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Al Krow

Mid-gig gear disasters

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12 minutes ago, Bridgehouse said:

Had a festival this summer. 

Quick turnaround time to get on. 

Had all my stuff ready to go..

Plugged everything in - no sound. Nada. Nothing.

5 mins panicking and then...

 

..realised I'd plugged into a different amp that wasn't even mine. Oh, you didn't mean that sort of disaster tho huh? 

You can't plan for stupid xD

Edited by dmccombe7

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Things that have happened to me:

  • Broken various strings
  • A few cable failures
  • Wireless failure
  • Sheared strap button
  • One side of a pickup once fell out. I assume the screw had vibrated it’s way out over time
  • Once had an amp fall off the top of a cab and knacker the power cable input so it couldn’t be used
  • Small electric shock/burn from a broken bulb on some fairy lights wrapped around my mic stand
  • I once somehow broke a plectrum in half
  • Had an Ampeg SVT head fail during a gig once. The next night it was fine so I assume it got too hot
  • Once had the power blow half way through the first song at a gig in Manchester. Instead of trying to help us the engineer ran away and we didn’t see him for the rest of the night

That’s all that comes to mind right now.

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On 21/11/2017 at 15:31, casapete said:

Worst for me was probably battery issues with my first Fender P-Lyte . Hint of distortion for maybe 5 seconds...

and then nothing. Not the easiest instrument to swap batteries on quickly, but taught me to change them regularly.

Not happened since.

When I played guitar years ago, my Vox AC30 caught fire in a workingman's club. Crowd thought it was pyros!

 

Same thing happened years ago on the same instrument to me. Needed a screwdriver to get to the battery - not easy on a stage. Always have a spare bass with me, just in case.

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On 11/21/2017 at 19:04, Silvia Bluejay said:

........Yours truly was behind the camera, marveling at the speed of Jack's disaster recovery action! ......

Me too Sylvia Bluejay
Problem identified, diagnosed and fixed within seconds :o  Truly impressed.....
Does he move even faster if he drops a tenner? ;)

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6 minutes ago, Marc S said:

Me too Sylvia Bluejay
Problem identified, diagnosed and fixed within seconds :o  Truly impressed.....
Does he move even faster if he drops a tenner? ;)

Nothing helps more than being prepared! @Happy Jack has a habit of never completely trusting wireless, so that precious lead will always be handy on stage even when the device has new batteries. :)

Dunno about the tenner, but he'd certainly be even faster if he were to drop a bass guitar... :D

Edited by Silvia Bluejay

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I had the occasional gear problems in the early 70's. Everyone did.

The last time I had any gear "issues" was 20 years ago and was with the last valve amp I owned. That thing was nothing but trouble.

I have a clean sheet with SS and D class amps and, except for blowing a speaker in 1986, all my cabs have worked flawlessly.

I have never broken a string or had a lead fail.

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25 years ago my band was playing a fairly sizeable gig (for us) where we were providing the backline (and were second on the bill).  The headliners soundchecked (using my Marshall Super Bass II head) and were fine.  My turn - nothing's coming out.  Fortunately a very experienced soundman was on hand to calm me down and introduce me to his DI box.  Sounded great, and instantly cured me of my "it's my sound, it needs to go through valves" views.

More recently, my last band was doing a new bands night at the Barfly, pretty full, we'd got some music press along, gig goes fine right until the last number, and half way through my bass cuts out completely.  i spend the last couple of minutes trying to work out what's going wrong, but can't solve it before our set finishes.  turns out that I'd been tightening the loose jack socket on my Warwick Corvette by turning what seemed to be a knurled nut on the outside but is in fact the end of the barrel of the socket and the tightening nut is inside the control cavity.  So my tightening was in fact twisting the barrel against the wires, which didn't need much more encouragement to disconnect. D'oh!

Last one, which happened a few times, was a wah pedal that was nicely arranged on my pedal board and plugged into the board's power supply, which worked at all rehearsals up until a gig and then failed completely as soon as I plugged it in at the venue.  I remember more than once being on my knees unplugging and rearranging pedals mid set, and finding a battery for the wah.  Now I know enough to set it up using a battery, or a separate power supply.

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Used to play with a sax player/pillock who would routinely tread all over my pedal board - ended up not bothering to use pedals. More recently a totally whizzed woman on a hen night fell over and sat on my pedal board engaging the tuner/mute in the process and I couldn't get her off it for a couple of minutes. Also had a PA desk/amp pack up pre gig due to a loose ribbon connector. Had no time to look at it then so the vocals went through my backup bass head which sounded OK and saved the day.

