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Back lines...how do you handle them? (Also link to "my tone")

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
20,157
The bassist in my band called up today, we have a gig at a club where "we don't have to take with anything except guitars"...

Now, I've done this before and it is kind if of a "you get what you get" situation.

The last time we did a job like this, I got an amp assigned to me where the guy helping me set up was saying "the guy that owns this amp doesn't want anyone to change his settings, but I can if you rally NEED it, but then I can change it back again" and even though I never touched the amp I got the impression that the owner of the amp (who I was assured was "cool with it") really was irritated that I played his amp. I preferred to take my own, but the organizers were not up for that.

So now we have another job, we are one of three bands that will play and I'm hearing the same thing..."you don't NEED to take your equipment, we supply the back line".

I'm totally on board, but I'm also thinking that my pedalboard which has both input and amp effects loop cables is going to be useless. I think I have to just make a quick, one-time pedalboard that has my main effects...Wah, fuzz, vibe...and drop delay, reverb, etc.

It's actually kind of fun in a way. Not having my "security blanket" effects available,...not even sure about how the amp will sound.


It's not a if problem...but I would like to hear any of your experiences with a backline where you weren't familiar with the amp, couldn't use your favorite effects, etc, went.

Any stories to share!

I'm really ok with it....I think (maybe hubris) that I an still play even if not with my favorite amp or pedalboard.
 

torgeot

Member
Messages
791
yup, Been there. I have setup my pedal board so everything goes through the front so it makes it easier in case I run into this issue. I also keep 1 pedal on my board that I can use as my full on dirt if I need to. So I have a DLS on my board that never gets used unless I have to use another amp (works well in rehearsal studios also) I will set the amp clean then use the DLS to get my dirt where I want it. Usually not full on high gain, because I still have my usually dirt running in front of it (Timmy & OD0808)
 

sacakl

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,290
I like to play with a little dirt and it's hard for me if it's a newer Fender amp since the cleans are there but the drive channel can sound horrible at times IMO. Usually can't drive it loud enough to break up especially if it's miked with the volume on 1. So what I do is build a pedalboard just for the gig. I have a lovepedal les lius that can do cranked tweed and twin tones at very low volumes for my base crunch tone and can kick in the boost for leads. Seems to minimize the variability in having to use different backlines.

I do find it interesting that someone would agree to offer up their amp as the backline for everyone when they don't want anybody touching the knobbies. I'm pretty anal as well and not sure I would agree to let everyone use my amp if I felt uncomfortable with others changing settings.
 

Seegs

Member
Messages
10,169
I have never used backline for a paying gig in 47 years...if they insist I play dumb and say I didn't know...I'm nice and have never had an unpleasant experience...

Once the headliner of a blues festival suggested and insisted that we use their gear...we refused and had our stuff setup and ready to soundcheck in 30 minutes...we were the opener...

My band works hard on our sound and I lilke to bring my "A" game when I'm getting paid...

Tomorrow my drummer will be using backline but me and my bassplayer are bringing our own stuff...

Chow,
Seegs
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,542
These days I can use any clean amp with my PT-Mini, so it wouldn't be a problem for me.

Back when I was playing stuff where I "needed" my rig for the sounds, we were never in a situation where a back line was offered.
 

Defendant

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,938
For funk and soul I got pretty used to running into anything.

For rock I'd take a head in 90% of instances.
 

msowl61

Member
Messages
160
Only had to do this once and our drummer through a huge stink(their kit was crap) but it actually went pretty well. It helped they had a nice amp, but it was nice not having to set up our own stuff, just guitars and pedals, and no one in the audience can tell the difference between me playing through a vox or a twin reverb.
 

Pat Healy

Senior Member
Messages
10,949
I built this quick-and-dirty one recently for a situation very similar to what you're describing. When i play though amps, i normally use amp distortion with time based effects in the loop. For the situation, i knew I'd be plugging into a supplied back line amp, no opportunity to use an effects loop, so this board is designed to run everything in front of the amp. The silver pedal with the swirls is a Shannon Helios, very smooth overdrive. The wah is a true-bypass modded Crybaby. The Verbzilla is not my ideal reverb pedal, but I had it laying around.

This rig really killed, I got tons of compliments on the guitar tone. Took me an hour to throw this together, and it was fun!

EDIT: if they told me I could not change the settings of the back line amp, I'd bring my own amp. If they told me I could not change the back line amp settings AND I could not bring my own amp, that might be a non-starter.

 

dez

Member
Messages
1,953
Less to carry in, and less to break down. Love it. Playing a gig like this tonight. I'll bring 2 guitars (and an OD and a tuner along with some tools and strings in a backpack).

My regular amp is a Louis Electric Buster. I use a Rat and a tuner with it. I always bring a backup solid state Acoustic 1x10 (which is sometimes used as a guitar monitor for the other side of the stage or drummer).
 

