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Old 06-15-2011, 11:04 PM
ClassicRock1169 ClassicRock1169 is offline
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Default Gear for first Acoustic Gig

I have a Gibson Songbird with a pickup in it. A guitar stand and music stand is all I have. I will be playing small gigs. What is a good place to start PA or Amp (I want something cheap). Also what is some other must have gear that you recommend for gigs. I'm new to all this. Thanks
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:47 PM
ClassicRock1169 ClassicRock1169 is offline
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Also I forgot this is a solo acoustic gig and are their any tips you can give me for a first time gig?
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:01 AM
chriscruzmusic chriscruzmusic is offline
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It depends on what your budget is. The guitar is nice, and you don't want to ruin it's benefits with a crappy PA. My first PA for my solo shows consisted of two low-end Electro-Voice 15" speakers (Force i, they were pretty far down the Electro-Voice quality chain, but they sounded much better than the Yamahas sold for a similar price), a 500 watt-per-side powered Yamaha mixer with effects (the EMX5000-12, you can still find these brand new online... not sure how, but it sounded very clean, and the effects were a lot of fun to use), you'll need speaker stands (whatever you get, also get a speaker stand bag, with all the load-ins and load-outs a lot of things get banged up, and speaker stands are a very irritating added expense when they only last a few months), a mic stand (I use a DR Pro, it was the first mic stand I bought, all the screws and tension points have remained like new... stuff it in your speaker stand bag to protect it too), and don't forget a decent microphone (the Shure 58 is a long-time favorite of most and certainly does the job, but I used and liked my Audix OM-5 very much). I believe all of this cost me about $1200 - $1400. You'll need a gear bag for all your instrument and power cords, microphone(s), extra strings, 9 volts, and capo. And don't forget a little floor fan to help prevent the guitar-belly sweat spot.

Haha... that may be more than you were asking for, but that's my 2 cents.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:52 AM
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When I started out I didn't know how much gigging I would end up doing, so I bought a used Fender Passport 250W on Ebay for around $3XX. It's a portable system, you connect the speakers to the amp and you can carry it it one hand by the handle. It won't give you the pristine sound of a Bose system, but it's an inexpensive way to get started. Some of the guys on here don't like them, but I still use it on smaller gigs. The newer version, Passport Pro 300W, is much improved, and still sells for under $7XX new.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:53 AM
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When I started out I didn't know how much gigging I would end up doing, so I bought a used Fender Passport 250W on Ebay for around $3XX. It's a portable system, you connect the speakers to the amp and you can carry it it one hand by the handle. It won't give you the pristine sound of a Bose system, but it's an inexpensive way to get started. Some of the guys on here don't like them, but I still use it on smaller gigs. The newer version, Passport Pro 300W, is much improved, and still sells for under $7XX new.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:13 AM
Justinian Justinian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClassicRock1169 View Post
I have a Gibson Songbird with a pickup in it. A guitar stand and music stand is all I have. I will be playing small gigs. What is a good place to start PA or Amp (I want something cheap). Also what is some other must have gear that you recommend for gigs. I'm new to all this. Thanks
I recently got and started gigging with Fishman Mini and I don't have single complain. It's more then loud enough for small gigs, 2 channels with separate effects, light and looks nice (and pretty cheap).
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:55 AM
ClassicRock1169 ClassicRock1169 is offline
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Alright, so just an amp could be a good place to start for small gigs? Like an Ultrasound AG50
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:45 AM
GibbyPrague GibbyPrague is offline
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Get a Marshall AS50D, a Shure SM58 and a Preamp / DI box and youre ready to roll.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:22 AM
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OK, I will jump in here and let you know my thoughts.

I would buy a decent amp. I do not know your budget so I would find the one with the most power that you can afford. If it were me... I would get a Fishman Loudbox Performer, Loudbox 100, Loudbox mini in that order, depending on which one you can afford. The Loudbox Performer will cover small to medium sized rooms and you will like the sound. I would also get a decent DI box. I use the Fishman Aura Spectrum DI which is way more than you need and it is expensive ($320), the other extreme would be a Behringer ADI21 at around $40 bucks. Why do you need a DI.... connection issues, better sound at the amp or PA. I own both of them, both will do the job. A decent Microphone, the recommended Shure is good. The Amp is the way to go for now. The other amp recommendation in this thread are good. So go play through a few and see which one speaks to you.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:30 PM
lschwart lschwart is offline
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Slightly different version of the advice you're getting:

Yes. All you need to play a small gig in a small, relatively quiet place is a decent amp with at least 50 watts of power (that's merely a rule of thumb because wattage itself is not always an accurate indicator of how loud an amp can actually get and how good it sounds loud). The usual suspects in the $400-$600 range are all good (the Ultrasound DS-4, the Genz Benz 60lt, the Marshall AD50D, the Fishman Loudboxes or performer amps, etc.).

