outdoor gigs mess with my ears

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1,429
I play a lot of outdoor gigs, big and small, and I'll admit to sometimes pushing my amp too hard, beyond its sweet spot, on occasion just because I'm outside and can light it up.
Volume is one of the great joys of playing outside. Trying to turn up my bf Pro Reverb inside has plenty of risks but outside I just need to add a touch more reverb to get that "back wall" sound I'm used to.
 
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The thing about outdoor shows is, the normal onstage balance between players is out the window. Having someone good running your monitor mix becomes crucial. Along with good powerful side fills unless you're running in-ears or it's a backyard type of gig.
 

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
Gold Supporting Member
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It's probably the sound coming out of the back of the combo and bouncing off a wall that you're used to hearing indoors that is missing outdoors. I'd put the plexiglass shield behind the amp.
This. Or a big old chunk of plywood.
 

derekirving

Member
Messages
312
@bloozeman1 I'm with you, when I play outdoors everything just sounds bad to me. (especially my guitar it seems more gain'y, no tone, etc) I just prefer the sound indoors - not that every indoor room sounds great (some are great, some are effortless, some are echo'y, some have overtones, etc) but I find everything outdoors I can't get it to work. It's like the guitar cab/speaker simply evaporates outside for me.
 

jackson

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3,323
I prefer indoor. You don't get a room sound when you're outside, unless there's a band shell or something behind you.
 

DrumBob

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I do mostly outdoor drums gigs starting in May, until well into the fall, and even the occasional outdoor Christmas show, and I occasionally put gummy rubber dampening discs on my toms to fatten them up a bit, because they sometimes sound harsh outside. I have no explanation why this happens. Could be the heads, could be the shells. All drums are different, much the same way all guitars are different.

On the guitar gigs I've done outside, I've never really had a problem nailing my tone.
 

TB72

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1,449
Some questions...

Where was your amp placed? (Behind you, side-washed, in front of you like a monitor wedge, etc).
How open was the stage? Was there a curtain or wall behind you, or just open air?

Just asking since, with an open-backed amp like your Deluxe, there's a lot of sound that comes out the back of the amp. Inside, that sound usually bounces off the wall behind you and combines with the sound coming out the front of your amp. If there's nothing behind you to deflect these sounds, it will feel and sound considerably different to you onstage.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
9,052
It's probably the sound coming out of the back of the combo and bouncing off a wall that you're used to hearing indoors that is missing outdoors. I'd put the plexiglass shield behind the amp.
This is a big part of it. I've used drum trap cases behind my amp as some outdoor stuff. Also, outside, lots of time it is a bigger stage, you are further from the amp (don't know if you were, but that is common) so you are hearing it more direct on, if you are not normally pointing the speaker toward your head.

I played outside last night, bar joint. Suhr Bella, sounded fine. I've also played my SFDR outside with this band, Yea, we are miced. I'd run the DR at 3 or 4, would sound fine. We don't really play louder outside. A lot of it is you are not hearing the sound bouncing off the walls behind, and outside (like we were last night) you may be on concrete, which is going to reflect the sound back up at you instead of say carpet that would absorb the highs.

And last night, when we played outside, it was Texas. So, when we started at 7, it was like 99 degrees. I was more worried about keeping hydrated, lol. I played like crap but it wasn't because we were outside. :)
 

GerryJ

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Did the audience indicate a problem with your sound? If not, then (respectfully) there is no problem.
 

Wyatt Martin

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2,409
I play more outside gigs than I play inside. 99% of the time it's with our own PA so I've got the settings down.

What works best for me is a midrange heavy amp but not necessarily upper midrange heavy

. For me my Fender amps just never sounded full outside. Even my Twin Reverb could be turned up loud but it still sounded thin and the unwound strings never had enough body and the notes decayed faster and just sounded plinky.

Anymore I think our band sounds better at outdoor gigs than we do playing inside. But for me it was because of a different amp.
 

