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May 11, 2020

Time Saving Tips

Hey there.

Looking around, it appears we have some grizzled veterans hanging out here.

Do you have some time-saving tips you'd care to share with others?

How do you optimize your time and leverage your efforts at your gigs?

Thanks,

ST

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Jun 4, 2018

Re: Time Saving Tips

Well I’ve been called grizzly, but that’s for another post ??. But what a good question to ask!

One of the first things we do before a gig (if we can) is go over a brief questionnaire we’ve developed with the venue owner to get an idea of the space we’ll be playing in. We cover such things as proximity to power outlets, will we need extra long extension cords, if outdoors will they provide some sort of tent to shade us from the sun/elements, size of the stage, will they supply a sound system (with someone who knows how to work it) etc. Sometimes we may get the venue owner or representative to sign off depending on how formal you feel the need to be for the gig.

Things get “interesting” when the venue supplies a sound system. We put together a document that is downloadable from our website with our typical stage setup requirements. Generally, we prefer to bring our own system (Bose of course) so we can be in control of our sound and not be a victim of an in house system that is sub par with people who don’t know how to work it. We always use our own mics and mic stands since we mount our ipads on the stands. We also found a nice “tray” that fits on the stand to hold a drink, capos/picks, and business cards or CDs. 

Overall, our gig setups have become much simpler since we got our Bose L1M2 and S1. Even though it’s simplified,  we’ve employed a checklist of equipment that we need to bring. We used to have a master checklist along with checklists for individual band members as we were forever forgetting something when having to rush out the door. There would be different checklists for our varying setups be that a 5 piece band down to our duo/trio.

The next thing is trying to consolidate as much equipment beyond the L1 into as few carryons as possible. So we have a speaker stand bag for all our mic, tray, and guitar stands. A roller tool chest  that holds all our cables, patch cords, pedals, mics, MP3 player, power strip with surge protection, flashlight, small toolset, extra batteries, and any other spare/backup items. The roller case also serves as a stand to place our mixer on. Typically we drape a black plastic table cloth over the case to make it blend in. We also have a briefcase size case with foam padding to hold our iPads and mic stand mounts. 

Finally, we have assigned setup roles to each band member when setting up on the stage. The primary rule is setup all the PA, mics, mixer, and cord connections etc. BEFORE any instruments come out of their cases. After the gig we reverse that and put away all the instruments FIRST before tearing down any of the PA and related stage stuff. Too many times has someone tripped over a cord toppling a guitar off its stand. The key is everyone knows what their job responsibilities are so we can hit the stage running. 

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Sep 13, 2018

Re: Time Saving Tips

We’re very similar to Cityfolk. I have everything on my pedal board including my guitar cable and mixer cable, so I can just set it out and plug it in. Everything that plugs into our analog mixer is labeled and our channels are labeled so anyone can match cable to input channel. We keep the L1 Compacts’ power and TRS/XLR cables in their bag pockets. Everything power related is in one crate, all iPads (cased) and hand percussion in another, mics/cables in a Gator mic/cable case, all stands and 6‘ power strip in a speaker bag (actually that was a freestanding hammock/frame bag lol), and our handful of lights is in another bag. 

Jeff

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May 10, 2018

Re: Time Saving Tips

I'll chime in with another vote for Cityfolk's post.  Lists, lists, lists.

I'm an OLDER "grizzled" veteran and I make detailed lists...first every piece of gear and cable I'm going to bring and then another list of the PACKAGES: guitar case, bag with wires, mixer case, Bose S1s, stands, etc. that I can check off as I load out.

The only times I end up messing myself up and arrive at a gig missing some piece of gear are the times when I don't CHECK THE LIST TWICE on the day I load out!

That's for regular gigs that I've played many times.  For special occasions like yesterday when I had to bring extra equipment to record my group at a live gig (multi-track on my Touchmix 16), I plug everything in and test it out before packing it up to take to the gig.

I try NEVER to assume that I've got everything -- I even make a visual check of even "standard items" like my canvas bag containing: extension cord, A/C strip, Drum Throne (5 hours of comfort), guitar stand, mic cord and microphone.  The few times I arrive missing an item are those times when I haven't done the visual check.

