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Mixing acoustic / electric instruments

Mavis Enderby 22 Aug 12 - 02:57 AM
Richard Bridge 22 Aug 12 - 03:14 AM
Ole Juul 22 Aug 12 - 03:58 AM
SteveMansfield 22 Aug 12 - 04:19 AM
cooperman 22 Aug 12 - 04:23 AM
Mavis Enderby 22 Aug 12 - 05:02 AM
MikeL2 22 Aug 12 - 09:37 AM
cooperman 22 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Aug 12 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Tony 22 Aug 12 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,nobody in particular 22 Aug 12 - 05:26 PM
John P 22 Aug 12 - 11:32 PM
Ole Juul 23 Aug 12 - 04:15 AM
Mavis Enderby 23 Aug 12 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Tony 23 Aug 12 - 09:20 AM
cooperman 23 Aug 12 - 09:41 AM
Mavis Enderby 23 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM
GUEST,Tony 23 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM
Mavis Enderby 23 Aug 12 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Tony 23 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM
Mavis Enderby 23 Aug 12 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Tony 23 Aug 12 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Stan 23 Aug 12 - 06:38 PM
Nick 23 Aug 12 - 07:36 PM
GUEST 24 Aug 12 - 05:37 AM
Leadfingers 24 Aug 12 - 05:40 AM
cooperman 24 Aug 12 - 06:56 AM
Bernard 24 Aug 12 - 07:12 AM
GUEST 24 Aug 12 - 02:22 PM
MikeL2 24 Aug 12 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Songbob 24 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM
Bobert 24 Aug 12 - 07:35 PM
GUEST 24 Aug 12 - 09:09 PM
Bobert 24 Aug 12 - 09:20 PM
GUEST,RB-1 25 Aug 12 - 06:33 AM
Bobert 25 Aug 12 - 08:19 AM
Amos 25 Aug 12 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,FloraG 25 Aug 12 - 01:04 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Aug 12 - 01:25 PM
Mooh 25 Aug 12 - 01:35 PM
Mooh 25 Aug 12 - 01:37 PM
GUEST 25 Aug 12 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 25 Aug 12 - 10:01 PM
GUEST,Tony 26 Aug 12 - 10:32 AM
Scrapyard Guitar 26 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM
Mavis Enderby 26 Aug 12 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 26 Aug 12 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Tony 26 Aug 12 - 12:42 PM
Scrapyard Guitar 26 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 26 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 26 Aug 12 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,nobody in particular 26 Aug 12 - 05:35 PM
Jeremiah McCaw 01 Sep 12 - 11:49 AM
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Subject: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 02:57 AM

I'm interested in very mixed sessions, where acoustic and electric / electronic instruments can be mixed. On the few occasions where I've seen it done though the electric instruments (guitars mainly) tend to gradually push up the volume to the extent that the acoustics can't be heard.

I don't know if it's specifically an electric guitar problem, given that most guitar amps are potentially very loud (even the low-power ones) and also that they often sound better at higher volumes, particularly for over-driven sounds.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to keep the levels down so that all the instruments can be heard? Or experience of successful sessions of this kind?


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 03:14 AM

It's the guitarists. Remember the volume control that goes up to 11 for when 10 just isn't loud enough? This IS a plank-spanker thing.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Ole Juul
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 03:58 AM

Does anyone have any ideas on how to keep the levels down so that all the instruments can be heard? Or experience of successful sessions of this kind?

I have experienced people playing without listening to themselves, and without concern for the resulting sound of the ensemble. Professional musicians generally play at a compatible volume because it would make them look bad if they were unable to blend in. That said, I've seen people who are essentially professionals take the attitude that it's not their problem and the sound man should look after that. This does make some sense in environments where even the drums are amplified and the performers cannot hear how loud they are up front. I don't think folk and traditional performers are likely to have that problem though. :)

My take is that the problem stems from not playing with your ears. It is in fact quite common for people to be so preoccupied with what they are doing that they don't hear what others are playing. I generally only improvise so obviously I have to listen to others before I listen to myself - so to speak. People who use memorized parts can "barge ahead" without concern for the overall effect.

In the odd situation where I've encountered a problem, I've either recorded with a single mike and played it back so the "mix" can be heard by all, or brought out my sound level meter. The latter is actually a good idea because everyone can take turns adjusting their volume to an agreed upon level. This is much like using a tuner to adjust to an agreed upon pitch.

