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advice - amp for busking

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alison 20 Jan 03 - 11:56 PM
GUEST,MCP 21 Jan 03 - 02:35 AM
Felipa 21 Jan 03 - 02:36 AM
alanabit 21 Jan 03 - 02:42 AM
smallpiper 21 Jan 03 - 04:56 AM
clansfolk 21 Jan 03 - 06:17 AM
reggie miles 21 Jan 03 - 09:35 AM
alanabit 21 Jan 03 - 10:46 AM
mooman 21 Jan 03 - 11:55 AM
Genie 21 Jan 03 - 02:11 PM
alison 21 Jan 03 - 09:18 PM
Genie 21 Jan 03 - 10:32 PM
GUEST,Claymore 21 Jan 03 - 11:11 PM
reggie miles 22 Jan 03 - 12:07 AM
alanabit 22 Jan 03 - 03:54 AM
alison 22 Jan 03 - 08:40 PM
greg stephens 22 Jan 03 - 08:58 PM
reggie miles 22 Jan 03 - 11:36 PM
harpmaker 23 Jan 03 - 08:34 PM
M'Grath of Altcar 24 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 24 Jan 03 - 10:18 AM
Marion 24 Jan 03 - 11:06 AM
reggie miles 24 Jan 03 - 02:12 PM
Ghost Ferret 04 Jul 08 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,Texas Guest 05 Jul 08 - 12:45 AM
Ghost Ferret 05 Jul 08 - 04:48 AM
breezy 05 Jul 08 - 05:40 AM
oggie 05 Jul 08 - 05:44 AM
GUEST 06 Jul 08 - 03:46 AM
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Subject: advice - amp for busking
From: alison
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 11:56 PM

I'm thinking of taking the harp busking, and considering getting a small battery powered amp to project the sound a bit further.

has anyone any experience with battery powered amps?

a friend of mine has a very cute little fender amp powered by a 9V battery...... I was wondering how long a battery like that would last for, (he hasn't used it yet so doesn't know)......

or do you go for one of the others which takes 4 "D" batteries?

basically I want something that has a resonable sound... not one that sounds like a short wave radio.....

any ideas?

thanks

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 02:35 AM

Have a look a this thread: amp combo thing for busking - advice, which also has links to other busking related threads.

Mick


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Felipa
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 02:36 AM

I hate buskers using amps - might make exception for a harp if you don't overdo it


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 02:42 AM

I feel the same way as Felipa. If it is just to make the harp audible, that's a different matter. If is to close the entire street for other buskers - like the Kelly Family used to do - we ain't going to be friends! You will find some constructive advice here for sure. Good luck. Alan.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: smallpiper
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 04:56 AM

Don't do it!

I hate it when buskers use amps, they are not needed and people will pay you more attention if you don't use one and herefore more money!

They will hear your harp on the edge of their hearing and seek you out and that can only be good.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: clansfolk
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 06:17 AM

Check out new restrictions under proposed licensing laws if in England/Wales - no point in buying something you'll not be able to use


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: reggie miles
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 09:35 AM

Busking in a street festival situation, where there is a lot of other bleed from amplified stages, or other individuals or groups busking with louder instruments like horns and drums to compete with, I've seen, or rather heard, amplifiers make a world of difference. Without them a performer could easily be passed by due to not being easily heard over the din. I've busked off and on for years and have racked my brain to try to find the right combination of gear that would do the trick in those less than intimate situations. Acoustic guitar can't cut through the pounding of a twenty drummers in a circle echoing through the hollow or a bagpiper if he's anywhere nearby or that brass section that's decided to set up across the street from you and your voice won't last long if you are constantly having to try to compete. The use of some kind of amplification is key to holding a large enough audience. If you can't be easily heard the audience will gravitate to a path of least resistance. That's why larger/louder groups more often have larger crowds. It's much easier for a loud instrument to dominate that kind of scene and ruin the chances of folks with quiet instuments to be heard. It's happened to me regularly at those kind of events.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 10:46 AM

