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Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?

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Peter T. 08 Mar 02 - 09:31 AM
GUEST,truckerdave 08 Mar 02 - 09:41 AM
MMario 08 Mar 02 - 09:48 AM
Murray MacLeod 08 Mar 02 - 10:00 AM
Midchuck 08 Mar 02 - 10:04 AM
Peter T. 08 Mar 02 - 10:13 AM
Murray MacLeod 08 Mar 02 - 10:14 AM
Fortunato 08 Mar 02 - 10:32 AM
Midchuck 08 Mar 02 - 11:49 AM
Midchuck 08 Mar 02 - 11:50 AM
Fortunato 08 Mar 02 - 12:09 PM
Mark Ross 08 Mar 02 - 12:11 PM
Peter T. 08 Mar 02 - 12:33 PM
Midchuck 08 Mar 02 - 12:40 PM
Marion 08 Mar 02 - 12:48 PM
Fortunato 08 Mar 02 - 01:02 PM
Jim Krause 08 Mar 02 - 01:33 PM
Murray MacLeod 08 Mar 02 - 01:42 PM
Les from Hull 08 Mar 02 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,Ben 08 Mar 02 - 03:39 PM
Peter T. 08 Mar 02 - 04:16 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Mar 02 - 04:36 PM
Roger in Baltimore 08 Mar 02 - 05:11 PM
Peter T. 08 Mar 02 - 05:19 PM
X 08 Mar 02 - 05:22 PM
Murray MacLeod 08 Mar 02 - 05:26 PM
Peter T. 08 Mar 02 - 06:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Mar 02 - 06:55 PM
53 08 Mar 02 - 07:41 PM
Marion 27 Mar 02 - 02:12 AM
Steve in Idaho 27 Mar 02 - 01:58 PM
Fortunato 27 Mar 02 - 01:59 PM
Marion 02 Apr 02 - 10:37 PM
Susan from California 03 Apr 02 - 12:32 PM
GUEST,CraigS 03 Apr 02 - 04:06 PM
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Subject: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 09:31 AM

We have had many threads on this theme, but I haven't got time to wander through them, much as I would like to. Can someone give me a brief disquisition on what to do if you suspect you are going to be on a stage with a single standup mike, singing a trad song or two with an acoustic guitar? (This may happen to me for the first time next week, shudder, for a friend's benefit nite, somehow I got talked into it). I have no idea what kind of system they will have, I need to imagine the worst. If so confronted, how do you get the best sound from both voice and guitar (I will be fingerpicking a little)? Do you angle the mike slightly down from the face, stand back a bit, or what? Bring up the guitar to the mike when you can? I appreciate that there are all kinds of different mikes, and that one should try and test, go to the room beforehand, etc. I don't think I am going to have any of that kind of information or time. I am looking for emergency tips!! Help!

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: GUEST,truckerdave
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 09:41 AM

Well if even thought i had to do something like that, i wouldn't. I wouldn't think it's going to sound very good either. I always threw an extra SM57 in car when going to strange place just in case they didn't have another mike if i didn't have pickup in guitar. Why don't they have 2 mikes anyway?


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: MMario
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 09:48 AM

*shudder* ignore the mike! ignore the mike!

sorry, I have a quite severe mike phobia.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 10:00 AM

Peter, I tend to go with trickerdave on this. If you are contemplating performing with your guitar, you really need to have a pick-up system fitted.

I know all the arguments about it sounds better through a mike etc rtc but the hard facts of the matter are that if you are going to sing and play at the same time, you need to get your guitar fitted with a pick-up system Oh, and you also need a DI box of course and the appropriate cords.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 10:04 AM

But once you fit a pickup, it isn't an acoustic guitar anymore. It's an out-of-date form of electric guitar. What if that isn't what you want to play?

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 10:13 AM

The truth is, I don't know what kind of system they will have, but I am betting on the worst. I can be pleasantly surprised, of course.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 10:14 AM

Peter, as well you know, even Doc Watson plays with a Fishman on his Gallagher. And I am pretty sure Jack Lawrence uses a pick-up too......

Playing acoustic guitar through a mike is so fraught with the possibility of unexpected feedback, that it just isn't worth the risk.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Fortunato
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 10:32 AM

Here's my two cents, Peter.

Since you apparently aren't a professional player, you are not exposing yourself to loss of stature. So don't worry about the sound too much.

1) Sound check before the performance. Have someone speak and strum a chord and you stand out front. Often folks buy omnidirectional mikes for this sort of scene and while it doesn't sound the best, it may have a fairly large area of sensitivity. If so you and your guitar will be heard. Have them move around until you get the best position.