I used to play recorder in a duo with an electric guitarist. There was never a problem with unmatched volume. I'm sure if you asked that guitarist about it he'd say "no problem - I've got a knob here that I just turn."


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 04:19 AM

Does anyone have any ideas on how to keep the levels down so that all the instruments can be heard?

The only way would be to take responsibility for the volume control away from the electric musicians. Set the levels at the start of the session and stick some gaffa tape over the volume knobs. Anyone found tweaking the volume knob in the upwards direction gets a whack on the knuckles for the first offence and a power cut for the second.

It's only human nature to want to hear yourself and be heard better, and/or to 'improve' the overall sound by having your instrument that bit more prominent; and once one person does that, the game is on and it's a race to the top.

The acoustic musicians will have to put more physical effort into playing to get more volume, and will have a finite limit imposed by their instrument on how much louder they can get - the electric musicians also have a finite limit of course, but more volume is much easier to achieve by twiddling a knob, and the upper level is only reached when their volume knob won't twist clockwise any higher.

There are, of course, many musicians and audience members who directly equate sound pressure levels and musical quality, but that's a whole different kettle of fish ...


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: cooperman
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 04:23 AM

If you want overdrive guitar sound from a valve amp you need to turn the drive or gain well up and this increases volume. With a master volume control you can have the drive up but keep the overall level low. Not all amps have this though - mine does (Fender Hot Rod Deluxe). Steve


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:02 AM

Maybe we need a sub-1 watt amp for the guitarists? I've played electric guitar and mandolin through an old Pignose battery amp in mainly blues sessions with acoustic players and it all seemed OK, perhaps the advantage of this is that it gave a nice clean to slight overdriven sound (which is what I like) at low volumes whereas it's distorted sound is bloody awful!

We've concentrated mainly on guitars so far - any experience with keyboards/synths? I'm guessing there isn't the same need for high gain amps to give an overdriven sound here...


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: MikeL2
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 09:37 AM

hi

I have played in many bands and groups and have used both amplified and un-amplified guitar without any problems for me or other members of the bands. Playing together as a unit tends to weld the members together to create the best sound for everyone else.

I guess that this thread is about "casual" groups with different people sitting in. This does pose some problems at times but I found that the majority usually managed to convince or quell the "ambitious rowdies".

I have played in sessions where the accoustic instruments have drowned out the electronic players ( usually on solos).

Don't you aslo find out the the noisy ones are the ones usually out of tune ???

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: cooperman
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM

Diplomacy required I think as musicians can be very sensitive!!!
Best to say 'we like your sound but can you turn it down a bit'. As with most diplomacy it may not be entirely true of course, ha ha.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 10:44 AM

I'll probably return to this thread later when I've more time..

But essentially, there are no excuses these days for any guitarist,
or other electric musician, to behave selfishly
and inflict high volume amplified sound levels
in public social situations.

Today's music equipment market is over abundant with manufacturers
competing to sell affordable reasonable quality low wattage amps...

On the other hand, it's absolutely pointless asking musicians to provide entertainment
in busy crowded pubs full of pissed up loud mouthed revellers
whilst insisting they are not allowed to use sound reinforcement amplification of any kind.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 04:41 PM

True about the pissed up loud mouthed revellers, but don't forget that they're doing the same thing the guitarists are doing, i.e. cranking up their volume so as to be heard over everyone else. Amplification gives people permission to talk during the music, and loud amplification gives them permission to shout and jump around.

I host a concert series in a quiet room with no amps at all, and our audiences don't even breath heavily. It's instinctive. I've never asked them to be quiet; they just understand right away that if they make any noise they're going to spoil it for everyone. The only whip I have to crack is with the performers. Almost everyone wants to be the exception and bring just one tiny little amp. But they can't, and afterwards they're always glad they didn't.

That scenario wouldn't work in a pub or coffeehouse, where there'd be hissing espresso machines no matter what, but even there you've got to consider the competitive factor. You need someone with a sense of perspective controlling the amplifier volume.

I went to a coffeehouse a few months ago where people were jamming old-time music using acoustic instruments with pickups and microphones. It was an open jam, so everyone brought their own amp and set their own volume. The result was like a rock concert or a jet engine. There were no customers other than the musicians. It was painful to be in the room.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,nobody in particular
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 05:26 PM

On another thread in 'The Mudcat Forum' a few people were referring to me as a 'guest from Sanity'. I am not that person, but I ran that name in my search engine with the word 'Mudcat' to see why they were doing that. With those searches, I pulled up four videos on YouTube. Two of these videos should be of EXTREME interest to those interested in mixing electric and acoustic guitars together.