We have discussed this before. Reggie is quite right to point out that you can get sidelined at festivals and in other situations if you are not amplified. My problem with the "Go back and get a bigger stick" philosophy is that it will inevitably result in busking being banned in more places. In the meantime, only one sort of busker will be able to survive - namely the loud one. I do not want to join in. If this trend prevails, busking will not produce any new Pete Morton, Kieren Goss, Don Partridge or Phil Free. At the end of the day, a lot of "Street Performer Festivals" are nothing of the sort. They feature loudly amplified acts which would be forbidden (understandably so) in most places at most times.
I do not want to be bigoted about this. I can see the point of using very low level amplification for a harp or a classical guitar - with the proviso that the volume level is there to make music audible rather than to hog space. Unless we buskers know where to draw the line here, others will do it for us.
You sound like an interesting bloke Reggie. Maybe we should PM and swap notes?


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: mooman
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 11:55 AM

I'm not at all as experienced in busking as some like alanabit and Reggie and, in general, tend towards preferring the unamplified.

However a small amp (like the 10W Fender) can be useful if busking with a quiet instrument and I am very sympathetic to such performers. Recently, in Berlin, I got into an interesting conversation with a young Russian girl busker playing the domra quite beautifully. Being a quiet instrument, it did definitely benefit from a little amplification through a battery powered amp she had.

On the other hand, we have a busking group here in Brussels in the same spot for several hours every Saturday with a state-of-the-art Electrovoice mobile PA and, I must admit, I quietly utter more than one rude word to myself as I pass by!

Peace,

moo


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Genie
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 02:11 PM

My Fender Amp Can is very easy to carry and use in any place with no place to plug in. Its sound quality varies a lot from place to place, and because it's only the size of a 3-lb coffee can (remember those?), it's a bit weak on bass frequencies. But it does have inputs for both mic and direct in (both take 3/4 in. jacks) and separate volume and tone controls for the two inputs.

In some venues I'm perfectly happy with it. In others, the sound leaves a lot to be desired -- not distorted or static-filled, just less than optimal sound frequency equalization. In a place like a subway station or under a bridge, where there would be a bit of natural reverb, it would probably sound pretty good.

Genie


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: alison
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 09:18 PM

thanks everyone.... no I'm not aiming for the "I can play louder than you" or "right in your face" effect... just something to get the sound of a harp a few extra feet away..... because otherwise you simply can't hear it... especially over traffic / trains / people

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Genie
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 10:32 PM

BTW, the Amp Can has a built-in rechargeable battery (with plug-in battery charger). If you don't crank it up really loud, you can play for hours and hours between charges.

Alison, do you mike your harp when you use an amp or can it take a direct-in? (I've never seen a direct-in for a harp, but if you can do it for violins and guitars and other strings, why not?)

Genie


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 11:11 PM

Genie, Dusty Strings carries a pick-up for harps that has preamp thats too hot for words. (Our harpest uses it and I have to pad it 30db just to avoid blowing preamps on the board). A Dean Markley Acoustic (which is a wooden covered dot about an inch and a half across, and sticks on with putty, does an excellent job and costs about 45 bucks) is a good place to start.

This won't help you where battery power is necessary, but if you buy a 1/4" female to 1/8" male mini plug adapter, use it for the end of the pick-up, and plug it into a spare set of computer speakers, you have a pretty good really small amp package with two speakers for nursing homes. Just remember to take the wall wart with you, to power the speakers. Also works well with a 1/8" to 1/8" stereo (TRS to TRS) cable going from the ear headset portion of your Walkman to the input on the speaker set, for instant speaker sounds from your CD player. Good Luck!


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: reggie miles
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 12:07 AM

alanabit and others, just to clarify, I have currently drafted a letter to the Folklife festival people about this very issue. They asked for suggestions.

It seems that each year at the festival folks with quiet instruments that wish to perform in a casual way or even busk are at the mercy of those who play louder instruments. Folks with instruments that have a louder acoustic volume naturally win in a contest like this. It isn't fair when you consider that the majority of folks at the festival play instuments that are quiet and are being displaced by the minority who have instuments of greater volume. My suggestion was similar to what some of you have stated. Turn down the volume.