Of course, my gigs are at least 40 minutes to an hour and a half away (ONE WAY) so I can't really afford to forget anything critical...But when I don't check my lists, I often do.  For instance, a few weeks ago I forgot the power supply for my Touchmix 16 so we had to play with just 1/2 a sound system each: guitar/vocal in each S1 instead of mix to 2 S1s...another time I forgot my mic/iPad stand, had to use my partner's stand for my vocal mic and a picnic chair for my iPad and he had to put his vocal mic in his harmonica holder!  Didn't check my list!

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May 10, 2018

Re: Time Saving Tips

PS: I have to use smaller packages because I have to fit everything into my Mazda Miata -- like that old computer game Tetris.

And "luckily", I live in a rural area where almost none of the venues have a PA system although some special events do (with hit or miss result). 

The only club I play lately does has a nice JBL EON ONE which is enough most nights and when we play "louder" music, I bring my 2 S1 Pros and mixer to add some more clean sound.

 

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Sep 17, 2019

Re: Time Saving Tips

Chet posted:

PS: I have to use smaller packages because I have to fit everything into my Mazda Miata -- like that old computer game Tetris.

Bloody ****, I bought a guitar especially to fit in the boot (sorry, trunk) of a MX5*, there wasn't much room for anything else though. I guess you travel to gigs alone then?

I did used to carry my full 6kw band PA (3k FOH, 3k monitors) and my guitars and amp** around in a VW Golf (Rabbit) hatchback and, at the time, described it as you do, automotive Tetris.

WRT tips,

tip 1, If I am bringing the PA I usually supply all mics, cables (XLR and power), mic stands and DIs on stage as a first principle. Muso's should bring any fx, acoustic guitar preamps, instruments and instrument cables and  (unless I'm supplying the backline) backline amps. Singers use their own mic by negotiation but, preferable with my stand and cable. It saves time at tear down if I know everything on stage is mine after the muso's have left.

tip 2, Never (and I do mean never), let somebody else coil your mic cables......

* Emerald X7

 

** 2 x QSC K12, 1 EV sBA750 sub, 3 x Yamaha DXR10, 18 watt combo, electric and acoustic guitars plus all stands, cables, mic box, Mackie DL1608 mixer. Even found room for a couple of lamps and a passenger. (pic is before I put the guitars in ). And yes, the mic stand bag is a caravan awning frame bag.

 

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Sep 13, 2018

Re: Time Saving Tips

I hear ya, Chet...smaller bags is where it's at lol. We shove everything into my wife's Mazda CX-5, but with the addition of my daughter's fiancé, we now have one less back seat spot. So I bought a trailer hitch to put on (pending) to use my old motorcycle trailer (pulled *by* my bike, not for it). Until I get that put on and the trailer re-registered (expired, haven't used it in a few years), I did finally put my Roll-n-Lock pickup bed cover so as soon as I figure out why it's not latching we can throw everything in the back of the pickup at least.

Jeff

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Jun 3, 2018

Re: Time Saving Tips

I also label everything so the other three guys can pitch in during set up. That even includes the light system. We also use three Platt "suitcases" labeled for electrical cables, lighting system, and P/A and mics, respectively. We have a SKB golf bag case that we use to carry the two sound radiators and our mic stands. This way, the four of us can carry in the entire set up in one load. Then we just have to bring in our instruments once we are set up. I would also recommend setting up a check list and checking it upon your return home. I check the list against the case contents the next day after the gig and repair/replace anything that needs it. Just my two cents.

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Sep 17, 2019

Re: Time Saving Tips

Chet posted:

PS: I have to use smaller packages because I have to fit everything into my Mazda Miata -- like that old computer game Tetris.

Bloody ****! I bought a guitar specially so it would fit in the boot (trunk) of my MX5 (Miata)* I did used to carry my whole band PA plus my guitar amp and guitars in a VW Golf (Rabbit)** I referred to that as you do, automotive Tetris.

WRT tips :

1, If I provide the PA I supply all mic stands, mics, XLR cables, DI boxes, power cables/extensions and so on. That way everything left on stage when the (other) muso's have left is mine. I'm not inflexible but prefer it that way.

2, Never (and I do mean never) let anybody else coil your XLR cables 

*

 

**

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Sep 8, 2019

Re: Time Saving Tips

Hard to add much.  I make sure to pack everything up after my gigs so they are ready for the next gig.  I usually bring everything I have to all my gigs.  Then, if the venue has a decent sound system and operator I can decide to use it or to use my own.  Always lable everything so I know what is mine.  Rather than worrying about saving time I like to be sure I have plenty of time so I am relaxed and ready when it is time to perform.  Good advice, guys.