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Sharing backline


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Why would you put yourself in this (the OP) position?

Organisers should provide most or a shell backline, just bring your own amp and cab and plug in.

All this - you can headline, but must provide the backline - is pretty much a low trick. They give you the gravitas of 'headlining' then make you work, risk gear, and foot the cost for doing so.

Just tell them you'll play, but want to go on second to last - see what the reaction is.

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Not necessary though.
In my municipality, they solved this without even trying:
😀
 

cyFAGxz.jpg


This is a pic from 1968 from a local "beat festival". Along one side of a 100 yards long cattle market hall, a stage was raised, and each band got their allotted yards of it. The audience just moved from band to band.

Incidentally, the band playing in the pic, Spacial Concept (not Special Concept), has bass player Cyriel Havermans, who later joined Focus and at some point started to use the Cyril moniker.

Edit: first now I see the stage was on more sides. Never saw the drum set.

 

Edited by BassTractor
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Dunno how common this still is but most bands I’ve played with in most situations on a bill one band (usually the headliner but not always) provides a bass cab for shared usage, each bassist then brings their own amp. Same for guitarists. That’s an arrangement I’m still largely happy with - I’ll let others use my cab at a push if needed, but not my amp. With how cheap, portable and pretty damn good a whole slew of class D amps are these days there seems little excuse for each bassist to not take their own.

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When I've been the support and the headliners have supplied the backline, it's always been fine. Bassists generally know what they're doing.
When I've been the support and the organisers have supplied the backline, it's often been a knackered old mismatched head and cab(s) where the tone controls don't seem to do anything, or a hopelessly underpowered practice combo.
No problems when I'm the headliner and supplying the backline. I'm confident my cab can take what any head can reasonably put out. If people use my head I usually have to point out the Mute switch, otherwise they panic when they plug in and get no sound 😆

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I wouldn't have a problem if it wasn't from past experience. It could go fine or totally breasts up. I've seen support bands spilling beer over other bands gear (and mine). Drums decimated. Even curry sauce all over other folks gear. Many incidents really.

After many years, I've come to the conclusion that the venue asking either can't be bottomed or they are putting far too many bands on in the first place and so, should not be asking you that.. I've done all this many times and now the motto is - if you bend it, mend it. Even ask for a deposit. See what they have to say about that 😂

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I did the sound and a pa for a festival for about 5 good bands years ago. For a nice evening out. No money in it - just giving back to the venue and its causes.

I had to supply everything:

PA 

Monitors

Lighting

Backline

Desk

Cabling

Mics

Stands

DI

etc etc

Spent a fortune getting everything great for them.

 

First band comes on, very polite, but not that experienced. Didnt really know what they were doing with the amps, but no hassle.

Second band comes on. Utter bell *nds. Singer immediately starts jumping around like rage against the machine and swearing. Then after the first song, he goes on some political rant and starts doing mic drops with the new sm58s I'd bought. Denting one badly, and guitarists purposely drops the other.... I went on stage, took the mics off them, and give all the band cheap £3 mics for he rest of the gig.

Third band - good well known band. No problem.

 

Ever since I never lent anyone anything at a gig. 

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7 minutes ago, la bam said:

... Ever since I never lent anyone anything at a gig. 

Quite understandable, but it's a shame that the behaviour of a few silly beggars spoil the future for all the Good Folk out there. A pity. :(

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22 minutes ago, la bam said:

I did the sound and a pa for a festival for about 5 good bands years ago. For a nice evening out. No money in it - just giving back to the venue and its causes.

I had to supply everything:

PA 

Monitors

Lighting

Backline

Desk

Cabling

Mics

Stands

DI

etc etc

Spent a fortune getting everything great for them.

 

First band comes on, very polite, but not that experienced. Didnt really know what they were doing with the amps, but no hassle.

Second band comes on. Utter bell *nds. Singer immediately starts jumping around like rage against the machine and swearing. Then after the first song, he goes on some political rant and starts doing mic drops with the new sm58s I'd bought. Denting one badly, and guitarists purposely drops the other.... I went on stage, took the mics off them, and give all the band cheap £3 mics for he rest of the gig.

Third band - good well known band. No problem.

 

Ever since I never lent anyone anything at a gig. 

