Gear for solo acoustic gigs?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Jarrett, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Wasn't sure where to put this one. I've decided to give the whole solo acoustic gig deal a whirl. So I've been working up a 4 hour set of songs that I can play and sing on my acoustic guitar. They are starting to come together and I'm looking to book my first gig.

    I'm looking for gear recommendations from those that have done or are doing this currently. What gear what's this gig better for you?

    I've got:

    Acoustic guitar with electronics
    Mic/mic stand
    Small PA
    Floor based tuner/effects processor
    Various cables

    I figure that is the basics of what I would need to do this type of gig, but I'm wondering if there are other pieces of gear that are helpful.

    One thing is I'd rather not haul my entire PA if needed. I was thinking of buying a small, powerful powered monitor with a couple of inputs. Seems like that would be more simple than hauling a PA and still cover my needs. Any recommendations in that ballpark?

    Also, I'm wondering about add-ons like a looper, vocal harmonizer or drum machine. I've seen the TC Acoustic Play Live dealio and that looks pretty slick. Anything else out there cool or useful for this type of gig?

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    The solo acoustic singer/songwriter is the most practical application I have seen for the Bose tower style all in one units.
     
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  3. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Member

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    Keep in mind that for most solo acoustic shows, you're not looking for full band volume and you can usually use a much smaller PA. What size room are you going to play? For small rooms, I put my Roland AC-60 on a stand and it has plenty of power. You could also just get a powered speaker.

    I have a looper on my MFX unit, but I hardly ever use it. Once on a great while I'll loop a song and solo over it, but that's not really my style. I don't do the harmonizer either, though I've heard them done well. I do play harmonica, so I've always got a handful of those.

    Peace,
     
  4. Pablomago

    Pablomago Member

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    I've been using the Bose stick for solo up to trio gigs. I like it better then I expected to. Optionally, I'll use a powered speaker on a stand behind me with a little Mackie mixer, a reverb and EQ. Set up a little table for the rack and mixer and plug in the speaker, mics and guitar and I'm ready to go. It's rare where I'll need any kind of further monitoring.
     
  5. uberschall

    uberschall Supporting Member

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    I'd recommend the TC Play Electric over the Play Acoustic, even for acoustic gigs. You can save guitar effects per preset and get away with it as guitar multieffects- if you want- along with vocal stuff. More flexible ins and outs, and of course you can use it for electric too. Switch 3 is a must-have add-on with either unit.
     
  6. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    I use a Kustom Profile 200 system for my solo shows, it works well for me, I have no complaints. Got it on a blow out deal with Musicians Friend about 2 Christmases ago.

    I use a small pedal board, but find that I really dont need any effects and they tend to get in the way, I do like my BBE Acoustimax though for some EQ and feedback control. It also has a mute for guitar changes. I just use a headstock tuner.


    I recently got a really good deal on a Kustom PA50 (~75 bucks) which is a small grab and go sized all in one PA setup, I got a gig a nursing home which is just me playing to a small room, no need to haul a ton of gear, I am hoping this thing will work. We used it a while back for vocals for a church event at a local bar (beer and hymns, imagine that) -- anyway it worked surprisingly well, I am hopeful it will work for my smaller solo shows. this is really a stop gap, I intended to get a Fishman Loudbox mini, but for the price I could not pass this up.
     
  7. uberschall

    uberschall Supporting Member

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    Also, looper in TC units is very useable for gigging.
     
  8. RupertB

    RupertB Supporting Member

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    While the Bose L1 did not turn out to be a great match for some of the places I play (some oddly shaped rooms and one restaurant bar where strong projection to the back of the room was not desirable), it could be for you. Dead-easy setup and the projection is remarkable.

    I've been doing solo acoustic & duo gigs for a couple of decades. Four years ago, we moved up from a Mackie 808 & yamaha passive (club series) speakers to a Soundcraft EFX8 mixer and a mix of two QSC K-10 and two EV SxA series powered speakers, depending on the room.

    Overall, I'm very happy with this system, mostly because it sounds terrific - much better articulation than before, better effects too - but also because it is highly modular. We can throw enough sound to do a medium-sized outdoor event or large room. We also get some private house-party dates where the board and one speaker are all we need.

    The 8-channel mixer may seem like overkill for a solo/duo deal but all those channels wind up getting filled on some nights: We both sing & play acoustic, I also play electric (usually mic'ed), sometimes bass too, 1 channel for the I-pod during breaks and we frequently have a guest keyboardist/singer... great, now we're one channel short. :(

    Can't help you with the looper, drum machine or harmonizer (that's my job).
     
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  9. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    I don't play electric at all. Still recommend it?

    What's a Switch 3?
     
