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How Long to Set up for a Gig


Iconoclast

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From the time you show up at the gig to being ready for soundcheck or first song?

 

I ask because I'm in two bands that seem to spend more time schlepping gear than actually playing.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

Forte7, Nord Stage 3, XK3c, OB-6, Arturia Collection, Mainstage, MotionSound KBR3D. A bunch of MusicMan Guitars, Line6 stuff

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I guess I should clarify. Not just your rig, but how long does your band take to set up?

 

It takes me maybe 15 to get everything from the pickup and setup and the XLR's run to the PA. But since we almost always bring our own PA that takes much longer to setup. Some guys want to show up 2 hours prior to set everything up and I think that's excessive.

 

Like most things, it seems like it takes EXACTLY how much time you allow for it.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

Forte7, Nord Stage 3, XK3c, OB-6, Arturia Collection, Mainstage, MotionSound KBR3D. A bunch of MusicMan Guitars, Line6 stuff

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The 9 pc horn band I play with is a solid 1.5 hour setup including FOH/monitors. I show up, set up my rig in 10-15 minutes (depending on how much "other stuff" I have to step over and around to get to my spot). Fortunately, I don't have to deal with anything other than my rig and connections to the FOH/monitors.

 

When the gig's are near either my home or my office, I'll zip over in the afternoon and set up early. Then I get to walk in 15 minutes before we sound check and I'm good to go.

 

When I play with my jazz trio or quartet, we can be set up and ready to play in 30 minutes (with me supplying the PA).

 

I don't like rushing, so if I have an hour, I'll get there and set up . . . and then go sit a the the bar and chat for 45 minutes.

 

To the OP, more time shlepping and setting up than playing says something is VERY wrong. Either that or you guys are doing really short shows!!

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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The normal routine with the guys I work with is -

 

Drummer usually turns up 1st to set-up (we've been lucky in that department!).

 

I would follow, & set up my rig (3 'boards, pedals, monitor etc).

 

Guitar/Bass/Singer arrive - singer sorts out PA.

 

This is normally done within 20/25mins.

 

The thing that then takes up forever-&-a-day, is the guitarist fiddling with his pedalboard settings :facepalm: !

 

John.

 

some stuff on myspace

 

Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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WE have a 5 piece (keys, drums, bass, guitar, vocal) and we usually can be setup in an hour .. I have 3 boards, speakeasy, and kbr3d .. I can usually be setup in around 20 .. our new drummer shows up early (yea !!) .. so we can most often get a good footprint around him . bass player schelps the PA, so we pitch in and help him unload (and he usually sets up all the rest himself) .. like the previous post, the prima donna guitar player usually shows up late, wants to make sure he is "out front" LOL .. but my frustration with guitar is a whole other post !!

PC1x, Hammond XK1c, Deep Mind 6, MS500 (gig rig)

Kurz PC4, Mini Moog Model D, Little Phatty, Hammond M3, Leslie 145, viscount op-3, Behringer model D, Roland GAIA.. (home studio)

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The normal routine with the guys I work with is -

 

Drummer usually turns up 1st to set-up (we've been lucky in that department!).

 

I would follow, & set up my rig (3 'boards, pedals, monitor etc).

 

Guitar/Bass/Singer arrive - singer sorts out PA.

 

This is normally done within 20/25mins. <<<3 hours!!!

 

The thing that then takes up forever-&-a-day, is the guitarist fiddling with his pedalboard settings :facepalm: !

 

This is so close it's scary...

 

Our 3 hours does include everyone taking a supper break. Guitar player is 5 to 15 mins late setting up EVERY Friday night. :mad:

Prophet 6, '38 Hammond BC, HR40, 2 Leslie 760's, Prophet 08 PE, RD700GX, Ensoniq E-Prime, SCI Pro-One, TX-7, CP80, Arturia VI's
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I can set up my keys in 15-20 mins taking my time. I usually get to a gig 1.5 to 2 hrs early because I also haul and set up most of the PA along with the drummer. I set up my gear, then set up the speakers and lights, and run the power/audio to the stacks. Drummer sets up the board/rack. We like to have buffer time in there and usually we're set up in an hour, and then we can eat and take it easy before showtime. I hate rushing and not having any relax time before I play. The bass player rolls in around the same time as us, but he's new and we haven't assigned him any jobs yet. Our old guy did the speakers that I'm doing now. The singer and guitar player show up about 30 mins before downbeat. It's actually easier that way, less people trying to get stuff set up in what are sometimes limited spaces.