I think if you play an instrument that is naturally loud that the festival should place those folks farther away from the highest concentration of performances. In other words determine who is loudest and find some other location, either indoor which would insulate them from hoarding too much audible acoustic performance space or distance them from the highest concentration of acoustic performance locations.

I understand that this year the bluegrass folks are taking the first steps to move away from the festival altogether by starting another event. They were the ones who were instrumental in getting the Folklife festival off the ground in the first place years ago. They've been having trouble with the organizers for years trying to simply get some long overdue respect. This very issue of volume has been their bane for years and no one at the organizational level seems to care.

Some of the acouistic folks have taken to amplifing their instruments to compete with the louder folks. Hence a kind of battle of the volume knobs has been taking place. The festival organizers drafted regulations against amplification and have sent amp squads out to quell the infractions but they've yet to address the issue of organizing the event by volume.

I'm certain they're shy of broaching the subject because it opens a musical can of worms. Everyone has the right to bring their particular folk music out to be heard and the organizers don't want to be put in the position of appearing openly prejudicial. However, something must be done. It's simply not fair that a handful of loud instruments should dominate the small amount of acoustic performance space available at the festival. It's giving those who play quiet instruments nowhere to play and those who choose to amplify to compete a bad rap with festival organizers. And now those who were responsible for creating the event and have supported it for years, the bluegrass folks, are thinking about uprooting and starting all over again elsewhere.

If those who play the loudest are removed from the one main area available to perform acoustically (around the fountain) it would vastly lower the overall din and open up that area to many more performers who play instruments of lower volume allowing a greater number of performances to be heard and enjoyed by all.

I'm not saying that folks who play loud instruments have no place. I'm just pointing out that their volume should not infringe on the performances of others as it presently does. Give those with the most volume an indoor location where they can be heard or a proper outdoor location to perform where the practice of their art is not limiting so many others.

This question, the good of the many vs the good of the few, is the basis for many long and drawn out debates. Here we go again.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: alanabit
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 03:54 AM

There is nothing I take issue with there Reggie. I agree with every word you have written.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: alison
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 08:40 PM

Genie,

the sound hole are in the back of my harp, so I have a modified kiddies floatation kick board with a angled hole in the middle which slides into the hole in the sound board (are you following this so far????? *grin*)

through the hole I stick a Shure SM58 mic which points at the sound board...... works really well.......

and now that I actual have something which holds the mic in I don't get the same funny looks and comments as I used to get when I just set the mic on my stool between my thighs... pointing into the back of the harp!!!

my little lap harp has 3 condenser mics inside with a hole in the side to plug in a lead....... but I don't use the little harp for performances much... its myb "camping harp".......

personally I prefer the sound of the Shure

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 08:58 PM

I have lived by busking for big chunks of my life, always acoustically. I make a point of always giving money to buskers, as I imagine all buskers do. however, I generally make a point of not giving anything to people with amps, because basically I think thats not what it's about.I'm prejudiced against against backing tapes and amps. I did give a quid to a Spanish guitairst the other day in Newcastle beacause he was good, even though he had an amp, but generally speaking I dont bother.
   A good busker will find towns that suits them, and the right places in the towns for their music. Good luck to everyone, amps or not. I just mention my prejudice against amps here, as others have...it's useful for people planning on busking to know about these prejudices...cos if you're cranked up loud and proud, you wont get anything from me!


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: reggie miles
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 11:36 PM

BTW, a particularly clever friend, who happened to be an adept with electronic matters, developed a small supportive amplifier by mounting a twelve inch speaker inside a five gallon plastic bucket. The circuit board he used was gleaned from another amplifier. One of those mini amps that are 9 volt battery operated and measure about 6"x6". They're sold as a samll practice amp but are almost a novelty. They are very inexpensive. He looked at the components used in the circuitry and realized that they could produce more output. So he threw away the small outer housing that it came with and then mounted the guts inside the bucket with the knob(s) and input sticking out the side. He ran the thing with a small motorcycle type 12 volt lead acid battery which had no trouble operating the unit and could easily be recharged. It sounded great and gave his guitar just enough presence to enable him to hear on the noisy street. It also had the added advantage of being disguised as a simple five gallon pail or bucket to carry his essentials.

Some people have all the smarts.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: harpmaker
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 08:34 PM

I prefare to busk just accoustic with the harp, however, after 2 or 3 hours of playing, my fingers look like Pigs Tit's!!!!!! And I can't play for a week! An amp stops all this, BUT you have to keep moving on, just for the shopkeepers, they dont mind so much when you return. (everything in moderation) Anyhow back to the point- Alison, go for an amp that is powered by 12v motorbike battery. You can re-charge the battery: An amp that is powerd by 12v is much more clear, (Plenty of amps!) BUT- its not about high volume, just clear audio to the same level as say a good guitar/ whisle etc. John the harp; or Pigs Tit's, if you prefare!


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: M'Grath of Altcar
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 08:32 AM

I use a Doobie 15 watt Amp for Busking with a harp.

Its a sort of Mesa boogie copy, is loud as you'll ever need and even has a reverb spring!

Most importantly it runs on a 12v set of batteries so it will run off a car battery OR (very useful ) a motorbike battery.

I ran an effects machine (zoom) of the same set of betteries with no ill-effects.

I conceal the amp in a large canvas bag so I don't offend the purists!!!!

Take a dog to double your money.

Put a hat on the dog to double your money again!!


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 10:18 AM

I have an electric fiddle. I tried to play accoustic but found it hurt my ears because the instrument was too close to my head. Playing it on the chest interferes with technique. You're somewhat limited to the first position fingering.

I've found that I can control the volume on my fiddle so that it doesn't overpower anything. It's not about electric instruments, it's about the egos of those who feel that they have to crank it up to make music. Play with amps but keep it down. Why not?

Frank


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Marion
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 11:06 AM

Greg, what you said in your first paragraph is my own habit as well.

Marion


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: reggie miles
Date: 24 Jan 03 - 02:12 PM

There seems to be some side taking going on here. Greg says busking is all about not using an amp a and that he's prejudice against those who do. Marion agrees with him. Small piper and Felipa actually used the word hate to describe their feelings about buskers that use amps.

It makes me wonder just how many of you, who have taken such strong stances, have ever busked for any length of time like Greg and, if you have, what instruments you use in your endeavors.

I awoke early one day at an outdoor festival far away from the roar of automobile engines to seek a secluded spot to offer my music. The festival doors were not yet opened and so I was only hoping to catch the ears of a few of the merchants that were rising and busying themselves with preparations for the day. I set myself in a central location where I could easily be seen by all and began to play. To my surprise and disappointment another performer set himself right on the edge of the clearing where I was playing. He was playing a harp that was amplified. Needless to say my meager unamplified musical saw was no match. I was stunned by his rudeness at setting up so closely when I was in the area first and already performing. Da noive a dat guy! I guess I shouldn't have been surprised as that sort of thing kept happening all weekend long with other performers at the same event. From children on fiddles to entire bands I was coldly and perhaps deliberately interupted all weekend long. How do you explain to a little one that they need to be sensitive about setting up to play too closely to another performer's location without sounding like a bully? Where were his parents? They, at least, should have had more sense than to let him do so? Each time, instead of trying to confront those who behaved that way, I simply moved on about the festival grounds looking for another location where I could successfully offer what I had without being intruded upon by others. The grounds were large and which made the task a difficult one. I was exhausted before I could find a space and gave up.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Ghost Ferret
Date: 04 Jul 08 - 11:30 PM

I have used the Roland Micro amp and I have several PA's just depends on where i'm playing at. I play the Native American Flute. I also use an echo box to get that canyon type of effect. People like it that way so thats how I do it. I havent tried playing without an amp seem like most of the fokes that play the NAF (native american flute) use amps to get the sound out.
I dont understand the anamosity or hate for those who busk using an amp or not. My point is those who do or dont are there playing for fokes and keeping them entertained and happy. It makes no difference to me, if the person is good then I leave something for them.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Texas Guest
Date: 05 Jul 08 - 12:45 AM

Alison - as a general rule, I don't busk; however, I do a few gigs where I would otherwise be expected to be "unplugged" but these days
I'm not so unplugged and it is both convenient and sounds great.

