Yet Another Tale of House Soundguy and Backline Woes.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by ColonelZulu, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Scenario - multi band gig. Medium sized club. Not much time to change over for set up between bands.

    First band, three piece - all I can hear are drums and vocals. Moved around the room to see if it was just where I was sitting. Nope. Bad mixing.

    Second band, six piece, four guitars, three singers - sounded greats

    We go on next. Pedalboard, Bass, plug in to the House backline GK 800 on a 410. My turn to check levels... waaaaay quiet. Almost couldn’t hear over the club talking conversation level. I tweaked the post knobs on the head and pushed for a little more volume without messing up the board.

    Sound guy goes “ok, bass...”. I play a little. “Can you turn it down?” The drummer and guitarist laugh. I turned down and literally could hear nothing. I told him I’m going to need more guitar and bass in the monitor.

    “Ok, bass...turn up a little.” I did and plucked some.

    He comes up on stage and re-sets the amp to where I could barely hear. I ask him for more in the monitors, and he ignores me.

    Gig goes on, I’m getting nothing in the monitor. The equivalent of a fry cook spitting on your burger for sending it back.

    I’m forced to turn up the stage amp Volume. No complaints from the sound guy because he has abandoned the board anyway.

    Problem is, I didn’t like the sound I was getting. It’s not just volume. The sound was not eq’ed well.

    Sound guys are going to screw themselves out of a job. Bands are going to be able to convince club owners to let them do the house / stage settings.
  2. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    Very similar situation happened to me. In fact, it happened several times over many years with the same sound guy. My band all hated when this guy was hired by a venue to do sound; he had serious personality issues. One gig, he and I got into it about getting some bass in the floor wedge. He "didn't believe in having bass in the monitor", siting that even a quiet amount of bass could blow the speaker. We continue to argue. Finally, he picks up the floor wedge in front of me and drops it on my foot! Let's just say that things escalated after that.
  3. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    I can certainly sympathize. It's not often that I run into a bad soundguy but when I do the gig is totally miserable.

    Thank you for your indulgence,

  4. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    There was a “Headliner” on the bill too. I didn’t stick around, but the others said the sound was great. I think some places do what they can to boost up the headliners/ national acts to give them more energy than the locals.

    Feedback also was that I sounded good from the room. I really struggled because I am one of those players who really relies on ear. Also, I had a bunch of effects that, if needed, I can tweak on the fly.
    ...But only if I can hear them.
    JB Lars and McG like this.
  5. Sound guys all seem to operate differently, at the end of the day I have come to terms with being polite and dictating what I want in a reasonable way.
    I have found that a lot of them can mix foh fine but lack an understanding of what musicians actually need on stage.
    As for bumping the sound for a headliner, that’s pretty common.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    the 'bad ones' do exactly that! sorry you had issues. good luck turning your experience into advocacy and moving on! :thumbsup:
    ZuluFunk likes this.
  7. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I guess he didn't realize that dropping a floor wedge could damage it...

  8. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    I did FOH most of my life.
    There's a lot of dedicated people out there with good ears, and want to make each show their best. In ANY industry there are the ones who float around from job to job for years without ever honing their craft. They are the ones you remember.
    When you are describing your needs, make it in positive terms that YOU are in charge...politely...and you tell him how to get your sounds.
    Did you tip FOH BEFORE the show? Always a good thing.
  9. Ben B

    Ben B

    Jul 13, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I guess I've been fairly lucky. I've rarely had an issue with a sound guy. Maybe one or two times a sound guy told me to turn down. I generally play at a reasonably low volume unless it's outside and I know I have no PA support. Usually the sound guy tells me to turn up. I never expect bass in the monitors. If I ever play a gig where I'm not allowed to have a cabinet on stage, then, yes I would expect bass in the monitors or IEMs--it hasn't happened yet.

    I've had a handful of times where the sound man completely took my bass out of the mains even though my stage volume was so low that there was no reason to take me out. In fact the only reason I knew I wasn't in the mains is because my stage volume was so low that I could here the mains. I just chalked it up to a sound guy who didn't know what he was doing. I also have this theory that there are sound guys are out there who only like to hear lead guitar and kick drum in the PA. Everyone else gets screwed. I've been to a few concerts like that including the last time I saw Esperanza Spalding. Hello!!! The bass player is the star!!!

