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May 11, 2020

Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

We have lots of experience as performers.

Care to share an idea that can spare someone else the heartache of learning something first-hand?

Guitar Swing

See the full video here

What's the lesson here?

Always check your strap locks OR always have a backup guitar?

On a more serious note - and the thought that led to this post.

I have some of my guitars on an 8-guitar tree. One day, a friend picked up the Composite Acoustics Cargo by the guitar strap. The guitar was pointed up. She lifted the strap straight up. The strap came up off the strap button by the neck joint. When the weight shifted, the guitar flew up and flipped over and came down headstock first on the carpet.  

Wham! Thud! Strings reverberating (you know the sound).

After reassuring my friend that the world had not come to an end, I picked up the guitar, strummed it, and it was still in tune. I can't imagine any of the other guitars around here coming through that experience unscathed.

It's funny the things you learn to (not) do. I never lift a guitar by the strap or let the strap to take the weight of the guitar unless the guitar is horizontal in playing position and I have one hand firmly on the guitar - even with strap locks.  Of course, these things we take as innate knowledge/wisdom are not common sense. You learn them through sad and sorry experience or if you're lucky, a close-call/near-miss.

Please share a tip or lesson learned.

Thanks,

ST

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May 10, 2018

Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

I was at the 1st Strawberry Music Festival in Strawberry, CA in 1982 and it was there that I got the best pair of tips ever.

Guitar monster Tony Rice was giving a "workshop", we were all standing around a well and someone asked him why he didn't walk around the campgrounds and jam with folks.  Tony said, "I hope you won't take this the wrong way but I can't handle playing with people who are out of tune or who can't play on tempo."

I thought to myself, "Self.  You can do something about BOTH of those things!" so I went out and bought my first electronic tuner and a drum machine and went to work.

Alas, now I'm someone who can't stand to play with folks who are out of tune or who can't play on tempo.

PS: Never pick up a guitar by anything but a firm hand on the neck is a good tip too.

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Jun 3, 2018

Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

Like Santa, Make a list and check it twice. We once had a gig about a hour out of town and the drummer forgot his snare! Luckily, his spouse had a lead foot and got it to him with about two minutes to spare! 

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Jun 4, 2018

Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

As Mr. Hoon mentions, Rule 1: just like a pilot before takeoff, we have checklists of things we have to pack up before a gig. Of course, one must reference the list to begin with. ??

Only recently, I had to rush out the door to a gig without checking the list and I forgot my small pedal board. It wasn’t essential for the gig, but made me feel pretty stupid. 

Rule 2, ALWAYS bring out your instruments AFTER setting up all your gear on stage and ALWAYS put your instruments safely away BEFORE packing up your stage gear. Too many times have I seen folks trip over cables/guitars on stands while trying to lay down cables and setup mic stands etc.

When setting up gear on stage, the L1/S1 obviously makes things much simpler, but we still have to run mic and instrument cables to the mixer which can clutter up things.

Rule 3: While it can drive some of the band members crazy, I’m a bit OCD about routing cables carefully around traveled areas on stage. Depending on the stage and number of performers, I may use an 8 XLR channel 30’ snake that I can place in front of the stage and run everything up to it keeping the stage where we stand clear. As a result, I can use shorter cable runs to the snake junction too. This lets us have only one consolidated cable back to the mixer which can go well around and outside of the main stage area. Makes stage tear down a bit easier too. 

Other: Of course, there are now some nice wireless device choices to reduce cable clutter. We’ve started using the Xvive U3 for our mics which eliminates one set of cables. We’re experimenting with their guitar wireless system U2 to see how that works.

As a side note, the Xvive’s have been working quite well in most situations, however, one club we play in has a lot of stage LED lighting and wireless/Bluetooth setup for their sound system that interfered with just one of the mic U3s. I’m sure we could’ve experimented with channel switching, but didn’t have a lot of time, so we just threw a cable on that mic. Oddly, both U3s (with same channel settings)  worked fine the last time we played there. Also, during sound check, there was no wireless interference  issue. Lesson being you still need to have a cable backup. However, I will say that’s the only place we’ve had any wireless issues like that. 

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Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

When I have to carry more than a couple of XLR cables, I use these:

Bayco Plastic Cord Reel: holed up to 8-10 XLR-XLR cables connected end to end.  QUICK roll off without kinks, QUICK roll up at end of night.

https://www.acehardware.com/de...ips/cord-reels/34270

And I use the hand-held version for rolling up A/C extension cords (female connector at hub, roll out only what you need.

https://www.acehardware.com/de...ips/cord-reels/32198

They are both HUGE time and space savers!

