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Unplugged? Dilemma...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Yaw, Aug 12, 2004.


  1. Yaw

    Yaw

    Feb 5, 2004
    Yesterday our band received the following offer: we can get a gig at this bar, but we have to play unplugged. This does not work for us. Despite the absence of amplification we tend to suck out loud that way.
    The things are: A) it is very VERY hard to get a gig where I come from (pretty much the Dutch equivalent of your Bible Belt) B) if we play this gig, we will be asked for two more (amplified) and BIG gigs.
    I know what everyone must be thinking at this point: just push play. It's not that simple. We really really suck with no amps. Have I mentioned that we suck yet? :help:
    Also, our band just got back on their feet again. There is no way someone else is gonna put our name out there, so we have to do this ourselves, the only way possible: mouth to mouth advertizing coming forth from good, energetic performances. Like the ones mentioned under point B. And: very much unlike the unplugged drama this one gig will be undoubtedly.
    In other words: I need to get my priorities straight. Where are they?
     
  2. wingnutkj

    wingnutkj

    Mar 27, 2003
    Scotland
    Priority 1 - choose the right songs and practice them enough to be able to play the unplugged gig well. If it's what you need to do to get a gig, do it.

    Priority 2 - Get people along, do a good show and tell them that next time they see you, you'll rock their socks off properly!

    I've done a few unplugged gigs with my band, and despite initial doubts, they all went pretty well. Things I learned:

    a) If you're playing without a drummer, you've got to become the timekeeper, which can be unnerving at first.

    b) Choose your songs carefully. Electric guitar solos of the up-the-neck-widdling variety don't really translate well to acoustic, so do something different. Have fun - it's a chance to mess with the stuff you're used to playing.

    c) Since you're not going to be jumping about as much, do something interesting with the stage. Christmas lights, candles, flowers, clockwork palm trees, farmyard animals - it worked on MTV...

    d) Even if the acoustic guitars aren't amplified, the bass will need to be.

    e) If you're doing your unplugged set between two very aggressive hardcode punk bands, don't let the audience smell your fear... (that one's probably a bit specific to my experiences for general advice)
     
  3. Adapt. learn new tunes for that gig.
     
  4. Yaw

    Yaw

    Feb 5, 2004
    Hey, that I can work with! Thanks to the both of you!
     
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Do they mean literally no amplification - not even a PA?!

    If what they mean is acoustic guitars into a PA, then you can compress the guitar to get nearly as much sustain as distortion would give you; you could even really 'cheat' by putting in-the-soundhole magnetic pickups in the acoustic guitars, and use effect pedals for electric sounds.

    Also a compressor on the overall mix can give you a wall-of-sound, even with all clean sounds - but that can be trickier to impliment. If it's installed (in the lines to the power amps if you don't have mains or sub inserts) and set up by someone who knows what they're doing, you can achieve a very powerful sound, even all-acoustic.

    If they mean literally with NO amplification, your drummer had better barely tap on the drums!

    Joe
     
  6. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    ...and talking about powerful, compressed acoustic guitar, listen to 'The Confessor' by Joe Walsh.

    I call it "The compressor".

    Joe
     
  7. Yaw

    Yaw

    Feb 5, 2004
    I'm guessing that there will be a PA. ;)
     
  8. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Well - there ya go, then.

    I'm glad to be part of your plot to undermine the insanity.

    Joe
     
  9. Yaw

    Yaw

    Feb 5, 2004
    Right back atcha :D

    Friday we'll discuss it again.... :meh: