The sound guy can be your best friend at the gig. Help them help you, and the whole band.
Dave, what’s the ONE most important thing you try to remember at sound check?
- Being cognisant of not only my sound, but listening to the whole
- Lazy sound checks = distractions on set
Paul, same question
- I remember the Gary Larson cartoon, “The Far Side,” where you’re sitting behind the front of house engineer. Band playing on stage, and on one side of the sound board is a big knob that says “SUCK.”
- Meaning, the sound guy plays an important part in your gig, so work with them
What happens at your best sound checks?
- Results in the only live tweaking on your bass
- Levels are set in a way that you can avoid playing a song at sound check (especially bar gigs)
- Proper monitoring allows everyone to hear what they want to hear without the fight and chasing higher levels of another banmate
- Everyone gets full attention in the band…
- Sound guy makes sure all players are present, each person gets the balance they want
- Nowadays, many are using an iPad or other tablet to control the mix and accompany you on stage, so they hear what you hear and react faster
- This is why it’s so important not to noodle — be courteous to your bandmates and the sound guy (don’t want to hear “stop it”)
Ever had a sound check go badly?
- Yes – large venue, sound guy that didn’t listen when we said monitors were low
- Drummer behind the plastic thing and was basically playing in his own silo
- Then he cranked the mains so it just sounded crazy
- Beatles at Shea Stadium
- Yes, won’t name the venue, but it started with a guitarist (not me) not being where they needed to be
- Sound guy was quite impatient and ornery… he was definitely one of those “don’t screw with me, I hold your fate in my hands” guys
- Intentionally screwed up the guy’s mix, so he couldn’t hear himself
- Guitarist had to turn up on stage, things got too loud for the singer
- Sound guy came to us later and was like, “I didn’t realize you guys were such good players”… not quite an apology and it was kind of weird
- Learn something about mixing, so you can identify things you need — the sound guy can’t be in your head
- A little EQ knowledge is helpful (“I need more/less lows, low mids, high mids, highs”)
- Don’t be afraid to ask for attention – nicely
- Feedback – ask and offer
- Allow head room on your instrument