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Sound Guy woes!

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by GearHeadBassMan, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Played at a bar last night, told the sound guy ahead of time that I was going to run my sansamp DI (the context was "is it alright If I run a D.I.?")

    start setting up and he is micing cabs, asks me where my D.I. is (how come there isn't a single sound guy who's ever seen a DI on a pedalboard?) when I showed him he tossed me the lead and I plugged in, so far, so good.

    So we're running through a sound check song, i'm in the crowd with my wireless, and there is no bass at all. no kick drum, no bass guitar, none. Now, to be fair on my end, he had FOUR Bag End subwoofers running, so there was NO REASON he couldn't make the bass go BOOM. I pointed to my guitar and gave him the "turn me up a bit?" motion and he just stared. My vocalist asked for a little more vocals in the monitors and less guitar and the soundguy put his hand on the board and didn't move it. Now, in our band, bass is pretty important, especially for our singer, who uses my basslines as his tuning. halfway through the first song, there was simply no bass at all on stage so I cranked my sansamp. glancing at my poweramp I saw the clip light ON and staying that way. I jumped into the crowd (who we'rent noticing anything :)) and still, NO BASS from the audience. the Bag Ends didn't even sound like they were on (like they were for the other bands)

    After three songs of this, I hit the switch on my sansamp to tune (as I always do when I run D.I., it's supposedly a silent switch) and POP! goes the PA. So now I feel like a dick because I would be pissed were I the soundguy. anyway, played the rest of the set without hearing any bass at all, very angrily.

    Now, I have (or at least show) alot of respect for soundguys. I know they live in a hell that no one else can ever understand. I know that they for the most part try to make every band sound as good as they can. Because of this, I made sure to apologize for the pop after the set (because it literally has never happened before) and made sure the rest of the band kept the griping to themselves until we were loaded up.

    I just don't get why he wouldn't give me ANYTHING, when he clearly (based off the other bands that had played) had plenty left to give. I always figured D.I.s were a friend to sound guys, thats one of the main reasons I got one in the first place. I only use it when I see subs in the F.O.H. and I make sure to ask the sound guy if its ok before he starts miking things. Usually they are happy to hear it, and I'm happy because I love my sansamp pumping out the mains.

    If a soundguy hates his job THAT much, why do it!?!?!?! it was a cancer research benefit show, it's supposed to be a positive vibe but his attitude made me seriously consider hiring our own sound guy next time.

  2. gregoire1


    Oct 19, 2008
    Yikes, I'm with you on this one, sounds like you showed a lot of restraint!
  3. jnuts1


    Nov 13, 2007
    we play at this craphole bar where the soundman always wants to run me thru the di to my amp. but his di looks like it was run over by a truck & i told him just run me direct out of my amp. he refused & 30 seconds into the first tune i am cutting out like crazy & he just looks at me like nothing is wrong. like he can't hear the bass drop out. so after 3 tunes i bent over to plug straight into my amp & rip there goes the backside of my pants. completly gone BUT i was able to get some sound back when i plugged back into my amp. i don't think i have ever been so angry at anyone ever.
  4. Bardley


    Nov 16, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I am a sound tech, by trade and I am with you. Part of the soundman's job is to pay attention to what is going on and adapt as it changes. Sounds like you just had a moron. I have run across quite a few in my time. It's sad that a few idiots give us all a stigma that is hard to break. I guess that's true in any type of profession.

    I, personally, think that playing an instrument makes you a much better soundman and likewise, I think that learning as much as you can about sound makes you more of a professional musician. I think anyone doing one, should at least learn the basics of the other and there would be much more respect for one another.

    Kudos for the restraint. Not sure I could have done it.
  5. kalle74


    Aug 27, 2004
    do it. your guy will know your songs better (to me, a dealbreaker) and will understand the requirements of your sound. not all music is treated the same, and oftentimes house-engineers guess wrong. some are just plain stupid.
  6. wnelson


    Aug 15, 2007
    its always hard to find a ''good'' sound guy...I have noticed the incredible difference you'll get if you ''tip em'' before the show...we had a show this past saturday and we usually tip 10 to 20 bucks before we go on...and man,98% of the time,we get a guy who is fully on top of his game....even if he's not the best...he's damn well gonna try a bit harder for us...the last soundguy not only did a a good job with the sound and lights,he bought us all a round of drinks afterwards for having great show...(and not to mention said i had an incredible bass tone:D)....alot of bands dont tip the sound guy,and to us thats a huge priority and they always appreciate it...

    weve been sound checked before and then when we were good...the sound guy would go behind the bar and start bartending:eyebrow:....or grab a beer and go outside for the rest of the show.....needless to say we dont play that venue anymore...

    if you can bring your own sound guy that would be a plus...were working on a guy now to take over the board for us.....well see how it goes, and if its an issue at the clubs...

    sorry to hear about the bad soundguy....we've all been there,and we'll all be there again:rollno:
  7. broadblik


    Aug 10, 2008
    Sheffield, UK
    Thankfully the sound guy we use, I've known him forever, he got me into bass, and is a complete ninja with a desk.
  8. As good as he is at all other parts of his job, (and there are a LOT of parts to his job), our soundman has a serious problem with bottom end. He just can't stand to hear it. After months of begging and pleading with him to please put SOME bottom in our mix - bass, kick drum, anything - I finally won by playing possum:

    One night at a show while I was doing the usual wireless walk and hearing absolutely no bass whatsoever, I simply rolled off my volume completely and went hog wild: jumped on the tables/bars and flailed on my bass like Sheehan possessed. The crowd loved it — most of them didn't even know I was muted.