 

Breakdown, we're usually loading out in 30 mins after the last song. Everyone helps tear down and carry stuff out.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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The guitar player in the "other" horn band I play with occasionally has TWICE showed up in time to walk on stage, set his amp up and live tune his guitar during the SECOND SONG OF THE FIRST SET.

 

I'd have fired him after the first time, but hey . . . it's not my band.

 

And they wonder why he keeps doing this . . . . and blame it on his ADD.

 

FWIW, all the other guitar players I work with are stone cold killer pros and they're always early, and are good about helping out with setup and teardown.

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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nah, I love my guitar player. He teaches and gets out of work later than the rest of us and I have to respect that. He's never been late for a downbeat. He doesn't bitch when I book gigs that are 100 miles from him, I don't bitch when he shows up with just enough time to set up and play.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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Set-up time depends on what you're talking about.

 

I have a lot of PA gear, and can set up a simple system consisting of two tops, two subs, and one central monitor in less than an hour. If I set up everything I've got (including lighting trusses) it will take all afternoon.

 

Some guys arrive at the gig with just enough time to quickly throw it all up on the stage and start. Others take their time at it, giving themselves a break in between setup and start time to relax, eat, and switch their thought processes from gear hauler to musician.

 

For years I was the former, but have become more of the latter in the last few years. It makes the gig more enjoyable.

 

Iconoclast, how much gear are we talking about here?

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Simple jazz trio here ... I usually shoot for having everyone there 1hr to 45 mins early. That's ample time to load in gear, find parking, and set up, and, if a private gig, get the lay of the land (but if there are access constraints that require us to set up earlier in the day, we do). I have a 1-keyboard rig so I can be set up in under 10 minutes; the drummer takes the longest, and that's anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the drummer. Every drummer I've played with seems to have a good handle on how long his setup takes and I haven't had to start late because of one yet. :D

 

For venues we know well, showing up 30-45 minutes before downbeat seems to allow me plenty of time to load in and set up and relax. The drummer is always there setting up already when I walk in.

 

 

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Bill, My main band is a classic rock 5 piece + singer. We don't have any lights usually and usually everything runs through the PA even though the guitars have basically nothing going through the mains and just some through the monitors so they can hear each other. 3 vocal mics.

 

For most of our gigs we don't have a dedicated sound guy.

 

I've been trying to get them down to 1.5 hours (or less if I could) prior to gig but they seem to want 2 normally or even longer for anyplace we haven't been before. 4 hours early for a big outdoor gig we did a couple of months ago where we played maybe 2.5 hours max.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

Forte7, Nord Stage 3, XK3c, OB-6, Arturia Collection, Mainstage, MotionSound KBR3D. A bunch of MusicMan Guitars, Line6 stuff

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Most of my gigs are with 4-5 piece, every man for himself scenarios gear-wise. For the main band, the PA guy (generally the bass player) and drummer arrive about 1.5 hrs before and I aim for 1 hr, but can set up my 2 key rig in 1/2 hr or even less easily if I'm running late.

 

I've tried to beat the drummer to the gig, but he's always there first. He likes to set up and have a meal before we play, as do I, and he's always first to leave, while I'm close to last.

 

Gone are the days when there was any expectation that I'd be helping with the PA (except when I provided it), but I recall from my touring days if the band bus arrived at the venue at the same time as the crew in the van, then on occasion some of us would help with the load in - after it's not easy to fit in regular exercise during a series of one-nighters.

 

 

 

Legend Live, Leslie 251, Yamaha UX1, Yamaha CP4, Hammond SK1, Ventilator and various other bitsânâpieces.
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We don't own PA....either the club has it or we hire it out. Either way, most of it is set up already when we get there, other than mic stands and stringing mic cables, and sound check. We DO bring our own IEM rig.

