Music Gear for the Working Player
This is one singer/songwriter’s take on gear and making the best use of space, on stage… Read More
By way of introduction, I have been playing guitar and singing for many years. I started performing when I was about 16 years old and never looked back. By my early twenties, I was touring the US and Canada with my late friend and mentor, Jud Strunk.
I have played big stages, living room corners, and lawn parties. At this time I am mostly, playing with a great trio (Cafe Daze) and an occasional solo gig. We are playing house parties and small restaurants and loving it. The rare Willy Kelly Band gig is almost always a small stage or smaller.
You can also find me playing on my YouTube channel.
On a large stage, I like a long guitar cable to easily, get around the stage. I have considered going wireless but have never “cut the cord”. That said, today I like to keep the tangle of long wires to a minimum. I often sit on a stool to play and prefer smaller equipment. Today getting small equipment that sounds awesome is totally possible.
My Small-Stage Setup…
My main setup, at this time, is amplified acoustic instruments. I’m using a Larrivee OM-03 guitar with an under the bridge pickup. It may be a Martin Thinline which was put in by the store I bought it from. I also play a Republic #200 model, Tricone guitar with a Lace humbucking pickup.
Both of these guitars go through an Electro-Harmonix Nano Switchblade. It looks like it is set up to send one guitar to two amps but I use it to send two guitars to one preamp. For years I’ve used two preamps but in the interest of using less space, I now use just one. I do have to adjust the volume to match the output of each guitar for sound…
Click on these pictures to order these through Amazon…
I’m really liking the Planet Waves American Stage series cables, these days. I like the 10-footer for short runs on a small stage. So, I’m using a 10′ cable from each guitar to the AB-Y switch and a 10′ cable to the preamp. I could easily use a 20′ cable to the preamp on a regular stage. I have a Planet Waves, 20-foot cable for each guitar, as well as, the 10′ cables.
For small clubs, a 15-foot cable is probably long enough. I tend to get carried away with the question, “what if I need a little more?” So yes I have different lengths for various gigs. If I can take a little cash from each gig and get a new cable, once in a while, it doesn’t hurt so much…
I am loving my LR Baggs Acoustic Para DI preamp. I find it makes anything I plug into sound great. It has many tone-shaping features and is built like a tank. Really, the box is heavy metal! I generally use phantom power from the mixer to power it although I keep a 9-volt battery in it, as well.
I use a very short mic cable from my preamp to the board these days. I have been reading reviews and comparing my own mix and match set of mic wires. I am presently in the process of replacing all my mic cables with Rapco cables. (I also like the Planet Waves American Stage series mic cables but they are a little more expensive…) For my preamp to the mixer, I like the Rapco Horizon N1M1-3 Stage Series M1, 3′ mic cable.
I know that seems really short but when I am right next to the mixer it’s nice not to have a lot of extra cables to trip over…
I have always been a fan of the Shure SM-58. Mine has been around for a while and has the ubiquitous dented screen. It is dependable and an industry standard for the working musician.
I also have a Behringer XM8500 which, for under $20, is a decent replica of a ’58. It has weight and a reasonable sound for a club gig. (In deference to the working persons tight budget, I will say now I have not had good luck with the Behringer XM1800s. I have found it feedback prone, with a ringing midrange. Just my opinion, take it or not…)
I am a huge fan of the Electro-Voice, RE-20. I have played with them as a general, guitar/voice mic at the local radio stations and as a result, got one of my own. You can hear it in many of my YouTube videos. It is well-built with a nice even character. It has less of a proximity effect which I sometimes like.
I use powered speakers connected by mic cables from the mixer. I keep medium length (25′) to longer cables (50′) for the connecting to the speakers. It’s also good to have a few 10′ to 15′ long extension cables to plug in the speakers.
I am presently using an older model of the Behringer Eurolive B212D Active 550-Watt 2-Way speaker. They have worked well for many years, for an inexpensive speaker. However, I am pretty committed to upgrading to the QSC K8.2 Active 8″ Powered loudspeakers, very soon. Be aware if you look elsewhere that there is a model that looks very much like this but is the “CP” series, not the “K” series. It may be fine but it is less powered and less expensive. I have played a gig using one of K8 model and it sounded great and worked well!
I am presently using an old Mackie CFX-12 mixer with Cafe Daze and it’s working great. I’m not sure what mixer I would replace that with except to say I have always had great luck with Mackie mixers. I think the PROFX16V2 16-Channel is on my wishlist for when the one I’m using finally quits. (If it ever does…)
So this is a look into some of what I’m doing with music gear. I hope this is helpful, to you. Please let me know how I can help you with your mission to have fun playing music!
My Short, Gear List…
Let me repeat the links to gear that is on my wishlist and/or in use at my gigs:
- Planet Waves American Stage 10′ guitar cable
- Planet Waves American Stage 15′ guitar cable
- Electro-Harmonix Nano Switchblade
- LR Baggs Acoustic Para DI
- Rapco Horizon N1M1-3 Stage Series 3′ mic cable
- Rapco Horizon NM1-10 10′ mic cable
- Rapco Horizon N1M1-20 Stage Series 20′ mic cable
- Shure SM58 mic (with on/off switch)
- Behringer Ultravoice Xm8500 mic
- Electro-Voice RE-20 microphone
- Behringer Eurolive B212D Active 550-Watt 2-Way speaker
- QSC K8.2 Active 8″ Powered 2000 Watt Loudspeaker
- PROFX16V2 16-Channel
If you use these links to get any this gear you will be supporting me and my online endeavors. Thank you…
Good Gear Leads to Good Gigs…
I hope you have enjoyed this small look into my gear and outlook on working as a work-a-day musician. My choices aren’t always the cheapest but I try to find workable deals. A few steady gigs can be enough to afford, a little at a time, to keep your stage environment in good working order…
Have a great time playing and thank you for stopping by…
Let me know if you try any of this gear and how it works for you. I’d love to read your feedback. (No pun intended…)
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