    I'm still shaking my head about one recent issue. Everything was mixed fine by the keyboard player and I beforehand. The sound guy shows up a few minute before the performance. The sound guy took the drums (electronic drums) out of the monitors on my side of the stage. Not sure why he took the drums out. It was either that he didn't know what he was doing or the drummer pissed him off. I complained that I couldn't hear the drums so then he took the bass out of the mains out of spite. By the end of the night you could only hear lead guitar and vocals out of the PA. Oh and this guy was not a pro. He was a guitar player friend of the keyboard player.
  10. redwingxix


    Oct 21, 2015
    My formerly favorite venue to play (they paid the most, I could walk home after closing time, good crowds) switched soundguys and it was a bit of a disaster after that. Played at that place many times but could only do two gigs there after the switch. It was just too frustrating. And yes we did tip the guy. I much prefer to play where we do our own sound. (of course that easy for me to say since our singer handles most of the setup for that). If you find a place to take up residency that has a great sound tech you need to love them, respect them, hold on and never let go!
    Jimmy4string, smogg and Sore Thumb like this.
  11. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    As a band, we more than tip. $75 - $100 is the usual when we didn’t hire him.
    But only after a good job.

    You find a club that pays the bands in advance?
  12. Paulabass


    Sep 18, 2017
    ^ No, that's what wallets are for. Tip your guy in advance, he knows he's tipped. Afterwards, you may just pack and go, what incentive does he have? (other than he's supposed to do his damned job!!)
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    That wasn't a soundperson you were dealing with! Uh...tip FOH? No sir. Why do they need a tip for motivation? They are already making more alone than the band members individually! Do what you are being paid for. Why is it always a crap shoot with these cats? Reputation speaks volumes! No one should hire any FOH without a good reputation! Period.
  14. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    That’s what wallets are for? What does that mean?

    What incentive does a waiter have to give you good service? Do you tip your waiter before the meal?

    Do you tip your barber before a haircut?

    Do you tip a cab driver before the ride?

    The incentive is exactly that: Do a good job with the opportunity to get rewarded for service. If not, he’s still getting paid by the venue.

    Meanwhile, the venue isn’t paying the band ahead of time. And if we don’t do a good job, like not playing 3 sets as agreed, or refusing to turn down and having the police show up... the venue can hold back on paying.
    Mr_Moo, JB Lars, catcauphonic and 4 others like this.
  15. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    Im sorry to say but this is a cyclical issue. Its because of dudes like this that soundguys dont make any money.... and its because of that lack of money that soundguys like this are around.
    65% of the ones i see around here are a washed up townie that is about 6 beers in by the time the first band hits the stage. They usually get $40-80 a night as well as drink tickets and maybe a burger.
  16. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    We found ourselves with a lot of equipment so decided to hang our sound company shingle on Craigs List. OMG what a job! Everyone is on your a$$ from the guitar player who wants more in the mains (even though he is blasting the entire club on his own) to the venue manager/owner who says the band is too loud (then you pull the main L/R fader down and nothing changes because the band is so f'ing loud). Not to mention all the set up tear down work while the individual players plop down thier amp and wonder around drinking then complain when you try to get them together for a sound check. More power to you sound guys!
  17. In a parallel universe, maybe.
    On Earth... that's just not going to happen.

    In those kinds of gigs, you're often going to find that kind of situation, unfortunately. The better option is... find better gigs.
  18. many lower venues have poopy monitors that just can't take much bass, that is true, and the soundguy surely does not want to destroy the venue's equipment.

    Good monitors are a thing of joy, and I've played stages where I only had a monitor onstage for bass... but it was a good one and sounded glorious. Unfortunately, these multiband gigs with no time between bands etc are not the kind of gigs that will be equipped that way.
    I played my fair share of them, and what I did in the end was bring my own little combo (MarkBass CMD121P). It's small, portable, so no complaints regarding floor space. I'd typically set it on top of the provided bass cab, or on the floor tilted (got a stand for it) *pointing at me* in front of me or on the side. It meant I could hear my bass very clearly without crazy volume. A beat up 410 right behind me just does not work very well and I'd have to turn up too loud just so that I can hear some.
    Mr_Moo likes this.
  19. wmhill

    wmhill Inactive

    Aug 20, 2012
    upstate NY
    MTD basses endorsed artist Bartolini pickups emerging artist TECAMP bass players gear endorsed

    I know that guy, I think we all have known "THAT" guy at one time.
    kev451 and ZuluFunk like this.
  20. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    Just cause there is a dude /dudette sitting near the board and they touch it every now and then..does not mean they in fact know what they are doing.
    Mr_Moo, kev451, Cheez and 3 others like this.