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Clueless Musicians and Gear: EEOC

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by shastaband, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. shastaband

    shastaband Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    I work in a locally-owned music store which does repairs. We have musicians come in all the time with gear, telling us "it doesn't work." After hooking up the gear to test it, we find that it works perfectly. All too often the owner has no idea how to operate and hook up the gear that he owns.

    Case in point: a customer brought in an older Peavey powered mixer he had purchased on craigslist. Two outputs on the back, plainly marked "speaker outputs, 4 ohm minimum load." Seemed pretty simple to me. But the customer pointed to the extensive patch panel on the top of the mixer (main mixer line out, monitor mixer line out, main and monitor returns, effects sends and returns, eq in and out, power amp ins, etc.) and said, "How many speakers can I plug in here?"

    Well, the real answer of course is "none."
    One could also say sarcastically "as many as you want (but none of them will work)."

    Another customer brought in a wireless mic. "This doesn't work," he said. Turns out he had inserted the battery backwards.

    We now use an acronym on the bottom of our repair invoices, in the comments section.
    When appropriate, we write "EEOC" on the invoice.


    Feel free to share any further stories of technical incompetence you've run across

    Remember folks, always RTFM!
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
    JohnMCA72, oerk, Ewo and 4 others like this.
  2. Read it on these forums all the time.

    Many of the "problems" with someone's rig is usually caused by operator error.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    I played in a band a while back where the guitarist got a new PA, but didn't check everything. Got to the gig, and one of the mains was a powered cab. Fortunately, I had an extra monitor with a pole mount to use.
  4. Handyman


    Sep 4, 2007
    Austin, TX
    As long as you're collecting a bench fee, WIN!
  5. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    If your customers were as knowledgeable as you, you would be working somewhere else doing something else.
  6. Like an "Eye Dee Ten Tee error" - write it out: ID10T

    Or another good one a programmer I know said once - problem exists between the chair and the keyboard.
  7. shastaband

    shastaband Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Good point. I hadn't considered that.

    But even when I first started doing sound and playing in a band, a long, long time ago (LBJ was still in the White House :)), I WANTED to learn how to do it right. This was before the internet, so I read articles in Stereo and Audio magazines, went to the library and did research, talked to more knowledgeable sound professionals and musicians, studied equipment manuals and signal flow diagrams, etc. Today there is SO much information available on the internet, manuals can be downloaded instantly, there are YouTube tutorials, and yet many musicians don't seem to take the time or effort to avail themselves of this rich trove of knowledge and expertise. Seems to me one should at least try to understand the workings and capabilities of the gear one owns and uses.
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    The issue lies with the chair to computer interface. ;)
    Al Florenzo and HolmeBass like this.
  9. hodgy


    May 5, 2004
    Bothell, WA
    Customer Support- Ampeg/ Line 6
    I work for Mackie/Ampeg tech support. And that's all I think I'm going to say on a public forum.
    natw42, vmabus, Passinwind and 2 others like this.
  10. Say no more! Say no more!! A nod's as good as a wink to blind man, ay? <nudge, nudge>
  11. Hang out in the amps forum for a while when you need some laughs ;)

    Can't even get some people to read the FAQ's
    Garret Graves likes this.
  12. nshuman

    nshuman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Montreal, Qc, Canada
    In the software industry, we call this "Error 13" (13 inches away from the screen).
  13. I have been on both sides of that fence. I had an Ampeg B15S that I used a lot for over thirty years.
    It had a hum so into the most expensive highly recommended shop it went, but they did not want the cabinet as the shop was tight on space. I paid around $200 (1980) for the repair and when it got home, the hum was as bad as ever. It turns out they never connect the amps to cabinets, just look for hum with a scope. They fixed it this round free of charge, and it worked well until…………..

    About eight years later it started humming bad. Convinced it needed a shop, I started looking for shops. After the panic subsided, and before going to the shop, a new cord was tried, and worked. That would have been so emberassing.
  14. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    One of these days I was going to write the 'Chasing down the problem: Isolating components of your signal chain" thread but I never got to it. But yeah, the cord swaps pretty much come first. "Error 13" I like that.
  15. nshuman

    nshuman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Montreal, Qc, Canada
    When I was at the university, I worked as an in-house/on the road tech for a company that did retail sales and corporate sales/IT admin for retail all the way to huge corporations taking up a couple of buildings downtown. Power cord issues were so common. You would be surprised how many times a client/user tried to convince me that their equipment had in fact never been plugged into the power outlet prior to it failing after they moved it to another office/room/etc. I got yelled at once in front of a bunch of customers in one of the retail locations by a customer insisting I was dumb to think that his huge non-usb powered professional scanner required AC power to function. Takes all kinds I guess.
  16. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I agree 100%. There is very little I can't do with my gear, but that isn't true for everyone. And there are things I would rather have a professional do. I can do an okay setup, but I like to take my instruments to a luthier I know and trust. He can do it much better than I. For my upright, I don't know if I even want to try restringing it myself. I have never done it, so I could screw something up without knowing I screwed it up. Then I would be out here on TB asking for help on troubleshooting a problem.
    RDUB likes this.
  17. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
    I fill in occasionally when visiting a good friend of mine at his local shop.
    Kid about 20 something comes in with a bass and says "its not working, Ive tried everything!"
    Turned the bass around, grabbed a 9 volt from the shelf and installed and handed it back.
  18. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I worked at a music store a few years back and there was a kid, early 20's, who would come in strung out of his mind and ask us to tune his guitar. At least every other day we'd see him.
  19. That was me with my first electric guitar, bought it used and had no idea what active or passive meant. One time was all it took to learn though...
    shawshank72 likes this.
  20. rust_preacher

    rust_preacher Supporting Member

    Dec 17, 2009
    I have to confess to an DIY error on my part, a cold solder joint in a series box made the stage setup very crackly and unstable. I looked everywhere... untile I opened up the self-made series box. DUH!
    bassbrad likes this.

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