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In fifty plus years of playing there have, naturally, been a few hitches/glitches, before I played bass I was a trombone player and, following an intensive slide overhaul, I left that part on the draining board. So I turned up at the gig with only half a trombone. Which was interesting. And although I may have broken the odd DB string in the early days it was tail wires letting go (three) that caused the most hassle.

But back in the sixties I played in a great jazz/rock five piece that was resident at a lakeside country club - not that one - outside Reading. It was in a wooden clubhouse, so damp that I would stand on a rubber car mat to protect myself from the odd jolt. Leccy was provided by a generator powered by a massive single cylinder Perkins diesel detonating at once per second, or so it seemed. We knew we were a bit down on power from the PA distortion but it wasn’t until a dep guitarist put a meter across the socket that we found that we were running on 120 volts.

I remember going up to Tottenham Court Road to buy a 1:2 step up transformer and that immediately cured everything. Fast forward a bit and we had a big gig for the Army in a big complex of marquees. They were using one of those massive generators that you see at fairgrounds, but bigger. The gig started well but soon I was getting a smell of a newly decorated room and getting stronger all the time. Suddenly the the dance marquee was filled with dense white acrid smoke and the place was evacuated for the rest of the evening. The guy who set our gear up was not the brightest and thought ‘Ah, generator. I’ll wire in the step up tranny.’ And it was the insulation round the windings that broke down under twice its rated voltage and went up in smoke. Very embarrassing.

Jusr as a PS, and sorry to keep going on, I used to occasionally leave my double bass in a store room at the club. One Saturday I turned up for the gig and found that the damp had got to every joint, reducing the bass to a kit of parts. I repaired it with resin glue but it was never any good after that. I can’t even remember doing anything with the soundpost. But that was a long time ago.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, bassace said:

In fifty plus years of playing there have, naturally, been a few hitches/glitches, before I played bass I was a trombone player and, following an intensive slide overhaul, I left that part on the draining board. So I turned up at the gig with only half a trombone. Which was interesting. And although I may have broken the odd DB string in the early days it was tail wires letting go (three) that caused the most hassle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, saw the snapped tailgut thing happen to some Rockabilly types a few weeks ago. All 4 strings gone, bits of adjustable bridge all over the floor, game over.

I went through a spell of using lamp flex instead, so you could afford to lose a few strands and replace it before a total failure.

My best one was with the tuba. I took all the valves out to clean them before a concert, was distracted, and the kids swapped them round. I didn't realise until about 2 minutes before the curtain went up that there was no sound coming out. Learning point!

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Smooth Hound vibrated off the top of my rig, crashed to the stage, power cable came out & no bass. Wouldn't have been so bad but happened half way thru the only number I sing lead on in our set! Proper train wreck, had to stop the song, fiddle around in the dark for 2 mins odd to find my gear bag that the keys player had thoughtfully stashed, fish out a lead & start the song again. Horrible.

Another time. Not mid gig, but just finished a wedding & thought I'd get started on the packing up straight away. Tilted my stack slightly to free a trapped lead from underneath & the whole thing went over sideways, two cabs & a head on to my two basses on a stand & the whole lot on to the DJ's lighting rig & decks. DJ was good as gold as I hadn't damaged his gear somehow & he just felt sorry for me. I felt like the biggest tool in the world & had major I've-f*cked-my-gear worries until I could get home & test it. Horrendous night.

Most hilarious although not involving me - I was in a power trio nu-proggy thing many years ago & the drummer played like a juggernaut. Got so carried away one one number he literally drummed himself off the front of the shallow stage. I'll never forget the look of terror & confusion on his face as first his kick tumbled over the edge followed by the rest of his kit, leaving him sat there with his sticks held aloft & security rushing in to find out what the hell was going on. Still cracks me up now xD

Edited by roceci

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After my first gig using a Smooth Hound, I have blue-tacked it to the top of the amp - never moves now! I always have a lead coiled up next to the amp 'just in case' as well.

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46 minutes ago, DJpullchord said:

Had several rigs seized by police 

Too little information.

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On the Smoothound front, I've found that it wedges nicely under the handle of a Barefaced cab ...

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1 minute ago, Happy Jack said:

On the Smoothound front, I've found that it wedges nicely under the handle of a Barefaced cab ...

