1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Playing with a blind man...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tonynoriega, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    One of the bands I play in is a 3-piece blues band and the lead guitarist/singer is 95% blind. He can see forms rather than details, and while performing he can see the stage lights but nothing very distant.

    The problem is that since he can't see our printed set list I have to call out the next song we're doing, and it doesn't come off as being very professional.

    Is there any device that will display the list in a lighted way that he could see? Maybe some kind of sign at his feet that would be programmed to move to the next song with a footswitch?

    I know it's a long shot but I'm giving it a try.

  2. BillyIVbass


    Sep 24, 2008
    Gear Reviews Guitar World Online
    I wouldn't worry about it, the guy is blind! How many songs do you play? Could he memorize chunks of the set? Can you walk over and tell him without yelling?
  3. Timmah

    Timmah Supporting Member

    May 19, 2011
    Jeff Healey lives!?
    Seriously, keep calling the songs out or introduce them creatively on stage.
  4. How about announcing each song - give a bit of history - who wrote it, who performed it, how you learned it - eg from what recording - instead of just calling out the name?

    Of course, if you are a "high energy" band and has to go from tune to tune as fast as possible, that won't work.

    But, maybe I'm the only one who likes a little history with the tunes.

    Good luck.

  5. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Those are some really good ideas! I hadn't thought about giving a little song background as a way of both introducing the song and cueing the singer too. Having said that, I think it would get a little cheezy if we did it between every song, but occasionally it would work.

    He isn't very good with retaining memory on a group of tunes and we do transition from song to song, depending on the material and whether or not we're ready.

    Thanks for the input guys.
  6. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Can't you just lean over and tell him the next song in his ear off mike quickly between songs? Announcing all the songs is a bit cheezy even if done right.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Anyone in the room who has a problem with you guys telling the blind dude what's next is going to h.........
  8. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Yeah, I do tell him the name of the next tune but I'm 10 feet away when playing and have to walk over to tell him. No big shakes to do that, but it looks awkward and breaks up the rhythm of the performance.

    I guess we'll keep on with this method because it works....just hoping a better solution will present itself in the future.

    Thx for the help - I do appreciate it!
  9. eloann


    May 14, 2012
    You could use a mic to tell him things through his monitor (especially if he has in-ears) without the audience hearing
  10. if he is noticeably blind, then i think the crowd will forgive you! i applaud you for always trying to improve your performance, as so many overlook those kinds of things...
  11. Whystay


    May 2, 2011
    How about just starting each song with an instrumental intro of a bar or two? Maybe just a drum groove or a guitar or bass lick? A rhythmic drumstick click intro etc etc.
    Mix that up with a spoken intro on some songs and you should be golden.... maybe.
  12. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    If you've been together as a group for awhile by now there are certain phrases he does doing a solo part in a song or something he does rhythmically thats particular to a song. You guys practice a song list and allow him to pull up the tunes using a phrase or a rhythm that's part of the next tune. That way the performance can flow seamlessly without any verbal cues.
    ...Just a thought
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It hardly seems unprofessional to me for somebody in the band to just say the name of each tune. Not something to worry about. Though I do also like the idea of each tune having its own lead-in of a bar or a unique count or something that gives the guy a moment to figure out what he needs to play.
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    ...Or, since he's the lead singer and guitarist and frontman, let him tell YOU what song you guys are playing next! :)
  15. tonynoriega

    tonynoriega Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2004
    Tampa, Florida
    Well that's precisely what he'd prefer to do, but he can't read the set list. This morning I typed and printed the set lists in size 40 type and I'm going to ask him if we can try taping it to his mic stand to see if he can read it. He has a special light on a separate stand next to his mic stand just so he can see the side markings on his guitar neck, and he took some nail polish and painted the marks in the appropriate places so he can see where he is on the neck.

    The in-ear is a good idea but we don't have those but it may be something to acquire.

    Once again, great ideas and thanks!
  16. Shiveringbass


    Aug 21, 2005
    Hey there,

    I'm near blind too but I'm not the front man of my band.

    Nobody have ever complained about telling me the next tune to play and usualy I ask quietly to the drummer next to me.

    Another solution would be to print the set list in braille if the man can read braille.

    The side marker story sounds strange to me, I never have to and never could anyway see my neck while playing and it has never been a necessity.

    The biggest problem for me is to take my marks on stage. It is always a bit difficult to have a good idea of the place I have therefor I often stay quite static.

    If you have any question, don't hesitate to ask.

  17. Maybe an iPad or tablet? The screen is lighted and he can set the font as big as he needs.

    BTW, I play with a blind drummer once in a while (did a gig with him last night in fact) and I just make sure I stand close enough to tell him what's going on.
  18. uh, Stevie Wonder?
  19. creis2


    Nov 11, 2011
    Cambridge, MA
    Honestly, if I was watching a band with a blind member, I defiantly would be sitting in the front. Even if I didn't care for the music so much. I admire people with disabilities and how they overcome their challenges.

    But if it it really bothers you, talk to him. How does he take notes every day. Brail maybe?

    If it were me, I would just call out the next song to him. But I enjoy having a quick word with my bandmates between songs, or just saying "good job".

    Who cares if you let the guy know what the next song is? That's probably more professional than trying to build the guy some contraption that lights up half the stage. You might end up making him uncomfortable, forcing him to join another group.

    Blues is about having a good time with friends. If he's a talented and committed guitarist, you're 10 steps ahead of most of us :bassist:
  20. PDGood

    PDGood Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    Or even between songs just softly playing a lick or chord that gives the hint of what's coming up next. There is almost always a little noodling between songs. If you only do that once in awhile and announce a few and have the drummer start a few - then none of those choices would be apparent to the audience. Mix it up.