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Equipment Failures. How you finished the show. Your story.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jazzbass_5, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. jazzbass_5


    Sep 1, 2007
    NY, Albion
    I have the luck to be blessed with very few failures of equipment. Thinking about over the last 40 years I've played I've only had a couple pieces of equipment fail. And only 2x during a show.
    The two show failures were a Boss Bass chorus pedal that died and a Peavey PV 1500 that overheated (but came back on when the thermal fuse reset, lesson learned in that one)
    Last summer I ran sound for a local event and played in a couple bands that were in the lineup so I had my Rig as back line, During the show my rack vibrated off the 6x10 cabinet and crashed to the concrete pad. The Peavey DPC1400X died in the fall (swapped out the power Amp during the show, Peavey since repaired) but the (all tube) Ampeg SVP-PRO survived the 4 foot fall without damage and its still in my main rig.
    My only other failure was my first Ampeg SVP-PRO and that was at home during practice, the secondary winding for the HV to the tubes in the transformer opened up. Part no longer available. I have since then added small cooling fans in both of my other 2 Ampeg SVP preamps.
    Otherwise I've been very lucky as I see a lot of threads with Amp failures.
    Tell me your horror story, equipment failure and how you finished the show.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  2. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    amazingly few failures in 50 years of gigging for me. 3 that I can remember (!)
    I burned up a power tube in my Fender Bassman 70 somewhere back in the late '70's ... amp did not die, just got very distorted. easy fix.
    Ampeg PF500 tripped its protection circuit during a gig about 5 years ago. Never used it live again, just a rehearsal amp now. easy fix.
    Shut down my Walkabout running full out at 2ohms last song of a 3 hr gig. DI kept working so I was still in the PA. I don't use it at 20hms anymore. easy fix.

    pretty lucky I guess.
    BrentSimons and jazzbass_5 like this.
  3. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I blew up my SVT 7 pro.....like they all do....during rehearsal.
    Eden WT-500 had bad heat resistors that melted during rehearsal. Was very bad, made my speaker cones go nuts. Even unglued on of them.
    Pedal wires, maybe 3-5 times in the last 25 years.
    One bad instrument cable during sound check at a big show (maybe 2000 people).
    On a gig, the ground wire unsoldered on my jazz bass. Finished the show pressing my tuner on and off as fast as I could when I was not playing.

    Probably a couple more, but I can’t remember right now.....
  4. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    A long time ago: accidentally ripped the bridge off my Epi EB3 while playing a sort of biker rock pub.

    Sound guy fetched a beat up P clone from the basement, I finished the set. Thanks biker sound guy!
  5. jad


    Aug 29, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I had an amp overheat and shut down every few minutes. There was a DI in front if the amp, so I just turned down and lived with it. Updated to a more powerful amp for the next gig. Had another amp fail when I was using the amp's DI. I switched to a DI box and finished the show. I've never broken a string when I had a backup bass with me. Just threw on an old string I held on to. If I have any wireless drops, I switch to a guitar cord before the next song. Had a bit of an intermittent problem with the Jack on my P Bass once. I installed a jack plate on the edge of the bass in parallel with the original one, so now I have a spare ready if I need it. Sorry, not much drama!
  6. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    The only equipment failure I can recall from my band's gear was when a power amp for our FOH mains failed to power up before a show. We were able to borrow an amp from some friends of ours who were playing a club just down the street from us. That had to be at least 30+ years ago.

    The only other equipment failure I've experienced (aside from the random broken string, which just gets replaced on a break) was a backlined bass head and, fortunately, someone else playing that night had brought along a GK Microbass, just in case it was needed. So we hooked that up and were off and running. I wouldn't normally bring anything extra to a backlined show like that, so we were fortunate.
    BrentSimons and jazzbass_5 like this.
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Very rare for me, but it has happened. There have been times I just plugged into a DI and turned the amp off, there have been times where I had a spare amp nearby and plugged it in. Never once has it meant I couldn't go on.
  8. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I had failures during two tours. A GK 800RB let out a bunch of magic smoke during sound check and an Eden WT800 started randomly making sounds like cannon shots during the show.

