of the best and worst locations

red pencil: to mark the city map, jotting down (fake) adress and phone number, to take notes in Survival Guide

  1. Busking Gal says:

    I like to use a trolley to cart my gear (small guitar amp, electric guitar, bag) as there is a fair bit of travelling involved. This means my arms and back are less tired so I can busk for longer!

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