You only need a DI box if you plan to got directly to the mixing board at a venue without going through your amp first. An amp like the DS-4 or the 60 LT will act as a DI box for you (you plug your guitar into the amp using a regular 1/4" instrument cable, and then connect the amp to the mixer with an XLR cord going out of one of the DI outs in the back). This has to do with the impedance match between your pickup and the PA's mixer and with something called "balancing" but a definition of these things can wait.

What several people here were suggesting is not a DI box per se, but a combination DI box and preamp. Whether or not you need one of these will depend on what sort of pickup you have in your Songbird. If it's passive, you may need an external preamp to give it enough juice to plug into a mixer so that the preamp on the mixer can send the signal to the system's power amp and then out its speakers. Again, an amp like a DS-4 or a 60 LT, etc. has a preamp in it, too, so it will act as BOTH a DI and a preamp for you. It will also send its own signal to its own internal power amp and out its own speaker (this is what happens when you use the amp at a gig as your only amplification), but it will do that AND send a signal to the PA, too, so you can also use it as a stage monitor. The master volume only effects the signal coming out of the amp's speaker and not the signal going to the PA, if you send one.

If you have a passive pickup, a separate preamp unit might also be useful for you to have even if you're using an amp like the DS-4 or 60LT, but that depends on the pickup. The sound of some is improved by a preamp even going into combo amps like these, and many DI/preamp boxes also provide other useful onstage functions like tuners, FX loops, more elaborate EQ sections, volume boost buttons, etc. It will take some experimenting to see what will be best for you.

You need to try out some amps and maybe some preamps, too, to see which is best for you. What kind of pickup do you have in your guitar?

The other suggestion is the small PA route. This has some virtues, too, although it's a more elaborate set up and more money if you want something with some quality. These also have the virtue of introducing you to how a PA works--a skill you may eventually need. Take a look at them and try a few if you can. Also consider putting your own together from a small mixer and a powered speaker. This is less convenient and might be more expensive, but can sound better if the items you buy are high quality and compatible.

And then there are the sort-of-like-a-PA/sort-of-like-an-amp options like the Fishman SoloAmp and the Bose systems, but these are going to get you up toward and then well over $1000.

In most of the gigging situations you will encounter just starting out, a good and reasonably powerful small amp is a good start that is going to be pretty portable and pretty flexible for you as you learn more about performing and about sound reinforcement. You're not going to need to haul your own PA to open mic nights, for example. A good little preamp/DI unit might also be useful, but only depending on what your pickup requires to sound its best going either though the amp or direct to a venue's PA.

Beyond that, for now all you need is a mic stand and the best vocal mic you can afford. Most of the good ones start around $100. The Shure SM58 is a classic that sounds good on a lot of voices, but the fit between voice and mic can be very variable, so you need to pick a price-range you can afford and then try lots of different mic in that range until you find one that you think sounds best for your voice.

Louis
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:27 PM
ClassicRock1169 ClassicRock1169 is offline
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Well it sounds like the amp is the way for me to go right now. Something like a Marshall AS50D, Ultrasound DS4 or Fishman Loudbox mini. I'm also going to get a DI/preamp and most likely a SM58 with a boom mic. I know this isn't the right section but do yall have any tips for first acoustic gigs. How many breaks I should take. Ya know stuff that is just good to know for a new performer.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:27 PM
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All good advice on the equipment. Regarding a first solo gig....

Play through your setlist and time it. You may be suprised how quickly you can move from song to song. First time I played solo I finished my first set in 35 minutes (thought it would go an hour). Got a little dicey trying to find songs to play on the fly.

If your a talker - don't talk too much. If you're shy - don't talk too little. My guess is you'll be nervous, so force yourself to say a few words between songs occasionally.

If, and when, you make a mistake - have a sense of humor about it. A couple of one liners in your bag of tricks for for mistakes helps take the bite out of it.

Learn "Happy Birthday" (if appropriate).

Arrive earlier than you think you might need to.

Don't get hammered.