I once did a PA for a small festival for free with similar stories. The organiser told all the bands to bring nothing as it's all provided? Out of 6 bands, only one lot even brought a guitar lead! One keyboard player who wasn't the brightest said " I see you don't have a keyboard stand!". 

The organiser complained I was late to arrive? I arrived on time but he had booked another band to play an hour before we had agreed 😂

Nobody offered to help me out (although I was on my own) either. They asked me to do it again the year after! You know how that went 😆

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Some bands seem to like using other peoples gear, they just turn up, help themselves to the free beer, play, then leave straight after their set. As a mate of ours said, they’re not bands, they’re a bunch of blokes on a night out. 

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I've lent basses and amps to my brothers' old bandmate and friends of theirs in the past when their own had sh#t the bed on the day of the gig because I'm a dead nice guy and all, but I used to hate when other bands on the same bill as us would stroll up and expect to use our gear because they hadn't been arsed to bring their own and we had.

I had no problem sharing (sometimes it's necessary) if it was pre-arranged, and I've used other people's amps plenty of times that way, but they could f##k right off if they just turned up and started messing about with mine without even asking first.

The "don't touch my amp" attitude started after I agreed to let one lad use my amp if he didn't change my controls and used the other channel, sure enough as soon as I turned around he was peeling off the tape and f###ing about with my settings! He saw his derrière when I called him out on it and I couldn't believe someone could be such an enormous cheeky t##t.
Why the hell would you join a gigging band without access to your own guitar or amp?
How do these people rehearse?

So yes share gear if they've asked well in advance or I know them, no if they're cheeky ill-equipped bastards.

 

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Posted (edited)

I would wonder about the whole arrangement and be very wary. Two long stories which may be of no interest below, suffice to say check what is and is not being provided to determine the level of competence the organisers have. 

There's a multi band thingy we used to do where a pro or semi pro band supposedly provided everything and ran the sound for the day, great everyone knows where they stand. Except the last time we did it we got told to bring all backline. When we got on the stage it was like a second hand amp shop. Amps EVERYWHERE. One guitarist had an unreliable amp of his own so he asked to use one of the many, many guitar amps on stage and said he just needs a clean channel and he won't change EQ or anything. It was like he'd asked to have a go on the bloke's wife AND a smoke of his cigs after. Weird set up. 

I also got asked last minute to dep at a "charity gig".  Last minute being 10pm the night before an 11am set. I declined the dep invite having never even heard the band, but the drummer is a mate so I said I'd come and watch. The "organisers" provided an open door to a bar room with a stage area, no PA, and a gazebo in the garden for an "acoustic stage" which they'd put a solo act keyboard player in. No PA at all, no drums nothing. They just assumed bands turn up with absolutely everything, can manage with two plug sockets, or none in the garden, and all the gear comes out like a pop up play tent. Complete farce. The band were putting vocals through a 5w guitar practice amp, proper Argos job someone had run home to get and using their own amps and drums, then the makeshift "PA" speaker was being run down the garden so the keyboardist could start on time with a massive trip hazard electric extension. Keyboardist was shouting at the singer to hurry up and give her the amp so she could start. While he was singing. After his set Chris packed up all his drums and went home, no idea how the rest of the day panned out but suspect it got progressively worse. 

Edited by uk_lefty
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I get the bring your own amp thing (although I tend to know my eq settings and would just take a picture on my phone otherwise) but there are still possible mismatches between speakon and jack input/outputs on bass gear. The other guy turns up with a jack out into your speakon input and you're intercoursed.

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I tend not to get involved with multiple band pub gigs that much over the last few years, I don’t have a problem with sharing though as over the years, I’ve met mostly amiable fellow bass players who tend not to be the ‘band divas’ anyway?
 

The multiple band gigs that I get to play these days (Pre Covid) have been festivals with my  80’s synth band, where decent foldback & monitoring have been provided. 
The amount of sequencer, arpeggiator & drum loops we use, everything is sent back through the foldback & I’m more than happy to D.I out of my pedal board to hear it back through the monitors.

There is sometimes backline provided but the engineers tend to keep things pretty quiet on stage & unless I walk over to the amp, I don’t hear much bass at the back anyway?

