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would a soundman use three mikes on a guitarist?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by joebar, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    we have a guitarist who has spent years building his dream rig
    it consists of
    2 Dr. Z SRV 65 watt heads (in stereo)
    1 Dr. Z 40 watt JAZZ combo (for clean sounds)
    2 mesa boogie 1 12 cabs
    2 pedal boards loaded with boutique pedals

    his rig reeks of self-indulgent, middle-aged weekend warrior...

    our band wants to gig soon.
    i made a comment about his set up
    i asked him if he had a contingency plan in a typical gig scenario.
    i asked him what he would do if a soundman only gave him one mic and not three; what would he do?
    i explained that chances are, he might get 5 minutes for a soundcheck and one mic in most situations. i have even seen gigs where if you are sharing the stage with other bands, you might not even be able to use your amp.
    i suggested he scale down to one amp and one board.
    simplicity is good IMO.
    not to mention carrying around 10000 in gear in a honda fit to a gig is a recipe for theft and W.H.Y

    i have not played a lot of gigs, but i am comfortable playing thru anything and always ready to go to plan B or C.

    the irony is that he has played hundreds of gigs back in the day but has been out of the game for years; he should know this.
    he spends more time fiddling with his personal mix at practice more than he plays-i shudder to think what would happen under the gun and if anyone would even take us seriously.i cannot imagine a pro doing what he does (not that we are pros, but it is still good to present yourself as one)

    i will admit, he has one helluva glorious tone, but i have also heard him play thru a fender deluxe reverb and sound just as good.

    am i correct in my assumptions, or are soundmen more flexible than this?

    he says he cannot scale down.
    i told him that rig would bring him down one day when it matters most.
  2. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I am a sound guy. I can tell you this much. I'm not spending 30 minutes getting the signal right on one instrument. The first few times this guy goes out and get about 15 seconds of signal check, he will learn. I wouldn't even know when or why to bring up which signals on that kind of rig. I would have to go to half a dozen rehearsals just to understand what the heck he is TRYING to do. It just doesn't make any sense. It would annoy the crap out of me. I'm not saying I wouldn't give him three channels. Sure I will. But I'm not spending a half hour getting his mix right. And I'm not spending all night messing with three guitar faders and EQs. So he won't get very much mileage out of bringing all that crap. I won't make it sound bad on purpose, but I won't take away from everything else to ride his three channels all night either.
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Guitarists and their "Stereo" rigs ... nobody in the audience will ever be able to tell the difference between the mono rig and the stereo rig ...
  4. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    i am surprised that him schlepping all that stuff around hasn't got old yet; you'd think the novelty would wear off.
    being a gearhead seems to take away from the task at hand which is to concentrate on the music.
    i also pointed out that we have a very sweet indulgent set up at rehearsal; everyone has a monitor, the room sounds good, we look at each other, the mix is fantastic. we can have our full rigs.
    however, i doubt that we are ever going to recreate this set up at a gig; it just isn't realistic to me.
    i really don't care if i run right into a DI box and call it a day; in fact. the less stuff i have to carry the better.
    i guess he will have to learn on his own, but it might be hard to watch when it does.
  5. I like this answer.
  6. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
  7. No one is going to mic that rig at a local gig. I'm sure it sounds fantastic, but it's probably more suited to studio work. Not only is it a pain in the buns to get mic'd up and sounding good, just the amps take up too much real estate, nevermind the two pedalboards.

    Someone really needs to give him a bit of a reality check... Unless his name is Warren Haynes.
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    two amps, one for clean and one for crunchy, is not extravagant; a soundguy might even appreciate being able to correct volumes between the two levels himself. with one guitar player, it's no different to the soundguy than just mic'ing up two guitar players.

    making one of those options a stereo pair is pretty silly.
  9. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    Unless this guy is playing stadiums, no sound guy is gonna want to put up with this. Tell him to get a Mesa Lone Star if he wants a sweet bluesy crunch and killer sparkling cleans. That thing does both with just the tap of a foot switch.
  10. odineye

    odineye Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2011
    Bear DE
    This could go a couple of ways. 1) He could be a complete genius who has his rig so well worked out that all a soundman has to do is set up three mics, get good levels and sit back and watch the magic. Or... 2) He can make life a living hell for us FOH guys. Why? Because, no matter how much we might want to sit back and laugh at guitar player #2, our reputation banks on what comes out of that PA, no matter how badly someone on stage is screwing things up for us. I'd say you guys pretty much need your own dedicated sound man. Someone who foes to your practices and gets paid as another member of the band. That is the ONLY way he's going to get the most out of that set up.

    Show up on my stage? Like two fongers said. He'll get his three mics, I'll give him a good level check and, if you're the only band playing, you'll even get a song or two to dial things in. Better be damn sure he uses the whole rig in that time, otherwise he's on his own, cause I aint chasin his sonic masturbation around the board all night. Not that I wouldn't do my best, but that's a lot to ask on the fly.