If I were you, I'd post a post to him, and ask him his secrets!

I found this mix of electric and acoustic guitars together sheer genius!


Another one, sounding simliar. Brilliant mixing!

and NO, I am NOT the guest from Sanity.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: John P
Date: 22 Aug 12 - 11:32 PM

Some musicians play well with others. Some don't. I don't think it has anything to do with whether or not they are amplified. I've played a lot with acoustic and electric instruments on the same stage it's never been a problem.

If you are talking about public sessions, you get what you get, along with the bodhran players who can't keep the rhythm, out-of-tune fiddlers, lame whistle players, and multiple chordal instruments playing different chords. Open sessions are often not a place to hear well-played and well-balanced music.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Ole Juul
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 04:15 AM

Some musicians play well with others. Some don't. I don't think it has anything to do with whether or not they are amplified. I've played a lot with acoustic and electric instruments on the same stage it's never been a problem.

Exactly. If someone deliberately plays without concern for the sound of the group, they are just being a jerk. It is just not acceptable and I think it is OK to ask them to leave - just like you would with a loud drunk. In reality, there are few people who act out like that and, like you say John P, it's not usually a problem and it has nothing to do with being amplified.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 04:40 AM

It's more public sessions rather than stage I had in mind. The consensus seems to be that it's a matter of being aware of the sound of the group rather than the individual, and where players are sufficiently sensitive there's no problem mixing acoustic/electric/electronic instruments.

So why are so many sessions acoustic only?


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 09:20 AM

You've spoken of individual cases where an electric guitarist wasn't overbearing. But in general they are, and rules are set for the general case. You can't say "acoustic only except for Billy," and if you don't say "acoustic only" it will probably evolve into something like that coffeehouse I mentioned.

By the way, I knew many of the musicians at that coffeehouse, and have played with them in all-acoustic sessions, where they played very cooperatively at pleasant volume. It may be only because they had no alternative, but whatever the reason the presence of amps certainly made a difference.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: cooperman
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 09:41 AM

I guess it's just easier to manage if you say 'acoustic only'. Means missing out though on potentially interesting combinations of sounds. Most portable keyboards need a little amp too so they are effectively ruled out.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM

Couldn't agree more Mr Cooper, on both points. I reckon there'd be a good market for "quiet" amps!


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 10:18 AM

There's another factor, by the way, one which has nothing to do with volume. I don't know if it explains the "many sessions" you spoke of, but my main reason for going to acoustic-only sessions and concerts is that I enjoy listening to acoustic sounds. Just as listening to birds singing outside my window is different from listening to human music, the sounds of acoustic instruments and voices is different from any sounds that come from loudspeakers.

I have nothing against electronic sounds per se. I listen to recorded music all day long, and I go out at night to dance to very loud bands where even the drum set is amplified. But acoustic music has a unique quality, and it's very pleasant to hear it once in a while, and we don't often get the chance.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 10:28 AM

Agree with that too Tony, and I don't mean to imply that electric/electronic instruments should be in all sessions, far from it. I'm just interested in people's experiences where it has worked, and how they made it work.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 11:24 AM

I once had a recording of Earl Scruggs playing his banjo along with a Moog synthesizer, and talking about it with the Moog player (it may have been Robert Moog himself), who said he can make the Moog sound like any other instrument. And Earl was saying that he supported anything new and always liked to try new combinations of instruments and hated the same old thing all the time.

I can't remember what that album was. It must have been an LP or 8-track. I'll try to think of it. I think it's the same one that had Joan Baez talking about the terrific crush she had on Earl Scruggs when she first met him, and saying that she ran into the bathroom to tell someone about it, and the someone she found there turned out to be Earl's wife. And then he played his banjo along with her, maybe on "Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word."


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 11:53 AM

Found it on youtube!

Earl Scruggs the Bluegrass Legend Family and Friends

The synth segment starts at 30:35

Not too sure about the results in this case but if nothing else it shows how much the technology has moved on. The synth here would be a tad difficult to take to the session...


