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Old 01-07-2011, 01:54 PM   #1
Bostonrocks
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The Touring/Gigging Thread 1.0!

So, this is the touring and gigging thread! if any of you have questions or just want some clear cut info ask in here and read through the plethora all the gigging guys have!!! Thanks to Denied, and Colin617 for letting me use their stuff. This was Denied's idea for the most part, a huge thanks to him also! Have fun and lets be helpful!!!


Quote:
So, after a few months (almost 8) of touring and playing shows 2 weeks out of every month (or more) Iíve compiled a list of things and stories that I feel would be of great help to many UGíers!
So, after these months Iíve definitely found these things helpful.

Brettís Top 10:

1. Gaffer Tape: (or duct tape, either will work, but gaffer tape is better) Ok, the reason you need this, is at the VERY least it will be nice to tape down your cables. I was on the main stage of a medium sized festival and tripped over a mic cable while walking up to the front for a soloÖhow do you think that feels?.....GET TAPE.


2. Tool Kit: this may seem obvious, but youíd be surprised at how many bands or guitar players Iíve run across who donít have a tool kit with allen wrenches, screwdrivers soldering irons etc. I recommend a tackle box (yes, like for fishing) if youíre on a budget, it has tons of nice little places for you to put things. I typically keep both a metric and standard Allen Wrench set in mine along with extra 12ax7s, a assortment of Screwdrivers (both Flathead and Phillips) my Ebow, two extension cords, a power strip and splitters for both, there is a bunch more stuff too, just do what fits you.



3. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid): LIVE BY THIS. Donít over complicate ANYTHING if you donít have to. Donít run 4 delays 2 MIDI controllers a overdrive and a tremolo if you donít absolutely have to. Less is just better in most cases, less = less noise/buzz less = less things to go wrong .


4. PedalBoard: You definitely want one whether it be homemade or whatever, just have one, it makes setup simple and easy and protects your pedals.

5. Pedals: Pedals are HUGE part of some peoples tone, but if you can get away with a overdrive, tuner and one or two effects DO IT. I left for tour on a Friday and by Monday I had brought my board from 2 ODís, Delay, Tuner, Wah and Volume pedal to one OD and a tuner, and occasionally Iíd stick the delay in. there is just a lot more to go wrong with a bunch of pedals, not that you canít or shouldnít . Itís just the fact that less is usually more. Also pedal power is a MUST. 9vís WILL fail on you in the middle of the show and it SUCKS.


6. Surge protector/voltage regulator: these things are like a hundred bucks and will protect you from dirty power and voltage spiked, if you can afford it do it. If you MUST a power strip will work though.

7. Backups for EVERYTHING:. Whether it be a squire and a bugera or a 3k Gibson and a Bad Cat a back up for your guitar and amp is a MUST. Just do it. Cables, and batteries are the big ones in my opinion, cables just go out sometimes, and batteries are ALWAYS good to have. Whether its for your guitar or pedals or whatever, just have them.

8. Strap Locks: This has been a LIFE (guitar) SAVER. There is many a time where Iíve been EXTEREMLY happy Iíve had strap locks on my guitars. I really, really recommend getting them even if youíre NOT touring/giggin

9.Set up your Guitar: If you donít set up your guitars yourself (and even if you do) have it professionally set up. Itíll last about a month and is totally worth it. Youíll play better and feel better about playing with it.

10. Hardcases: I know this one probably seems like a ďduhĒ moment, but hardcases for as much as you can afford (amps, guitars, pedals) is huge, too many times Iíve had stuff fall on my pedals or something like that and just been like. ď OMGz0rz Iím happy I have HSCísĒ

11: Don't Gig in New Jersey or the ghetto of Lubbock Texas

I know many of these seem obvious, but Iíve seen many bands not have these very simple things, what works for me may not work exactly the same for you, but itís the same concept, I really suggest you at least try these things out if youíre a gigging musican.

Also, here is a freebie. One of the things Iíve really found is having a dummy cab is nice if you can. Run your real cab facing backwards or in another room (so you can turn it up) and have your dummy cab on stage for the looks. Youíll have better tone and your soundguy will be way happier. One more thing, is if you can afford it, get a ribbon mic (I love the fathead II) and double mic your cabs (57 and 609ís work really well with the fathead) and youíre tone will cover a LOT more ground if youíre the only guitar player.

