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Author Topic: Gigging 101... Some thoughts...  (Read 6393 times)

Offline Lwinn171

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« on: March 03, 2007, 01:56:53 AM »
I. Know your material. Be tightly rehearsed, and try to surround yourself with musicians who can “wing it” when needed. But practice, as a group, is serious. The idea is to know all the changes, all the accents, punches, fades, when to shut up, when not to, etc... Sounds basic, I know, but this is critical stuff. Learn to use vocal and instrumental “cues” for any parts that are structurally ambiguous. Practice these as part of your set, and be comfortable that everyone is on the same page. (Edit) As a guitarist, it is critical not to step on the vocals, or other instruments in the same frequency/tonal range. This is one of the biggest differences between a pro and an amatuer.

II. Gear: Have all your equipment up to snuff, as best you can, the day before a gig. I actually like to change strings two days, at a minimum, before a show. Have it together. Do you need a Direct box to put your piezo’s into the PA? Have at least a couple of extra cables, of some reasonable length. And Batteries, and strings, picks. You never know whose butt you’ll save, and it could be your own.

III. Use tuners!!! A tuner with a “silent tuning” function is a godsend, so get one if you don’t have one. Fly owners won’t use them often, but it’s so reassuring to be able to double check without telling everyone in the room that you’re tuning.

IV. Try to work with the sound man and other performers. If your band plays first, you don’t have time to hang out after your set. Break it down and clear it. If you're last, don’t assume it’s okay to backstage your gear (pushed to the back wall, opening act left cramped on a too small stage). If it’s a three band bill, and your in the middle, you won’t have any time on either end. But you get the sweet spot of the line-up for you troubles. At a larger festival type gig, well, just do your best not to slow anything down.
Know in advance what your needs from the sound man are. Real sound checks, in most clubs, are out of the question. You need to be able to tell them, often under duress, exactly how many vocal and direct lines you are going to send, all that kind of stuff. If you are lucky, he’ll mix it a bit during the first few songs. Keep the input varieties  you are sending him as simple as you can. A good club has dealt with it all, but you don’t want to be difficult, as a rule.

V. Minimize downtime between songs. People loose interest so quickly, in a club/bar setting. You can’t give them much time between songs, unless someone on a mike is entertaining them, they get listless pretty fast. Keep it moving, as best you can.

VI. Have fun! Bad nerves can be seen from the back of the room. Enjoy it. Don’t get hung up on one bad note. EVER!!! It will cause twelve more bad one’s if you let it. Live in the moment, literally, on the cow-catcher of the train as it bursts along the rails of time. Smile, or grimace if you must, but let it be emotional in some way. Look at Eddie Van Halen. Say what you may, but he’s grinning ear to ear, just digging it.  Don’t let a bad note show on your face! Most people would never know it was “wrong” if you hadn’t told them with your expression.

VII. When people compliment you, smile and say thank you. Don’t bore them with a lecture on harmonic theory, don’t tell them about your gear, unless they ask. Don’t ever let a drunk guy play your guitar. It took a broken headstock for me to learn that one. Don’t let that happen to you, especially with a Parker. Take ‘em to the bar a buy them a beer, if you must, but we spend too much on our gear to have it trashed by some well-meaning, hopelessly drunk, fool. Get him a cab, and you'll have done us all a favor.

VII. Get ready fot the next one. Rinse, and repeat...[;)][;)][;)]


Lawrence Winn
You can hear me playing and see my woodworks at:
http://www.myspace.com/132917993
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab
« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 10:47:38 PM by Lwinn171 »

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline Bill

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2007, 07:08:44 AM »
Great advice Lawrence.

Custom '03 Hardtail Artist ; Fly Deluxe 2000; Gibson ES137; 1974 K.Yari DY85; SchecterDisposable; Martin Backpacker/paddle combo;LarriveeParlor;VoxAD30VT;SWR California Blonde
A few Flys in my soup

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline simonlock

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2007, 08:51:35 AM »
I've never gigged before but it seems like sound advice.

Simon
Vancouver,BC

'00 Parker Fly Supreme-Butterscotch
'06 Parker Nylon Fly(thanks Jamie!)
'99 Parker Fly Artist w/Ken Parker signature
'06 Parker Fly Mojo-T/Cherry
'06 Parker Fly Classic-Dusty Black
'99 Parker Fly Classic-Natural
'98 Parker FlY Classic-Trans Blue(thanks to Jeff for the whammy bar)
 

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline bno

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2007, 01:59:30 PM »
I'm going to throw in another 2 cents.  

Carry a tool kit with a flashlight (very important), pliers, screwdrivers, extra fuses, strings, extra batteries, extra cables, magnifying glass or helping hands device.  A soldering kit if your good at that.  If you use a wireless, be prepared to go wired if you have to.

Don't let anyone from the audience ever touch your equipment.  Ever.  I don't care how famous they are.

Don't leave the stage unattended - see above.

On load out - make sure someone is watching your equipment - see above.

Be careful packing your van our car to make sure an equipment shift won't land on you or something that won't survive the blow.  Don't pack your vehicle so that something on the top of everything becomes an unguided missle at the back of your head if you have to stop suddenly.

