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Played my first (two) gigs where I couldn't mic my amp...

tele_jas

Member
Messages
3,830
I've been playing since 1993, and this was the first time I've been in a situation where I couldn't mic my amp... And it was for two gigs.

I filled in with another band and was told "we have a PA".... Band was great, but PA was a 6 channel board and a couple of Mackie tops. The other guitar player had a Twin, and here I was with my Hayseed 30 (AC30 clone) trying to play clean and keep up. Luckily, he didn't like to crank his Twin above 4 (still loud).

It felt really weird and really hope I don't have to do that again. I can only imagine how it sounded out front with two guitar players battling against each other all night.

Just sayin'
 

boldaslove1977

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,812
it's not fun, is it?

we play several places where we don't mic anything... partly because the places are small... partly because we don't have the gear to do it the right way. it drives me NUTS.

i'm not the boss... if i was... we'd never play unmic'd.

usually it's because we're in a smaller venue. which means we're right on top of each other. which means the stage volume is ridiculous... just to be heard.

then... my drummer yells at me to turn down all night. i usually use a bassman and with the open back and the amp usually being right next to my feet... he hears more of me than i do... ugh...
 

Lance

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,869
What's your backup amp?

I would recommend getting like a ZT Lunchbox, or Club 12, and have that as a second amp that you can point at your head. Also loud enough for an emergency back-up amp. Actually, I'd go with the Club 12, and skip the lunchbox. 200W, solid state, capable of 131 dB, and sounds halfway decent. The best feature is that it weighs 24lbs!!! The combo box is just slightly larger than a 12" speaker shipping box, so it can sit in yor trunk or whatever.
 

SteveO

Member
Messages
16,861
I ran unmiked every weekend for three years straight, I guess that's why I favor bigger amps. :)
 

hasserl

Member
Messages
4,708
I play in 2 bands, and host a monthly jam, and attend quite a few others; most all of my gigs are unmic'ed. Getting mic'ed up is a rare treat.
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,556
I had to put my foot down on Friday night... sound guy said the room was too small to mic the guitars and drums and I said "it's only a 15watt amp and it will not carry this room at my desire sound"... so he mic'd my amp and everyone said I sounded awesome! LOL
 

DarrenD

Member
Messages
47
I don't know how they did it back in the day when they only miked the drums and vocals through the PA. Not only is the volume too loud in smaller venues (unmiked guitar amps), it's tough to hear everything else because nothing comes through the monitors.

I don't get why there wouldn't be enough room to mic a guitar amp. It's just......well......an extra micorphone!
 

stelligan

Member
Messages
1,096
I don't know how they did it back in the day when they only miked the drums and vocals through the PA.
"Back in the day" you just had to make due with your '65 Strat and a Fuzz Face into your hundred watt Sound City stack.......... ;)
 

Sleepless

Member
Messages
91
This really makes me wonder... Being mic'ed or not? Pros vs cons? I'm talking about small venues obviously. No one will argue against being miced in large venues, the benefits are tremendous.

But in small venues you guys seem to say that BECAUSE you're not mic'ed you have to be louder. I thought that being mic'ed only added to the pre-existing volume... I mean if I turn my Super Reverb at 6/10 in a small venue it's already too loud (let alone if I add a boost pedal for leads or heavier stuff) so if I add a mic to that... :bonk

Or maybe you guys turn your amps down when you're mic'ed. But then if I turn down my Super Reverb to 2/10 then it sounds like crap and I lose all the headroom I need and have to rely on pedals exclusively for crunch/lead tones.

This problem is a neverending story to me. I never know what to do. Mmm... I know what to do: we're never mic'ed anyway... It's just the keyboards and singer. And the other guitar player freaking pisses me cuz he won't understand that I should be louder than him since I'm the lead player. The dude turns himself up when I hit the boost for solos... :Devil
 

DannyG

Member
Messages
245
Honestly ...being mic'd or un mic'd shouldn't make a difference. You should all be professional enough to not "compete" with one another on stage. That's why they put volume knobs on guitars. True stroy...
One night this dude shows up and wants to sit in. A friend knew him and says he's pretty good so I figured I let him do a song or two. he used my rig which at the time was a Boogie DC5 and a PRS. He got up there and wailed away with the guitar full up. He's trying to sing over his own volume. He comes off stage and says "your amp is too loud. I couldn't hear myself sing!"
"Duh' turn it the freakin' guitar down...geez"

Get a good mix onsatge with the drums...set the lead/solo volume to where it cuts and then back down for everything else. whether it's mic'd or not has no effect onstage at all
 

Andre357

Member
Messages
3,211
I hate playing unmiced. Usually it means I cant be heard in part of the club.

I have learned over the years to keep my stage volume very low and to make sure I'm in the PA.

Sounds much better out front.

I use a wireless to walk the room and make sure everything sounds as it should.
 

crimson on pink

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
930
I'm actually opposite. I like unmiked. We've had enough soundguys screw us over in a mix. Case in point, a few weeks back in lasalle, illinois I believe? We drive 6 hours from the last tour stop. Get there, unload, yadda yadda. Soundguys name was driver. No joke. We tell him, hey, all we need is vocals in the monitor really. He says ill see what I can do. Mind you, there is noone there. I mean, the ther band, band we were on tour with, super drunk, driver, and bar tender. we go to soundcheck, drums, no biggie. Our drummer id say is fairly hard hitting. Next is bass. First note in, you hear driver yell, whoa buddy, you gotta turn down. Fair enough, he turns down. Plays three notes and the head dies. Awesome. It has a weird quirk if you turn it down, it doesn't like to work. Noone can figure out why. Anyway, we borrow the band before us bass rig. Some mesa head into a mesa 4x10. Driver has him turn it down to where I can hear him picking the notes over what's coming thru the amp and pa. I say, well, he's a soundguy, he knows what he's doing. I soundcheck. Boom, first chord in. You gotta turn down. I go ****, here we go. I turn down to the point where my amp is dead clean. Its usually on 9, its now on 4. I'm like whatever. So I ask for some bass and guitar in the monitors, bc we can't hear over the drummer, who's barely playing bc he can't hear us. Driver says, I only put vocals in the monitors. Now I don't see the point in anything he's done. Needless to say, we had a rough show. We sounded like a surf band. He had it made. All he had to do was put some vocals in the monitor, go outside and smoke(which he did for every other band), and let us play our twenty minute set. I understand that if that place had people, it'd be different. But there was noone there. It was almost a practice. Granted we still got paid, but it was not worth it.
 