With these gigs in mind (one a street gig and one a festival)I recently made a great move - I bought a Roland Micro Cube for $100 and I love it. It weights almost nothing and it comes with a chorus, a reverb and three or four other settings that work really well; and, the joy of it is that I can play my instrument without beating it to death - and, I can fingerpick and still be heard above the traffic or other noise. I cannot speak more highly about the
Roland Micro Cube - the sound it puts out is outstanding and I think you would really like it. Go give it a test drive. Cheers.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Ghost Ferret
Date: 05 Jul 08 - 04:48 AM

Roland has one called the Street Cube it has a battery and sounds pretty good has all the features of the Micro cube but instead of being 2 watts the street cube is 5 watts. Cost at Musicians Friend in the US is $295. Roland claims it will last 10 hours. I just bought the Alesis Transactive mobile amp with Ipod dock. Paid $299 US as well has 22 watts and is battery powered. Will let you know how it works out and sounds.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: breezy
Date: 05 Jul 08 - 05:40 AM

I succumbed to the amp revolution, or to put it another way, decided to make things easier and save on broken strings, but I was lead by a mate !

The Vox DA5 with input for guitar and a 2nd for a voice mike, which I must admit to rarely using

loads of effects built in

reasonable price in U K £85 - $160

runs on 6 x 1.5 v batteries that last for far longer than 10 hours, more like 60 - 70, I logged it once, and do not weigh as much as a car battery, it fits into my rucksack so it frees me hands for the guitar

For what its worth


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: oggie
Date: 05 Jul 08 - 05:44 AM

Be warned however that a number of towns (UK) are clamping down on amplified buskers.

Steve


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 03:46 AM

which towns are clamping down Im not aware of any. I think they encourage amps to improve sound in some areas.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 09:25 AM

Portable amps aloud for acoustical bass guitars other than Tacoma, Dave Maze & Martin. They don't need 'em. All other instruments, Your love (soul) will carry you through. Project, gosh darn it.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: oggie
Date: 06 Jul 08 - 04:14 PM

"which towns are clamping down Im not aware of any. I think they encourage amps to improve sound in some areas."

York, Lincoln and Chester to my knowledge. It's not blanket but only in some parts of the towns. Likewise if you are selling CDs you need a Street Trading Licence. York grants them (£35 per day)Chester, Liverpool and Lincoln don't.

York had also just told one group that because of the size of their amplification they will have to rent a performance space (£100 per half day plus the STL)

Steve


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 07 Jul 08 - 03:30 PM

I now have 3 battery powered 10 to 15 watt amps to "re-inforce" the sound of my jug when playing with Snakehead Run on the Streets (don't know when to stop on ebay). All were $100 plus shipping or less on ebay.

A Jay Turser 10 watt
A Crate Taxi 15 watt
a Peavey Solo battery powered.

When all is said and done the Crate TX15 is the best buy for the bucks if you want a small support amp that will not blow away your neighbors. The Jay Turser is more for electric guitar and though rechargeable has relatively low battery life (around 2 hours). It also has only 1 input. The Peavey uses 8 regular D size batteries which need to be replaced when they runout. Both the Crate and the Peavey have 2 inputs (instrument and VOX).

I found the roland micro cube and the VOX a little small for what I needed, and liked the 2 inputs of the Crate and Peavey.

JAB


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 12:59 AM

Stick a 9v transistor battery stuck up the singer's rectum and the vocalist should be able project.

Busking??? Give us a break !!!

If you can't take yourself, your "equipment" and disappear into a crowd in LESS than two seconds....

YOU AIN"T A BUSKER

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 01:02 AM

Last I heard - Alison took off to Mexico - to busk with the Norte Narco Familia

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Ghost Ferret
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 10:39 AM

Gargoyle, maybe you should take your opion and stick it. BTW did you eat paint chips as a child?


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,the boss
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 08:37 PM

i think you are all full of shit especially the tool who keeps complaining about the use of amplification a true musician would want to be heard at any cost and if that means busking being banned bt the powers that be then so be it it's only one more oppressive fucked up law for us all to break anyhow


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 09:51 PM

"a true musician would want to be heard at any cost"

Well that does not mean drowning out every other poor bastard muso who is there as well...