Travel light - it helps with all of the above.

Don't get drunk unless you have someone to baby sit you and your equipment and drive you home.  Don't get drunk, you'll think your having fun and your music will suck big time.  Don't let your roadies get drunk, they'll break your equipment, won't be watching while someone steals your $2000 guitar or small bag of irreplacable vintage effects.

If you're bored or not having fun don't telegraph it.  If you make a mistake, don't telegraph it.  If one of your bandmates makes a mistake, don't telegraph it.  If you are having fun, you'll glow anyways, so don't worry about it.

Use simple hand signals to communicate musical issues - palm up - louder, palm down - softer, circular motion - pick up the tempo, some kind of "whoa" gesture if the tempo is rushing.  Subtle, without telegraphing that you are communicating to your bandmate.

Set up so your rhythm section all has clear sight lines.

DO NOT TEST GROUNDING ISSUES BY TOUCHING YOUR GUITAR WITH ONE HAND AND YOUR MIC WITH THE OTHER!!  Lethal combination.  If you get a little tingle on your lips from the mic, take your guitar off immediately.

Water + electricity = bad.  Nothing liquid goes on amp heads, keyboards, etc.  No drinks near the mixing board.

I'm sure there's more.  Note that a lot of this has nothing to do with actually playing.  And any one of these can ruin your night.  I've learned most of this the hard way.  No reason for you to do the same.
'94 Fly Deluxe
Listen first, then play.

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline Lwinn171

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2007, 02:41:27 PM »
Good points, especially about watching the stage and keeping an eye on your gear. Mark your cords, cables, ALL your stuff, with your initials. Good points as well about grounding issues. I don't know that I've ever played at a bar that had adequate, up to code, electrical supplies onstage.[^]


Lawrence Winn
You can hear me playing and see my woodworks at:
http://www.myspace.com/132917993
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab
« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 02:41:43 PM by Lwinn171 »

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline Musicman1

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2007, 03:12:24 PM »
Also...LEARN TO TURN DOWN!!!

Musicman1

2005 Parker P44 in trans red
2002 EB MM Axis Sport  in trans gold
1984 Custom made boutique Strat
1977 Guild D40 NT
1976 Gibson 335 Custom in sunburst
A variety of amps and effects

Musicman1's current arsenal includes:
2007 EB MM JP6, Mystic Dream, piezo, matching headstock, dot inlays
2005 Parker P44, trans red
2002 EB MM Axis Sport  trans gold, rosewood fingerboard, hum/hum, vintage trem, matching headstock
1984 Custom made boutique Strat
1977 Guild D40 NT
1976 Gibson 335 Custom in sunburst
A variety of "tube free", absolutely non-boutique and completely replaceable amps and effects


Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline bno

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2007, 08:47:35 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Musicman1

Also...LEARN TO TURN DOWN!!!

Musicman1

2005 Parker P44 in trans red
2002 EB MM Axis Sport  in trans gold
1984 Custom made boutique Strat
1977 Guild D40 NT
1976 Gibson 335 Custom in sunburst
A variety of amps and effects



Wear ear protection, too.
'94 Fly Deluxe
Listen first, then play.

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline Lwinn171

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2007, 11:26:42 PM »
Good point, Joe. I have often played at "The Cave" in Chapel Hill. It's a basemant bar and a shotgun design (long and narrow, 45 people would be wall to wall). That place taught me how to keep the volume down. And NO, a Boogie MK IV doesn't sound as good at a lower volume, but the band sounded infinitely better at practice settings, maybe lower. We'd face the amps from each side (One guitarist on each side, in a two guitar group) and point them across the stage, and keep it low. You have to watch it with tube amps, as they get bigger once they start working for a while (right around song 4 on my Boogie). I find myself turning down more than up, these days. I guess that makes me an adult now. Dang. But I'm happy to still have decent hearing. Here's hoping it lasts. Hear, hear.[^]

bno, I agree with the tools concept, as well. It can be vital. When something goes wrong after 7:00 pm, well, good luck finding or buying a vital tool. I take some small tools in my bag as a given, but now I'm thinking I should add a soldering gun too. I can think of a time or three one would have come in handy.[^]


Lawrence Winn
You can hear me playing and see my woodworks at:
http://www.myspace.com/132917993
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab
« Last Edit: March 03, 2007, 11:51:16 PM by Lwinn171 »

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline BrainWorm

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2007, 02:20:28 AM »
As an audience member I like that turn it down. The most successful musician I've seen so far the last couple of years was the most turned down - one of the former Monkees, Peter Tork. His show was one of the best also. I think he learned while working with the best during that era. I think some bands think loud is a way to dominate the club. I would add do a sound check before playing. I'm amazed at how most bands do not do a sound check in the club I go to. Not being able to hear or understand the words of a song makes the music boring after a while.

"Brainverms come crawling and creeping and eat you when you're sleeping."
"Brainverms come crawling and creeping and eat you when you're sleeping."

