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solo4652

What is an "acoustic" band?

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My new covers band is trying to come up with a band name. 4-piece band line up; lead singer, miced through PA, guitarist playing an electro-acoustic through the PA and singing BV's miced through PA, myself on electric bass through my own backline, drummer playing a stripped-down kit tastefully with rods. Songs by George Ezra, Caro Emerald, Beautiful South, Amy Macdonald.

The guitarist refers to this as an "acoustic" band to the point that he wants "acoustic" in the band name. I'm not so sure. Got me thinking - what does the term "acoustic band" mean nowadays?

I think we're a semi-acoustic band.

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Why is it so important? Just call yourselves "Aliens drive Winnebagos" and have done with it! B)

On second thoughts, don't - I might use that one myself! :D

Edited by Conan

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It depends how pedantic you want to get.

Maximum pedantry (and accuracy) would have to define an acoustic band as one that uses no amplification at all.

However I don't think it's overly fraudulent for a band that tries to replicate the sound & spirit of acoustic instruments whilst actually being amped up (as happened in just about every episode of 'MTV Unplugged' ) to describe themselves as 'acoustic'.

Edited by Cato

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It's certainly not a term that's defined with scientific precision...technically any drum other than an electric kit or pads is "acoustic," so by that metric you could define Black Sabbath as "semi-acoustic"!

Still, based on the empirical evidence I've seen, I think "acoustic" has been commandeered as a term to describe a band that's driven by acoustic guitars rather than electric guitars. I used to play at several "acoustic" nights years ago with an exceptionally good acoustic guitarist - for some reason me bringing an electric bass and amp didn't matter, as long as she was playing an acoustic. But then as bass players, we're used to being ignored!

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[Pedantry alert] Well [i][b]tech-[/b][/i]nically of course, if you can be heard then you're acoustic. [Pedantry alert off]

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Acoustic guitar(s) --> Acoustic band.

About 10 minutes after the first acoustic bass guitar prototype was manufactured and tried out, boffins in white coats conceded that it was perfectly allowable to have an electric bass in an otherwise acoustic band.

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My very general theory is that an acoustic band is one which, when faced with a sudden power failure, sound the same, only quieter. Bass players get an exception from this, as long as they are using a clean tone.

S.P.

Edited by Stylon Pilson

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[quote name='paul_c2' timestamp='1481206330' post='3190534'] boffins in white coats conceded that it was perfectly allowable to have an electric bass in an otherwise acoustic band.
[/quote]

Hmmmm. [i][b]Some[/b][/i] of them did...

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[quote name='Happy Jack' timestamp='1481206284' post='3190533']
[Pedantry alert] Well [i][b]tech-[/b][/i]nically of course, if you can be heard then you're acoustic. [Pedantry alert off]
[/quote]

This is very true, and I hope to be able to extend this pedantry to groups who mime their songs onstage - if we're not actually hearing One Direction singing live, does this reduce them to being a visual band (at least in a live context)?

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[quote name='Conan' timestamp='1481206456' post='3190538']
Hmmmm. [i][b]Some[/b][/i] of them did...
[/quote]

Only the ones with ears like a gizmo didn't.

Edited by paul_c2

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[quote name='Conan' timestamp='1481206056' post='3190527']
Why is it so important? Just call yourselves "Aliens drive Winnebagos" and have done with it! B)

On second thoughts, don't - I might use that one myself! :D
[/quote]

Sure, it's not of earth-shattering importance! However, when you walk into a venue trying to get a gig and you're asked "What sort of band are you?", there are times when you have to think about how you reply, surely?

Potential gig at Dog and Duck pub, "We're a full 4-piece pop band with drums, two singers and bass. We have our own PA system, so you don't have to supply anything..."

Potential gig at a smart wine bar on a Sunday afternoon, "We're basically an acoustic set-up playing cool neo-soul at sound levels that mean that people can still talk to each other..."

Adjust the band description according to who you're talking to. I still think we're a semi-acoustic band. That covers most things, I reckon.

Edited by solo4652

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[quote name='solo4652' timestamp='1481211287' post='3190611']
Sure, it's not of earth-shattering importance! However, when you walk into a venue trying to get a gig and you're asked "What sort of band are you?", there are times when you have to think about how you reply, surely?
[/quote]

Yes, that's true.

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A band with a majority of acoustic instruments (including a stripped down drumkit), not exercising SPL worthy of Motorhead can call itself acoustic. Especially if at least two band members play while sitting down.

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Seriously, my band started getting loads more gigs once we dropped the overall volume, I started playing double bass as well as electric, and started doing more jazzy/swingy/folky stuff. We don't call ourselves anything like acoustic, but I can say that we do jazzy/swingy/folky covers...

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[quote name='razze06' timestamp='1481211854' post='3190622']
Seriously, my band started getting loads more gigs once we dropped the overall volume, I started playing double bass as well as electric, and started doing more jazzy/swingy/folky stuff. We don't call ourselves anything like acoustic, but I can say that we do jazzy/swingy/folky covers...
[/quote]

Sounds like our bands play similar stuff. When somebody asks you; "What sort of band are you?", what do you say?



Thing is, our guitarist is keen to include "Acoustic" in the band name. I'm not, because (1) I don't think we're are an acoustic band (but I'm not sure now!), (2) labels such as Acoustic, and semi-acoustic mean different things to different people and (3) including Acoustic, or some other band-type in a band name could easily become a hostage to fortune, especially as the band is a start-up.

Edited by solo4652

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[quote name='solo4652' timestamp='1481212482' post='3190632']
Sounds like our bands play similar stuff. When somebody asks you; "What sort of band are you?", what do you say?
[/quote]

I say that we play covers of modern songs in a jazz/swing sauce. And that we are not very loud and we have trumpet and double bass. Sold.

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I have joined a band called Acoustic Union.

Like the band better than the name.

Especially as I play a Jazz Bass...

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More ammunition for the pedants out there.

The Uxbridge Dictionary defines Acoustic as "a Scottish cattle prod"

Where does that get us then?

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Jeez you lot there's a simple calculation for this, beard score.

Members of band wearing a beard;
0-punk or classical.
1-Pop or Rock.
2-Rock or funk.
3-Acoustic or dull (coldplay etc).
4-Jazz.
5 or more including the women-Folk.

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[quote name='stingrayPete1977' timestamp='1481219155' post='3190732']
Jeez you lot there's a simple calculation for this, beard score.

Members of band wearing a beard;
0-punk or classical.
1-Pop or Rock.
2-Rock or funk.
3-Acoustic or dull (coldplay etc).
4-Jazz.
5 or more including the women-Folk.
[/quote]

:D

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Perhaps slightly OT, but the "Acoustic Stage" at many festivals I've been to is really just the smaller stage, and the bands playing on it are often full-on electric.

Perhaps instead of using "Acoustic" in your band name, you could use "Small"? :)

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Acoustic band suggests drums and guitars acoustic only, no micing.

The reality is that acoustic basses don't work in this situation. Either a DB or EB is the way to go.

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