"only one more oppressive fucked up law for us all to break anyhow"

Well if you get hooked on that habit, you have no respect for anything but yourself...


There was a true case in the Brisbane Mall about am amplified C&W singer who was banned because she was too loud - unamplified...


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 11:00 PM

I see the Vox DA5 has already been mentioned,
but heres a direct link to their full range of battery powered mobile amps..

plus, a link to the new Line 6 microspider..

I'd expect them to be very reasonable quality and versatile
digital FX equipped working performance tools..

just ignore all the overexcited sales pitch aimed at
teststerone fueled death metal metal kids..

I'm sure any of these amps could be well capable of quieter clean amped sounds
in more mature hands...


http://uk.line6.com/microspider/


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 11:01 PM

the systems only allowing me to post one blue clicky at a time ???



http://www.voxamps.co.uk/daseries/index.asp


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 08 Jul 08 - 11:24 PM

harmony-central user review of the microspider

http://reviews.harmony-central.com/reviews/Guitar+Amp/product/Line+6/micro+spider/10/1


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Willie-O
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 06:40 PM

Here's a whole different class of busking amp, goes for about $150 in Canada:

Traynor TVM 10

It is a 2-channel amp, (yes it has an XLR input) with built-in recharageable power source that is supposed to run 10 hours or so.

It is wedge-shaped like a monitor; also can be set up vertically on a stand (yup you could use 2 together with an unpowered board for a ultra-transportable mini-PA), the guy that showed it to me is someone I trust for many years back (I didn't plug in and try it); and there is a larger 30-watt variant for an entirely reasonable $230 Cdn!

If I was in the market, I'm pretty sure I would use this as the benchmark cause it has everything I'd be looking for including price.
W-O


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Neil Kendall
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 06:38 AM

Hi, I am a full time busker in the UK and I think all you people bashing the use of amplifiers are totally wrong.

Without an amplifier, you will not make much money busking. For one, most town and city centres have so much background noise...e.g. pedestrians walking and talking, music from shops, traffic from roads, street cleaners, etc.

Also, if people see you with an amp then it's obvious you're a professional musician and not just a 'beggar with and instrument'.

I have been busking full time for 2 years, and without an amp you will struggle and you will be very limited as to where you will be able to play.

I rarely get 'moved on' or 'told to turn it down'...in fact, quite the opposite...people seem to enjoy very much what I do.

I make a VERY good living busking...far more than when I used to work full time for an employer....so all you people critisizing buskers using amps are way off the mark.

The bottom line: to make a good living busking and to make yourself heard clearly, YOU NEED TO HAVE AN AMPLIFER.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: alanabit
Date: 30 Sep 08 - 07:23 AM

Thank-you for giving the benefits of your two years of experience to us all. There are people here, who have been at it for a little longer. I am not even the most experienced here - and I began full time in 1979. At the end of the day what matters is not how loud you are but how good you are. Don Partridge and Phil Free (ever heard of them?) have never used amplification and they are still doing it in their seventies. Glyn Nicholas (ask any Aussie), Kieren Goss and Pete Morton, Mark and Simon, Busking Chris and Slippery Mike (to mention just a few) never used amps either and all were very successful buskers.
In certain situations it is virtually impossible to work without amplification. Among those situations is when the noise level is already very high, because other buskers are over amplified. The amplified South American bands of the eighties lost more towns to buskers than any busking opponents could have dreamed of. I would prefer to see quieter busking shows, but see them allowed in more places. Unfortunately, the trend seems to be going in the opposite direction.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,CAthy Davis
Date: 08 Jan 09 - 12:17 AM

I am a busker in Nanimo Britsh Columbia. i started busking on the streets of vancouver when i was 15 years old.
I am now 53.
for many years I was an accoustic only busker. i raised five children on the money i made playing on the street.
As time has gone by the world has changed. Especially the busking world in Nanaimo.
There are more buskers , more regulations and less places to play.
I always found it difficult to play and sing over a fiddle, a bagpiper or accordions. I persevered for years. in my town there is a lot of noise from traffic , comstruction and just everyday city life.Our city has special permits for amplified invited buskers who the city deem appropriate for whatever reason.There are also countless amplified perfomances by full bands with tens of thousands of watts being put out. I bought myself a crate limosine five years ago so I could amplify my vocals to give myself an edge. It worked and the other buskers got choked. I also play in a professional band and have run sound for years. i bought the best busking amp with money I earned from busking.
Ourcity allows pianos , electric guitars , electric bass to be amplified with a 15 watt amplifier. They do not allow an accoustic guitar with a pick up to be amplified. Neither do they allow the human voice to be amplified.

