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First solo gig - A couple of Questions

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  • First solo gig - A couple of Questions

    I have my own band and now venturing into solo work and have two gigs booked.  I will be using my existing PA equipment and playing acoustic guitar and also utilizing backing tracks which I plan to play with my IPad first addition.  My questions for those in a similar boat are:


    1)  Are you plugging your acoustic direct to the PA and if so are you utilizing a DI box in between?  If so any suggestions on which model/brand to buy?

    2) Are you using the 1/8 headphone jack out of your IPAD or laptop to go into the PA for the backing tracks or using some audio interface?  If so any suggestions on brand/model?

    3) When going into the mixer from the IPAD or laptop are you using RCA plugs or 1/4 into a line in on the channel?

    4) From a soundcard perspective would the sound coming out of a typical newer latop be superior to that coming out of the IPAD?

    All help and suggestions would be appreciated.

  • #2

    1 -  I get a good sound plugging the acoustic straight into the board with a little reverb

    2 - Headphone jack works good enough for me.

    3 - either or. RCA means going into tape in on most mixers which means you won't have tone controls, but that's the only difference

    4 - I don't have an ipad but my ancient laptop still works fine for basic mp3 playback. You can get a USB soundcard if you have doubts of using internal soundcards. 



    • Potts
      Potts commented
      Editing a comment

      1 -  I get a good sound plugging the acoustic straight into the board with a little reverb

      2 - Headphone jack works good enough for me.

      3 - RCA  into a 1/4' converter thingy so I get the tone controls liek Bob was talking about

      4- Ipad plus an application like Songbook or Onsong (yuck) are the way to go IMO. The sound imore than acceptable.


  • #3

    1. I play a hollow body electric and go direct from a Boss multi pedal to the board - sounds fine. The pedal does have EQ functions in it but even direct my guitar sound works for me.  I've used pre-amps in the past and just found them to be a hassle - BUT it will depend on the guitar you are using. Some may need more help than others. And/or you might want more control than other folks do.

    2 & 3. I use midi tracks and go from my 1/8" out on my Laptop to two 1/4" inputs on my mixer. I need the ability to EQ the sounds and you usually can't do that with RCA inputs. I have drums coming out the left side, and bass coming out the right, so I have a little control over what's going on.

    4. Can't comment on the iPad sounds.

    General notes... bring an extra mic cable, extra mic and clip, two extra guitar cables, extra picks, spare strap, a multi screwdriver, extra IEC to Edison AC cable and at least two sets of strings preferably with some extra high E's.... The aforementioned are all things I've either needed or forgotten at some point. This list is in addition to the usual stuff. For instance I once showed up at a gig without my guitar strap (long story). I had to fashion one out of duct tape! It actually worked but I always carry an extra now.

    When you do a solo, there's no asking a bandmate for a guitar pick etcetera.


    • #4

      In relation to your first question:  what kind of pickup do you have in your guitar? The answer to that will determine how you should go into the PA.



      • SLScott86
        SLScott86 commented
        Editing a comment
        Bring extras of everything you have extras of. And if you don't have extra strings and cables, buy them.

    • #5

      A big thanks to those that took the time to respond.  It was very helpful to me.

      Show went very well, lots of compliments, many spots where people actually came up and danced from their chattering tables and even pulled in $25 in tips with no tip jar.  Owner wants to schedule me for next month as he hasn't finalized his March schedule yet.  So overall not too shabby.


      Now some general coments about things:

      I formed and front my own "classic hits" five piece cover band which has been very successful but dealing with the players has been an ongoing problem and I have been wanting to do other things for some time as I have very varied musical tastes.  So the solo thing allowed me to do things I couldn't do musically with my band and it was great and liberating fun.  Some people who were fans of my band and came out to support my solo thing were amazed at all of the material I pulled out and how well I perfomed it.  So nice to get that feedback also.

      I earn my stripes as a vocalist.  I'm no great guitar player.  While I brought my guitar and expected to use it for maybe 20% of the songs I decided to scratch it and did my whole night with backing tracks.  I still may incorporate some "live" music but that crowd, on that night was best served by what I did.

      I have read many threads and posts here regarding the whole backing track thing and could start a new thread with all that I know and have done and learned about the process from a couple of years of thorough investigation in my market leading up to this (much as I did when I formed my band).  But in my market, which is VERY large, singers solely using backing tracks is not frowned upon and accepted.  Much like bands however, there are good acts but mostly bad acts.  So no matter your choice or those who claim the "purist" mantle, it all comes down to talent.  If you can truly sing your ass off it doesn't much matter how you're backed.  If you can't, doing everything youself isn't going to elevate you, despite your thoughts.  Ultimately every successful act is defined by the singer(s).  My feeling is this is a world of bands/acts with mediocre vocalists.  Maybe you can mask a lot of that with a band but no way as a solo (possibly duo) act.  It should be ALL about the vocals in that situation so I find it odd how little vocals are talked about/stressed in this forum and instead seems to be focused on everything else particulalry how the vocalist chooses to back himself.

      The load-in, set-up, load-out was a breeze compared to what I have to do with my band as I also am the PA guy.  So much better from that standpoint.

      The money, even with my discount since the owner didn't know of me, was twice what I normally get for my typical band gig.  Will be more like three times that going forward.

      The sound was pretty much flawless for me as a singer since I could dial in any song by simply reaching over to my mixer and turning the volume up or down.  Won't even begin to go into all of the issues related to sound I have to deal with in my band.  My after show voice was in MUCH better shape than after a band show as was my hearing.  Also since I was positioned in front of my speaker and used no monitor I was able to know at all times exactly what the front of the house was hearing which belive me was sound utopia.

      So I'm liking where this is going as I have a gig at another club giving me a shot in April which if I do well at will lead to other bookings. So this solo thing I'm thinking may be the future.




      • steve mac
        steve mac commented
        Editing a comment
        Congratulations, can I ask whereabouts are you based
        Cheers Steve