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Gig Report: A Pedalboard Fail, and I’m Too Old For This

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by DoctorZee, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    The Backstory
    A year or two ago, I auditioned for an originals band whose music I really enjoy. The chemistry was there, but I turned it down. At 35 with a young kid, I didn’t feel like I had the energy for an originals band: playing multi-band sets at loud dives, traveling, etc. But we kept in touch, and they asked if I could do a sub date for them. Great!

    The Venue
    New Yorkers may be familiar with Gutter Bar: a cool little bowling alley (slash) bar (slash) venue in Brooklyn.

    A nice view!

    I have a silly love for establishments that don’t put their name on the sign.

    The Rig
    I had a Fender Original ‘62 pickup put in my P Bass this week, and debuted it at this gig. It sounds great, very balanced. The output is kinda low, but raising the height should help.

    I was told there would be an SWR combo amp for backline, but showed up to find this nice stack, which sounded great. I’d never played a PF-500 before. I’d consider owning one now.


    I had my standard pedalboard setup: tuner; Vise Grip compressor; Boss OC-3; MXR overdrive; VT Bass DI. Once I saw the Ampeg stack I planned on bypassing the VT.

    The Gig
    Walking in, it was an instant flashback to playing these types of gigs when I was younger.

    “I’m too old for this ****,” I said to myself.

    Tiny stage, the bands’ gear lined against the wall, and the stink of 1,000 shows hanging in the air.

    Our band was #3 of 4; went on around 10:30. I squeezed myself into the upstage right corner and plugged in.

    Using the power strip provided upstage, I saw my pedals’ LEDs flickering. Nope. Unplugged it and went into another power source downstage. This seemed to give me better power, but I couldn’t get any signal to the amp. The tuner worked, so the problem was somewhere past that.

    I had a spare 1/4” cable, so I did a quick swap and tried again. Nothing. I assumed it’s either a bad patch cable somewhere in the line, or one of my pedals didn’t like the power coming in. Seeing as I only wanted drive and octave for 2 songs, I decided I could live without it and went straight into the amp. Will have to test out the pedalboard tonight and see what’s up.


    The set went great and felt really good! It’s not hard to lock in with a drummer when you’re close enough to poke him in the face with your headstock.

    The Takeaways
    1. Maybe it’s time for a power brick, or loading the pedals with internal batteries for backup.
    2. From now on I’ll bring a backup handheld tuner. I feel fortunate the tuner on my pedalboard got the job done.
    3. Original ‘62 pickup: can recommend.
    4. PF-500 head: can recommend.
    5. Yes, I am too old for this ****, on a full time basis. I made the right call about joining the band outright.
    6. But, it’s fun to be a tourist in the originals scene. I had a blast, and like I said, I really like these guys and their music. So, glad I took the sub opportunity and would definitely do it again.
  2. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013
    Repeat after me:

    I’m not too old for this poopie
    I’m not too old for this poopie
    I’m not too old for this poopie
  3. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    35? You are but a tyke.
    Beej, rd2rk, FenderB and 36 others like this.
  4. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    I am very sour and crotchety for my age. ;)
  5. 4 Strings Good

    4 Strings Good

    Mar 6, 2014
    I kind of felt like that when I was 35. Now that I'm 55 the only thing I feel too old for is work.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  6. Is this the bowling alley with the ebola backstory?
  7. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.
    Hi @DoctorZee,

    That looked like a totally fun evening out, quite the dive bar experience, if I do say so myself. So, that wasn't enough to get you addicted? Once and your out? Maybe it's best. You don't want to end up like me. :p Thanks for sharing! Pretty cool.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

    SWRnut, pjbassist, PaulCISSA and 6 others like this.
  8. Rogatien


    Mar 18, 2019
    2nd picture: "Beer is culture". Gotta love that place.

    I love dive bars. Looks like a fun place to play!!!
    Sore Thumb and Spidey2112 like this.
  9. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Old? You look fresh out of college! Keep it up!
    Beej, Zbysek, dirtychinchilla and 5 others like this.
  10. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Aaannnnddd, done. Well, I got them anyways.

    Glad you had a great gig!
    DoctorZee likes this.
  11. kbakerde

    kbakerde Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2012
    I started playing in originals around that same age. I was 35, getting divorced, and had two small kids. Was able to find some local bands, and was playing for a few years in the Wilm, DE and Philly areas. You’re not too old my friend, but you need support from your significant other to make it work.

    You also need to reciprocate to let her out of the house. Now my kids are older, I think it’s important to keep some semblance of your own life and be more than just sad. Though being dad should ALWAYS be #1
  12. grillman


    Dec 15, 2014
    Man you really wore me down with this “too old” thing. I’m 36 and the only thing I feel too old for are tequila shots at the club. And I still do them occasionally.

    I also browse Toys’r’us and I don’t have kids.
  13. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    As a matter of fact, yes!
    Renaissance likes this.
  14. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    No offense, but I would card you at the bar if this is you in the picture. BTW, I'm over 50 and still love playing originals in stank bars...…….:roflmao::bassist:
    catcauphonic, City, Mark 63 and 6 others like this.
  15. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    Absolutely. I played very little in my twenties, focusing on career and just feeling generally unmotivated. I started gigging again when my wife got pregnant. I figured I’d need something to carve out a little time for myself. Thankfully I do have a very supportive wife and we are continually working on finding a healthy balance for all of us.
  16. I'm glad you had fun. I found that I had to drop a whole lotta commitments when my kids were young. Now they're a bit older and I can do a few more things. Thanks for sharing.
    Bass Man Dan likes this.
  17. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab ACME,QSC,Fame/Hondo/Greco/HELIX user & BOSE Abuser Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    South Texas
    It's gets worse(or better depending on how you take it), trust me or ask anyone over the age of 55 here. Once you realize "there are fewer days ahead than there are behind", putting up with drama/bs/waste of time gigs/similar experiences become ones you avoid. Avoiding them comes with verbal explanation to some as to why.
  18. DoctorZee

    DoctorZee Supporting Member

    Jan 27, 2018
    New York / New Jersey
    To clarify, I meant I felt old for this specific type of gig: multiple bands, no soundcheck, no pay, etc. I know 35 isn’t actually old, and I have every intention to keep playing.
  19. jgroh


    Sep 14, 2007
    Im a little bit older than you but yes, I could not do originals band gigs anymore. That ended for me when I was about 24. Ive been doing cover band gigs for years now, but that comes with its own set of circumstances...and the places arent usually much better!
    Sore Thumb and DoctorZee like this.
  20. Ampslut


    May 15, 2017
    I'm 69 and I would jump at the chance to play a gig in a dive like that.

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