Tips on Tone for the Live player:
1. Donít scoop midsÖlikeÖever. Itís a big no no and you will be LOST in the mix
2. If you can, walk out in to the room when youíre playing for soundcheck, hear what your tone sounds like in the mix itíll be a huge help
3. Brighter is better than darker most of the time.
4. Donít use too much gain, itíll only muddy up your mix, the less you can use the better!
5. Fuzz pedals are coolÖ.for the studio. (sometimes usable, but normally not)
6. PICKUPS, make sure you have goodish pickups, they make the world of difference.
7. Know how to mic your amp or at least vaguely what youíre doing at the very least, mic position is EVERYTHING live. An inch the wrong way is the difference between great tone and terrible tone.
8. Donít make the soundguy madÖ.ever.
9. Pedals are cool, donít overdo it.
10. Setting up your guitar usually makes it sound much better, do it before every tour and make adjustments as necessary
11. If you have an EQ try boosting mid frequencies (330 is the ďbodyĒ of an electric guitar, 450-900 is the ďhonkeynessĒ use this for cutting through and 1k and up is where you get into treble and presence frequencies, use these to brighten up your tone to cut a little better.
12. I really, really suggest using delays or a stereo setup if you are the only player. You want to create a ďbigĒ sound to fill up your place in a mix.
13. As I said earlier, dual micing things can make a world of difference
14. Lead sounds really do well with short delays (330ms and under) to phatten them up, boost the mids (frequencies talked about earlier) to cut and set the presence and treble frequencies as desired (higher for a brighter more, piercing tone and lower for a more ďdeadendĒ or dark tone)
15. If there is more than one player in your band donít overplay anything, youíll make a mess which leads to my next point
16. If there is more than one player in your band HAVE CONTRASTING TONES. If you have a band and youíre both running Superlead Plexiís youíll mush together and itíll sound like a mess. The Darkness is a great example of using different amps, Justin Hawkins uses Mesaís and Dan Hawkins uses Superleads and they sound firkin AH-MAZING.
17. Rooms are not created equalÖyour settings are not going to work in every single room.
18. TUBES MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. Iím gonna be honest, Iíve never heard a truly ďgreatĒ tone live with a SS, whether that be a vetta a MG or a SS140, none of them cut (especially the Line6ís) quite like a tube amp.
19. As with setting up guitars, you also should have your amps ďset upĒ ie. Biased, re-tubed etc.
20. Have fun guys, people hear it when youíre not having a good time


I think thatís it for now hopefully this is of some big help do people!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era

Last edited by Bostonrocks : 01-07-2011 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
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Thank You Colin for letting us use this!

Quote:
Originally Posted by colin617
The last year has been a learning experience for me. I went from a hometown guitar hero to a full fledged professional musician. I toured nationally with one of the biggest names in modern country music. I've hung out with and talked music with some of the most gifted players in the world (coughBrentMasoncough). My band has its first LP coming out at the end of summer. I built my dream rig and then dismantled it. So, in light of all that, here is what I've learned about gear in the last year:

-If you ever plan on moving your amp/pedalboard, invest in flight cases.

-A Fender Hot Rod Deville can save your ass in a pinch (yes, there is a story behind this).

-No one can hear the difference between PCB and PTP wiring. (99% of the people that claim there is an audible difference are gear snobs that play contrived blues licks. Ironically, their superior hearing can't detect that their cliched blues bends aren't in tune)

-Boutique amps are 60% parts/labor/quality and 40% hype. However, that does not stop me from GASing for a Komet Concorde or Cameron modded Metropoulos 10 series. (No, my Splawn and Reeves are not for sale) *some boutique brands are quite affordable for what you get. Dr. Z and Valvetech come to mind.

-Figure out what style you want to play before investing in uber expensive boutique pedals. It will save you a ton of money and time. What you listen to and what you play don't have to be the same thing. Until you know what direction you want to go in musically, stick to the basics (Boss, MXR, EHX etc). As a bonus, you can learn a bit about gear by modding these pedals.

-Repeat after me: your pedalboard needs a buffer.

-Also, invest in some good patch cables.

-Turn the reverb down. It makes the sound muddy in a large room.

