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  1. #1

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    I have an hour solo set lined up a few weeks away at our local coffeehouse. In the times of COVID, the gig is outside. In part the idea is to perform for people at the coffeehouse and those waiting to enter the nearby Farmers' Market - also outdoors.

    Does anyone have advice on amplification? I don't have a PA, but I have electric and acoustic rigs. The electric rig has more amperage. It typically play a clean tone with some reverb and/or chorus as appropriate. I play chord-melody style to standards and pop tunes.

    Advice/tidbits of wisdom are appreciated. I will likely be testing out both rigs in the backyard this weekend.

    Thanks.

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  3. #2

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    During Covid, my trio has been playing outdoor gigs in town. The town closes off main street and restaurants and bars put tables outside. The town hires my band to entertain centrally. We have used two Bose PA systems and two additional powered speakers. This amplifies the vocalist, the keyboard, my guitar...and provides both "house" and monitor speakers.

    The power has been adequate for the main street gigs. We are basically using the two powered speakers as the "house" and the two Bose tower/sub units as monitor speakers for the group. Everything is portable and it sounds good. I'm just running into a Hi-Z input on the mixer from the guitar.

  4. #3

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    Sounds like a great gig! I may have to consider borrowing a PA.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike_k
    Sounds like a great gig! I may have to consider borrowing a PA.
    Yes, you might. Guitar amps are wonderful tone producers, but tend to be beamy. PA systems, OTOH, are better at wide-field dispersion.
    Good luck!

  6. #5

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    Did a ton of these back in the day. Just used a polytone, tipped it back on a chair, so i wasn't blowing straight at anybody's knees.

  7. #6

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    I picked up a Harbinger MLS900 from the Guitar Center last year, so that I could do solo coffee house gigs, indoors and outdoors. I typically run my guitar through the amp and the TRIO Plus pedal through the PA system. It sounds very, very good.

    TGC puts the Harbinger on sale once or twice each year for $400. Otherwise they are selling for $600. They compare favorably to the Bose L1, which set the standard in portable PA systems.

    Harbinger MLS900

  8. #7

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    For your first gig there you should just use what you already have and then decide whether you need any new gear. Have someone walk around to check how the sounds spreads - after all, it's not a concert gig you're playing but more or less meant as an acoustical / athmospheric enhancement for the people passing by. No offence intended !

  9. #8

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    You might even try using both of your available amps for dispersion. If you use a multi-effects pedal, the output is usually set up for headphones, thus you can use an adaptor to send the signal to both amps. If possible, get them up as high as you can, again for dispersion.

  10. #9

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    Thanks, Ron, this is likely how I will start as my test rig. My multi-effects has L and R outputs.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    You might even try using both of your available amps for dispersion. If you use a multi-effects pedal, the output is usually set up for headphones, thus you can use an adaptor to send the signal to both amps. If possible, get them up as high as you can, again for dispersion.

  11. #10

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    I am leaning toward Jeffs comment.I have a 1980 Polytone MB and everything (classical ,acoustic,lammy archtop and my recently basement find this phillips mic) a cheapo mic from 20 years ago seems to sound ok but thats in practice not out playing.I am hoping to test it out on a Wednesday night animal shelter event at a Micro brewery.If so will let you know.

  12. #11

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    Thanks, Earl. Please keep us posted.

  13. #12

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  14. #13

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    Oh it did post but not my comment.Wow.So i was doing a swedish death clean.So our son wouldnt have all our junk to deal with if we got to old to care for ourselves or died.And found this phillips mic and got and idea.So thru this together.Now gotta convince the bride im not foolin around down here.Back to work.WAIT A MINUTE THIS LOOKS MOE LIKE A HONEY DO LIST!!! I BET THAT SWEDISH DEATH CLEAN IS NOT EVEN REAL!BUT SHES DANISH IM CONFUSED.

  15. #14

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    Earl,

    That sounds great! Good luck with the clean out. It is important to keep your wife happy, regardless of the stated reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by EarlBrother
    Oh it did post but not my comment.Wow.So i was doing a swedish death clean.So our son wouldnt have all our junk to deal with if we got to old to care for ourselves or died.And found this phillips mic and got and idea.So thru this together.Now gotta convince the bride im not foolin around down here.Back to work.WAIT A MINUTE THIS LOOKS MOE LIKE A HONEY DO LIST!!! I BET THAT SWEDISH DEATH CLEAN IS NOT EVEN REAL!BUT SHES DANISH IM CONFUSED.

  16. #15

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    I was offered a nice indoor gig this weekend. Turned it down.

  17. #16

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    Wise choice Greentone.The Brewery i mentioned has an out door situation so i am right with you.Just read an article thats probably old news knowing mee.But the article said Germany did a 3 concert event with 3 situations involving a concert with i think up to 1000 or more volunteer concert goers.To study the effects of covid under these cercumstanses.Results are expected in the fall.
    Last edited by EarlBrother; 08-23-2020 at 06:14 AM.

  18. #17

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    Smart move to pass in the indoor gig. I wouldn’t want to risk it - not only for myself, but for the people attracted to the venue. Sigh ?.

  19. #18

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    I organized an outdoor jazz jam session that we have been doing every Saturday afternoon in local parks in Palo Alto near where I live. Found that there was high interest from talented local jazzers to participate as many were getting anxious to start playing with others again. We sought and received written permission from the local police to play provided we maintain COVID protocols (masks, distancing, etc.) and ask any who watch us to do the same. So far so good.

    We solved the power problem by buying lithium battery packs which work great. I have this one and it powers a couple of amps for 2-3 hours and still has over 70% capacity. See: battery pack

    Some of the guys use one with about half the power output which sells for around $100 - also on Amazon.

    We do not allow horn players or singers to participate out of concerns of potentially spreading COVID when expelling air. The jams are also not "open" - only those who are invited in advance are allowed to participate. Currently we have two archtops, electric bass, percussion (snare), and jazz violin in our jams - and a long list of back up players if someone can't make it. Mostly Real Book tunes. No money of course - but we have a small crowd to watch us and it keeps everyone motivated to keep their chops at full strength.

    Until we get past the pandemic, I much prefer this type of setting to playing in a public place with a lot of people. We all take COVID seriously and no one is taking offers to play at establishments yet.
    Last edited by pmgetty; 09-03-2020 at 12:12 PM.

  20. #19

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    I have just resumed playing with a friend of mine who is a bassist out on his patio. The audience is the neighbors who are probably annoyed more than anything else. 10 feet apart, masks, bass, guitar and amps. I am surprised, at least with the open back amp that I am using, at how well the sound disperses in that environment. It sounds better than it does in the house! So to mike_k, maybe try that first and see how it sounds to you.

  21. #20

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    Well, I had the gig this past weekend and it was a success. I received numerous compliments and I was invited back.

    Ultimately, I went with what I had, a two amp rig: Fender Blues Jr. and an old solid state Fender Princeton 112plus. I put them through my Boss ME-70 multi-effects unit plus my favorite reverb pedal. This setup had a number of advantages including that I could play in stereo and add a hint of compression and solid shot of reverb to fatten up my sound. Also, the volume pedal made it easy to put the guitar down without errant pops and crackles.

    Thanks for all the comments and advice. I may look to upgrade my acoustic rig at some point. 3rdwaverider has me really thinking about a line array system. Alas, that will probably wait because I only see a handful more opportunities to play out before the weather forces us back inside.