Baxtercat

Silver Supporting Member
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12,657
Just did a picnic Saturday.
I plug in two amps, often times including my Twin Reverb. [a 20-watt DR is pretty wimpy for outside]

Outside just doesn't get the fat lows you get indoors.

We pull the cars and vans behind us when we can, trying to keep all that sound from just disappearing out the back. Even the drums can sound so thin a few yards away.


I'd put the plexiglass shield behind the amp.
I've used drum trap cases behind my amp
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
9,052
Just did a picnic Saturday.
I plug in two amps, often times including my Twin Reverb. [a 20-watt DR is pretty wimpy for outside]

Outside just doesn't get the fat lows you get indoors.

We pull the cars and vans behind us when we can, trying to keep all that sound from just disappearing out the back. Even the drums can sound so thin a few yards away.
Yea, it isn't going to sound like indoors, I would just use something behind the amp if I could. I'll take what I can get, lol.

I used to to a lot of outdoors, fairs, events, festivals, whatever. In the summer, it might just be one gig a week but it was common to be doing a couple, sometimes a whole week run. It really is pretty different that indoors. I guess I got used to it, I don't know. I do know that last night my amp outside sounded pretty good. patio bar gig, nothing behind us but a lake. I was getting a little bit of something in the highs I wasn't crazy about but I think that may have been the highs bouncing off the concrete floor. I have a wireless, I've walked out and it sounds fine out there. But that still is a bit more enclosed, the was a roof and a building off to the side. Playing on a trailer, those are always fun. Always sound like crap. Some open back stages sound like that. Real thin. Some of the big concrete stages at fair grounds and amusement parks do have a back wall, those I don't really have an issue with.
 

Baxtercat

Silver Supporting Member
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12,657
Me too; never quite sounds right.
I just grin and bear it like DerekD said above.
And look fwd to the next plywood stage indoor gig where everybody sounds sweet and full at a lower setting on our amps.
 

Rockledge

Member
Messages
5,557
I hate outdoor gigs, they mess with my ears. i can have great tone from one of my vintage fenders and it sounds incredible, then I go outside for a show and I cant dial in crap, it happened to me last night. Had an outside show, used my 64 deluxe reverb and I couldn't get that amp or my guitar to sound good at all, drove me nuts. does this happen to anybody else?
That is just the nature of the beast.
Obviously if you are playing outdoors you are miked, have the sound guy run your signal back to your monitor. That won't give you the sound your amp gets from the sound out of the back of it bouncing off the back walls and from the front the ceiling and floor, but it will get you much closer.
The reality is that your amp doesn't sound the same standing in front of it as what it does in the audience before your channel on the PA is cranked up anyway.
That is where wireless units are great. I set my sound for what sounds good to the audience.
What I hear on stage from my amp isn't for my pleasure, it is a tool to be able to play the songs correctly.
Again, having a sound guy who is good with monitors is the trick.
 

bloozeman1

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,985
Some questions...

Where was your amp placed? (Behind you, side-washed, in front of you like a monitor wedge, etc).
How open was the stage? Was there a curtain or wall behind you, or just open air?

Just asking since, with an open-backed amp like your Deluxe, there's a lot of sound that comes out the back of the amp. Inside, that sound usually bounces off the wall behind you and combines with the sound coming out the front of your amp. If there's nothing behind you to deflect these sounds, it will feel and sound considerably different to you onstage.
I keep the amp behind me next to the drummer so he can hear it as well. I put all my amps that way inside or outside. Its usually about 6 feet or so away and a few feet from the drummer to his right, this particular gig the other night was just an open netted backdrop
 

RCM78

Member
Messages
5,887
Amps will sound very dry on outdoor gigs due to the lack of reflection from a room. When I dial my amp in for an outside show it never sounds right. Then I put my ears in and it's perfect.
I love In Ear monitors!
 

Flogger59

Member
Messages
10,970
Horses for courses. I use bigger cabs and iron outside.

I wouldn't take a convertible off road, but they're a blast in the twisties.
 




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