Cottage

Member
Messages
1,491
Well, it seems like most of the time its a Hot Rod of some sort, either the D amps normally.eluxe or DeVille. So I figured I'd better get used to 'em. I usually bring my Barber DD and a tuner, and go into the normal channel. Can't stand those
 

speedemon

Member
Messages
2,623
True story;


Had a gig in Venice Beach, backline provided, so I just packed my guitar head and guitars etc. As I am packing, my chick asks me, "where is your speaker?" "They have em, I don't need to bring it." Throwing the last guitar in the car, "You need your speaker don't you , where is it?" "It's ok, they have speakers for us to use" " I can't believe you are not taking your speaker".

We get to the gig, and everyone is using their guitar heads. Midway through the band before us, guitar player's rig is cutting in and out. They finish and we get on. I am plugged in, and the speaker cab is cutting in and out. There isn't another one, so I play the gig with built in 1 speed tremelo. It was a fun trip home...

Moral of this story; bring your rig, maybe you won't have to take it out of the car/truck.:bonk

If you are ever playing in Los Angeles, and it is not House of Blues, or borrowing from a band you already know, bring your stuff.

Obviously if you are flying prob. cant' bring the rig. But if you are flying, the odds are you are going to a professionally run gig and don't have to worry about it.

For those situations, have a good dirt pedal to go with your effects.

Have fun and good luck!
 

Guitar55

Who was that masked man?
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,230
I hate when someone refers to any Fender amp as a Twin. "Oh yeah, they have a Twin". I get there and it's a crummy Frontman.
 

MKB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,728
Another thread I guess is when other bands want to use your amp as backline. I've had that happen a time or two.

In my old band at least one member would not use backline, or our leader would insist to use our monitor board, so it was never a problem to sneak my amp on stage. Plus I have gigged with a modeler for the last two years. Modelers really ease such a problem as they can accommodate almost any backline situation.

At the very least have a good pedalboard with the dirt pedals you need to do your job. Most any amp can get a passable clean tone, but the dirty tones are a bit more difficult to achieve.
 

JoeYello

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,320
yup, Been there. I have setup my pedal board so everything goes through the front so it makes it easier in case I run into this issue. I also keep 1 pedal on my board that I can use as my full on dirt if I need to. So I have a DLS on my board that never gets used unless I have to use another amp (works well in rehearsal studios also) I will set the amp clean then use the DLS to get my dirt where I want it. Usually not full on high gain, because I still have my usually dirt running in front of it (Timmy & OD0808)
I do the same thing..and with a DLS....works every time.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
20,157
Thanks for all the great responses. I've been through this before, as I mentioned, but it is not my favorite thing.

Still, it's mighty tempting to be able to take the subway to the gig, a backpack and guitar, and just deal with what they have there. I have to find out from the bassist if he can at least tell me the selection they have, he thought they had two amps tht could be used, a marshal, and orange.

I'm thinking the best is to decide on just a couple of pedals (tuner, Wah, maybe fuzz, delay..damn I'd like the vibe too...maybe see about that. Instead of vibe AND delay could break out the old reliable H2O that has both) and bring them to band rehearsal next week, see how it goes.

I kind of like the idea of not getting "my" normal sound now and then...I think our songs are solid, and I should be able to work with anything half decent and get something ok.
 

mvd18969

Member
Messages
2,003
My band works hard on our sound and I lilke to bring my "A" game when I'm getting paid...
This sums it up for me....Why would I want to even take a chance at putting my band in a less than favorable light if I wind up playing through someone's amp that isn't going to cut it?
The only time that anything like this ever happened was when a friend of mine who does original music, wanted to "test drive" some of his new material at a local open mic night. He pulled together a few guys (me on guitar) to play and the guy who runs the open mic gave him a time slot for 5 songs. We just brought guitars and played through the house band's gear. The amp I played through was a Fender Hotrod Deville. IMO, this amp could possibly be the worst sounding amp ever made. No sustain whatsoever, harsh/grainy drive channel. I remember thinking that its a good thing my friend's stuff was just simple cowboy rock stuff; I could never use that amp in my band.
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,815
Interesting takes.

I have no problem playing with a backline. I bring my board and plug in through the front. As it is, my board is fluid (that is, I rotate things in/out based on how I feel that day) and I use one of three different amps. I don't have a single tone that I'm married to, so I approach these things with a very different mindset. Fortunately, I've never been stuck with an amp I really didn't like and have almost always been pleased with how things sounded.

mvd18969 >> Last time I used a backline (last month), I played through a DeVille. And I loved it. Different strokes, right?

Peace,
 

mvd18969

Member
Messages
2,003
I imagine it depends on the type and how much variety of music you're playing. I don't use a pedalboard so I rely 100% on the amp's ability to deliver. And that Deville couldn't deliver to save its' life.
 

lp_bruce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,815
I imagine it depends on the type and how much variety of music you're playing. I don't use a pedalboard so I rely 100% on the amp's ability to deliver. And that Deville couldn't deliver to save its' life.
Certainly agree it depends entirely on the musician, how they get their sound, and the type (and range) of music they play. I'm able to get the dirty sounds I want from my board, so going into the front of just about any good amp works well enough for me. And we play mostly original roots rock (for lack of a better definition) and tend to change things on the fly a lot. So if my guitar sounds a little different, that's just like most other gigs where we try things out. If we played mostly tight covers or if we played music that was more "disciplined", I'd probably feel differently about backlines.

Peace,
 
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