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Does the average bar band have too much gear?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Warm Gums, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. SamClemons

    SamClemons Poster Extraordinaire

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    Back in the late 70's we were doing a three piece Van Halen type band, vocals only, very loud, and all we had was a Kustom mixer, maybe 100-200 (a very loud and clean 100-200 watts) with a pair of Cerwin Vega 1-15/horn speakers. It was never not loud enough. I think the old gear was more conservatively rated. We did not run any monitors, and had all our guitars and bass through the amps. Drummer was very loud, he played Slingerland marching drums converted to a drum set and used rock knockers, solid sticks, to play. Saw him shear toms off the mount/drumset. Loudest player I have ever seen. We never even thought of putting a mic on the drums.
     
  2. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I suppose there can be but then there's also the question of when does the sheer amount of gear detract from the band as in the example that Sam Clemons gave? Here you are waiting to hear them play and it ain't happenin' because they're playing a small club with gear that a touring band would be proud of but without the road crew to set it up and run it.

    I've been in places like that and watched as a band struggled to even find enough power to run sound and lights and then after all is said done once they strike their first chord that 10,000w plus system is so loud the crowd just packs up and leaves.

    That's not about smug superiority that's about being practical and for some of us older "rock stars" practical means it's smaller and weighs a whole lot less than what we used to carry around. ;)
     
  3. Shango66

    Shango66 Friend of Leo's

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    Bands have less gear per head than duos IMO
    The "duo" has more gear, computers , PA, lights on the floor than a five piece band.
     
  4. dmagalhaes

    dmagalhaes TDPRI Member

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    Technically only 40 trucks per show but they had 3 identical stage setups.
     
  5. MEXbluesGUY

    MEXbluesGUY Tele-Meister

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    Yes they do have too much gear.
     
  6. Dongotto

    Dongotto Tele-Meister

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    Around 1998 it became clear in our area that good bluegrass bands were getting a lot of jobs. We all loved and played bluegrass on the side so, we put almost all of our focus into that band and working up material and solid chops. We started using a couple high end condensers and a spot mike or two,and very minimal head and speakers. Granted we play a lot of wedding parties, and customer appreciations and the like so we don't need a ton of power and speakers. It is very nice to travel light and not take forever to set up and tear down. That has translated into when we play country and rock we travel lighter than we used to and I think sound just as good. So, after all that I know we used to travel with more than was needed.
     
  7. jguitarman

    jguitarman Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Do you have to put them behind the band for better dispursion?
    Our band has been considering the Bose system because a some of our bar and wine venues are really small. In fact, Martin R, I believe you helped me with some info re. Bose. Since then my keyboard player said he saw a band at a bar and couldn't hear the vocals very well. The band was using the Bose system and when he told them the vocals needed to come up they said the PA was at max volume. Now I'm wondering if it would be powerful enough for a larger room.:confused:
     
  8. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

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    It obviously happens but I was responding to the thread title: Does the AVERAGE bar band have too much gear.

    I just don't think it's my place to tell people, on average, how much stuff they should have or need.
     
  9. timmah

    timmah TDPRI Member

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    Interestingly, I don't find that too much gear on stage is a problem in my neck of the woods. I usually see 4 piece (singer plus trio) bands who don't have a lot on stage. One popular band has a singer with an acoustic guitar (and sometimes an electric with a fender excelsior), a guitarist who plays one guitar through a small board, a bassist with just a bass and combo amp, and a small drum kit.
    The others have a singer who doesn't cover any guitar duties, but the rest of the gear stays the same. That being said, my band tried to do an acoustic set before our normal fare at a gig a few months ago, which meant bringing out a keyboard and an amp for that, plus acoustic guitars and the stands and slides for them- and it was a royal pain.
    I'm certainly not opposed to bringing half a dozen or so pedals, though, especially since they're just attached to a board and it's a one-hand carry and easy setup.
     
  10. thehodgmeister

    thehodgmeister Tele-Meister

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    Cool, thanks for the info
    I may get a behringer usb mixer so I can also record
    Whole new thread!
     
  11. voodooblues

    voodooblues Friend of Leo's

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    I will admit that I can be guilty of this, but only when people try to use excessive amounts of gear to make up for the fact that they can't play. I think it's cool when someone has 12 pedals and really knows how to use them, but I roll my eyes when someone has an elaborate stage setup that isn't necessary or they don't even use half the stuff they bring to the gig.

    I guess my point is that a good band will be good regardless of if they have 4 X 12's and their own lighting system or if they're playing through Blues Juniors and a 4 piece drum kit. From my experience the better bands usually play with the appropriate gear, and that usually tends to be more toward the minimalist side.
     
  12. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fair enough and I'd agree. I'm not there to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't use either. There are others who have the responsibility.

    But, stated entirely as opinion, I'd say that in many cases the answer is yes. There seems to be a lot of guy out there who cut their teeth playing in the '80s and early '90s when to compete you needed a big sound system and from what I can tell that's not as common these days.

    Many clubs who do require that have now installed their own so how often you play those places might determine needs. In the places that don't require it huge systems are overkill and some club owners and patrons cringe at the volume. Personally I'd choose to have a smaller more portable system and hire out the sound when a larger system was needed and I have.

