Here's a great helpful article we found on Premier Guitar by Andy Anderson. We hope these tidbits of information will help you overcome unexpected obstacles and help your gig go as smooth as possible. Check it out!
This month's article covers a bunch of random topics and thoughts that had no home, answers to reader questions and other miscellaneous stuff.
Always prepare for the worst when doing your gigs. If it’s an outdoor gig, bring plastic or tarps and duct tape, maybe a few bungees too. You don't know how many times those seemingly simple items have saved my gear. And if you’re performing outside, there are some really cool cell phones that offer Internet access with weather radar, in color, no less. It’s a whole lot easier than calling the local station and trying to get a weather report. If you don't want to go that route, consider a weather radio if you are performing outdoors often. Last year I had a 20-foot tall followspot tower blow over in an 80 mph straight wind because the local sheriff's office didn't give us an accurate arrival time of the storm front. Not fun. Good cases and good crew really pay off when bad weather strikes. Also remember rain gear for yourself, mosquito repellent, changes of clothes and aspirin.
If you’re traveling to gigs, make sure to allow plenty of extra time for travel and time to take care of yourself. Eat right, sleep adequately, drink plenty of fluids; you know, the things your Mom always tells you. Moms know, so listen! You will have a much more enjoyable gig if you feel your best.
Expect your instruments to act wacky! High heat, humidity and occasional wetness do strange things to music and audio gear. Connections mysteriously become faulty and guitars and drums like to drift out of tune. Figure out a way to deal with it; if you have to retune during your performance, have someone in the band chat up the crowd. They may think you’re cool, but they didn't pay to see you tune. Spare guitars and guitar techs are good ideas.
The Audio Arts
Some readers wanted more tips about monitor setups and eliminating feedback. So off we go into more deep secrets of the arcane black audio arts.
With any sound reproduction system, meaning a microphone and a speaker, you can only turn it up so much (increase gain) until it feeds back (the feedback threshold). In most cases, a single frequency will feedback before the rest. By slowly turning up the volume until you hear one frequency “ring” and then finding that frequency and attenuating it with an equalizer, you increase the overall level at which the monitor can operate (raising the feedback threshold). Hopefully by doing this procedure several times you can operate the monitor at a pleasingly loud level for your performance.
Numerous tools and black boxes have been developed to help identify and eliminate feedback, and most work quite well; however, there are certain situations where they don't. Touring sound techs have all sorts of learned tricks to tweak those boxes a little more, and here are a few of them:
Take care, have fun out there, and keep the water out of your toys!