Guide to getting and playing better gigs


   

Gigging Tips

     
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TIP:
Some bands like to drag the public on stage, some don't. It's a decision to be taken by you and whoever you work with. One or two people looks good, a stage full of audience looks messy and is an accident waiting to happen.

 

There's probably enough tips around to fill the Internet !!!!!!!

Big stage, big gig, big equipment.
Small stage, small gig, small equipment.
Small gig, big amps, amps facing the wall.
Every gig - the vocals must be audible.

When you sing, keep your face in the microphone. Every time you look down at the guitar neck your vocal part drops out of the mix.

When/if a fight breaks out in the audience just keep on playing, it's the traditional thing to do. Besides, your axe could be considered a deadly weapon in a court of law, or it could shield you from flying projectiles.

Be wary if you get booked to do a "60s" or "70s" night. You could end up playing to a room full of pensioners, who WON'T appreciate your rendition of 'Ace of Spades'.

Learn some effective dynamics. Practice the art of flowing from low volume to high volume and back to low volume. Fill the quieter passages with acoustic guitar or mandolin or piano or flute. It's an easy way to sound more professional. Practice tempo changes. Sometimes less is more, there are times when one of the guitarists can simply stop playing for one or two measures. This allows the audience focus to shift towards another player or singer and adds a hint of drama to your performance.

Learn to make the most of any gig you play. Occasionally the first set will be played to an empty club. This is a good opportunity to try out your newest song for the first time on stage.

Setting up can sometimes take almost as long as your first set, so it's a good idea to explore ways you can cut the time down. Apart from anything else, it gives you longer at the bar.

Pack your van, car or whatever in a sensible way - if you set up your speakers first, make sure they're positioned so they come out of the van first, etc. And make sure you've got enough juice to get to the gig - and back again. Get your transport as close to the stage as possible, the less far you have to lug the heavy stuff, the less chance of suffering from a hernia problem. Don't make things any harder for yourself.

Take care if you're off-loading your gear into a crowded venue - punters don't take kindly to having flightcases bounced off them, and you may find yourself wasting a lot of time extracting your guitar from where an aggrieved and injured punter has firmly planted it.........

All members of the band need to know what their particular alloted tasks are - if you've got a roadie, all well and good, just keep out of his way, but most of us don't have such luxuries, and a bunch of musos getting under each other's feet trying to set up the same piece of gear can only delay matters. Give everyone a job and let them get on with it.

Familiarize yourselves with the order in which you set up the gear. If you find it easiest to set up the drum kit first and build everything round it, then go for that method every time and lay out your leads and cables at the front of the stage, preferably lined up with the bit of gear each cable relates to - this always saves time.


Problem:
You go into a club. The club has an in-house PA system. Every time you get close to the microphone you get a shock (tingling sensation).

Solution:
Most electrical devices desire to be connected to "earth" in order to work properly. In the most basic sense, this means that it needs to be plugged into an outlet, which is in turn connected to the earth (just about any modern outlet is connected to the ground, and is referred to as "earthed"). As an electrical item works, it often has build-ups of electricity, which it doesn't need, so it sends the extra juice off into the ground-no harm done.


PA systems work the exact same way. PA systems are made up of various electrical items (Mixer, amps, rack gear) plugged into electricity and also need to be connected to ground to work properly. Now, lets imagine for a second that the PA system is NOT properly connected to the earth. (This could happen for a variety of reasons; Many clubs are old and sometimes have outdated and imperfect electrical wiring, sometimes PA systems are not earthed on purpose in an attempt to cure buzzing problems, etc.) The PA will operate, and during its operation it may save up excess power but doesn't have any place to put it. This electricity is just building up in the PA and wants desperately to find it's way to the ground.

Enter you into the equation. You are holding an electric guitar. That electric guitar is plugged into an amplifier. That amplifier is plugged into the electrical outlet. If the outlet you have selected to plug your amp into happens to actually be connected properly to earth, then your guitar is now properly earthed and, because you are touching the metal strings, YOU are also properly earthed. So, when you move close to the microphone, the stored up electricity in the PA sees you as a free ticket the ground. The electricity travels through the mic cable to the metal microphone and into your face in an attempt to get to the ground. At which point you get a shock.

It's a good idea to get into the habit of testing a mic (if you have to) by tapping it with the back of your right hand whilst holding your guitar strings. If there is a problem with the mic, then your hand will be knocked away as opposed to if you grab hold of it. Use your right hand (because it's the one furthest from your heart), just in case.

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