-Listen to your rig from an audience perspective. Then you will know what your tone actually sounds like.

-A rack setup is so damn versatile and sexy, but unless you are playing huge shows every other day, it is over-kill and a gigantic, expensive pain in the ass.

-Don't skimp on the speakers; however, buying the most expensive Celestions is not necessary. Eminence and Weber both make incredible speakers for fair prices.

-Cab construction matters, but modding a cheap one isn't that difficult.

-If you're going to buy a new production amp (Fender, Vox, Marshall), buy it used and take it to a tech. You will probably save close to 50% of the new price. Also, if you mod it, it can sound boutique for less than the price of a new model. (My Super Reverb RI, for example).

-Buying amps in some rare tolex/ covering is asinine if you plan on playing gigs. Yes, your amp is pretty, but it IS going to get dropped, scuffed, spilled on, ripped, etc. Then your aesthetic upcharge is null.

-Get to know a good tech. When you need work done, you will be glad you did.

-In the words of Frank Zappa, "Shut up and play yer guitar".

Colin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era

Last edited by Bostonrocks : 01-07-2011 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:00 PM   #3
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This is Denied's guide on Live sound.
Quote:
Originally Posted by denied
Brett and Colin have pretty much covered the main tips for live playing, so Iím going to give some input on the front of house guy perspective. The following are some lessons Iíve learned from 3 years working part time as a front of house guy. The information is given in good faith and based on those experiences, it may not apply to everyone.


Lesson 1: Scooping mids is just dumb thing to do.

I don't care if you need a "brutal sound" to play your tech death. I don't care you much you like the chugga chugga. It sounds bad at stage volumes, and you will not cut through the mix.

Scooped mids might sound good on your practice amp at bedroom levels, but are completely useless live. Guitars are mids focused instruments, and those are the bands that cut through the mix, Use them.



Example: One night while setting up, I saw that both guitar amps were set with mids pretty much at zero. Sure enough, the first solo comes up and I can't hear a single thing the guitarist is doing, no matter how hard he throws his hair around. I bring him all the way up in the mix and still nothing. Finally I get on his channel EQ and bring up 4 bands of mids. Check it out, I can finally hear him. This happens all the time.

Lesson 2: Use an amp that is suited for the tone you want. Pedals are not a substitute.

Too often do I see guitarists using amps that just arenít right for the genres theyíre playing or tone theyíre looking for. We get threads all the time around the lines of ďIím looking for a pedal that will get me this tone out of this totally unsuitable amp.Ē The answer generally comes down to ďbuy a new amp.Ē

Example: One guitarist is using a Peavey Ultra. Decent sounding affordable all tube amp. The other, a Fender Deville and running a Line 6 Uber Metal pedal into it. As I soloed each channel out I burst out laughing. The Peavey was getting some pretty great sounding distortion. The Uber Metal on the other hand, was producing some of the most digital and sterile sounds I've heard since I last used a Spider II. The difference was so blatant that when I called a friend over and soloed the two channels out, he cracked up.



Yes there are decent dist pedals out there (think Okko Dominator and Toneczar Openhaus). But putting a junk pedal in front of a blues amp is not going to get you decent heavy tone, thats just not the way it works. Get an amp that works for what you want to play.

General mistakes everyone makes

Lesson 3: Know what you want in your monitors.

When a FOH guy asks you what you want in your monitors, and your response is a glazed face or "everything," the sound guy isnít going to take you as seriously. A mix of ďeverythingĒ gives you too much cymbal crash, bass, etc, and will result in lots of "Dude, I canít hear anything." The front of house guy is there to make you sound good, make his job easier by knowing what you want. If you havenít taken the time to think about it, you can always ask for a recommendation along the lines of ďwhat kind of mix usually works well for this stage?Ē



Lesson 4: Bring everything.

This one has already been covered, but Iím emphasizing. You do not EVER want to be stuck in a situation where you need something you donít have.

Do not assume that the venue has what you need. If you need to plug a violin pickup into a DI box, have that quarter inch cable ready and with you. If you know there is a backline drumkit, bring your pedals and cymbals so that you don't have to complain about how inferior the gear is. Stuff like spare cables, duct tape, 9v batteries, fuses, toolkit etc is basic. Have them with you so that little things don't hold up your show. I strongly recommend backup gear and roadcases.