 

So then it comes down to what's the minimum time vs how much time do we take. I don't like to be rushed in case something goes wrong and so I can warm up. We've probably been ready to play as fast as 20 min in situations where there's an opener and the stupid event planner forgot to schedule time for one band to tear down and the next to set up, but I hate that. Normally I show up 1-1/2 hr before start time. 15-20 min to set up 2 keys, rack, guitar, sax, fire it up, stash the cases, and tune. 5-10 min to load the set list into my keyboard, check my ears, tape down set list and pedals. 10-15 min standing around waiting my turn to sound check my keys, guitar, sax, and vocals while the sound guy checks everybody else in the band. 5 min to put in IEM's, put on tie, wig, headband, etc. The leftover time in between is getting a beer, hitting the restroom, and discussing what talent we can spot in the room with the other band members.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Factors that vary gig to gig make this a tough one to answer - the schlepp (long distances, stairs, elevators, etc.) can add LOTS of time) as can tiny stages (where everybody can't be working at once.

 

Once my cased keyboard rig is sitting stage side - I need 15 minutes to fully assemble and cable my rig. That's working at a comfortable pace.

 

As a band - using the point at which all the gear is in and setting on the dance flor - we need roughly 45 minutes to be set up and ready for a sound check. Again, that's working at a comfortable pace.

 

That said - we typically plan to arrive roughly 2 hours before start time. That gives us time to get there and assess the situation, get everything unloaded, vehicles properly parked, gear set up and a functional soundcheck done. We're usually completely done with 30+ minutes to spare - which is fine with the guys I play with. We find we need that 30 minutes to "shift gears" from being a roadie to being a musician. Changing clothes, grabbing a drink, getting in a few minutes of "warm up", pressing the flesh with the crowd before starting is something we all like having the time to do.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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I can set up my gear (1 or 2 keys, sometimes guitar and pedalboard, melodica, etc.) in 15 - 20 minutes from the time I've schlepped it in. We don't usually provide PA. If we have to we rent one and pass the costs, including operator costs if it's a larger venue, on to the client.

 

For a given soundcheck with my band (4 to 6 piece) I arrive an hour ahead of soundcheck time because I'm the leader. The drummer gets there around the same time. For a soundcheck with other bands I'll make sure I'm at the stage with my gear 30 - 45 minutes ahead. I like having some chill time before playing. The rest of the guys show up 15 - 30 minutes ahead depending on the complexity of their setup. Once everyone's set up we can do a complete sound check in 10 - 15 minutes with an experienced sound tech. With larger groups the time increases with the number of monitor mixes available.

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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I live in a crowded city, so when we (my band) have to set up everything (drums, bass amp etc) we have to drive to my studio, unload, drive to the place, load in, sound check etc... This could take 2 hrs. easily in a rush hour. When we play in a place with drums, bass amp. etc, i go there with my motorbike and just carry my Electro/Lead2 with a small mixer and a bag full of cables, monotron, stylophone. And an double X-stand (most of the times carried by one of my band mates who drives his car to the place). I this case my total set up time ois around 15-20 minutes, which i love. When i play with other bands/artists, always depends on the music, circumstances etc. But most of the times, i carry my Nords, so everything is simpler. When a 88 is needed, i ask them to provide it, so i avoid carrying around the big thing...When travelling it's just the Xv2020 and my macbook. So i only need to connect the two to the keyboards they bring (usually a Nord Stage 88 and an Axiom 61)
Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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I would always be the first to arrive... This would allow me a slow, easy, non-stress set up. I could claim my spot on stage, have a clear stage to set up my stand, keyboard, speakers, etc, and be able to easily move around the rig to hook up cables without banging into cymbal stands and amplifiers. Plus it left me enough time to trouble-shoot in case the rig did not work, which, thankfully happened only a handful of times in my entire career.

 

After all was set up and tested, I would then have at least an hour to relax, have dinner, and enjoy chatting with the patrons as I watched my band-mates scramble around the stage trying to set up as quickly as possible.