If it's an open show - bring some friends.
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Old 06-16-2011, 03:31 PM
lschwart lschwart is offline
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Be prepared:

Make sure you have an extra set of strings (or two) in case you break a string (changing strings the day of the gig will help keep that from happening, but it does happen sometimes and with no warning). If one breaks near your break time, take a break and change it. If it happens near the start of a set, it's good to be able to change it on the fly while you chatter on engagingly--although that's a skill that takes some practice. Don't try it if you don't think you can pull it off. Worth working on, though.

Make sure you have some spare instrument and mic cables in case one goes bad on you.

If some of your equipment needs batteries, make sure you've got back ups.

Keep a good heavy duty extension cord and a power strip in you gig bag if you have to plug things in. You never know where the power source will be.

Try and have some short anecdotes to tell about your songs or some bits of banter to use. This is especially helpful if you have to pause to tune.

If you're using an amp, make sure that you can at least tilt it upward (some, like the Genz Benz 60LT have a tilt-back cabinet. Others like the DS-4 have a tilt leg that you have to install). But it's even better if you can get the amp up off the floor altogether onto an amp stand or a keyboard stand, chair or piano bench, what-have-you. This will help disperse the sound better. Obviously, if you go the small PA route, you'll have your speakers up on speaker stands. And you won't need to worry about this if you're going into the PA, but a tilt up will still be good if you're using your amp as a monitor. Some amps have a hole in the bottom that makes them speaker stand mountable. A nice feature.

If you're using the amp as your main sound reinforcement, put it to your side, not right behind you (unless you can put it WELL back behind you). Tilted up at your feet can work if you're standing and the amp isn't facing directly up into the pickup pattern of the mic. At low, stage monitor volume, behind you can be fine and depending on the pickup you have might be preferable to tilted up in front of you. Your body and gutar will shield the mic and the amp may not be loud enough to feed back though your mic anyway. But at higher, room-filling volumes, that all changes. Try and find a place to practice where you can play around with your amp and mic placement at realistic gig-level volumes.

Make sure you have water with you in something that is not too likely to spill.

Make sure you have MORE songs that you THINK you can play in your time slot.

Try and vary your set list choices to whatever extent you can (happy tunes, sad or intense ones; fast ones and slow ones; don't play everything in the same key or in the same positions if you can; if you can do both, try to alternate between strumming and fingerpicking--and that can be done either from tune to tune or in the same tune, depending on how you play and how advanced your skill set is).

Try and relax and think about making the music and putting it out there inn the room, not about the fact that everyone is looking at you--or that no seems to be paying attention to you at all while they talk amongst themselves and order their drinks.....

Try and go by the venue sometime before the gig to get a sense of the space and what you'll need to bring and do once you get there. And get there early for the gig.

You might think about having some simple business cards printed up to give to anyone who shows any interest. Every gig can lead to others.

Louis
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:02 AM
TRW1 TRW1 is offline
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One overlooked piece of gear that I always make sure I have, at least in the trunk of the car: a long, heavy duty extension cord. I might only need it once in 20 gigs, but when you look for the nearest power outlet at an outdoor patio gig and its 75' away, you'll be glad you have that cord nearby. Don't ask how I learned this, it's an ugly story.

Oh, and I heartily recommend the Soloamp for solo guitar/vocals. You can often find a used one for $700 or so, and it has its own stand so you won't need anything else. Sets up in minutes and is a one trip load in and load out. As you do more gigs that will become more and more of an issue. It also can cover most any sized venue that would book a solo act, big or small.

As for the gig itself, try to have fun, people really pick up on that. Remember-they want you to do well (except for the other guitar players who will be silently comparing themselves to you). 50 minutes on with a 10 minute break is my standard schedule, but I sometimes do 90 minute sets if the crowd is into it. And be respectful and courteous to the employees where you're playing, especially the bartenders (if there is one). They can be very helpful in helping you get repeat bookings.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:24 AM
lschwart lschwart is offline
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One overlooked piece of gear that I always make sure I have, at least in the trunk of the car: a long, heavy duty extension cord. I might only need it once in 20 gigs, but when you look for the nearest power outlet at an outdoor patio gig and its 75' away, you'll be glad you have that cord nearby. Don't ask how I learned this, it's an ugly story.
See my long post yesterday, but it's a piece of advice worth repeating. And, yes, long is good! A cafe or bar that often books solo acts, but perhaps not full bands with a stage and an installed PA, will probably have a powersource at hand near where they want you to play, but solo gig opportunities sometime crop up in art galleries or other spaces where no one has really thought out the logistics for live music. Sometimes you get an opportunity at a place that's trying out the live music thing for the first time. You may have to do some of that figuring out yourself!

Louis
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