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Dead Space

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Bassmanbob, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    More gig related than humor; perhaps this should be posted in Band Management or Live Sound.

    I wanted to see how I was grooving with the drummer, so I purchased a hand held digital recorder and recorded part of one of our gigs a while back. I finally listened to it yesterday. The band sounded good, I was grooving and sitting in the pocket with the drummer. But I also noticed a huge problem.

    We have way too much dead space (time) between some songs. Some transitions were almost immediate, some 15 or 20 seconds, but a few times it was as long as 45- 55 seconds! The usual culprits of these time warps are when there are on stage debates as to which song to play next and/or the lead singer(s) are looking for their lyrics.

    I've mentioned this problem a number of times, but little has been fixed to remedy the situation. I'm going to show the leader of the band the dead space right before our gig tonight with my stop watch app on my iPhone. I'm hoping this will motivate the entire band to cut out all of the dead space. I see it as a real dance-floor killer.
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Make them watch the Ramones documentary "End Of The Century". There's a bit where one of the members of The Clash talks about how much of a slap upside the head it was, to watch the Ramones with their seamless transitions between songs. He talks about how his and every other band around in the early days would waste all kinds of time, fool with gear, chat, and fart around between songs, until they got taught how it's DONE by seeing the Ramones.
  3. I recently purchased a nice Sony video camera with a wide angle lens. I also got one of those C-clamp camera mounts that will mount almost anywhere. We now video a lot of our gigs and really noticed how bad our dead space is between songs. It seems like I check my tunning between most songs.
    One of guitar players changes guitars 4 or 5 times each set, standard tuning to open G tuning. The drummer will sometimes
    readjust his kit. etc. We now are working to improve our dead
    space during rehearsals. We pick five or so songs from out set list and will rehearse them as a group of songs with just a few seconds between them. We have put some of the open G tuning songs together so the guitar player does not have to change guitars. Rehearsing this way has helped a lot but we still have a way to go.
  4. throughthefire


    Oct 1, 2010
    One word... 'Set'

    (OK, closely followed by 'list')
  5. we practice where we put breaks in the set list and what songs flow well together. any particular song we play we know what songs sound good leading into it or coming out of it. if need be we put a break between two songs that dont flow well together. we wrote a set list last night nd pushed our first break later into the set because songs flowed so well together we didnt want to ruin the momentum.
  6. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Yeah. We have a well thought out set list. The problem is when the leader of the band thinks we should deviate from the set list or the singer can't find his lyrics... That kind of stuff.
  7. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

    Aug 12, 2005
    Willow Street, PA
    Beta tester for Positive Grid
    One of my old bands used to rehearse just the transitions between songs. We took as many as possible and matched the endings with beginnings of songs that worked together, and turned them into "medleys", where each songs ending seamlessly went into the next song.

    By the time that band ran its course, we had three full sets. When we started each set, the music didn't stop until the end of the set. No talking between songs because there WAS no "between songs".
  8. If your singer(s) needs a lyric sheet, they need to practice more and memorize the lyrics.
  9. We do a lot of songs a meledys so we dont have any dead space as well, we practice doing this alot
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    In the band I was last in (before the current one) we had a few tunes that we would do that with. It worked out great. We didn't have 3 sets worth of continuous "medleys" but we tried to go from tune to tune without much interruption.
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    This, or close to this would be my goal. We have a few medleys, and most of the time there isn't too much dead space. But a couple of times a night it's way too long. I'm going to suggest more medleys as well.
  12. SmittyG


    Dec 24, 2003
    Texarkana, Texas
    Have a band listening party with your recording. Pass out pens and clipboards and push for everyone to write down things they think need work *AND* things they think are really spot on. Don't offer hints or suggestions beforehand that you want them to notice the dead time--let everyone notice, or not, whatever they notice.
  13. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    It sounds like you need to have a serious discussion with your singer about sticking to the setlist and learning his parts.
  14. jarrydee


    Oct 22, 2011
    I can not stand watching bands where the guitar player or bassists tunes after every song, no way you should have to do that unless your bass sucks or your strings are new...If your bass goes a tad sharp or flat no one will know and it will still sound good, wait until the set ends to fall into your OCD!
  15. xk49w


    Apr 13, 2008
  16. low2groove

    low2groove Tyranis 4 / Lower Groove Guitars

    Jan 21, 2007
    If bass strings are installed properly and stretched just like guitar strings should be when you put them on, there will be no need to tune your bass except maybe once per set, unless you play incredibly hard. now this isn't accounting for a bass that has lousy tuners or isn't set up properly. Guitarist on the other hand may need to tune up quite often depending on the music style and their playing technique. guitar strings will detune much more quickly than bass strings just because of a gauge and so much less bending. once again it all depends on the style and technique. pros shouldn't play between songs, especially bar bands. A drummer in a headline act keeping 10,000 people pumped Up is a totally different story. but rarely will you see even that. Too many things can also go wrong playing endlessly through 45 minutes to an hour set. if you have a good frontman tuning doesn't even get in the way when a guitarist can do it 20 seconds. he talks, you tune. and for god sakes, your tuner should bypass the speakers, lol
  17. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    This is mostly true. The exception is changing temperatures. Say you're playing someplace cold, like Wisconsin in wintertime. When you start the set it's warm inside, they have the heat on. Then people start showing up, front door opens every 30 seconds letting cold air in, temperature drops. I've seen the temperature drop ten degrees in a matter of minutes with the door being held open. The wood in the neck contracts, suddenly you're a 1/4 step sharp. So you retune, then the door stays shut for a few minutes, temp goes back up, now you're flat.
  18. low2groove

    low2groove Tyranis 4 / Lower Groove Guitars

    Jan 21, 2007
    A good bass neck usually won't move that much that fast. I grew up playing in the northeast and then played for several years around the globe and never experienced those problems even with massive changes in weather. If I did it was minimal. The thinner Ibanez type necks are more prone to that. Also manufacturers that use wood that is not properly seasoned or is rushed through production seem to have the most problems. High dollar basses don't seem to be troubled by this. Warmoth necks are also superior and I never have this happen. Stabile wood used in production seems to be the main key.
  19. Mike11121


    Sep 17, 2007
    Yeah - I saw the Ramones back in the day, and other that a yelled "1,2,3,4" there wasn't much between the songs. But that's kinda intense for a "normal" gig IMHO (unless your normal gig is playing to 500 rabid punk rockers).

    We have a set list which has runs of 3 or 4 songs. At the end of each run the last song is underlined, meaning "Guitar change/Vocalist wants to talk/Check tuning" etc. Also we try to sequence it logically so it gets faster/more rocky as the set goes on. That way we seem to keep the flow while making time for on-stage "housekeeping" and a quick drink.

    And at rehearsal, we rehearse it exactly that way. Again and again. And again. :meh:

    Oh, and songs with acoustic intros make a fine place for tuning (silent tuning of course) . . . nothing says amateur like an EADG over the intro . . .
  20. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    I play hand percussion in an acoustic trio (singer/guitarist, bassist and me).

    I switch between cajon and congas and have to walk from the back of the congas to the cajon and swing my mic stand. It takes under 30 seconds. The bassist switches between his jazz bass and an acoustic five string. He has them both plugged in and uses a pedal to switch between them so he can change fast too.

    We have these changes marked on the set list so that the sing knows he has a 30 second break and can use the time to introduce a song, tell the audience that we have a CD out or just ad lib. It makes it as seamless as possible.

    We made an effort together to make it happen.

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