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 01:21 PM

Good find. I never saw that video before, just heard the album made from it. The version of "You Ain't Goin Nowhere" just before the synth is a pretty good example of mixing acoustic and electric instruments. Maybe that's what I was thinking of. And the Byrds using John Hartford's fiddle and some pedal steel and banjo on their "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" album.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Stan
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 06:38 PM

A lot of years ago now in a well attended and rather eclectic acoustic trad tunes session here in Manchester, a guy turned up regularly with a guitar and, hidden away, a set of GBH pipes. He would always do one set of tunes on his pipes. I would always leave the room.

Those pipes in an enclosed space were painful on the ears. Nothing wrong with his playing but they were unpleasantly loud. You could hear him OK at the bar, you could hear him OK in the loo and you could also hear him fine on the other side of the road outside the pub, very loud. Also his pipes were almost (plus or minus half a semitone) one tone flat from normal pitch. No one could join in, not even guitarists with a capo.

All this changed when he turns up with a midi set of pipes and a small battery driven amp.

He could be in tune with everyone else, he could join in with other peoples tunes and others could join in with him. Volume was not a problem. This was a successful incidence of amplified and acoustic instruments.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Nick
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 07:36 PM

I always reckoned that the best way to sort if you were playing at the right volume if the audience and rest of the band asked you to increase your volume

Or have a good sound man

Or have control of the PA by putting it within reach of your hand

Like cars and drivers. The problem isn't the cars


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:37 AM

I am always alert to any one bringing a small amp into our Newt Session at Sidders in case they get too loud - having someone 'In Charge' at a session means that some control can be used IF NEEDED.
Alan and Linda (?Kentish lute and Autoharp) both used an amp but didnt need to be told anything - Just Loud enough to be heard without being overpowering .
GUEST Stan - As an EX Scottish Piper I DONT approve of Highland Pipes indoors at all , OR a lot of other 'acoustic' instruments in a small session , unless they CAN be played quietly .


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 05:40 AM

Oooops !! That was me above - Cookie Monster ate my cookie !!


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: cooperman
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:56 AM

Small amps allowed then. Trouble is that to some a 100watt Marshall is a small amp! Wattage of an amp is not always clear. I know, we could have a frame like some airlines have for cabin luggage.
If the amp fits in the frame you are allowed into the session. Ok, I am jesting!


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Bernard
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:12 AM

It's all down to self-discipline, really... most people turn their amp up so they can hear themselves, which invariably means they are then too loud for the ensemble.

One solution is for each them to have in-ear monitoring of some sort - needn't be expensive, one of those headphone practice amps would do the job.

Most amps these days have a direct output that you could plug one into, or use a splitter lead...


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 02:22 PM

All it needs is someone to control the session !


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: MikeL2
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 02:54 PM

Hi

<" Those pipes in an enclosed space were painful on the ears.">

Hear hear.....Many years ago I was in the RAF and we had a guy from Edinburg who played the pipes. He used to practice in the billet !!! After some "discussion" we persuaded him that it was too loud in the enclosed space. So he tried to compromise by practicing on a chanter. Still very loud.

However some years later I lived in Inverness and out in the countryside every summer's evening a piper would play The sound drifted over the hills and was really emotional to hear.

Last year I attended my first Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The sounds of the pipes and drums of the Massed Bands was fantastic. So the pipes can be wonderful to hear in the right environment - but in small room no.

Sorry if I slipped a little away from the thread.

Regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM

In a concert or recording session, the difficulty of hearing your own playing leads to raising the volume of your instrument, UNLESS YOU HAVE GOOD MONITORS -- earphones if it's a recording, speakers if it's a concert. Good monitors, properly handled, can make for good instrumental and vocal balance and a good result.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 07:35 PM

Internal pickups for the acoustics + good sound guy = tasty...

B~


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 09:09 PM

Oil and water.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Bobert
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 09:20 PM

Bull...

B~


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,RB-1
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 06:33 AM

Internal pick ups are the worst invention since the BBQ.

Loud and obnoxious and that's it.
A really good instrument will sound like a cheap toy at best, a guitar morphs into a synthesized harpsichord.

If you want a good sound, go with large membrane condensor mikes AND someone who can handle these.
If you can't you're not a good musician or sound engineer or both.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 08:19 AM

Splurge on a Fishman...

The alternative is to mic it which and hope for the best while generally getting the worst when playing with folks plugged in...