    The guys onstage knew it, though — that's the one place in the room you can hear at least SOME bass from my amp, and after the set when we gathered in the band room backstage, I got the big "***!?" from the guys (who, by the way, always thought the PA sound was fine). So I just looked at the soundman and asked "How did the bass sound to you?"

    "Fine. As good as always. I was worried when you took that big solo, but it sounded really good, I thought. That was some really crazy bass stuff. You been practicing that solo all week or sumpin?"

    I just looked back at the band guys. I never had to beg for bass in the PA again. Now, they all pay attention to the PA mix and if there's no bottom, THEY say something to him.

    Sweet, sweet passive aggressive victory.
  9. svtb15


    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    Good story...
    Good technique too
    I have to remember that.

  10. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    I don't know what kind of gigs you guys play, or what kinds of amplifiers/cabinets you use, but all of this talk makes me feel nervous about live sound. My band is starting to play out this summer, and it'll be my first time gigging in a band on bass guitar. I have a loud 4x10 combo amp and amp buying an extension cabinet this summer; should I always count on bringing it all "just in case?"
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Cali Intergalactic Mind Space - always on the edge
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Maybe add a good wireless so you can go FOH to hear how you really sound to the audience.
  12. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA

  13. you're worrying yourself too much. there's plenty of good sound guys out there that dial in loads of bass. and being a sound guy and a bass player really helps me with running sound for my own band at gigs and such. as well as running it for others. you just can't get scared because not every sound guy out there is a total pain, although you have to have the ability to be because of other musicians who just don't know what they're doing and try to tell us (sound guys) what to do as if we've never seen a console before.
  14. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    so, you still use this guy?
    i wouldn't consider that a victory, having to worry about that every gig... no matter how good a friend you are.
  15. MX21


    Sep 28, 2007
    Grass Valley, CA
    I've done that from time to time from the other side: as a sound guy, sometimes you get someone (usually lead vocal) who is particularly picky about their sound, constantly asking for various adjustments. Sometimes I'll put my hand on the board and not move anything, then just look at them. They motion a few times and then nod that it's better. I didn't change anything. :p

  16. I remember playing this club back in Bloomington. MASSIVE house setup. 5 15" monitors on stage, HUGE speaker array on both sides for the house, and I counted 8 Power Amps on the side of the stage to power it all, and a great 24 channel board. And in sound check, when we could hear all the well-miked amps and well-miked drums, we couldn't hear our own VOCALS to save our lives (the band had 4 vocalists)...we asked him to give us some vocals in the monitors...and he said NO. Didn't attempt to appease the band onstage DURING SOUND CHECK...just said NO.

    During the show we couldn't hear vocals to save our lives...which, performing, SUCKS. We kept asking him to turn any and all vocals up in the monitors during the show, half out of spite but also out of necessity. He kept nodding his head NO. ***??? From later audience feedback vocals could be heard, slightly, but onstage we were screaming to be heard...he still said NO.

    Douchebag was running an Ecstasy ring out of the club anyway, we would find out months later. I guess I know where his priorities lie.
  17. Douchebag sounds guys aside, sometimes its better to ask to have everything, except the thing you need more of, turned down in the monitor. You can always ask for the overall level to be raised later once you have a good balance.

  18. Oh, yeah, we still use him. He's a permanent fixture - like a sixth member of the band. And there ARE still sometimes at soundcheck when I stroll out into the club and the bass is back down to near zero, but all it takes is one smiling wave at the soundman now, and he pushes that bass fader up where it belongs. I never say a word. Never have to.

    It all just came down to making our soundman aware that he has to really listen to EVERYBODY in our band, not just our 'star player'... He had to learn that it makes our leader sound BETTER when he has big support under him, that I'm not COMPETING with him (our leader). He's getting better. Slowly.

    I know a lot of people would vote to boot the guy in favor of a better FOH man, but in our case, it's out of the question: He's the drummer's dad, owns most of the PA, and is like a father to our little star player. I'd be released before the band let him go.

    But it all worked out in the end...
  19. I run a loud 4x10 half stack. all you're supposed to need is enough for you and your band to hear you, thats it. don't let this story scare you, for every one bad sound guy, we get about 10-20 shows where the sound guy hears our soundcheck, and about a song or two in, starts adding more bass until all the guitars are equal volume (which sounds the best for our band I think).

    a 4x10 will be enough!
  20. Korladis

    Korladis Banned Supporting Member

    I played a gig on Saturday with my friends' band (their bassist had a prior commitment that the rest of the band hadn't known about when the show was scheduled). I sounded fine, really good, in fact. I had talked to the soundman beforehand, and learned that he was also a bassist.

    The problem was that I couldn't hear the rhythm guitar. I asked for a bit more rhythm guitar in the monitor, and he complied. I did finally hear it, but the sound was a bit muddy. I think it was actually something wrong with their equipment.

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