2) I suggest you sit down to play. This will bring your mouth nearer the sound hole of your guitar. A classical guitar players foot stool (or something of that height) could help as well.

3) Place the mike slightly lower than your mouth and tilt the mike upward at a 30-45 degree angle.

4) Speak and strum a few chords and say "Can you folks can hear me in the back?" This may get their attention.

Just have fun. If you enjoy yourself, the audience will as well. Good Luck. Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 11:49 AM

Yeah. I know Jack Lawrence uses one. I bought his old Collings D2H that he used as his stage guitar from 93-99. It has dings where Doc ran it into a lavatory when Jack was guiding him into the bathroom before a set somewhere. No lie. It has a McIntyre in it. Sounds good - very acoustic - over our little keyboard amp; but I don't hardly ever use it. Playing into the AKG C1000s that we got works fine, thank you.

What's a "professional" player? You mean one who does it full time and has no day job? Then no, I'm not. If a person with a day job who plays paying gigs on a regular basis qualifies as a professional, then I suggest a Google search under "Woodchucks' Revenge" (you need to use both the plural and singular placements of the apostrophe to get all the links. Most people don't realize the possessive plural exists, so they spell it wrong. But I digress.)

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 11:50 AM

P. S. Norman Blake does it my way. End of argument.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Fortunato
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 12:09 PM

Midchuck, I'm sorry if I offended you, I was addressing Peter T, not you. I thought Peter T. was saying this was the first time he will have been on stage. With that in mind, and if he isn't planning on doing this a lot, I thought perhaps to offer suggestions that would suffice for a 'one time appearance'.

I did not mean to say that you are not a professional. Since you signed your post Peter, as well, I now see that there is a name confusion? But I didn't mean to offend anyone. I have a day job and gig for money part time. I think of myself as a professional.

My wife and I were recently asked to play at a friend's son's bar mitzvah, as courtesy. We had one microphone between us so I was drawing on that experience to try and help Peter T get ready.

If my comments seemed to be addressed to you it was my mistake in not adding the 'T'. I'm sorry. I will do the search you suggest, I did not mean to demean you in any way. Chance


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 12:11 PM

I carry a small Shure that clips in the soundhole for just such occassions. In an old tobacco tin, it just sits in my case for when I run into this problem. Although I showed up for a gig at a college in Wyoming and they only had one mic. They had plugins for 2m but one was wired backwards, and it took a half hour for the janitor to find an adaptor.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 12:33 PM

Thanks Fortunato and others. It is certainly my first time in this situation (and maybe the last). Question: should you move your guitar towards the mike from time to time, or is that too disruptive? I know that pros do that (in an almost ballet sequence in bluegrass in solos), but I haven't seen amateur acoustic players do that. I guess I am wondering about whether you should be trying to give a consistent overall soundscape (like playing a mono record) by standing back a bit, or should you be emphasizing things like the voice at different times, the guitar at different times, etc. I imagine a consistent overall soundscape is less disruptive to the listener, but what do I know....

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Midchuck
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 12:40 PM

Sorry I went off half-cocked. My wife tells me I do it all the time. I don't want to know what she means.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Marion
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 12:48 PM

So Peter, where and when? Are we invited?

Marion


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Fortunato
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 01:02 PM

No harm done, Midchuck. I see your band gets around. I hope I get to hear it someday.

Peter T. I think since it's your first time and you might be a touch nervous, that you should not worry about guitar placement or dynamics and stuff, just try to sit comfortable and face the mike when singing or speaking. Rehearse lots and play your best. Fortunato


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Jim Krause
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 01:33 PM

Pete, Find a compromise position for the mic between voice and guitar, apporximately half way between, maybe six inches higher, at most. Turn up the gain on the mic as much as the room will stand without feeding back. Make sure the main speakers are positioned well away from the mic. Stand back from the mic about a foot to 18 inches, not more than two feet away, and pick and sing in a normal fashion. It may work if you have a fairly decent mic. If you have real junk, nothing will help. And if this advice has already been given in a previous post, my apologies. I read your initial post, & just started writing.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 01:42 PM

Peter, just tell your friend you need two mikes, tell him to beg or borrow another one (plus mikestand) and have done with it. Don't F--- about contorting yourself on stage. Life's too short.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 01:50 PM

It's always a problem when you don't know what the set-up will be.

If the venue is small and quiet enough, you may be able to get away with a fully acoustic set. You will miss out on all that lovely feedback pops and whistles. If it's a friendly crowd it would be best for you to sit among your audience, rather than just facing them. Make sure that everyone can hear, and will listen, though.