    I normally run my bass into a DI and then run the DI into the amp. Also I always have a monitor speaker. With the first failure we fixed the problem in sound check. With the second failure I turned my amp off and the audio tech brought out a second monitor so he could give me a bit more bass. Neither failure stopped the show.

    I finished both tours running on DI and monitors. We had great Apogee AE6 monitors, but they did not sound great with bass. It would have been easy to bypass the Apogee speaker processor and use my normal bass speaker, but we only had a few gigs left so I just went with the normal monitors and made due.
    BrentSimons and jazzbass_5 like this.
  9. Blankandson

    Blankandson Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2010
    Gallatin, Tennessee
    Waaaaay back in 1968, we (the band I was in) always carried around a really old and beat up Silvertone combo. I'm thinking it had maybe 100 watts and 4 10" speakers. Our BL would always say "one day we will need it." We did. My Standel amp quit before show time, then about 15 minutes into the set (with me using the Silvertone) the combo for the Farfisa keyboard quit. Began sharing Silvertone. Then about an hour later the Fender Twin Reverb blew a fuse and no one had a spare. So the last two hours of the gig that one Silvertone carried lead guitar, keys, and my Fender P-bass. It never missed a beat. It became our best friend after that.
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    I was in a very loud hippie band in the mid 80s up in Seattle. But luckily (in this case anyway) we used two bass players, so when I blew drivers I just went for fuzz bass for the rest of the night. I could've just grabbed the spare guitar from the sax player who doubled too, I guess.

    The most memorable hit was when a guitar player in the band's Twin Reverb started belching smoke at a fairly important gig. We took a set break, I pulled the chassis out of the cab, saw a burned screen grid resistor, swapped in a new one and the associated tube from spares in my van, and we were good to go in less than 15 minutes. Another time the other guy's TR cooked a tube and I just pulled the bad one and one from the other side of the pairs, unplugged one speaker, and he played a 60 watt TR for the rest of the night.

    I've also seen a few amps fail or show up DOA during soundcheck at shows I was mixing. The club had a decent parts stash and along with what I always had in my van I never had to go get one of my rigs, but I would have. About a 15 minute roundtrip, better than no show. Had to call up my drummer while I was doing setup for a big outdoor show with Jimmy Cliff and Bo Diddley and borrow some hardware when the backline company failed to meet the tech rider too. To me all this stuff was more of an opportunity than a hassle, never know who's watching.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  11. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I had done my first pickup swap and was extremely excited to rock the bass at my show that night. It may have even been the start of a weekend (in another town), I can't remember the little details. Anyway, I must have forgot the ground or something because I had an electrical buzz all night. Thankfully, it was killed with the tone knob so I just played with little to no top end. I'm sure nobody in the room noticed beyond myself. This incident is what led me down my forays into shielding. Honestly, even 5-10 years ago seems like the dark ages when shielding is concerned. Most manufacturers didn't do it and many techs thought the noise was unavoidable.
    BrentSimons and jazzbass_5 like this.
  12. Dr. Love

    Dr. Love Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    I've transposed parts due to broken strings, repaired things with duct tape, bypassed parts of the signal chain, switched from amp to di, from di to amp only, from upright to electric, from electric to upright, and once from bass to keyboards to get through...when disaster strikes, you get creative real quick.
  13. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    Worse thing ever happened to me was a leather strap broke mid-song.

    Thankfully, I finished the song and avoided further PTSD with Dog's gift to punk-rockers: duct tape.
    BrentSimons, equill and jazzbass_5 like this.
  14. borrowed the guitarist's backup amp and rock out, or used one of my effects to direct-to-board (bad monkey or bdi-21), or worst case I just went direct to board since my amp died and I was effect-less. it works, it sucks if you're not setup with monitors for it, but it works.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  15. BlacknWhite

    BlacknWhite Supporting Member

    Out of town show... Started with my SVT CL and BT25 2x15 cab...