B;~) (plugged in, thank you)


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Amos
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 11:22 AM

Use a good sound man and route the mics and the electric instruments through an Allen&Heath mixer. If a guitar wanker tries to go to eleven, the guy on the mixer can turn his damper down.


A


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,FloraG
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:04 PM

I've been in several Irish pubs where everyone is accoustic - but the pubs had small hanging mikes on arms so they could be moved around but still be fairly unobtrusive. Whoever was leading the song/ tune could just be that little bit louder than the rest. It seemed to work well.

I've also played in a scratch band at a festival where the sound man turned off one of the instruments - unbewnown to the musician. He kept on complaining about the monitor sound - so he got plenty of that - but nothing going out. I thought he was a good PA man.
FloraG.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:25 PM

You can't say "acoustic only except for Billy." a

Why not? Equality is important, but it doesn't rule out other social guidelines.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mooh
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:35 PM

For electric guitar, a master volume amp helps to get a desired tone without the volume. Judicious use of the guitar's volume control can help raise and lower the guitar signal appropriate to the arrangement, rhythm versus solo'lead, etc. Better yet, a volume pedal, so that hands are free to play. Using the amp as a personal monitor works well if it's mic'd to the PA.

For acoustic guitar, unsaddle pickups are an aberration of modern design. They suck tone, sound grassy or quacky, and are a pain to EQ. At least go with a soundboard transducer, K&K makes nice ones, and a decent EQ (mine's a basic ART). Better yet, use a mic. My choice of late has been a Sennheiser condenser.

Everything should be run through a PA if the venue demands the volume.

Do yourself and everyone else a favour by carrying your own quality mic, stand, cable, and other gear so that you're not stuck with some crap from the establishment.

Last, throw caution to the wind and allow a soundperson to control relative volumes. Turning up isn't always the answer if everyone else can turn down.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mooh
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:37 PM

Edit...UNDERsaddle pickups. Apologies.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:55 PM

Opinions are just that. I do not like electric instruments. If you really need one you are in the wrong venue.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 10:01 PM

Hello GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 01:55 PM

I love electric instruments.

I believe and know they are an evolutionary advancement
providing intelligent & imaginative musicians
with creative tonal possibilities
far beyond the restricted limited tonal horizons of acoustic instruments....

if you so obstinately & hostiley refuse to perceive this
well, you are in the wrong century and on the wrong planet............


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 10:32 AM

quote: well, you are in the wrong century and on the wrong planet

As are those Luddites who don't love global warming and nuclear weapons.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Scrapyard Guitar
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 10:42 AM

I would imagine that the best way to manage an amplified instrument in a pub session environment is to face the speaker at the player of the instrument and set the ground rule that those playing such instruments should be able to hear any other instruments being played as well as the amplified sound of their own instrument.
The reflected sound from the pub wall behind the player would enable the rest of the room to hear the amp, the added bonus is that if it gets too loud then someone sitting close by would notice and be able to adjust the volume.
But surely the whole point of a session is to create a good communal sound and not be louder than everybody else, if you can't hear the instrument across the other side of the room for the sound of you own then you are being too loud.
As for amplifiers, there are loads of small almost pocket sized amps out there that would create enough sound for a session environment and they are relatively inexpensive.
Any instrument ought to be playable at social volume if you want to play it load, join a rock band or go to an open mic session, there are a lot of each knocking about.
By the way Burton Coggles I really enjoyed what you did with your electric lap slide guitar over my acoustic version of Little Red Rooster (YouTube: here )


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 11:47 AM

Some good ideas there SYG, I wonder if there'd be a market for a "session amp".

Thanx for the compliment! The little amp I used with the lapsteel was a clone of a Silvertone 1331, probably less than 5W flat out, a tad loud for a session I reckon. Did OK in this situation though!


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 12:01 PM

"As are those Luddites who don't love global warming and nuclear weapons."

Ok Battle of the armchair eco warriors: Round one -

Yes, I play electric instruments, which may be a moral and ideological outrage to some extremist nutters..

but I've never owned a motor vehicle and never will.

insist on using public transport as much as possible whenever it's impractical to walk or cycle..

Never travel by air...

Now I think that might be a reasonable greenish trade off for enjoying a few hours every month
switching my amps on....


ok GUEST,Tony, your turn... ????

if you can read this by candlelight on your wind powered computer...????