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18 minutes ago, Steve Browning said:

I get the bring your own amp thing (although I tend to know my eq settings and would just take a picture on my phone otherwise) but there are still possible mismatches between speakon and jack input/outputs on bass gear. The other guy turns up with a jack out into your speakon input and you're intercoursed.

I really rate jack-to-speakon converters for getting out of those situations - as long as they're not cheap knockoffs. I take a speakon-to-jack lead and one speakon-to-jack converter since all my gigging amps have a speakon out, but you could make up a lead to cover every combination with a jack-to-jack lead and two converters. Biggest problem, though, is making sure that nobody accidentally forgets that they've got one of your converters in their pocket for safekeeping!

spkCable.png.5fe66059a0c4119134132702af0e301f.png

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39 minutes ago, Ed_S said:

I really rate jack-to-speakon converters for getting out of those situations - as long as they're not cheap knockoffs. I take a speakon-to-jack lead and one speakon-to-jack converter since all my gigging amps have a speakon out, but you could make up a lead to cover every combination with a jack-to-jack lead and two converters. Biggest problem, though, is making sure that nobody accidentally forgets that they've got one of your converters in their pocket for safekeeping!

spkCable.png.5fe66059a0c4119134132702af0e301f.png

You could but I would think the person wanting to use your cab would be responsible. You'll have the right cables yourself.

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I have let other bands use my rig four times, each time there was varying degrees of damage, each time I pointed this out to the perpetrator I was simply greeted by bemused shrugs. The final time I warned the bassist, he seemed to be taking it all in, they started playing so I went to the bar, when I came back there was a pint glass, an ash tray and spilt beer on my amp. I just wandered on to the stage unplugged the bass and began packing up my gear as the were playing. When I pointed out the bassists infractions he began arguing with me so I threw the remainder of the beer over him and continued packing up. It got close to a punch up but despite being the kind of chap who would, if involved in fisticuffs, close his eyes and wave his hands like poodle swimming, I do look far meaner than I actually am so (thankfully) they thought better of it.

Since changing to an FRFR set up I no longer have this problem as most bassists take one look at my rig and just scratch their heads.

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1 minute ago, Steve Browning said:

You could but I would think the person wanting to use your cab would be responsible. You'll have the right cables yourself.

That's a perfectly reasonable position. Our guitarists like to use their own cabs and don't mind who plugs into them, so they tend to chip-in our band's contribution and I'm usually the person doing the borrowing and being responsible for having the right cable. 🙂

On the other hand, many promoters won't pass on any more info than "a bass cab will be provided", and many bassists that I've spoken to have no interest in tech anyway and think that a speaker cable is just a short guitar cable. Given that the cab I'm willing to let other people play through is 4ohm and has a single non-combi speakon socket, I expect to have to help at least one person out with appropriate cables and settings every time it leaves the house.

By way of compensation, I do get a little laugh nearly every time somebody else uses my S12 and flicks their amp on with the volume control still where they left it at the end of their last gig, though!

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21 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

Having done many gigs like this, in the main it works along the lines of letting them use cabs & drum shells/stands. They’ll need to bring amp heads, cymbals, snare drum, kick drum pedals. 

Yup. This is pretty much standard down our way.

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I have rarely let anyone use my gear. 
A couple of times I have let people use my cabs, but only to those I know- as they know what it is they are using and I know they will treat it better than their own. 
once I let someone use my old combo, and by the time I needed it as the final band, the speaker had blown, and I was expected to use pathetic ‘monitor’ speakers to play with. Never again. 

I’ve even had people show up and ask to borrow a bass for their gig. The incredulity in their faces when I say a firm no is a picture. They’ve tried crying to promoters! If a band is pleasant, and has a problem mid set, I may lend them something, otherwise it’s a firm no. 

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6 hours ago, Frank Blank said:

 

Since changing to an FRFR set up I no longer have this problem as most bassists take one look at my rig and just scratch their heads.

I'm scratching my head at FRFR!

 The great tea pot in the sky knows how I'd react on seeing your rig Frankie boy.

:scratch_one-s_head:

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18 minutes ago, Frank Blank said:

You, Sir, would love it.

I'm sure I would If I only knew what FRFR meant.:D

Unless of course it means ...

Frank's Rebarbative Frant! *Ritchings Park ?

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