Lesson 5:Show some confidence dammit.

When a band looks timid on stage, apologizes for the quality of every song, and stops playing because of a missed vocal line, the audience knows that you don't know what you're doing. And everyone in the venue takes you less seriously. That includes the sound tech, the promoter, possibly the owner. These are people you want on your side.

Act like you have some kind of handle over youíre playing. This is pretty basic, but the more energy you put into a song, and the less anxious you are about screwing up, the better you will look and sound. Most of the crowd has no clue you suck until you actually tell them so. And not more than 5% of the crowd at any given time knows that you screwed up unless you make it blatantly obvious by restarting.

Thatís all for now, I hope itís useful for a few people.


Here is some things that Darkwolf had to add!

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkwolf291
Good to see we finally got it done.

Some stuff I'd like to add. Call it an etiquette guide if you want.
1. DON'T ever act like an ass to anyone there unless they truly deserve it. Sound guy or not. If you act like an ass to the wrong person, you could get thrown out and barred from playing there. It's best to just bite your tongue and move on with it in most cases.

2. Always try and be quick when setting up and breaking down. There's usually bands coming on after you and it's common courtesy to always be as speedy as possible. Gives the other bands more time to set up, and they'll return the favor (at least in my experience).

3. NEVER think you have more experience and think you are better than another band.
Just because you've played more shows than someone else doesn't give you the right to talk down on them either. BE RESPECTFUL TO THE OTHER BANDS. If you are, they'll usually return the favor.

4. If at all possible, try and help the other bands unload their gear. It's a good way to make friends and they might even remember you, so mention your band name. If you're on tour with them, or play with them again, they'll probably help you unload next time.

5. Confidence is a good thing, but don't over-do it. You'll come across as cocky and arrogant.

Just my $0.02 on etiquette during a gig.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era

Last edited by Bostonrocks : 01-07-2011 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
theogonia777
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very good stuff so far. stickied. though the one thing you forgot to mention NOT to bring is your significant other.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:22 PM   #5
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I've never had that problem so i can't speak from experience!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bostonrocks
I've never had that problem so i can't speak from experience!


thankfully neither have i, but everyone who has done that has regretted it. like David St Hubbins from Spinal Tap.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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Good to see we finally got it done.

Some stuff I'd like to add. Call it an etiquette guide if you want.
1. DON'T ever act like an ass to anyone there unless they truly deserve it. Sound guy or not. If you act like an ass to the wrong person, you could get thrown out and barred from playing there. It's best to just bite your tongue and move on with it in most cases.

2. Always try and be quick when setting up and breaking down. There's usually bands coming on after you and it's common courtesy to always be as speedy as possible. Gives the other bands more time to set up, and they'll return the favor (at least in my experience).

3. NEVER think you have more experience and think you are better than another band.
Just because you've played more shows than someone else doesn't give you the right to talk down on them either. BE RESPECTFUL TO THE OTHER BANDS. If you are, they'll usually return the favor.

4. If at all possible, try and help the other bands unload their gear. It's a good way to make friends and they might even remember you, so mention your band name. If you're on tour with them, or play with them again, they'll probably help you unload next time.

5. Confidence is a good thing, but don't over-do it. You'll come across as cocky and arrogant.

Just my $0.02 on etiquette during a gig.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:32 PM   #8
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:35 PM   #9
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If you're a less seasoned band, mistakes happen in the middle of songs sometimes, as Denied said DO NOT STOP. Your drummer should just assume that unless the song's over, they should never stop. Pick up where you left off while the drummer's still playing. Don't stop and start over again.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MortifiedLizard
If you're a less seasoned band, mistakes happen in the middle of songs sometimes, as Denied said DO NOT STOP. Your drummer should just assume that unless the song's over, they should never stop. Pick up where you left off while the drummer's still playing. Don't stop and start over again.



a friggen'-men
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkwolf291
Good to see we finally got it done.

Some stuff I'd like to add. Call it an etiquette guide if you want.
1. DON'T ever act like an ass to anyone there unless they truly deserve it. Sound guy or not. If you act like an ass to the wrong person, you could get thrown out and barred from playing there. It's best to just bite your tongue and move on with it in most cases.