  10. uberschall

    uberschall Supporting Member

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    I do, but that's because I like to use the guitar effects in it and like to be able to save presets with different guitar effects. If you only want one basic guitar sound out of it for the whole gig, and won't be using it with electric guitar, then the PlayAcoustic is probably a better choice.
    The Switch 3 is a 3-button footswitch that connects to TC Products- you can use it to control the looper, tap tempo for delay, and turn vocal and guitar effects on and off. Just gives you more hands-free control over the unit.
     
  11. Jarrett

    Jarrett Member

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    Cool, thanks for the input so far. Anyone else have any they would like to offer?
     
  12. Turi

    Turi Member

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    You can ditch any pedals - including tuners etc etc.. just get a clip on tuner.
    No need for pedals when you're playing acoustic.
    Some people do it, sure, but nah, I'd ditch that stuff.

    Same goes for drum loops and any other types of effects - what you need them for?
    You're playing a solo gig. So do it solo.
    You want drum loops etc, start up a band.
    Again I know some people do it - but it's lame as for the audience.

    If you've got an acoustic guitar, leads, mic, mic stand and a small PA - you're 100% ready to go.

    So you are already good to go - if anything you've already got too much crap (tuner/effects processors..).

    If you haven't already - get a music stand for your books.
    Some people bitch about them (online) but IRL nobody gives a **** and they're handy.
    You could even get these little lights that clamp on to the music stand - extremely useful in some places because as a solo acoustic guy I sometimes get shoved off in some dark corner.. lol..

    For small venues you can easily get away with using just the one speaker - in fact standing there and hogging up loads of room with two massive speakers is a bit of a dick move in a small venue.

    I use a Marshall AS50D for most stuff atm.. you can plug your mic AND guitar straight into that. Boom. Way too convenient.
    No mixer necessary. No twin speakers on stands necessary. Convenient place to put your drink.
    Easily loud enough for small-medium sized gigs too, and they sound great, it's got an EQ section anyway so I mean, you can't go wrong.

    EDIT:
    Forgot. If you haven't already, get a GOOD capo. I've got a G7 and it's lasted for like 5 years. I did have some el cheapo before that and it broke after a couple of months.
    Capos own. Don't even need to learn any new chords to play basically anything. Lol.
     
  13. Staticbuster

    Staticbuster Member

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    If you might be playing places that have their own PA, one thing to be sure you have is a good DI. Typically I find most places have them, but when they don't (and some places won't) it's a life saver to have your own. Plus, sometimes the house DI's are broken or crappy.
     
  14. Echoes

    Echoes Senior Member

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    This is what I'd do right here...

    Start with the 8 channel board and two QSC-10 (or -12) full range powered speakers...

    That will cover any acoustic gig requirements you can imagine.
     
  15. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    blunt but lots of truth in here, at least from my perspective. Pedals and such are great, and some people use them to great effect, in my experience I get a good response just me and my guitar, my only effect is pulling out the 12 string on occasion. :)


    I think in these acoustic gigs the KISS approach is good. At least when you are starting out.
     
  16. modulusman

    modulusman Member

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    Not sure why anybody would want to play through a $75.00 PA system. I also don't see the appeal of the loudbox mini. If you set it on the floor no one will hear it unless they have ears on their knees. If you set it on a stand or table that is more gear to drag along.
     
  17. Gas-man

    Gas-man Unrepentant Massaganist

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    The risk you run with the bare bones approach is that a guy banging out cowboy chords and singing by himself gets boring fast.

    Looping and pedals give variety but they def take time and skill to develop.

    I'm adding percussion (played by me, no drum machines) into my solo act to allow me to cover more diverse and interesting material.
     
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  18. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    For what it is worth, it worked perfectly, and several "gear heads" came up to inquire about it after the gig. There are certainly better systems, I was merely trying it out to see how it would work, so far I am pleasantly surprised with the results.
     
  19. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    i play many solo/duo acoustic shows, mostly in medium-sized bar venues, in which a Bose/Fishman-style unit doesn't cut it. (i tried to like the Bose for 2 years before upgrading a few years back.)

    i gig with QSC K10s, the QSC TM16 and my Zoom A2.1 acoustic pedal (i've tried them all, and it's still my overall favorite) going into a Zoom G3 for looping. works great, and sounds fantastic.
     
  20. Joeytpg

    Joeytpg Member

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    the less stuff you carry the better it it. I play all over Europe with a very simple but effective setup:

    -Taylor GS Mini (I prefer small body guitars with short scales, but the size if a plus for traveling)
    -Boss RC30 Loop station which I use to create beats and harmonies ala Ed Sheeran
    -Tuner (if I play locally I use my pedal, if I'm traveling I use clip on tuner)
    -My own mic

    Most venues/pubs have PA's so honestly there's REALLY no need to carry a PA and a mixer imho.

    just give ppl a great show by being organic and having feel. Acoustic music is a lot less about the bells and whistles.
     

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