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline guitarmanuk

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2007, 05:56:59 AM »
I played my first paid gig aged 21 and I am now 45. I am guuessing that i have played in the region of 1500 or more gigs in that time.  I would have to say that all the above advice is really excellent.  I would add the following:

If you are a vocalist as well, then drink lots of water, it is the best thing to keep your voice lubricated.  Never use alcohol of any kind to do that job as it can constrict your vocal chords.  Also carry throat lozenges, just in case.

Try and warm up before you go on stage.  If you can't play your guitar then try stretching exercises or use chinese metal balls. I saw that Dave Martone had a set of these in the dressing room on his DVD.  You sit them in the palm of your left hand and rotate them round.  You need to use all your fingers and thumb and it gets the muscles working.

As for the point about practice, I agree that you can't do enough, even to the point that you pratice anouncements or song introductions.  Deciding who is going to say what and when will prevent you talking over somone else and make the whole show more professional.  

And finally, this all leads me on to my favourite saying:

"An amateur practices untill they get it right, a professional practices until they can't get it wrong"

Happy gigging guys and gals.



David

1997 Parker Fly Classic transparent Teal Green

www.dancineasy.co.uk my wedding/function band
www.saxandguitar.co.uk my sax and guitar duo
David

1997 Parker Fly Classic transparent Teal Green
1997 Parker Fly Concert Butterscotch

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline Musicman1

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2007, 10:40:46 AM »
The most important thing besides my volume comment is "PLEASE THE GUY THATS PAYING YOU!!!" Usually the club owner.

If he wants you to play quieter than you normally do at home then do it.

If he wants the "Hucklebuck" in the middle of your rocking set...do it!!

If he wants to sit in and play a terrible version of Johnny B Goode with the band...let him do it!!

Remember the club owner has the upper hand...when you become Sting or Bono or Paul McCartney then YOU can call the shots...until then turn down and play the gig as the gig needs to be played.

I hate to tell you this but gigging is really not about playing better than anyone else...its about being asked to come back because you did a great job.  Gigging is the musicians JOB.  Please the club owner and entertain the crowd and you'll be back.

Check your ego at the door or stay home.

Musicman1

2005 Parker P44 in trans red
2002 EB MM Axis Sport  in trans gold
1984 Custom made boutique Strat
1977 Guild D40 NT
1976 Gibson 335 Custom in sunburst
A variety of amps and effects

« Last Edit: March 04, 2007, 10:45:58 AM by Musicman1 »
Musicman1's current arsenal includes:
2007 EB MM JP6, Mystic Dream, piezo, matching headstock, dot inlays
2005 Parker P44, trans red
2002 EB MM Axis Sport  trans gold, rosewood fingerboard, hum/hum, vintage trem, matching headstock
1984 Custom made boutique Strat
1977 Guild D40 NT
1976 Gibson 335 Custom in sunburst
A variety of "tube free", absolutely non-boutique and completely replaceable amps and effects


Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline Paul Marossy

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2007, 11:01:18 AM »
quote:
Be careful packing your van our car to make sure an equipment shift won't land on you or something that won't survive the blow. Don't pack your vehicle so that something on the top of everything becomes an unguided missle at the back of your head if you have to stop suddenly.


Yes, yes, yes!

quote:
Travel light - it helps with all of the above.


Agreed.

quote:
If you're bored or not having fun don't telegraph it. If you make a mistake, don't telegraph it. If one of your bandmates makes a mistake, don't telegraph it.


Yep. And if you do do that, it's all downhill from there.

quote:
I played my first paid gig aged 21 and I am now 45. I am guuessing that i have played in the region of 1500 or more gigs in that time. I would have to say that all the above advice is really excellent.


I've only been paid once, for playing at a company Christmas party like 12 years ago. All of my public playing has been at either free park concerts or on church music teams. If you want to call each church service a gig, then I've probably played about 250 or so. Church musicians are usually not paid...



__/\\/\\__PJM__/\\/\\__
www.DIYguitarist.com
www.myspace.com/j201jams

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline loumt123

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2007, 11:16:48 AM »
hmm i'll try adding to this.

Carry a set of extra batteries, strings, etc.

Sometimes, less is more.

It's usually better to be told to turn up, rather than down.

Communicate!
 

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline David Tomkins

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2007, 09:29:32 AM »
invite 908SSP so that if anything goes wrong you can get it sorted out

2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!
2005 Green Quilted Maple Custom Mojo signed by Steve Vai, 2006 Parker Fly T-Shirt, 2006 Parker Fly Baseball Cap.  A triple-whammy of Parker goodness!!

Gigging 101... Some thoughts...

Offline rld25

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Gigging 101... Some thoughts...
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2007, 09:33:53 AM »
Great thread and advice! I'd echo everything Lawrence said and really agree with bno on the tool kit.
I call mine my bag of tricks and it has saved numerous gigs. I've fixed problems for my rig, the band, the light guy, the sound guy, and sometimes the place. Just having a wire cutter and a couple of wire nuts in the bag saved an outdoor wedding reception when the only outlet in the pavilion was bad. I've paid for that tool kit a hundred times over with the gigs it has saved! [^]'93 Fly Deluxe,'05 Fly Mojo Flame S/C, '06 Southern Nitefly
Lane