    If you plan on playing shows with multiple bands? You need a roadie or you better hope he's got his setup time to under 5 minutes. Otherwise he's taking time away from YOUR set, and that big fancy rig is just going to be nothing so much mush out front for your first two or three songs. Most of the time in that scenario, your set is half over and you've lost the best chance to make a good impression. AAAaaaand of course... It'll be the soundmans fault.

    And to his statement that he cannot scale down... :eyebrow:
    I've got a pretty intricate setup compared to a lot of players. And I can still cut it in half... or thirds... or down to my pedalboard... or a couple of pedals... or just my bass

    We CAN do anything we want. The problem is; How much do we WANT?
  11. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
  12. Medford Bassman

    Medford Bassman Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Medford, Wisconsin
    Ego sometimes gets the better of us eh?
  13. Swakey


    Nov 26, 2012
    i remember going through my rig phase when i was a guitarist. I bought sooo many things and i too would haul around 8000 worth of equipment in a stupid little honda. Yeah some sound engineers would spend a few extra minutes on me but some wouldn't care. And the crowd doesn't care either.
    It weighs a $%#$@%#%&?Q! as well! I ended up selling it and getting a combo amp with a few digital built in effects and was much happier
  14. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    This sounds like a problem that will fix itself. Assuming you're playing local clubs and venues, most soundmen in these place will have NO IDEA how to deal with this setup. They will either refuse to deal with it or fake it........and he will sound horrible.

    The last part of perfect tone.....the part that most never deal with......is reproducing it everywhere you play. Unless you have a professional soundman on the payroll, those with "difficult" sound reproduction need to learn how to reproduce it live well enough to explain it to others.
  15. joshmat


    Nov 20, 2005
    Houston, TX
    I played with a guy with a similar rig. 2 amps, 1 Leslie and a crazy pedal board. Ran it in stereo and all that. I eventually convinced him to only bring an amp and the Leslie for gigs (amp stacked atop the Leslie).

    The stereo effect did not translate to the audience and it was a lot of real estate wasted on stage (amp 1 stage left, amp 2 stage right, Leslie somewhere in between).

    We also ran across very few PA's on the road (bars, nothing fancy) that were even set for stereo mixing. Despite the guitarist being very keen and having his own mixer and mics, many venues just couldn't accommodate.

    My ears and shoulders thanked me for his willingness to leave some of that stuff at home. :)

    Ps. That rig sounded phenomenal in the studio and was well worth the added effort.
  16. uhdinator


    Apr 20, 2010
    Yea....I'm not wasting time mic'ing his stereo setup into my MONO Pa.

    I'll put one mic on the clean amp and one on the other. Then waste 5 minutes explaining why stereo mic'ing into a mono PA is pointless.

    Does he realize that a lot of systems are mono.
  17. Lowest End

    Lowest End

    Mar 20, 2010
    This is the big thing, I think. Most of the time you have 15 minute changeovers. In all the gigs I've worked if I see a band taking too long to set up (when the preceding band was on schedule), I simply cut into their set time. I tell them this - there are no surprises. And if they go really long into their set I cut some off the back end to make sure the next band doesn't get cheated.

    When playing multi-band nights in small clubs you absolutely, positively have to be able to set up and clear the stage inside of 7 minutes. Otherwise you're just an inconsiderate dick.

    And yes, if I had the mics and channels I'd mic all three. And since almost every small club PA is mono, no one will hear that awesomely crafted stereo effect but the guitarist himself. Or herself.
  18. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    that sums it all up there.

    i love the multi signal paths i run in my rig, and would loooooove to run it to separate amps. but i know that would never work onstage with a soundguy who doesnt know what my rig is doing. doesnt matter how good the guy is. ive made sure to have all my signals run down to one output. it just makes life easier, and quicker, onstage, regardless of my dreams of my entwistle rig :bassist:
  19. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    this too. i could see the 2 different amps for different sounds, but stereo is pointless in a club, or in most live situations to me.
  20. Bean639


    Aug 18, 2010
    Richmond, Va
    I can tell a HUGE difference between the two. It can be done pretty simply too. Just make sure the guitarist has his levels even on his amp. My band has done this for years without a single complaint from a single soundman.

    Here is what we do. Fractal ax fx > two channel power amp > two cabs. There is two keys here. A) we only have one guitarist, so it's the same as micing a two guitarist band. B) his stage levels are low, yet even.

    We have recorded many shows before and after this setup, and let me tell you, huge difference. I'm really not sure why more single guitarist hard bands don't do this. Just keep it simple as possible.

    As far as the OPs guitarist, it does seem like he is pushing his luck.

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