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 12:42 PM

Punkrocker, I'm sorry for any offense; it was unintended. I see no moral problem with electric instruments, and in earlier posts I indicated my support for electric and electronic music. The first guitar I built was a solid-body electric, and now I'm working on one that will sound like an electric guitar without being plugged in.

In this last post I was only addressing, with tongue in cheek, the argument that it must be right because it's modern and everyone's doing it. You're of course free to say that you like it, and you may be able to prove by other means that it's an evolutionary achievement, but not by that particular argument.


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Scrapyard Guitar
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM

Mr Coggles there is quite a movement among the cigar box guitar fraternity to convert old transistor radios and cassette players into "dirty" sounding amps see
here and as you know, a lot of the volume from an amp has to do with the size of the speaker used, it would be quite inexpensive and dare I say "Green" to go down this route using a relatively small radio. Or you could just hit eBay and shell out a tenner for one of those dinky little personal practice amps that run about 1 watt. You could then fashion an attachment for a hat so that the amp could be clipped on near the ear of the player thereby ensuring that the player hears the sound loudly whilst everyone else in the room struggles to hear what all the fuss is about... :-)


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 12:53 PM

Hi Burton,

Yeah, even a 1 watt valve amp in the wrong hands can be too loud in small rooms,
but the kinds of amps you are wondering about already exist
in one form or another.
Better still they are relatively affordable for individuals
and a very cost effective solution for session organizers.


There's now plenty of small battery powered portable solid state combos with digital emulation pre-amps
that can sound good enough
at volume levels equivalent to and compatible with acoustic guitars
and other more anti social banjos and squeeze boxes, etc....

It's also worth considering the small self contained multiple instruments combo amps
eg Laney Audiohubs.

http://www.laney.co.uk/show_type.php?tid=32

[seems they've just been upgraded to new versions]

Kinda like a mini PA in a single unit with enough input options for all kinds of mics, instrument pickups,
line-outs from pre-amps etc..

If I were pub/club session organizer I'd invest the 2 or 3 hundred quid outlay
on a good 2nd hand Laney AH, cheap mini sub mixer, line 6 pod or Zoom digital preamps etc..]

scrounge together a handful of mics & mic stands;
and so be adequately/minimally equipped, ready & prepared

to set up a quick & easy sound reinforcement kit
that I could effectively maintain control of each musicians relative sound levels.

That's easy straightforward way I'd mic an informal sesion of singers, acoustic & electric players
sat in a friendly arrangement aroungd pub tables
or mini stage...

This is just something quick I've sketched whilst preparing sunday dinner.
Should at least indicate pragmatic options....


..and Tony, no real offence taken or intended.. most of the bollox I post at mudcat
is light hearted tongue in cheek, even when I'm deadly serious..

Maybe you'd be interested in the new Vox Apache travel guitar
we were discussing in "Where are the youngsters?" thread ???


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 01:46 PM

oops.. should be:

"That's easy straightforward way I'd mix & balance an informal sesion of singers, acoustic & electric players
sat in a friendly arrangement aroungd pub tables
or mini stage...
"


BTW, in such a basic practical set up, it'd probably actually be easier to control & limit the sound level of an electric musician,
than any over-enthusiastic egocentric acoustic basher, bellower, squeezer & scraper...


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: GUEST,nobody in particular
Date: 26 Aug 12 - 05:35 PM

Electric vs. acoustic?? Get real! Every recording you have ever heard in your life was done with electronics, or converting an acoustic sound into an electric signal. Some electric sounds are excellent, some not, it's up to the player. Some acoustic players make acoustics an embarrassment, and can't play worth a hill of beans, so don't try to sell anyone on your 'purist rap', I think you are just too lazy to learn a new trick. Besides, once you pick up an instrument, and begin to make a noise coming out of it, you are dealing with SOUND, study sound, then craft it! anyway you can !!


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Subject: RE: Mixing acoustic / electric instruments
From: Jeremiah McCaw
Date: 01 Sep 12 - 11:49 AM

"Play with your ears". Great phrase, perfectly descriptive.

In a stage situation you'll always find electric guitarists who insist on playing through their amps ("It's my sound, man."). One solution is to tell them they can only use their amps if they're in front of them, pointed back and up, monitor-style; and have the amp mic'd or plugged into the system itself.

Two phrases I use when trying to gain cooperation: "too loud for the mix" and "too loud for the room".


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