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Live gig experiences...


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Ok. I think this one could be a useful thread. Saw Elantric's post in another thread and felt it will get lost in time. Lets start a thread to capture live DF experiences. Anything you feel is worthy heads up to others from your live experiences go here... Thanks in advance. So here goes, since I don't have anything to say myself, I'll start it off by quoting the man himself...


Just a heads up


i have now played half a dozen live gigs with my Dark Fire' date=' and at last night's gig, my PU Toggle SW Tip flew off.


Luckily during tear down I located this small black cap on a far corner of the stage - rather a miracle.


This PU Switch cap gets a real workout during a 4 hour gig. On a normal Les Paul, the PU Switch cap is threaded and screwed on tightly - over the years I've had very few problems with the old 70 year old Switchcraft design - but as we know the Tronical version is quite different!


To avoid future loss of the Dark Fire PU Switch cap , today I'm going to glue it on with silicon RTV adhesive, as this type adhesive bond will absorb shock and hopefully do the trick keeping the switch cap in place.




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I always had this problem with my gibsons when I played in the 6o's and 70's. You might take a look at locktite, a product used for automotive and other uses where vibration comes into play. Note that there are 2 kinds, one that you can remove, and one that you cant!! The one that you can remove (I think it is the blue one), will work fine, I promise that it wont accidently come off, and you can still remove if some day you want to put on a different color knob (like wood or gold).

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In my career I have performed in every type of gig - from basement parties, local bar with a 4 x 8 plywood stage, to LA's Troubador /Whiskey/Starwood/ House of Blues, Rock Concert venues across US and even large Rock Festivals. I have played in cover bands, disco bands, Southern Rock bands, Alt Techno bands, Surf Bands, original music Blues Bands, Heavy Metal Bands, I always try to bring the right size amp appropriate for the room and house PA and decibel level of the band.


Lately I have been working as a duo, with a female Shawn Colvin type female singer / acoustic guitarist.


For these low stage volume gigs my small pedal board and a Roland Cube Street work perfectly. I set the Roland on "Black Panel" (Fender Twin) and I can blend in Piezo acoustic from the Dark Fire Blend control as needed, or swiftly kick in my Ibanez Tube Screamer and Echo Park delay for bluesy solos.


In my College Town + Central California coast wine country, there are far more places to make money performing Acoustic or low volume Alt Rock music than playing Metal with Marshall Stacks. If I showed up at a gigs dressed in leather with a BC Rich or a Flying V and a 5150 and 4x12 cab and my Fog machine - I would never get steady work - even if I was age 21 again.


The college kids prefer DJs and Dance clubs. The Club owners wont hire cover bands anymore because ASCAP/BMI agents arrive from LA each month to collect monthly dues if the club/bar hires cover bands.


So original Acoustic is where the money is. Even if we play a few cover tunes - we make it ours by changing the bridge or adding a middle 8 bar solo section. Its a game - but you have to or else you do not get steady work performing live music these days. At least I no longer live in LA - where the band breaks up every 6 weeks because the BAss player found a better gig, or we ran out of money trying to fund the "pay to play" showcase circuit.


Since relocating to San Luis Obispo,Ca in 1999 - I have played more live gigs in the past 10 years than the prior 20 years in the LA scene.

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So How does Dark Fire compare to other guitars?



Its very much like a Les Paul - its Mag PUs are voiced like PAFs - not Dimarzio or Hi Gain muddy monsters. i like them

Until I get more comfortable with navigating the MCK - I'm not using the Chameleon tones in a Live setting because the MCK navigation is still very frustrating to me, and the last thing I want is to be frustrated with my axe during a live show.

The Dark Fire has incredible sustain - even without a compressor. Even without the robot / tronical stuff - the Dark Fire as a guitar is rather magical - it has the best fret job of any of my guitars. and no dead notes on the neck. It has a lower resonate point than a Strat and the age old Gibson vs Fender issues apply


* Gibsons have more sustain because no "bolt on" neck

* Gibson Les Pauls sustain even more than other Gibson solid bodies due to the neck joint at 16th fret = more support for the neck joint.

* Beefier sound due to 24 3/4" scale length, quality woods, and humbucker PUs with 2 coils wired in series = lower resonate Q frequency compared to a brittle single coil fender.


And the Dark Fire is well balanced and quite Low weight considering the tech inside. Its at least 3 pounds lighter than my 1972 Les Paul Standard. I wish my '72 was chambered and 3 pounds lighter. At this hour -between the two - I'd rather play my Dark Fire - and I use the '72 LP as a spare should I break a string mid set at a gig. .


I can crank up the bridge PU and feed the AC30 british setting on my Cube Street and sound like Mike Bloomfield Super Session LP. Clapton w/ Mayall "Beano" LP, Peter Green, Leslie West, Zeppelin / Bad Company / Stone Temple Pilots tone is easy as pie.

Even unplugged the Dark Fire has a bell like quality with singing sustain. The Gibson Scale Length allows more pitch bending expression - I have not missed my Gretsch's Bigsby as much as i would have thought - I use my left hand technique for chord vibratos and the old classic Pete Townsend / Hendrix grab the body and shake the neck for open harmonic vibrato. Its a Gibson and built to take it.


The Piezo Blend works well - although i find myself never going more than 50% mix of Mag/Piezo in my current live rig (see above)


The spoiler is going from standard tuning to DADGAD under 2 seconds. then Capo to where ever I need to be ( I like my G7th Nashville Capo best) and still be in tune and ready to play within seconds.

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Thank you for sharing all of that experience. I think i speak for everyone when i say that it would take years and hundreds/thousands of dollars to acquire a lot of the general knowledge that you learn from gigging, trying different things, and just generally being around a good music scene. I'm still young enough (22) to get away without knowing a few things, but I'm getting old enough where it won't fly for much longer. Again, thanks for everything you've posted.

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