    JMHO
     
  13. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I marvel at the flotsam and jetsam my bandmates bring to gigs. On bass, I bring a head and speaker cabs appropriate for the gig, plus a compressor and a bass. On guitar nights an amp, two pedals and a guitar suffice. Plus a brief case with cords, extra strings, picks, batteries, etc.

    One guitar player brings a BF Super, a Cube, two electric guitars, an acoustic, a mandolin, guitar stands and a big plastic tub of who knows what. Keyboard player brings a synth, electric piano, amp, guitar, stands for all instruments, and four or five cloth shopping bags of percussion, kazoos, harps and other stuff. Plus a full drum set, the drummer brings chimes, bongos, congas and lots of hand percussion stuff. The rhythm guitar player brings an amp, and two guitars. And cases for all of the above, and two stools. Plus they - and the two singers - all have music stands with lyrics and charts.

    For the sake of ease of set up, sanity, and loading and moving stuff, I have advised them to pare down what is brought to gigs.

    It's frustrating that the stage looks like a garage sale, nearly all of this stuff is not needed, and rummaging around between songs is distracting and takes time away from the music.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  14. RevMike

    RevMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    When I gigged in NYC, I learned quickly that the allure of all sorts of neato gear wears off mighty quick when you have to haul it around a few times. Especially in crappy winter weather. Thats when you reallize it can be smarter to invest in good cases and covers, than that 11th guitar. With me, if I can't carry it in one trip from the van, I ain't bringing it.

    My typical thing was a Tele or Strat, a tiny Roland Lucerna synth, Roland JC77 and ME70 pedalboard. Done. Depending on the gig I sometimes dragged a small bodied Fender Malibu acoustic electric. That was my emergency kit. If everything else broke, I could plug that into the PA and finish the gig on that.
     
  15. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I've seen this photo on Bandmix.....man, that's a lot of stuff.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I didn't see any gear, but I started humming a rod stewar song 'HOT LEGS'

    I'll bet those guys get some good gigs.
     
  17. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Afflicted

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    Back in the 80's my 5 piece band had a full PA with a rack that weighed a couple of hundred pounds, a 24 channel board (and a guy to run it), crossovers, mids, horns, monster W bins, a floor monitor for each musician, everything mic'ed, submixer for the drum mics, 12 piece drum kit plus electronic percussion, drum riser, three keyboards on a massive stand, keyboard riser, two guitars and amps, bass and amp, lights, smoke machine, light board (with a guy to run it), light snake, sound snake, etc. We used a white noise machine to tune the PA to the room, and carried it all in a big panel truck. It took seven of us about 3 hours to set it all up, about 2 hours to tear it all down. We played cover songs in bars.

    I haven't seen that kind of foolishness in many years.
     
  18. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I think bands are getting better at using less gear.

    Speakers are self powered. Smaller speakers and amps can do more.

    When I was in college in the 80's we had double 15 scoops for bottom and big single 15 enclosures for mids and JBL horns for highs and crossovers and a big amp rack (despite the fact we had two half stacks on stage and bass player had a big Orange rig - we mic'd it all and it was silly huge on stage). Our drummer had a double bass Ludwig set with lots of cymbals. Our gear was stupid/big. We were way too loud.

    Now I have a small DJ rack box wit a 16 channel Yamaha mixer at the top and mic wireless unit and two Crown power amps in the body of the box. The whole thing is 2' x 2' x 2'. We have two small 18" JBL subs and two 1 x 15 + horn JBL full range enclosures. We have a 75 foot snake and one light tree with 4 LED RGB lights and a dinky control box. It's very tidy and quick to hook up with Speakon cables and it can be very loud and clear. We have a couple self powered monitors. The whole show fits in the back of a Ford F-150 with a capper on the back. We each bring our guitars and amps in our own cars.

    We have a nice tidy PA. It's plenty and it's not too much. I think we're typical.
     
  19. voodooblues

    voodooblues Friend of Leo's

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    This is a good point right here. More clutter can make a stage look unorganized, and sometimes more stuff just gives people an excuse to mess around unnecesarily between songs. I think another thing about the minimal equipment approach is that the focus is on the music. Less equipment = less stuff to mess around with in between songs. Done with one song, right onto the next.
     
  20. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    I try to make sure there was one extra guitar between us and 1 extra amp and cable. Now with my fender floor I figure if we loose an amp I can just go direct. I am looking to add my acoustic in. Not sure if I should count that as the extra guitar. Still would like to have a backup pa in the car. Or at least the extra guitar amp as a backup for main vocals.
    It ain't perfect but thats rock and roll.
    If you "need" more than that then I question the band. Not that more disqualifies anyone but I start to wonder.

    As a side note. I'm looking to get my own PA as thats never really been my part of the job I'm wondering about "Powered or nonpowered speakers"?
    Powered let you easily move power where you need it and use lighter cheaper signal wires but now you need to run power everywhere. I don't see the point of powered until they are also wireless unless as add ons to a powered mixer with mainly non powered speakers?
     
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