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Do' and Dont's during an acoustic gig or like the unplug thing. HELP

Iceman Irwin

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Hi guys...


Well I just came from a meeting with some fellow musicians and we came up with the idea of staging an acoustic set sometime this December and next year...seems like a small order but the problem is --- I'm the organizer for that event. Well,I'm the production assistant actually.


Right now I'm making some lists on what to do. I'll be doing the booking for the band and the guests and who else knows what might be added to my work.

So far I've covered only the booking for the place.


Okay guys, I need your help with this...I've never organized this kind of thing yet and we'll be playing in a smaller setting.


So far the Do's i've considered is having minimal but great musicians who can play with just the barest essentials out of their instruments (no musicians who can't play without a complicated sound), booking a great place perfect for small gigs but wide enough to occupy a lot of patrons, a good PA setup, having guests who can work their way around the audience like it's a special night for them,uhmmmmm....so far, that's what i have yet....I still have to get the budgetary schedule so that I'd be able to know how far I might go with this...


I still have a week before our next meeting...your help would be very much appreciated...thanks to all in advance...

If Jaco's bass sound farts, please forgive me for doing it always!



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Iceman, my band have played one accoustic night quite along the lines to the one you plan to set up.


Basically the club we played paid the main act a small fee (£50) which we as a band split evenly. The first half of the night was an open mic night, the performers turn up with their accoustic instruments and plugged into our back line. These performers were paid with a drink, the more they played (and how well they were received) depended just how many drinks they got.


These sort of events are great fun, very open and full of good music. Hope these ideas help.




p.s spam mode, we're playing another on the 19th of Nov, Mandela hall Queens uni...you've been invited!

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I'm not sure that all this applies, but I helped organize Coffee House style gigs at a job I had. People signed up (no "booking"), and we provided a PA for vocals and acoustic guitars (and keys when they came in). The drummer and myself set up our own gear separately.


On the first gig that I was "in charge", I earned the nickname "The Evil Stage Manager". I used my "strong" voice a lot, because of a lack of organization (and guitar players being guitar players). By the next gig, we had it figured out...


1. Have a time set where guitarists can come and tune up, plug in, and test. This is before the real music starts.

2. Instruct them that you will not tweak their sound using the PA system during the "check". They can tweak their on-board to their heart's content. You will tweak slightly when they actually play, but not much. The check is to make sure that cables and batteries and strings are good.

3. Have a place arranged for the guitars to be stored when they are not playing. Have a place to put the cases when they are playing.

4. Everyone (no matter if guitar or flute or whatever) must warm up and must tune in advance

5. Have someone available to "serve" the musicians. Hand them their cables, fix their mic stands (music stands if Erik isn't going to be there). This eliminates a lot of "sit down - stand up and fix guitar - sit down - stand up and fix mic stand- etc."

6. Decide (most of) the songs in advance. Late-night spontaneity can be magic. Five minutes of "what do you want to do" kills the gig.

7. Have someone who can hear the sound at the sound board. Make sure they watch the musicians so they can address issues.

8. See Number 4.


Hope this helps.

Tom Shecky Slidey-Chair Evil Stage Manager Capasso


Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Use a soundman who's had experience mixing acoustic guitars.


I've been very surprised and annoyed to discover that many so-called "engineers" don't know how to amplify anything but electric guitars and drums without getting howling feedback.


It's called a master graphic EQ, ya dolt!

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Yeah, sound is important. As anone here who plays URB can attest, acoustic instruments are the hardest to work with in a live setting but, when done well, sound damn good. Don't expect it to sound like an electric show- the show should be mixed more subtly and quietly.


Have a compressor ready to go for those acoustic guitars and vocals. You won't need to use it for every performer. What I've found is that a lot of acoustic guiarists really beat their guitars hard and them sing very loudly to be heard over the acoustic volume. Dynamics, man! Anyway, be ready for this.


Do the best you can, but don't get especially wrapped up in the production. It's vey easy for the unexpected to happen and when it does, those things can ruin your night and/or performance. I know that it happens to me. Do what you need to do, get it all ready, and have fun.

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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