    After about 2 songs my SVT blew up... Thankfully my buddy had a PF500 sitting in his car and I finished the show with that on top of my 2x15. After that show I got rid of the SVT and switched to a Traynor YBA200-2. (wasn't the first time the SVT was an issue. Just the biggest show that it happened at)

    BrentSimons and Fishheadjoe like this.
  16. BooDoggie

    BooDoggie Typical Dumb-ass with a degree

    Mar 29, 2014
    The only failures I've had in my 40+ years was 1 broken string which I finished the set without. That was a pain in the butt... During the early days of wireless instrument transmitters I tried a rechargeable battery (nicad) it did not even last through one set before it died. Luckily I had a chord close by...
    BrentSimons likes this.
  17. I’ve only had minor things happen to me while playing shows and (mostly) rehearsals. Dead batteries, broken strings, failed cables and the like.

    But one time I was helping a guy who ran sound for us run sound for a fairly big show by a regional act that hit it big in the 80s (band was called Kix, Pennsylvania and Maryland folk of a certain age may remember them.) I wasn’t doing anything but humping cabs and running cables, it was mostly an excuse to be there and see what those guys were up to 20 years down the road.

    Anyway this guy brought out his full rig that he never used for the local acts. It was huge. I don’t remember all the details, but it was tens of thousands of watts and two 10-foot walls of cabs and subs, with a flying array of speakers, lights and effects. It took the six of us all day to set it all up.

    Two songs into the show, the place - a wedding/banquet complex with an attached bar where we used to play - went black. Total power failure. In the room. In the bar. Everywhere indoors and also, alarmingly, in the parking lot.

    Confusion reigned. The management was helpless and claimed no fault in their own systems. The band got fed up and called the show after an hour. With the taps dry and the ice melted, hundreds of attendees left soon thereafter.

    We later heard that some confluence of events reportedly resulted in the crash of an electrical substation a few blocks from the venue. This report was from the supervisors of the small central Pennsylvania borough which carries the unique - and suspect - distinction of generating its own power for its own independent electrical grid, which can also take supplemental draws from the regional grid but generally doesn’t unless it’s an anticipated time of heavy demand. About 1/4 of the town’s residential and commercial customers also lost power, although most of the businesses were closed at that hour.

    Guess we didn’t factor into their equation for that particular night.
  18. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    Quick OT story:
    Back about 81 or 82 I worked inna club called Studio One Live in Champaign, IL. Kix was the headliner one night and they got pissed about something - probably money. Anyway, they came out all dressed in matching black leather everything and played about a 20 minute set, sitting down on the stage.
    It was pretty funny.
  19. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Bricktown. Downtown OKC.

    They've since fixed this, but a lot of the clubs were setup inside of old buildings ... with older, sometimes faulty wiring not equipped for modern power consumption.

    I just got an Aguilar DB750, which is notorious in how much power it draws.

    I flip that sucker on ....

    I shut down the power not only for the club we were setup in but for both clubs on either side of us. I blew every fuse/breaker/haint/poltergeist in the area.

    Oh, and one time my 52' Kay's neck dislodged itself from the body.
    I saw in the audience and watched a guitar player try to walk basslines and comp behind the sax player.
  20. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    My personal gear has never failed. It gets opened, cleaned, inspected, etc fairly constantly. I am a firm believer in preventative maintenance.

    A couple of years back I did a showcase where the bass rig was supplied. Markbass F1 into a couple of Eden 210XST cabs. GREAT sounding rig. Went into thermal shutdown within seconds of my first note.

    Problem is the F1 STAYS in shutdown until you power cycle it. And it kept cooking off, every 40 seconds or so. I gave up after the first tune. It was a damn good thing that our part of the gig was only 20 minutes long. PA could barely handle vocals, so I just stood at the side of the stage and clapped. Wasn't anything else to be done.

    Didn't happen to anyone else that night.
    BrentSimons likes this.

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