'55 and '59 B3's, Leslies 147, 122, 21H, Motif XS7, Mellotrons M300 and M400, Wurlitzer 200, Gibson G101, Vox Continental, Mojo
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Im my regular band it's usually 1 to 1-1/2 hours for set up. 5 pc normally, but a couple of part time/occasional horns. But here's an interesting deviation from that. I am also doing some work with a big band. Potentially a total of about 15-18 members. 8-12 horns, blues harp, singers: male and female, and of course 2 or 3 guitars, bass and drums. I'm only on the 3rd gig with them this weekend. Here's the set up/sound check plan: Meet at practice hall 2:30PM; drive to hotel/banquet hall 2:45-3:45; set up/sound check 3:45 to 6:00; 6:00-8:00 "intermission"; 8-12 showtime. Yikes! Tell you what, I'll see you on the stage at 5!

 

Stan

Gig Rig: Yamaha S90 XS; Hammond SK-1; Rehearsal: Yamaha MOX8 Korg Triton Le61, Yamaha S90, Hammond XK-1

Retired: Hammond M2/Leslie 145, Wurly 200, Ensoniq VFX

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My one keyboard rig (Nord Electro 2 + Ventilator + pedals + mixer + behringer powered speaker) usually takes me about 25-30 minutes to setup and maybe 5 more to set my sound levels. If I add my Microkorg XL to the mix, I have to setup my 2nd tier and add another line to the mixer...maybe 5 more minutes.

 

My band is usually ready to go within 45 minutes.

A.J. Blues

Manager and Keyboardist

The Tash Brothers Band

www.myspace.com/TheTashBrothersBand

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In the UK it was usually the case that the band had to bring their own PA. So I've ended up with a rather good PA for that purpose... however in Oslo I have never had the need to carry around a PA as the places all have the facilities.. sometimes they even have a keyboard already there too (some Nord Stage variant I think).

 

Usually I just carry around my Korg SV-1 and I'm done in 10 mins... in the old days when I was carrying around Rhodes, RD300S, Synths, racks, FX, mixer etc.. I could be there for 1hr or more...

 

I think we're moving in the right direction these days!

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... in the old days when I was carrying around Rhodes, RD300S, Synths, racks, FX, mixer etc.. I could be there for 1hr or more...

 

Ah yes - loved my Roland RD300S (the late 80s/90s beast). Two man lift in an aluminium flight case ...and the rack of midi modules and crap I used to bring everywhere ... and the extra synth and spare desk, mics ...

 

To one keyboard, stand, one gig bag, small monitor. Ready in 5.

 

I loved that Roland RD300S(and the Rhodes before that) - but I'm so over it.

 

 

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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We bring our own PA. We arrive 1 hour prior, we can do it in 1/2 hour including sound check. Our pack up time is about 1/2 hour. We have a band trailer, cable spools, hand trucks and PA Rack that makes it really easy to get unloaded and setup quickly.

 

Most of the places we play we have the EQ settings stored in a DBX Drive Rack it has cut our sound check time considerably. We setup the speakers do a quick sound sound check, wireless lets us get in front and hear what it sounds like. We hear comments from the management all the time how clean everything sounds and how we don't have to play loud to be heard. Its taken us years, but we have it down to a science. We also have areas of responsibility so that everything gets done and done correctly.

We have also run sound for other bands, never had a complaint over monitor mix etc.

 

Now if we could just make it lighter!

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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With the band I play with, we try to be there 2 hours before the starting time. Most of the time, we have to use our own PA. I set up two keyboards and my monitor for Keys, my bass rig and most of the PA. The Drummer sets up his kit and the lights. The rhythm guitar has his amp, guitar and helps with the PA. The lead guitarist sets up his amps and cabinets. Everyone does their own vocal and instrument mics. We all like to have time to breath. At the end of the night, everyone pitches in and tears down and carry out except the lead guitar. He stands around and pretends to help. The rhythm guitarist and I started to play as a duo. Our set up takes about 15 minutes. His guitar, my guitar and mandolin, two mics, a powered head and two speakers.
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