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Somehow 'acoustic music' lost it's meaning.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Paulabass, Jan 13, 2020.


  1. Paulabass

    Paulabass

    Sep 18, 2017
    Clearing the stage after Greg Keelor Acoustic Band last night.
    Dobro, 3 acoustic guitars, violin, bass, mandolin, 5 vocals.
    About to put my cables away and I thought- What part of 'acoustic music' got lost? Are we ever really 'unplugged'?
    (this post is just for fun, I worked my patoot off with 7 condenser mic live on stage, 50 instrument changes, and a band leader who sang loud but talked quiet. Fun night!)
    All worth it when a capacity house sang 'Hasn't hit me yet' from start to finish in full voice.
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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  2. BLDavis

    BLDavis Master of Snarks. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    I feel your pain. I play in a 5 piece bluegrass/Americana band and the banjo player doubles on dobro. So 3 direct instruments with preamps, 3 inst mics, 5 vox and sometimes a fiddle playing friend of ours will sit in on a gig. I don't remember having this much crap on stage when I was in a 5 piece top 40 band with drums and keys.
    In the back of my conspiracy theory filled mind, I'm pretty sure technology will someday rule the world and our only purpose will be to sweep up and take out the trash.
    B.
     
    Ekulati, mikewalker, DJ Bebop and 3 others like this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i'm surprised at what passes for "acoustic" these days. seems like it's all over the map. as a fretless player: i've had offers to play with some acoustic acts because "even though you'd use an amp you're playing a fretless so it's not as bad as a real electric bass." :dead:

    so yeah, what does "acoustic" really mean?
     
    fishdreams, MonetBass, PWRL and 6 others like this.
  4. Skokiaan

    Skokiaan

    Jun 19, 2004
    New Jersey
    Unless you play for ten people standing around the band, what other option is there?
     
    fhm555, Mvilmany, gebass6 and 12 others like this.
  5. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    "Acoustic" has basically come to mean "the inclusion of acoustic guitars and the option for band members to sit instead of stand".
     
    Sascha Erni, bkirk, gebass6 and 33 others like this.
  6. turf3

    turf3

    Sep 26, 2011
    To me, the dividing line is when you start amplifying instruments as part of their inherent sound. If the band would sound the same (just a lot quieter) without electrons, I would call it "acoustic" even though microphones and a PA system are used to make it audible to the people at the back of the auditorium.

    Electric bass kind of gets a pass sometimes, I guess, but I'm not sure about that.
     
    Thorny1, Mvilmany, Wisebass and 3 others like this.
  7. In the past I have played bluegrass or Country square dances purely acoustic on guitar and stand up bass where the singer hollars or calls the songs and in the sixties we did do folk songs acoustically but those daze are long past. Sure for some of us playing house or parlor concerts there are indeed true acoustic shows but for most gatherings where there is anything that might be considered an audience acoustic instruments do not translate in any context other than Bluegrass, Classical or Ethnic Folk settings.
     
    mikewalker likes this.
  8. nixdad

    nixdad

    Aug 15, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    That describes my band perfectly.
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    It takes almost 2 hours to set up the 7 member acoustic/electric band that I’m in. The end result is very manageable volume on stage so all 6 vocalists can hear each other to harmonize. Setting up a standard group takes far less time, but the end result is worth the effort.
     
  9. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    It occurred to me when MTV did its "Unplugged" series it mostly just meant sitting on stools. I mean sometimes they'd play accoustic/electric guitars, but they were rarely actually unplugged.
     
  10. City

    City Supporting Member

    Down her in Pittsburgh outskirts we have bluegrass bands 4-5 piece that put two area mics. when there is a banjo lead you take a step up
     
  11. Shalto

    Shalto

    Aug 23, 2019
    Let's play an unplugged show....

    Wireless is pretty good these days.
     
  12. Oddly

    Oddly Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    I wonder if the need to mic everything stems from audiences no longer having the ability to shut the heck up and listen.

    Another issue is that very few venues today are designed with acoustics as a priority, especially where that impacts on capacity.

    I know my favourite venues to see a show in are a couple of old theatres here in Dublin. I've heard singers hold an audience in them when the power fails.
     
  13. John LaTorre

    John LaTorre

    Jun 2, 2016
    That would be my take on it as well. If the sound is "unprocessed" but simply made louder, it would qualify as "acoustic" to me.

    We use an acoustic electric bass, again just amplifying without processing. Without amplification, a guitar and mandolin would drown it out.
     
    Wisebass and nixdad like this.
  14. pbass2

    pbass2

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Would love to see more of this kind of approach. It certainly is more "acoustic" IMO to have everything mic'd as opposed to a bunch of instruments with piezos and DIs and whatnot, not getting any of the actual "acoustic" sound.
    I also pretty much hate the sound of plugged-in acoustic guitar, even as good as it's gotten these days. It's a necessary evil I realize, and we all do it, but generally speaking, it sucks (unless you're deliberately going for an "acoustic/electric" kind of tone--some artists embrace that. Just don't pretend it sounds "acoustic").
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
    Wisebass, nixdad and dmt like this.
  15. Yeah, what happened to that?
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  16. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue

    Sep 29, 2018
    Lebanon, TN
    Two things working against fully unaided acoustic sets.

    1. People, in a lot of situations, don’t know how to shut the f up.

    2. Rooms can be slightly too big with poor acoustics. This is prevalent in many situations (you gotta have electricity here, and that’s understandable).

    These two things make it impossible, or at least difficult to a great extent.

    But, you can always go to bluegrass festivals and catch fully unaided shows underneath the stars, full of moonshine and beer and trees. THAT is how I like to experience music.
     
  17. TemplesOfSyrinx

    TemplesOfSyrinx Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    New Jersey
    BassCliff, nixdad, design and 2 others like this.
  18. I saw Nickel Creek several times in the early 00’s and at the end of each show (as far as I can recall) they played one or more songs entirely without amplification, even going so far as to tell people in the back to come down and fill up the aisles. It was consistently the most memorable part of the show.

    I think there was an awareness that people couldn’t really be quiet for a whole show but for 2-3 songs at the very end it was a real treat.
     
  19. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    USA, Phoenix, AZ
    We did an "acoustic" show in October. I brought a Mandolin, Cajon and hallow body Eko Bass. One guy brought his acoustic guitar, the other brought an acoustic and electric. The fourth had a box of blues harps and tambourines. We had a great time. I played Mando and Cajon with out help from the pa and they were plenty loud. Everything else (with the exception of the tambourine) went thru a small pa. It was great. I really want to do it again.
     
    DJ Bebop, nixdad and djaxup like this.
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That's progress for ya...acoustic music in arenas.
     
    BassCliff and nixdad like this.

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