Another option - I have a cheapish pickup attached to my bouzouki, which fixes on with just double-sided sticky tape. I usually use it just to plug the tuner into, so that I can tune up in sessions without requiring 'hush', but it works pretty well with a DI. These things are under 30 British Pounds, and of course you'll need a lead as well. You can leave it there for the next time, or just regard it as a tuning aid.

I hope this helps. Les


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: GUEST,Ben
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 03:39 PM

If your still going ahead with this after all that has been said! My suggestion is- get there before people start arriving and try and get sorted out with the PA. If the room is smallish try singing out with few people in what does it sound like and if you fancy doing it with out the mike(?) Do your bit very early on before it starts getting noisy.

Good luck

Ben


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 04:16 PM

Continuing thanks to all.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 04:36 PM

The main thing is stay in one place. Sitting down has that effect - and with only one mike it means the guitar and the mouth can both be close together.

If you have to stand, or feel better that way, you could try shortening the strap and holding the guitar up so that it's closer to your mouth and the mike than it would be normally. Better practice doing that first.

I'm with Mmario on this though, I hate microphones. They always seem to need you to be too close to them for comfort. I am sure there are microphone setups where you could stand back a couple of feet and just play and sing, which would be far better = but I've never come across them.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 05:11 PM

Peter,

There is a long history of working with just one mike. In Applacchia (sp?), most places string bands played that were amplified only had one mike. The New Lost City Ramblers copied this style at one time to have a more "traditional" presentation. So, imagine three guys, three vocals, one guitar, one fiddle, and one banjo. They were able to do it quite successfully. In the past few years, a couple of Country groups have tried this same approach looking for a more intimate sound (no need for more than one monitor). You're all close and cozy, too.

It requires a lot of choreography to do this, but it works well.

You're just one lone guy with a guitar, should be a piece of cake. As mentioned above, if you do this standing, you will need to hike up your instrument. Mike Seeger often looked like he was wearing his guitar for a bow tie. That might be a bit extreme. Then use the mike to "split the difference" between your mouth and your guitar.

My last gig was in a church coffeehouse. They had a new sound man and he had a terrible 60 cycle hum in his speakers. I was one of a half-dozen or so acts to go on. The first act was painful (buzz in the background). The next act was a poet. Someone from the church brought her the wireless mike from the church's sound system. Sounded just fine. The next was an acapella trio. They tried the sound system and it was again painful. I was next. I suggested to the emcee that I could use the wireless mike on a stand. Just me and my Guild 12-string. I took my own advice from above. I even finger picked with my bear fingers (I chew my nails, so the volume is minimal). I was told it sounded fine in the back row.

Good luck.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 05:19 PM

bear fingers is what I got, sure enough. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: X
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 05:22 PM

What's the big deal? Flatt and Scruggs and The Foggy Mt. Boys played Carngie Hall with only two mikes. Just stand back an bit from the mike and let'er rip.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 05:26 PM

The one mic approach works well if you have the right mike.

"Still on the Hill" a superb vocal/fiddle/guitar duo from Arkansas use one mic in all their gigs, but, they sure as hell aren't using an SM-58, which is what you are most likely to encounter if you are depending on the venue to supply the sound gear.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 06:08 PM

Somebody talked about this in a thread (many!). An SM-58 is what, vs. a SM-57? (Sorry if I have forgotten or never learned this vital piece of info everyone else knows).

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 06:55 PM

Do people ever just carry their favourite mike around with them and get it plumbed into the sound system? Is that practical?


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: 53
Date: 08 Mar 02 - 07:41 PM

I used to carry my own SM-57 with me and it came in very handy even though I didn't sing, it came in handy for miking my amp in certain setups. If I didnt have that mic, then I would have been shit out of luck, cause some of the crap that people used for mics was unbelievable.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Marion
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 02:12 AM

So Peter, how did it go?

Marion


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 01:58 PM

Yes - Inquiring minds want to know *BG*

Steve


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Fortunato
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 01:59 PM

Yeah, how screwed up was our advice? Did they throw anything at you? (Vegetables, undergarments?)


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Marion
Date: 02 Apr 02 - 10:37 PM

C'mon, Peter, you can tell us.


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: Susan from California
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 12:32 PM

Could it be that Peter had so much fun that he's still singing? :-)


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Subject: RE: Tips: Onstage with guitar + 1 mike?
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 03 Apr 02 - 04:06 PM

The advice about keeping 12-18" between mike, mouth, and guitar is good. The best way to maintain the situation is to play standing, as if you have no guitar strap, and rest your guitar on your left knee. To avoid the Quasimodo look, put your left foot on a chair first.

Lots of people carry their own mike. I carry an old Beyer ribbon mike, which does wonders for the bass response if you get close enough.


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