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Is bass player usually the techie guy in the band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bumperbass, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    That's been my experience at least in the 15 or so bands I've been in over the years, and guitar players in particular seem to be bad at simple troubleshooting.
    I played a show a few weeks ago with a band that was a throw-together. Keyboard player had 2 new mixers which he had to use because there were 3 of us singing and drums were mic'ed and he ran out of inputs. He asked me if there was a way he could connect the smaller mixer to the larger one. He didn't know the first thing about EQ.
    Guitar player's pedal supply wire was broken, and he didn't know you were supposed to wind the cord up with some slack where the wire leaves the adapter. I told him I had a spare adapter with me (-9V tip). He refused to believe it would work, thinking his 2 pedals would be damaged and that he'd need a special Boss 9V supply.
    Another guitar player was using a shielded cable from amp to cab. All his cables are wound around his arm...hand to elbow...you get what I mean. That was a particularly frustrating band to be in. Every show had a different defective signal cable. Every night we fought awful AHH! AHH! BZZZ!, and we'd have to wait for him to kick every wire to see which one was bad. Every show.
    On another occasion (fill-in gig), a band brought 4 8-ohm monitors and wanted to use an amp rated for a 4 ohm load. I told them they shouldn't do it, but they said "It's always worked before".
    On another gig, we lost one of the subs. The amp was getting signal input but nobody thought to try another speaker wire, or maybe even swap speaker outputs.
    I've talked to other bass players in other bands, and they are the troubleshooting brains as well.
    I honestly think a guitar player's brains are different than a bass player's.
    Anybody have any of these experiences?
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  2. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    Hard to say because I went through a college music program with lots of music industry course work. So not surprisingly in my anecdotal experience, I was always the guy in the band that knew the most about music theory, recording, PA setup, music contract law, etc.

    But for whatever reason I was also the most self taught (or informally taught by someone) in guitar setup, wiring and soldering, biasing tube amps with a multimeter, and minor wood repair.

    But I've played with great people nonetheless, so no complaints.
    Mr_Moo and Johnny Crab like this.
  3. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    The role of bass usually to support and lock the other instruments, so I think it attacks people with that mind set.
  4. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    flat vs. round. :D
    Kevan Campbell likes this.
  5. It's certainly always been the case for me.
    musicman7722 likes this.
  6. BassGuyFL

    BassGuyFL Formerly known as RichardCranium Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    Boynton Bch FL
    ::Raises hand:: guilty as charged. Although I recently had a come-to-Jesus moment with everyone in my various projects. I will no longer be the go-to for issues with personal equipment. Short of a show-stopping emergency it's on you to figure stuff out. Got a new wireless? It comes with an instruction manual etc. I just grew very tired of constantly having to assist everyone with basic things that someone at a pro level should be able to figure out.
    Mr_Moo, Ronzo, 39-Bassist and 2 others like this.
  7. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I was in one band where, when we played somewhere where we brought the PA, I didn't have to set up the PA. Everyone else was reasonably technically competent. It was great.

    Every other band I've been in, I'm the guy. Know how to set up the PA (I actually design that kind of gear for a living), and I often end up repairing and maintaining other people's gear for them.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  8. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Not sure I’d say I’m the most “techie” guy in any group I’m in, but I’m almost always the most prepared for emergencies. I’ve probably loaned/supplied/enabled enough unprepared guitarists and drummers with drum sticks, acoustic and electric strings, drum keys, headstock tuners, instrument and P.A. cables, microphones and pics that I could have otherwise bought another Sadowsky. :rolleyes:
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Definitely. To the point of being enablers of other people's irresponsibility sometimes, from what I read on here.
  10. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Nope. Both my guitar player and I are fully capable of managing any situation, from live sound to the recording studio. We've both done a lot of time in high-end music stores and know how all this stuff is supposed to work. I've got an edge on him with anything computer-related, but that's because I'm an IT security professional - my day job. We also both are competent luthiers. He's a bit better on the wiring end, I have the building experience.

    My keyboard player, however, is a different story. Has a keyboard, mixer, and monitor speaker and absolutely cannot set any of it up, save for patches and splits, himself. He wouldn't be able to set up our PA if he had a week and written instructions. It's really pathetic.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  11. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    That's bizarre. Most of the keys players I work with are easily the most tech-focused people in the band. In fact, two of them run their bands' PAs – not only because they have the technical know-how, but they also seem to be the most objective listeners in their respective groups.

    I once attended a Garth Hudson performance and got to the venue very early so that I could be introduced to him by a mutual acquaintance. Afterwards, I watched him setting up his gear – no roadie/tech – and he used a pocket flashlight, screwdriver and allen wrenches. I'm almost certain that he also had a soldering iron and a multimeter in his accessories bag.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  12. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    My technical abilities are limited to using a phillips-head screwdriver.:D
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  13. This is mainly because, as everyone knows, singers, drummers and guitar players get all of the chicks, so while they are off doing that, we have plenty of time to figure all of that stuff out.

    But really, yeah, I'm "that guy" in my band. But I think it is mainly because I worked for around 20 years for a sound company before I really started playing, so the guys all think I just like lugging all the gear and plugging it in.

    Mr_Moo likes this.
  14. kjp360


    Feb 11, 2014
    I have been in lots of different bands and done a bit of fill in work and often I am 'that' guy regardless whether I am playing bass, guitar or organ in the outfit...Not that I am capable of much more than what I would consider basic setup/tuning/signal flow/cable swapping/troubleshooting. I was in a couple bands with one particular fellow who was much better at it than I and had lots of experience with installing, programming and maintaining large systems...he is a guitar player. I find 'lead singers' to be the least likely to have a clue about basic troubleshooting and sound systems. I have worked with more than a few who did not know what to do beyond plugging their mic in and handing the other end of the XLR cable to someone else. I also find that this type of person is also most likely to make 'suggestions' about everyone else in the band's sound and to endlessly ask for the sound to be adjusted by way of using arbitrary adjectives. The best is when their adjectives are provided to them by their 'friend that used to play in bands' or 'has a great ear' from the crowd. This kind of crap always blows me away. If I was a 'lead singer' you can bet that I would take the time to learn the basics of the PA, how to best set it up, tune it to the room and troubleshoot it since it is how everyone will hear me (or not).
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  15. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    You only reinforce my post! The fact that you know what you're doing is because you had the inclination to be in the sound/tech field in the first place.
    Mr_Moo and bound'n'blocked like this.
  16. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    I should have started a thread titled "The most stupid tech mistakes made by bandmates" or something maybe a little more descriptive/interesting than that.
  17. bearfoot


    Jan 27, 2005
    Chittenango, NY
    My answer is yes, but its more like the techie singer/songwriter is the bassist, in my case.

    The drummers have greater sound tech knowledge and work experience. But my PA equipment has by far the most miles on it :thumbsup:
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  18. IME the keyboard player is usually the biggest nerd. (I played with one who INVENTED his own keyboard.)

    When then there is no keyboard, then yes, I'm the biggest nerd.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  19. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    I started as a guitarist and have always been the sound guy. I was a trumpet player and the sound guy. Now in my current band where I play bass, the guitarist and I share the duties. He's an electrical engineer. I think the OP is reaching here, there's nothing to it. There are lots of guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, and even singers who also run sound/lights/tech.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  20. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I am in my bands. I own the PA for my R&B band. And can troubleshoot and fix most bumps in the road. BL in the pop band owns the PA but can't mix to save his life. Always has feedback and background vocals are never present in the mains or monitors. But I say out of offering advice since I have no experience with the 'B' X32 console and wireless software.
    Mr_Moo likes this.

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