As a Smooth hound and barefaced user, I'll give that a go!

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Not really a disaster but a self inflicted knee in my own whatsits. In my first band I had some crazy idea about sounding more DB like and removed the frets from my bass. I took the bass to the gig that night.

For some reason I also decided to wear dark glasses on the gig.

I couldn't see a thing and with no frets the bass was giving me no help at all. Of course I was far too cool to take my shades off!

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A guitarist in the band was swapping over from electric to acoustic between songs and managed to smack himself in the face with one of his guitars. He played the rest of the set with a nose bleed pouring down his face onto his shirt & guitar.

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I've had a couple of valve failures over the years and the odd string (can't remember the last one - must be 15 years ago) although I've never had a 'sorry, that's it folks' moment.. Yet! :biggrin:

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I reckon by reading this, I must've been lucky over the years. That said, I'm very particular and meticulous over my gear, given that I play for a living and most of my time of late is on the road, everything is in hard cases / Peli cases, minus my cab which has a Roqsolid cover but every protective option I could get on it, but everything is very highly maintained and regularly checked too. Never had a lead failure, and the only time I had an amp issue was 4 or so years ago at a jam night when my (now gone) Superfly got a bit hot and cut out for around five minutes.

But other than that, I can't say I've ever had any disasters. I once lost a B string in a sound check? Other than that, just silly little embarrassing issues. Both of which on the current tour, I got a bit overly enthusiastic at one point and in going for the octave pedal, I missed and planted my foot on the tuner and muted out... And the show before that, time was a little tight and myself / the sound engineer forgot to sound check my acoustic bass. Big moment front of the stage, second time round when the bass comes in. "And 1, 2, 3, 4 nothing" - turns out my DI box hadn't been set to instrument :facepalm:

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At a packed pub on St Paddy's Night a few years back, my keyboard player pulled on a lead that was snagged on something on a windowsill at the back of the stage, and it tightened, flipping a full pint of water into the back of my Markbass head. I snapped it up, desperately shaking it to get the worst out as my keyboard player looked on, mortified.

Miraculously it seemed fine, and worked for the entire gig (and still does). Happy I wasn't drinking anything stickier.

I think that was the same night we got about 200 drunk people to sing Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody" on St Patricks Day.

At that same venue (but different gigs) the keyboard player's x-frame stand gave up mid-song and collapsed in a pile while he looked on, crestfallen, and the guitarist's valve amp fell down a flight of stairs when the rubber dogbone handle split. Someone, neither personnel nor gear came off seriously damaged.

 

Edited by bassbiscuits

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A St Patrick night's story. Thankfully, before I joined them, a dreadful working man's club band I played in in the early 70's did a gig at an Irish club in Willesden. At the end they said good-night and started to switch off the gear. The manager rushed up hissing, "The anthem!" Jim the keyboard player struck up with God Save The Queen. The manager wasn't hissing now. "The Irish national anthem you fecking eejit" . Jim didn't know it so the whole club sang it unaccompanied. They didn't get rebooked, but back then it could have ended much worse!

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Mid song at a university gig I noticed my amp head on top of the cab start to move. I was using a cable free set up so it wasn't me pulling it. It seemed to lift a bit, move backwards then fell off down the back of the cab by itself. Fortunately it was still working so I lifted it back up at the end of the song. When I mentioned this to the organiser at the end of the gig she laughed and said that was the resident ghost. Strange things happened there regularly and he seemed to hate loud noises so picked on bass players!

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On 29/11/2017 at 13:59, chris_b said:

A St Patrick night's story. Thankfully, before I joined them, a dreadful working man's club band I played in in the early 70's did a gig at an Irish club in Willesden. At the end they said good-night and started to switch off the gear. The manager rushed up hissing, "The anthem!" Jim the keyboard player struck up with God Save The Queen. The manager wasn't hissing now. "The Irish national anthem you fecking eejit" . Jim didn't know it so the whole club sang it unaccompanied. They didn't get rebooked, but back then it could have ended much worse!

Hah, my dad pulled this one back in the seventies. Folk club with his trad trio and all stand for the anthem at the end; two bars in and the entire place bang their pints down in unison. "Not that one. The other one."

I've had three gigs in a row now where I've had strap failures with the buttons stripping out even after a progressively complicated series of repairs: matchstick, wood glue, fill and drill. There's more duct tape on my Jag than finish at this point, but I've finally dowelled and redrilled for massive bolt looking things so hopefully that should sort it. 

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