In my opinion those musicians who know how to do sound and have earned the money to buy good gear should be allowed to use it . Provided that they do not infringe apon the rights of others. There should be space created for accoustic and other instruments which includes loud instruments like bagpipes drums accordions and fiddles.

Amplification is a great tool but must be used properly.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,John
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 04:49 AM

It depends which harp your talking about. Bob Dylan reffered to a harmonica as a 'harp' though the instrument Joanna Newsom plays is a typical harp.

If your using a harmonica WITH a guitar, i find that you will definitely not need an amp, the acoustic guitar and harmonica are fine. Solo harmonica im not sure cause ive never tried it.

I dont play the harp, but certainly in Brisbane there aren't many other musical buskers so having an amp would be fine by me. Plus, passers by dont judge you for having an amp and thats ridiculous to think they do. Just dont overdo it.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jan 09 - 08:18 PM

The amplified South American bands of the eighties

What?

Did they ALL retire to Edinburgh?


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: alanabit
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 12:16 AM

I don't know Jack. I am just very glad that I rarely see them nowadays. In the end, it would appear, greed became their undoing, because it led to amplification being banned in many towns.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: bubblyrat
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 04:07 AM

Having read all the above comments,I think that a compromise needs to be reached here.I have done a fair bit of busking myself,and can identify with the problems experienced by players of "quiet" instruments,for example "Classical" guitars with nylon strings, and some (but not all) harps----I doubt if Los Trios Paraguayos would need amps !! But a small,nylon-strung harp with a small soundboard,as lovely- sounding as it may be,is very difficult to appreciate "au plein air" in this frenetically noisy day and age.As a guitar-player,my own solution ,especially when accompanying a fiddle or melodeom,(or both !!) is to use a well-made,solid-top,large-bodied steel-strung guitar ,fitted with solid brass bridge-pins.No amp needed there !! Perhaps councils should instigate and,more importantly,enforce, a sensible limit on amp capacity,ie 15 Watts,in order to prevent the frustration of street-performer over-amplification, as per that which I have encountered in Oxford City Centre----talk about a struggle to be heard !! Meanwhile,I shall continue not to use an amp,but sympathise with those who genuinely need to.Anyone using a generator and a Marshall Stack should,of course,be executed.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Oldie
Date: 25 Sep 09 - 04:16 AM

Think before you knock.
I busk with panpipes or guitar. The pipes don't need amplification, but I play a lot of classical, which is not written for solo; hence a small amp with backings - orchestra/church organ/my own guitar.
I keep it down to avoid getting moved or disturbing other buskers.
Classical guitar and songs with finger-picking just CANNOT be heard without the amp - "projection" alone won't cut it I'm afraid!


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,DasMan from Gisborne New Zealand
Date: 25 May 10 - 07:50 AM

Does anyone spend anytime busking anymore or bitching about whats right or wrong? It shouldn't matter what you use, how long you've done it for or whatever reason. If it works, it works.
You all are buskers or were at some point which means you held someones attention with your performance and they put money in your case. That is the magic right there. Surely your game improved from your time on the streets & surely you got a gig out of it or sold a cd. Thats the magic right there. Somedays I've used an amp, some days I haven't. People enjoyed me because I enjoyed my busk. You all need to go for another busk...

BTW My backline changes alot and I invite other artists along for the ride. I constantly use an AER mobile amp, a Roland Streetcube amp, a full HK Audio PA, a Fender Passport PA, and unplugged acoustic Taylor & Cole Clark guitars. They all work well.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Guest NZ'er currently in York
Date: 19 Sep 10 - 10:10 AM

Hi,

Thought I'd join in to the debate. I am a fulltime musician and have busked on and off for a living for the last 9 years across the UK and Ireland. I tried a few times without amplification but it never worked as the songs I write are ballad country style that even I was having trouble hearing my picking and don't want to strain my voice by singing to loudly when have paid gigs to do as well.