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Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

CityFolk posted:

As a side note, the Xvive’s have been working quite well in most situations, however, one club we play in has a lot of stage LED lighting and wireless/Bluetooth setup for their sound system that interfered with just one of the mic U3s. I’m sure we could’ve experimented with channel switching, but didn’t have a lot of time, so we just threw a cable on that mic. Oddly, both U3s (with same channel settings)  worked fine the last time we played there. Also, during sound check, there was no wireless interference  issue. Lesson being you still need to have a cable backup. However, I will say that’s the only place we’ve had any wireless issues like that. 

Very good points, @CityFolk. Thanks for sharing. Last Saturday I took my U3 out for the first live event. I was very pleased with the results ... I turned it on at around 6:30 pm and by 10:30 began to worry a little ... so I turned it off when the mic wasn't in use and turned it on each time it was needed. It ran all the way to around 2 am which made me very happy!!

Can't wait for warmer weather so that I can go busking with my S1, U2 and U3 -- no cables will be very nice!

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May 11, 2020

Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

If it's not on your back, it's in the rack

That's my way of saying, if I'm not playing it, it's in the case. I don't leave my instruments on stands on stage. There are just too many things that can go wrong (or astray).

That's my version of

CityFolk posted:
? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ?

Rule 2, ALWAYS bring out your instruments AFTER setting up all your gear on stage and ALWAYS put your instruments safely away BEFORE packing up your stage gear. Too many times have I seen folks trip over cables/guitars on stands while trying to lay down cables and setup mic stands etc.

? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ? - ?

I'll make an exception for a pro stage.

But I'm not this guy.



For a solo show, on a secure stage, I might use a couple of these. Ultimate AXCEL XL-29B Guitar Stand

Unfortunately, they are no longer available.  I have several. K&M makes something that looks identical.

They are great because you can't dent or scrape a guitar finish (unless you approach the thing from the back and smack into the support rod). The fold flat and weigh almost nothing.

ST

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Sep 17, 2019

Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

Chet posted:

When I have to carry more than a couple of XLR cables, I use these:

Bayco Plastic Cord Reel: holed up to 8-10 XLR-XLR cables connected end to end.  QUICK roll off without kinks, QUICK roll up at end of night.

https://www.acehardware.com/de...ips/cord-reels/34270

And I use the hand-held version for rolling up A/C extension cords (female connector at hub, roll out only what you need.

https://www.acehardware.com/de...ips/cord-reels/32198

They are both HUGE time and space savers!

For most PA purposes the rig will not take anywhere near the capacity of the coiled cable but don't use a coiled cable to plug in a kettle or electric heater as there is a very real risk of fire. A coiled 10A cable has a capacity of only about 3A before overheating becomes a potential problem.

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Sep 17, 2019

Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

troubador posted:
CityFolk posted:

As a side note, the Xvive’s have been working quite well in most situations, however, one club we play in has a lot of stage LED lighting and wireless/Bluetooth setup for their sound system that interfered with just one of the mic U3s. I’m sure we could’ve experimented with channel switching, but didn’t have a lot of time, so we just threw a cable on that mic. Oddly, both U3s (with same channel settings)  worked fine the last time we played there. Also, during sound check, there was no wireless interference  issue. Lesson being you still need to have a cable backup. However, I will say that’s the only place we’ve had any wireless issues like that. 

Very good points, @CityFolk. Thanks for sharing. Last Saturday I took my U3 out for the first live event. I was very pleased with the results ... I turned it on at around 6:30 pm and by 10:30 began to worry a little ... so I turned it off when the mic wasn't in use and turned it on each time it was needed. It ran all the way to around 2 am which made me very happy!!

Can't wait for warmer weather so that I can go busking with my S1, U2 and U3 -- no cables will be very nice!

Wireless mics are the work of the devil, a cable will always (and I mean always) be more reliable. I would never use a wireless connection for convenience, only if the show absolutely demanded the performers be wire free (musicals, dancers or dancing singers). Why take the risk of compromising the gig for the sake of saving plugging in a few cables?

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Re: Lessons Learned - Sharing the wisdom

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the great tips! It's terrific to see us sharing personal tips based on our experiences.

Let's keep it positive and welcome ideas without criticism.

Cheers!

ST