hasserl

Member
Messages
4,708
Honestly ...being mic'd or un mic'd shouldn't make a difference. You should all be professional enough to not "compete" with one another on stage. That's why they put volume knobs on guitars. True stroy...
One night this dude shows up and wants to sit in. A friend knew him and says he's pretty good so I figured I let him do a song or two. he used my rig which at the time was a Boogie DC5 and a PRS. He got up there and wailed away with the guitar full up. He's trying to sing over his own volume. He comes off stage and says "your amp is too loud. I couldn't hear myself sing!"
"Duh' turn it the freakin' guitar down...geez"

Get a good mix onsatge with the drums...set the lead/solo volume to where it cuts and then back down for everything else. whether it's mic'd or not has no effect onstage at all
I am amazed at how few guitar players have learned to use the volume knob. It's always cranked, all the time. Even the "really good" guys that come out to jams I host, they stand there blazing away at full volume all the time. If they're using my amp that I set up as you described, with the full volume set for solos and rolled back for rhythm, then they are too loud overall because they never back off for their rhythm work. And if I happen to bring in a tweed amp, that makes it even worse, because to really get the best out of tweed you HAVE to work the guitar volume. They are amazing amps when you know how to play them, they can be unforgiving when you don't.
 

gravy

Member
Messages
1,567
i`m playing with a band now that prefers to be un-mic`d when we`re playing small clubs. besides sounding great it`s so much less of a hassle just putting vox thru. we rehearse in a garage and have everything dialed in pretty consistent, the only variable is our drummer who has @ 3 kits of varying sizes and he makes that call. backline = deluxe reverb, tweed pro, sliverface bassman. sound stays true to rehearsal jams and we can enjoy the night.
 

pgissi

Member
Messages
2,481
I hate playing unmiced. Usually it means I cant be heard in part of the club.
Unmiced gigs can have you relegated to background music. You become that noisy band in the corner, frequently too loud unless the acoustics of the place allow for all sources to disperse in a balanced manner. In most situations the audience is probably not really hearing solos or other special cues, much is lost especially when the crowd grows and room noise peaks.

Unmiced means the band is not going to command attention and worse, unmiced and volume restricted will mean the audience conversational level along with other club noise will be louder than the band as the room fills in.

Its not cut and dry, works for jazz etc because that is a different audience...usually, they tend to be more subdued and restrict conversation as the band plays but with rock and roll, the energy in the music that fills the room means the audience is keyed up more and that means they are louder and more boisterous etc.

A good room mix to where it is just right loud and clean not killing them means the sidebar conversations are minimized and it becomes about the band, they have to pay attention. Of course mic'ed in a smaller rooms means you need less on stage and yes if your using a loudish amp, your over amped. Use plexi shielding or turn the amp around, attenuate etc.

Its a rare occassion when unmiced sounds good and its usually in a larger room with a high ceiling when the band is on an elevated stage and there are clear sight lines to all stage sources for most of the crowd with the sound going over heads some, minimizing bodies from absorbing sound and allowing the room to image some.

My band recently competed in a radio station house band contest, unmiced loud bands in a room and it sounded like dog sh*t. Apparently it was too much work to throw some mics up and they were under PA'ed at that, vocals were a distorted mess. In comparison, we go all out, bring better gear and mic it all up for a fully produced show and even end up with a 16 track digitally recorded mix off the mic pre's as a result of micing it up.

Its more work but it makes for a better show, its being heard as it should be and attendance reflects that. I have been in and seen too many bands in a room, it usually does not convey what is really going down and IMO its putting an inferior product out there.

Our biggest problem now is since our move to direct to disc recording, we don't have any mics hanging in the room as we did with analog recordings and lose the crowd reaction.



I had to put my foot down on Friday night... sound guy said the room was too small to mic the guitars and drums and I said "it's only a 15watt amp and it will not carry this room at my desire sound"... so he mic'd my amp and everyone said I sounded awesome! LOL
its amazing isnt it, I mean if your gonna carry how much gear to the show, why not just go the extra step and do it right, produce the damn show from out front and throw a few mics up.

having come up in the philly and south jersey scene since the late 70's where bands were always mic'ed, anything less is a snoozefest...usually

and by usually I mean about 90% of the time

when I want to sound like basement, I play in the basement
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,924
We run everything through the mixer at virtually every gig, with the exception of small live rooms where we only mic the kick drum.
Bass and guitars are always in the mains, even if at low volumes just to blend in, as it just sounds so much more polished that way.
 

jackson

Member
Messages
3,519
I play unmiked all the time. First, use the right amp for the room. This applies to everyone in the band. I usually use a pro jr. or deluxe reverb, or a bassman ri for bigger rooms, and the other guitar player has to play at the same volume. Get the amp off the floor and/or tilt it so the direct sound is hitting you, but not someone in the audience. If you can't hear yourself, either someone else is too loud, or you have the wrong amp. Your goal should be to sound good without the PA. One trick is to point the amp at a vocal mic, for a little extra :>
 




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