Monday, 29 April 2013

What's happening April 2013

Another poll finished, I tried to predict the results on this one, let's see how I went...For "Is this your first visit to this site?" I said:
75% Yes
15% No
10% I don't know

The actual results:
63% (87 votes) Yes
35% (48 votes) No
1%  (2  votes) I don't know

It would seem that most people know where they've been and I have more regulars than I thought - thanks everybody, okay, I should write more!

I've still got my Thursday night gig, I'm still enjoying it. With the colder weather I'm playing less outside and more inside, and the number of patrons is shrinking. Maybe it might soon end for the season, I'll see what the boss is thinking.

I volunteered for a gig at a different place Sunday afternoon, this one was part of a fundraiser for Teen Challenge (an initiative to help people to get out of bad places - drugs, alcohol, self harm, those sorts of bad places.) It's a good cause and I was happy to be part of a lineup of 8 different performers. This gig came about through a friend mentioning me to a friend.

Since I've been gigging for a while I'm pretty comfortable with any sort of gig "at my level", that is, somewhere between 1 and 50 people in a small venue. This venue was another cafe style place. So I just grabbed my guitar and amp and headed in. It was all inside, with a lot of concrete, although a lot higher roof. I was concerned that the acoustics would be poor, I was in for a surprise!

The organiser had a PA setup - two very big speakers and a little 2-channel mixing table. They saw my amp and said "ah, okay, you bought your own gear" and I said "Whoa, yours looks heaps better, I'll use that!" I fumbled around with the mixer for a while and got a sensational sound out of their system. So clean, clear, true to the sound of the guitar and full, solid. It is hard to describe - the sound from my little amp is clean but it doesn't have the "presence", that big solid sound this thing had. Not loud, just solid. That represents a I am very dissappointed with my amp!

I had previously tried a modular PA system in a music shop and I knew that is the next step, but whoa, yeah thanks for the reminder, I don't need reasons to spend more money!

The guy who brought it down for the event wasn't there to set it up, which is a shame, he is a sound engineer apparently and I would have loved to talk to him. It also was a problem because the two speakers were pointing away from me so I couldn't "hear" what the audience was hearing. I needed a little monitor speaker pointing at me, I was playing mostly on the acoustic sound I was getting just from the guitar being in my hands. I was aware that there was a solid soung being projected, but the lesson is you need to have some of that sound coming at you. At my normal gig with my little amp I sit myself so that the amp is pointing a little bit at me, so I can hear the sound being projected. That wasn't possible here.

I also noticed the bass E string felt overly boomy - out of balance from the other strings. As if someone had wound up the bass EQ way too high. When I thought about it, I suspected the resonance of the room was causing that. The room happily reflected deep bass but mids and trebles didn't reflect. That's I guess what sound engineers are for - listening and tuning the sound. Even when you have a monitor speaker pointed at you you won't know what the sound is like for the guy in the back...when you are by yourself you just have to suck it and see, hope for the best, go with experience (which is low for me!)

(I asked the audience a few times "Is it too loud? Is it too quiet? How is the equalisation, does that bass sounds boomy? It the response flat? How are the dynamics? Do I need to ease off on the soundboard pickup and stick more to the undersaddle transducer? Do you think I should switch the pickup to phase invert between the two pickups?" Okay, I didn't really ask those questions but I wanted to. I need to play a venue where a sound engineer is in control - and see what they do! :))