So I mentioned a few weeks ago that I went to an unexpected concert when a friend of mine won Whitesnake tickets from a local radio station. This past weekend, my wife and I went to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, near Cleveland, to see Van Halen’s 2015 tour. Unlike the Whitesnake show, this one was planned, and what a show it was.
So, if you had told me two weeks ago that I’d soon be at a Whitesnake concert, I would have just looked at you funny and laughed. But you would have gotten the last laugh because that’s exactly where I was last night.
A friend of mine from church called me up a couple of weeks ago and said, “Hey, I just called a radio show contest and won two tickets to go see Whitesnake. Wanna go?” My first reaction was that he was joking, but it turns out that he wasn’t, so I said, sure, I’ll go.
I’m not much of a Whitesnake fan, but I will admit that in the late 80s, I did like them quite a bit (I just won’t admit if it was the 1880s or 1980s). I even saw them in concert somewhere around ’89 (again, maybe 1889, maybe 1989, I’m not saying). So when my friend asked me to go, I thought it would be fun to go and reminisce. It was actually a pretty fun show.
Yesterday I talked a little bit about using a microphone on stage and why you need to have plenty of volume coming from the amp to get a good mic’d sound.
While there are plenty of times that having your amp loud on stage is perfectly acceptable, there are instances where this can be a problem. Some church worship bands, for instance, understandably require low stage volume for all instrumentalists. Low stage volume also cuts down on speaker beaming, which is what happens when someone’s ears are the direct path of the speaker and they get all of the very harsh frequencies from the center of the speaker cone. If you’ve got a multi-fx pedal, no problem, but what if you need to use an amp and you need some volume to get that really great tone without blowing grandma’s wig off? What can you do?
I’ve been in this situation before, and after trying a number of things over several live sessions, I finally found a solution that worked very well. I found some old kick-drum shields and placed them in front of my amp to block the loud volume from overpowering the room and to block the harsh tone caused by beaming from hitting anyone square in the ears.
One question I see being asked often on the Internet is, “How do I get a good guitar tone for playing live that will be heard in a mix.” There is a lot of good information to be found, and I’m going to add some things I’ve learned from my experience to the mix (pun intended).