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Old August 25th, 2013, 03:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Last night I played at a club on a somewhat awkward stage and was pretty much standing on top of my amp due to space. Anyway, I just couldn't dial in my usual tone no matter what I did and I just wasn't feeling it at all. As a result my playing was just terrible because I just didnt like the sound I was hearing come out. On the flip side of this idea, last weekend I played at another club in a room I'm really used to and dialed in a really killer tone (same rig as last night) and as a result I was really loving my tone and my playing was great! Does anyone else have this issue where if they aren't feeling their tone, their playing suffers??

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Old August 25th, 2013, 04:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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standing on top of my amp due to space.
--------------------------------------------------
what? I dont buy that. Get off the bandstand and out in front so you can hear.
dont allow them to squeeze you mate, put your elbows out. way out ( 8 - )
If your performance was off it was likely because you were uncomfortable and annoyed.
your 'tone' didnt cause it. As you know, being right close like that sounds way different than 5-10 paces away. Your setup may have been ok as is but you got fooled into chasing it due to hearing it differently.

whatever, it might be useful for you (& or rest of band) to experiment with awkward cramped situations in your garage or practice room at your leisure. I bet you can find a better balance doing that or find a good way to compromise..
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Old August 25th, 2013, 04:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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There's nothing worse than not being happy with your tone, it's so frustrating.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 04:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You got to get gig-tough. I'm speaking more for me here, as you might not carry all the emotional baggage that Im gonna talk about. Nevertheless, I'm a critic, a severely harsh self-critic, and it is not good to be a critic while you're actually playing!

Gig-tough (the term and meaning I got from Steve Rapson) is not letting all the distractions and such get in your head while you are playing.

You get that way by creating environments in rehearsal that are constantly testing your ability to focus. By practicing under different circumstances. By repetition. By playing many different venues. By forgiving yourself.

There are nights where you sound bad, where you play bad, where you are you're own worst enemy. That's called performance or situation anxiety. I know because I have it really bad. You can exasperate it by asking a lot of disempowering questions.

It's a long hard road to being consistent on stage in terms of internal stability. You eventually learn to roll with it or it will get worse. For me, my concentration can go out the window, it's frightening. I mess up really bad. Forget people's names introducing them, Ive even blown it at important moments in front of thousands of people. I've had complete melt-downs and sheer panic before and during shows. Because I care what people think. And also, because if I fail, it is all on me. A lot of pressure.

The solution is to not take it too seriously. To know your ultimate greater destiny beyond just playing music. Prepare. Practice more. Foresee scenarios. Think it through, 5 moves ahead like chess. Have a plan B.

When I can't hear myself well, I play harder. Naturally. Well, that's the wrong thing to do. Learn yourself, know yourself, ask yourself empowering questions. Forget your mistakes. Forget that you sound terrible tonight. Live and deal with it. Very tough to do, but it happens to all of us.

Reality and happiness are all about focus. When things suck, don't focus on what sucks. Draw deep from that inner wellspring of calm stability. That stability comes from health, unselfishness, congruence and sleep. Never let 'em see you sweat on your first cruise.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 06:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The volume of space the amp projects into makes a huge difference on your "tone".
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Old August 25th, 2013, 07:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevoz View Post
There's nothing worse than not being happy with your tone, it's so frustrating.
Don't know about that. I'd say having electrodes attached to your private parts and being whipped senseless with a knotted rope is worse.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 07:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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The volume of space the amp projects into makes a huge difference on your "tone".
This is what I am thinking is the main culprit. I am always changing the distance between myself and my amp and it seems the closer I am too it, the worse my tone appears to sound. Last night I had my amp tilted back and it was aiming straight at my head as I was standing perfectly in line with it. About 5ft between myself and the amp seems to be the perfect distance. I guess the whole point of my post was just to highlight the relationship between the sound coming from the speakers and your perception of it in relation to your playing. It's so strange how I can play so well one night, with the same guitar, amp, pedals and playing the same songs - to playing terribly the next all because I didn't like the sound that I was producing. Just hitting 1 notes with vibrato and I can tell the difference and it sets the vibe of my playing... Strange.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 07:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When things are sounding a off I'm not as comfortable.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 07:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If you cannot hear then you cannot play.