2. Always try and be quick when setting up and breaking down. There's usually bands coming on after you and it's common courtesy to always be as speedy as possible. Gives the other bands more time to set up, and they'll return the favor (at least in my experience).

3. NEVER think you have more experience and think you are better than another band.
Just because you've played more shows than someone else doesn't give you the right to talk down on them either. BE RESPECTFUL TO THE OTHER BANDS. If you are, they'll usually return the favor.

4. If at all possible, try and help the other bands unload their gear. It's a good way to make friends and they might even remember you, so mention your band name. If you're on tour with them, or play with them again, they'll probably help you unload next time.

5. Confidence is a good thing, but don't over-do it. You'll come across as cocky and arrogant.

Just my $0.02 on etiquette during a gig.



I edited your post into the OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregs1020
Brett has been saving for a splawn for 4 years
countries have been toppled in the time it's taking, revolutions won got a black pres

yawn


Quote:
Originally Posted by bubb_tubbs
When he finally gets one it'll probably be televised like the Berlin Wall coming down.
The end of an era
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:38 PM   #12
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my new favorite thread
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What?! There's a clean channel on my amp?!

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omfg i totally forgot about that, you sir are jesus christ.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:38 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MortifiedLizard
If you're a less seasoned band, mistakes happen in the middle of songs sometimes, as Denied said DO NOT STOP. Your drummer should just assume that unless the song's over, they should never stop. Pick up where you left off while the drummer's still playing. Don't stop and start over again.

This. Last gig I played, my guitar cut out in the middle of a song. So I stopped, switched out cables, and got right back into it. Unless it's a massive mistake, NEVER STOP THE SONG.
EDIT: And call me Frank.
Playing live is as much about playing music and being prepared as it is trying to get connections built up. You'll never get anywhere with a "We're the best band in the world and I can outplay everyone" kind of attitude.

Last edited by darkwolf291 : 01-07-2011 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:42 PM   #14
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99% percent of the time the audience doesn't notice the mistake anyhow.
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What?! There's a clean channel on my amp?!

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omfg i totally forgot about that, you sir are jesus christ.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:45 PM   #15
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Agreed.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:08 PM   #16
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don`t drink alcohol or consume mind altering drugs (if you are into that crap) before your set. you will fumble most of the gig and you`ll get a reputation of amateur alcoholics or druggies, you will gain a bad reputation and will never be taken seriously.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:45 PM   #17
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i dont know about that. I will agree that you should not be intoxicated out of your mind on any substance, but you also need to feel comfortable. If that takes one or two beers or some kind of drug, I personally say go for it. But you cant be a jerk or to messed up to play at your best.
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omfg i totally forgot about that, you sir are jesus christ.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:59 PM   #18
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1) If you break a string, do your best to finish the song and then switch to your backup guitar after or in a break in the song where you would have time to change.

2) Always take 2 guitars to a gig and have it tuned and on a guitar stand just off-stage. Even though it is more to carry, not many people are willing to lend you their guitar to finish a set.

3) Get your hands on a roll or two of white electrical tape and a sharpie pen, they are useful for writing settings on your amp or pedal, and you can mark up your leads so you know which ones are yours when people accidentally take yours.

4) Always take spare leads, batteries, kettle leads for your amp, strings, tools and valves.
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Last edited by GezzyDiversion : 01-07-2011 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:03 PM   #19
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First page!

Great advice/tips.

Unless you're a cover/tribute band (almost always then too) never ever dress up/act like a member of the band you're covering. It's not fun to watch and hear five Slash-wannabes in a row.
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If only I were the only one at home right now. I don't need my parents asking who Mr. Wiggles is.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:05 PM   #20
MatrixClaw
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Originally Posted by theogonia777
very good stuff so far. stickied. though the one thing you forgot to mention NOT to bring is your significant other.



My girlfriend came to my last show and it actually made me play better IMO, except for the fact that I was playing drums and the sound guy SUCKED. My monitors either weren't even on, or something was wrong, cause I couldn't hear anything but the bass player (and very little of him)

I told him to turn up my mix, and I still couldn't hear anything
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I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
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Originally Posted by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





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Last edited by MatrixClaw : 01-07-2011 at 04:06 PM.
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