I have always taken it very seriously and mainly busked in York and Edinburgh and some in Bristol and a few years ago in Ireland. All great spots though harder now with the recession. Anyway I bought an AER amp beautiful sound etc out of my busking money and sell CDs through donations (don't need license anywhere for that not even in YOrk) and yes you can use amplification in certain areas in York.

I have always just had the amp enough to be heard by people within the limits of the busking guidelines (50 metres) and it has been absolutely crucial to being heard and taken seriously as a musician. I have business cards with me and signs with info which people really like and have numerous gigs off the busking.

The AER is the most gorgeous sound but way to heavy to lug around so about to invest in probably the Roland street amp to take around Europe and NZ etc.

I find if I look more professional I get taken more seriously as a performer and at at end of the day I want to be doing concert gigs and moving on from the busking as main source. As a woman on her own busking is hard enough so getting things right and making sure that you amplify it enough only to be heard and not to drown the street as many I have heard do which I absolutely hate as it means others can't play anywhere near.

I also only ever play between 1 hr and max 2 hrs before moving on and do move around so I am not in the same city day in day out. Got to think of the shops, the punters and the other buskers.

Most times its great and I have met so many amazing people this way but its not easy.

:-)


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 29 May 11 - 06:38 AM

That's interesting I always wondered what the busking guidelines were with regard to noise, etc.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Peter C
Date: 29 May 11 - 07:24 AM

I use a Peavey Solo, 9W, with my tenor guitar, through a Dean Markley pick up across the sound hole. The batteries last for months, and it is quite solid, so you can sit on it! The point of using an amp is not primarily to give additional volume, but the kind of slow airs and waltzes I play need the additional sustain that an amp gives.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Wayne Landers
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:37 AM

The Boss 2-channel battery-powered amp/mini PA by Roland delivers fantastic sound and versatility. Having 2 channels you can have a mic or a friend on the same gear. it uses 6 AA batteries and get about 15- 18 hours to a set. it's a little higher in price than some but you get what you pay for as well. It's not the lightest of amps either at 5 kilos. (that's 11 pounds) So that may also be a factor for some. hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Ed B
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 03:48 PM

Just wanted to say thanks for a fascinating, 8-year-old thread.

Hope you are all doing fine with your music and looking forward to applying what I've learnt here to my humble beginnings with fiddle.

Amped or not!


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 04 Oct 11 - 01:24 PM

the Roland MicroCube sits in my Penguin 60 Years book bag, with room for cable, &c. Totally love it! Just enough boost to cut through the traffic, and I hunch it would work fine with your Shure.
[never checked battery life, but I seem to get good lots from them]

slainte

dennis


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Dennis
Date: 15 Nov 11 - 10:24 PM

A small battery powered amp makes a world of difference. I have a little Vox amp and play acoustic guitar and use a headset vocal mic. It just gives you a little more volume so that you can be heard over surrounding noises. Without the amp, you have to pound on the guitar to even be heard. And forget about playing any kind of decent finger picking or lead work. I also play harmonica, but that seems to cut through more than everything else. The vocal mic also picks up the harmonica well enough.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,paul in new orleans
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 01:38 AM

i much prefer the sound of an electric guitar,and you kinda need an amp to play that so i do. it all depends on the environment. did y'all get mad when dylan went electric?


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,josepp
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 10:35 AM

Roland Microcube. It can run on batteries, is very light, small, and loud. I use it and I love it.


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Subject: RE: advice - amp for busking
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 23 May 14 - 01:10 AM

A Roland AC33 is battery (6-8hrs) has mic and guitar inputs, reverb, chorus and a looper. For noisy areas, a Bose Compact run with a car jump starter with an ac plug (400watts or more) will run the Bose, a T1 mixer, wireless for guitar, and Wireless headset mic for 3-4hrs. and it sounds incredible. Mount it hooked together on a 4wheel dolly and roll it in and play, and roll out.


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