You have to be able to hear your amp. If you have to play through a PA then you have to have a monitor you can hear clearly. Your own amp may be that monitor.
It gets even more complicated with a band because you have to hear the mix too. The determining factor is the loudest acoustic instrument, drums and/or piano.

In a confined space aim the amp at your head.
Tilt it back and/or raise it up. A chair may be a suitable stand.
This also works with an amp that is too loud, that ruins the stage mix too.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My experience was like;

At first: Different room/venue = unknown/weird = bad = distracted/effected my playing.

After a ton of gigs in all sorts of scenarios: room/venue + ask good questions quickly and adapt + if my internal consistency is correct = less worry/less distraction = better playing.

Anything we are not used to can potentially throw off our enjoyment, focus, and ability to perform to our potential. So, creating an ever-changing practice environment to specifically build a more omni-directional blueprint of how we sound is worth the effort. This representation (that we keep in our memory) knows what we sound like and we can lock into what we know rather than what we are actually hearing.

Very similar kinesthetic ability honed by Grand Ole Opry and Louisiana Hayride performers, where monitors weren't available and certain instruments were not amplified.

The thick skin of rock-solid concentration is built by practicing regularly with as many unpredictable distractions as we can.

I happen to be my own biggest distraction, so that is why I keyed in on the angle of the inner-talk regarding this phenomenon, which is mysterious and ever-changing depending on the circumstances.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I agree you have to be able to hear yourself but I know how my amps sound with various guitars and there is no dialing other than adjusting the bass and treble according to single coil or humbucker. Super simple.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 08:56 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Everyone has good days and bad. Sometimes we just don't feel it. Just human nature. I used to get more worked up. Sometimes I thought that a set was completely terrible and people at the club would come up to the band and think it was great. Bottom line we as musicians are the biggest critics of ourselves. The audience really doesn't notice the little screw ups. No one dies if you make a mistake. Have a laugh at those little mistakes. Have fun with the talent that we have nurtured. Most people appreciate the fact that we can and they can't.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 09:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Yea, there are days like those. Our singer keeps whacking the headstock of my guitar,
the drummer cymbal in my ear and is so loud, cant hear stuff....oh well..part of it,..
usually there are a couple of songs, that I get so into it...regardless of situation, that
helps out...maybe in my own head.lol
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Old August 25th, 2013, 10:38 AM   #14 (permalink)
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The lead player in the last band is an amazing player. The guy can play anything. But, if his tone is off it really puts him in a tailspin. Me, since I'm usually busy rigging things right up to the last minute before we play, I never have a lot of time to work on my tone. Just plug in some pedals and hope.

The one exception is if I am too loud. I hate being louder than the rest of the band because I tend to pull back instead of really digging into a solo.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 10:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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If I'm not happy with my sound, I don't have much interest in playing.
Sometimes you have no choice but to press on.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 11:29 AM   #16 (permalink)
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im lucky...my tone is just perfect...loud and distorted!
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Old August 25th, 2013, 11:38 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Tone at a gig is extremely variable. How do you know your tone was not awsome for the guy 20 feet back on the opposite side of the stage? Are you sure your perfect tone doesn't suck for the audience?
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Old August 25th, 2013, 11:48 AM   #18 (permalink)
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If you are used to standing in front of your amp, you will hear a different "tone" when standing beside it...or on top of it. Human ears are sensitive things.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 12:15 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Just got back into gigging and in the beginning I was using my Blues Jr (instead of the Twin ) for rehearsals. But since we're pretty loud I have to crank the volume and the headroom just isn't there. Now the overdriven tone of the BJ is nice for some leads, but I need cleans.

Hate making excuses but a couple rehearsals last month were particularly rough, and I know part of that was because of just not being satisfied with my amp. Just didn't sound or feel right. I've since decided to lug the Twin to rehearsals...it's worth it.
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Old August 25th, 2013, 12:39 PM   #20 (permalink)
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My old band opened up for Nashville ***** last summer under similar circumstances. They set up their line and we had to set up in front, which is typical for this kind of gig. But my right ear was right next to my drummers crash, and if I took one step id have fallen off the stage. The place we played at was a great sounding room, I find this has more to do with tone suckage than anything else.
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