How to Spice up a Solo Acoustic Gig?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by aziltz, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    So I just scored an acoustic gig at my alma mater over homecoming this year. Its going to be solo acoustic, and I normally use harmonica to fill certain songs out. I'm pretty simple when it comes to acoustic, I play chords and sing, and I'm not really capable of flashier stuff.


    But I like to add interesting things to different songs. I've got myself an RC-2 and I've been learning to work it into certain songs to fill them out, and give me a little freedom to break away from constant strumming. I also have a vocal effects box I sometimes use sparingly to fill things up a bit.

    I was wondering if anyone has another other ideas or tactics for solo acoustic performances to spice it up and bring more to the table

    I've also been intrigued by those wooden/piezo-powered "stomp boxes" for rhythm bass, and even figured out a good way to use one. I've seem some affordable ones on the ebay as well. Anyone using those?


    I also have an M-Audio Black Box and I've thought about putting together a chimey sounding patch to blend with the acoustic for arpeggiated stuff.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  2. Scott Whigham

    Scott Whigham Member

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    Do you use a looper at all? They can be fun. The Digitech JamMan and the Boomerang both have two inputs: plug your guitar into one and your "other" (drums, shaker, mic, whatever) into the other and have some fun. Bonus fun: get an octave pedal and loop a fun bass line then play over it.
     
  3. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    Digitech vocalist live 2. AMAZING. Wanna play an Eagles tune or something with a lot of harmonies and have it sound convincing? This is the way to do it.
     
  4. Da5Id

    Da5Id Member

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    Here's a cool example of the above - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYEU91d8ngc&feature=fvsr
     
  5. teleguido

    teleguido Member

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    Tambourine attached to a kick pedal. Sounds great on galloping country rhythms, used on the "and" where the snare would usually go.
     
  6. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    thanks for those suggestions! KT is pretty handy with a looper. I'm not that big on harmonies in a solo setting since the music doesn't really call for them. I don't want to go as far as the one-man-band, but its nice to fill in the space where the electric guitar riff used to live in different ways.

    So far my list of stuff includes,
    Harmonica
    Loop Station
    Vocal Effects
    M-Audio BlackBox to blend in Electric-ish Sounds

    Ideas,
    Piezo Stompbox or Tambourine to stomp on
     
  7. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    gig is friday, any other suggestions?
     
  8. '70 RS

    '70 RS Member

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    With a gig 3 days away I certainly would not be worried about adding 'tricks'. Unless they have become a second nature part of your act, I would strongly advise not going that route at this point.

    The absolute best way to spice up a solo acoustic gig? Be comfortable, laugh, joke (nothing pre-arranged, spur of the moment only), talk to the audience like you are in your living room. If they become part of the set, as opposed to observing it, everyone will have a great time.

    If you are adding things to fill up the space you will thinking way too much at the exact time you shouldn't be thinking at all.

    Just my $.02, hope you and the audience have a blast Friday.
     
  9. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    not really looking for tricks, just interesting ways to interpret songs while keeping it simple.
     
  10. '70 RS

    '70 RS Member

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    Okay, perhaps 'tricks' was the wrong word to use.
    Break a leg. :beer
     
  11. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    I'm gonna throw a whole bunch of stuff at you if its OK, but I do have experience doing a fair amount of solo gigs. (BTW I'm a younger old fart doing older stuff, sorry!)

    It starts with good material: strong songs (regardless of the genre) that you sing/play well and you are confident with. Also variety- I play almost all cover music, but I like to mix it up as far as doing rock n roll, blues, oldies, country/bluegrarss, instrumentals, and I seem to get in a pattern of playing say 2 songs in a row of the same type maybe, but not more (unless there is a request). Also I try to go with songs that are each very strong in one of the following areas: melody, rhythm, lyrics- home run if you get one that nails all 3!
    Can't go wrong with Beatles!! (speaking of nailing on all 3, these guys were the best)
    Don't worry about the loopping stuff or tech stuff for this gig- its just gonna be a distraction- focus on "meat and potatoes": your guitar playing/harmonica and voice

    Its OK to have cheat sheets- but be organized and discreet: a binder on a music stand off to the side- not a bunch of S**t all over the floor like some of my buddies do....

    OK I'm done! Have fun, and hope all goes well!
     
  12. kelly dell

    kelly dell Member

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    Hot chicks! with their shirts off preferably.

    In my experience that will spice up any gig!:Devil
     
  13. disguiseglasses

    disguiseglasses Member

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    Bring a kick drum!
    I've done it and it serves a few purposes.
    1. Put your name/band name on the front. Easy marketing/aesthetics.
    2. Go all Avett Brothers on it and pound the heck out of it for "big" sections.
    3. Playing a four on the floor rhythm can invoke bass (guitar) tones.

    If the kick drum is too much, I usually bring a tambourine
    and put it underneath my foot, stomping on it for rhythmic emphasis.
    If you're going to be tapping your toe anyway, why not have it make some sound?
    You can also look into "stompboxes"- basically a wooden box with a
    passive transducer in it that can also be used for toe tapping rhythms.

    I've used all of these tricks to varying success.
    It still seems (to me) that the most effective thing to do
    is to be confident and sincere in your playing/song choice/performance.

    Good luck!
     
  14. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    Relax and have fun with segues...incorporate some easy going improv there if you can.
     
  15. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    thanks for all that. I've got myself a piezo-wood box. a "NUT Box" by product name actually. It's working pretty well for what I'm wanting to do.

    Also the looper has really complimented my style of music, allowing me to plug little jams/solos before a song, mix-up an intro or free my hands for some more complicated harmonica sections.

    I'll be finishing up my new stained-pine pedal board tonight, probably post a few pictures.
     
  16. harpinon

    harpinon Gold Supporting Member

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    He's right on that, but I would prefer the TC Helicon Harmony G. Better sounding voices than Digitech (I had both)

    Also, consider using a 12 string. They can really make a song sound BIGGER!
     
  17. Stevil

    Stevil Member

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    i saw Budgie bust out an electronic kick (roland KD7 wired to ?) while playing acoustically for The Creatures. very effective!
     
  18. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    I think these acoustic piezo stomp boxes can be used to trigger drum sound modules. Could be cool for solo, duo or whatever purposes.
     
  19. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    Here's what I'm working with, I just finished this board up tonight.

    Everything is set and forget minus the frontmost row of switches. The breakout box for the RC-2 really opens up its performance usefulness.

    The Blackbox Effects are controlled by an off-board expression setup which lets me fade in some chimey, stereo sounds.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. mertzy

    mertzy Supporting Member

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    Two words....naked!
     

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