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Outdoor Gigs

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by rexspangle, Aug 20, 2001.

  1. Hey I am playing outside this friday and I have a few questions. Mainly because everytime we play with this certain organization it really sucks! but we are getting paid.

    Here is the problem we will be playing on a cube van with a side fold down stage and the soundboard is mounted on the inside of the truck. So basically the sound guy can hardly hear the music as he makes adjustments.

    Any suggestions as far as what do do with the sound guy? what to mic, where to position our amps (4x12 marshall, 1x15 160 W bass amp) We don't get any monitors either.

    The PA system is fairly week for outdoors about 300 W (if we get the good one). We hate playing for these things but we are looking for exposure so how can it be good exposure and not crap as usual.

    Oh yeah We have a lot of mics and di's

  2. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    I'm not sure if this is possible, but if the PA guy can move his gear so that he is in the middle or behind the audience - you will need long cables etc. This way, he hears what the audience hears and can adjust accordingly.

    The last time I played an outdoor gig (2 years ago) was in a carpark next to a main road - the sound of the band and particularly my bass was beautiful - we had a very good professional PA guy hired in, and he set up right at the back of the audience.
  3. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    i think you be best off if you don't have a soundman, or if the soundman doesn't do anything. Soundmen suck.
  4. You only say that until you have a good one. In my last band, we had a soundman whom we paid as one of the band. We traveled a lot, so it was crucial always to have someone at the mixer who knew how we were supposed to sound. I can't begin to tell you how much hassle this guy saved us, or how much better we sounded in every venue after he took over. It was worth every penny we paid him.
  5. Well our sound guy comes to some of our practices. And we are taking him on the road with us.

    About setting up out front we may not even have a snake. This may be a bumb idea but we were thinking having those little walkie talkies. But then we would basically have 2 soundguys and I must admit that could be bad. :)
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Trust him is all I can really say. You don't have monitors and it's his job to make you sound as good as possible.

    Otherwise, possibly have someone who knows what you're supposed to sound like listen during soundcheck from midway back where the audience will be.

    I've seen big name bands at outdoor shows ask the audience, "How's the sound out there?" and they're not just playing the audience either.
    Somebody will always yell out, "Turn it up," so you can usually ignore that. But if someone yells something specific, "Can't hear the singer/guitar/bass/whatever," then the someone should get interested.
  7. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Rick theres a guy asking questions about growl and pickups I put your name in the frame sorry.

    Onto the question. If the only problem is the the positioning of the desk/sound desk attendant then set the levels by what ever means works (walkie talkies one guy running around) and then leave it. Indoors bodies (punters) change the sound and if they run up to the front can cause feedback but outdoors I have not had this problem. I would use a soundman and a runner. Also if the runner is confident you could leave him on the board whilst the sound person has a quick trot into the crowd to hear it.

    This is of course if you cannot position the desk away from the 'stage'.

    NOw if you trust the sound person/runner I would position the amps either side of the drummer facing him with the player in between the amp and drummer. Hopefully this will look like I want it to

    Guitar amp guitarist drummer bassist bass amp


    Now if my wonderful 'drawing' has the singer in front of the drummer then good he is not getting too much bass and guitar. If you can get one monitor give it to the singer. Feed a bit of bass and drums FOH and if you can two overheads for the drums. This gives some control to a situation ready to go out of control.

    I would also resist the urge to blast it out. Better slightly too quiet than distorted. (unless your vocals ARE distorted of course.

    Hope this helps. I have done some outdoor sound work and its not easy so be gentle with the sound'team'.
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Ha! I really don't know what you mean, Chris, so no harm done. Igonrance is bliss.

    Besides, I never understood what people mean when they refer to "growl." The concept just always eludes me because I keep thinking of my dogs. :D
  9. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks! In Memoriam

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    This isn't really an instruction kinda thing, I'm thinking gig stories............

    Chris A.:rolleyes:
  10. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    A GOOD SOUNDMAN!!! I've only heard of two good soundmen and one of them was murdered by the mafia, seriously.
  11. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Rickbass I glad you admitted that you dont know what growl is (I just pretend) maybe a confessions Forum is in order.

    Back on topic I also have met very few soundpersons. It takes a unique blend of ability and interest.

    In the end one has to work with what and who is available and cross fingers and hope.

    Talking of which-Rexspangle hope the gig goes well. You could post an update.
  12. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    P.O.T., please don't take this wrong, but what exactly are you basing your advice on?

    You seem to have a vast knowledge of all things which is sort of unusual for a person your age.

    May I ask how many sound men you have worked with?

    Soundmen are TOTALLY indespensable. How many professional shows have you been to that didn't have a sound person?

    Like the vast majority of posters with a working knowledge of what makes a good sound man, I know FROM EXPERIENCE that there are good ones and bad ones.

    I would suggest that you build up your post count by commenting on things that you have some knowledge about. Misinformation is much worse than no info at all.

    I personally will consider it a favor if you never, never , never ever use the term "suck" again unless it involves actually sucking something.

    Sorry for the rant but I've been reading posts for about three or four days that you have made that have no usable content whatsoever.

    Your consideration will be greatly appreciated.

  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I agree with the post that said get some trusted ears out in front. My band always does that, indoors or out and it seems to really help. Soundguys, good or bad, are not mind readers and don't necessarily know "your sound". On the other hand, the last time I played outside I got bit by a dog, so maybe you should ignore my "sound" advice. (sorry about the pun).:D
  14. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    Well, i've been playing in stuff like Festivals, Fairs, some parties, etc. since i was nine. I've been in gigs where the band does their own sound, and it sounds nice. I know there are decent soundmen out there, just not to do smaller stages at festivals, fairs, etc.
  15. Angus

    Angus Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    Broad generalization! It's a good thing! :rolleyes:

    Good call, PKR. Nobody hates you or anything, PoT, but only post when it's really necessary. IE, posts like "I don't know" are totally useless, and simply waste bandwidth. More posting members is great, but share expertise as necessary and if possible, not just to post. I'm sure your more knowledgable than other people who do this, so why not show your knowledge positively instead of posting just to post? Everyone would enjoy that much more, I'm sure. Appreciate it, even! :)
  16. Thanx CS :) :) :)

    If you wanna hear an update check out my post:

    Very Bad Show Tonight!!
    (sorry no clue how to put in a link)

    if you dont read the post the title is very self explanitory...trust me

    Anyways now I have many more questions about playing outdoors. But my main one is why is it so freaking annoying!!! :)

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