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1960s bands practice and performance

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by lavaxtris, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009
    Being a musician who was blessed with nice PA equipment, amps, guitars, and the overall technology, I often wonder. How exactly did bands without all that do it? Bands like the beatles and beach boys had hardly any of that stuff. I've been watching some older Beatle live videos and it doesn't seem like they even had monitors. they just cranked their amps and that was it.

    so how did they do it? how did they even practice? my band cant even hear the vocals over the drums much less the guitars and everything else. we are even using k12s and we can barely hear anything.
  2. samurai1993


    Jun 6, 2010
    Maybe they cared that when practicing it's not necessary to crank your amps all the time, and did what many of us forgot: find a pleasant practice volume

    At least I think that a practice environment doesn't justifies more than 30w on guitar and 100 on bass, and depending on your drummer you don't even need to crank those. That madness of more than 1Kw is something I just don't understand (except for the guys that play bar gigs without a full PA). Sure, if you can pay it, buy it, but the volume knob has lots of possitions under 12 o'clock :D

    About exactly what the 60's band did, I tend to think that, for a group like The Beatles, they could easily practice just on acoustic instruments with some light drumming, doing just a little rehearsal on their electrics before the gig itself. I remember a gig we had a few years ago with some friends, we practiced with no amp for the guitar, the bass amped very slightly (on the guitar's amp) and the drummer mimicking in a set of pillows :D Worked like a charm :p
  3. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009
    I figured somebody would eventually come on here and assume my band is playing too loud. Thats really not the issue at all. Most of the issues we have involve too much feedback. We are not running through a mixer yet, so no decent eq for a while.
  4. Maccor


    Aug 8, 2012

    just check these out
  5. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    First what are you hearing when you view historical footage or recordings
    This isn't necessarily what the audience heard.

    For some groups like the Beattle, the audience didn't hear much with all the screaming.
    To get over the screaming.
    Things went crazy and they started taking speakers meant for theater into PA, and brute force big amps with lots of cabs. But nowhere near the power and fidelity available today. It still persist to this day to have the big backline look. Even though they may be empty.

    The relative cost of excellent gear today is way under the cost back in the 60's.
  6. lavaxtris


    Feb 3, 2009
    I'm not really talking about the sound, I'm talking about the monitoring. How were they able to stay in tune vocally and stay together without good monitors? How did they practice their songs and try to teach them to the band when all you could hear is drums? Some of the music was based on vocal cues. if they couldn't really hear the vocals, how did they know when to start the next part?
  7. Back in the 80's, my band had what we called "couch-pounders," because we ran through a mixing board into a stereo system for instruments, and the drummer used my naugahyde couch to bang on, along with a basic set of Mattel Synsonics electronic drums. It worked quite well.
  8. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Stage volume wasn't cranked, and they shared a mike and faced each other for key harmonies. It's what I see.
  9. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    They didn't. Ever listen to live recordings of the Beatles? Their PA's were woefully inadequate and they didn't have monitors, and there were a lot of clams, though their vocals were still pretty good. So like Seamonkey said, they had reasonable stage volume, they tried to listen to each other as good as they could, and they kept eye contact.
  10. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    When there wasn't as much gear, people paid less attention to gear & more attention to (ahem) their music.
  11. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    BTW, the Beatles quit touring partially because PA's sucked so bad on their gigs.
  12. ExaltBass

    ExaltBass Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Twin Cities, MN
    TOTALLY DIFFERENT LEAGUE... In the late 60's my band used a pair of Kustom 4x12 column PA speakers as side fill monitors. We played large regional ballrooms, colleges, clubs, etc. Occasionally with a (for the day) Pro PA. We carried a LOT of gear - hardly any clubs had house systems. In the mid/late 70's we carried even more PA gear and hung Community brand floor wedge speakers from the ceiling back at us and as side fills. (still have a pair in the garage). But, yeah our volume was a LOT lower than today and we had to pay attention to the vocals to keep tight and stay in pitch. Overall I think we did well with what we had.
  13. When I started a 60s band researched heavily how they did it ....... Couple of learned lessons .... Practices were almost pantomime .... More vocal focus... More time
  14. RSNG


    Sep 6, 2010
    In the late 60s, we had a Vox Churchill powered mixer and four Vox Grenadier XII columns. This was pretty nice gear for high school kids. We pooled our funds, and bought it used. We never had monitors, and never miked the instruments. Fender Twins, Bandmasters, and Bassmans were still pretty much the standard for guitar and bass players at the time.



    The first time I saw Jimi Hendrix, it was at Regis College in Denver; I was 15. He used a Vox Churchill PA. The vocals were pretty much nonexistant over his two 200 watt Marshall stacks, and Noel Redding's wall of Sunn amps.
  15. throughthefire


    Oct 1, 2010
    And nobody cared at all! :bassist:
  16. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    We rehearse at our drummers from time to time with a champ and a 30 watt bass amp. our drummer plays softly and we use no mics at all. works great for back ups. We are a loud band on stage. cranked twin. cranked V-4. Writing is just that, writing. and working things out. As kids we would play "loud" with little amps and vocals plugged into a little guitar amp. We could sing together. A lot of groups rehearse vocal harmonies separate. I'm not old enough to have been there in the 60's but I imagine they got buy just fine. Well obviously they did. Seems the number of great bands was higher then. Or is it just that we only remember the great ones?:)
  17. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Sounds like a room mate I once had. BAHAHAAHAHAHA!

  18. My late 60's band used Fender and Standell amps, keyboardist used Leslie organ amp and speakers, PA was a Heathkit rig built by the keyboardist. Stage set up was plenty loud, we could hear ourselves just fine. Also, back then don't recall a whole lot of brand snobs. Although I did get some flak and snickers for playing a really bad and cheap Radio Shack Bass. It was so bad, it didn't even have the Realistic brand on it.
    BTW, Cost new was $45.00...took me 3-4 month to save up for it.
  19. RSNG


    Sep 6, 2010
    Very true! Everyone was in awe of this freaky looking black guy who played a guitar like no one had ever seen before. It was mesmerizing.

    I also remember that Noel Redding was endorsing the Hagstrom 8 string bass. Of course, he was playing his sunburst Fender Jazz. Between songs, a guy brought the Hagstrom onto the stage, and announced in Noel's mike that he would playing the incredible new Hagstrom 8 string bass.

    Noel played it on one song, took it off immediately after, and got his Jazz back. I don't think he liked the Hagstrom!
  20. Mike in Chicago

    Mike in Chicago Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    Been playing forever. And still, at Bailey's on Friday night, we were so f----- loud I wanted to beat the liven s--- out of the one gui****. Today, a fest setting w a pro setup. So it'll be okay, or should be.

    Maybe they were just way more grown up than us back then.

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