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uncle fester

Open Mic Starter Kit

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Alright folks, i'm looking to go big. I'm looking to step beyond the kitchen table, patio camp fire, chickens... and heading to an open mic.

 

Trying to avoid laying a big fat egg, I've been playing around with playing through a PA etc - mocking up the real show. As a result - here's a pic of what I put together as my open mic starter kit (it's still 3 weeks off, but fingers crossed)

 

l57XlhZ.jpg?3

 

...any of you all remember when you were green enough that this was a big deal to you?

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Stuff a small set list in your hat, you will forget.

Don't drink. You may think it will help take the edge off, it doesn't.

Don't be first.

You'll have a blast.

 

i had one of those Dean Markely woody sound hole pickups, used it once, I think, before quickly upgrading to a Fishman Rare Earth

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Small bottle of Imodium, maybe?

Remembering my first open mic.

Just kidding. Preparation is the key. With your philosophy, chances are you’ll be better than most who get up there. Have fun.

Roger

Edited by rbpicker

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Best of luck with the open mic debut. On my first Open Mic outings wayyy back, my mental preparation was to practice in my living room and then when I was on stage to just pretend I was just still playing in my living room. I am talking, really pretending the whole time on stage that I was just playing in my living room. It totally neutralized my stage fright and shyness to be on stage and made me relaxed when I was on stage. To this day, at my many gigs, I still on stage keep myself as relaxed as though I was in my living room with the audience wherever I am at all just to me an extension of the living room feel I keep in mind. Worked for me back then and still works for me.

 

What it really translates to is focusing on the music you are playing, not what the audience is doing. If you focus on what you’re doing, the audience then can focus if they choose on what you’re doing and come along for the ride for the tgexwhole thing or at least parts of it. If you focus on the audience, you’ll be along on their ride and not focusing on what you’re trying to do. On the other hand, if they start focusing on your focus, then you can possibly get that total communion feel with the audience, which is always quite cool when it happens. One of the challenges of open mic scenarios is the audience isn’t paying to see you, so don’t expect to automatically get their full attention. If you focus on what you’re doing, they may just come along for the ride.

 

Best of luck. Enjoy your initial outing.

 

QM aka Jazzmam Jeff

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A cheap active DI box to like the Behringer Ultra DI100 to give that passive pickup a stronger signal. I've seen plenty of good guitars sound thin and tinny trying to send a passive pickup straight to the board.

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Alright folks, i'm looking to go big. I'm looking to step beyond the kitchen table, patio camp fire, chickens... and heading to an open mic.

 

Trying to avoid laying a big fat egg, I've been playing around with playing through a PA etc - mocking up the real show. As a result - here's a pic of what I put together as my open mic starter kit (it's still 3 weeks off, but fingers crossed)

 

l57XlhZ.jpg?3

 

...any of you all remember when you were green enough that this was a big deal to you?

 

 

+ preamp, strings cutters, plyers, gaffa tape, strap, bandaids, aspirin, gum, sunglasses, blue suede shoes...

 

3 bourbons + chasers and a glass of port and a joint/snort, you know - to make a good impression on prospective employers. [smile] see Keef memoir...

 

Start set with your BP Don’t Go, followed by Roadhouse Blues and finish with Not Fade Away. :mellow:

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777

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Thank you all for the responses, will take the tips to heart!

 

Stuff a small set list in your hat, you will forget.

Don't drink.

Don't be first.

 

i had one of those Dean Markely woody sound hole pickups, used it once, I think, before quickly upgrading to a Fishman Rare Earth

 

Noted, and the p'up - I realized mic'ing the guitar wasn't good enough. Kidblast got me turned onto this as a budget friendly means to take the first step.

 

Best of luck with the open mic debut. On my first Open Mic outings wayyy back, my mental preparation was to practice in my living room and then when I was on stage to just pretend I was just still playing in my living room.

QM aka Jazzmam Jeff

 

Was kind of looking forward to imagining everyone in underwear, duly noted though - don't be distracted by the audience find my happy place, give the music I'm playing my attention.

 

A cheap active DI box to like the Behringer Ultra DI100 to give that passive pickup a stronger signal. I've seen plenty of good guitars sound thin and tinny trying to send a passive pickup straight to the board.

 

I think that may be a step 2, I started trying to mic the guitar and it didn't work as well as I had hoped, and this p'up gives me the added volume I was hoping for... for now.

 

+ preamp, strings cutters, plyers, gaffa tape, strap, bandaids, aspirin, gum, sunglasses, blue suede shoes...

 

3 bourbons + chasers and a glass of port and a joint/snort, you know - to make a good impression on prospective employers. [smile] see Keef memoir...

 

Start set with your BP Don’t Go, followed by Roadhouse Blues and finish with Not Fade Away. :mellow:

 

 

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

BK... a bad influence you are :)

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The thing that has always bugged me about open mics is not being able to either hear my own voice or my own guitar or both. So making sure you have enough gain in your monitor so you can hear both voice and guitar is important. Of course, that means feedback. So I suggest one of these:

 

ImUXmQZ.jpg

 

With your Dean Markley soundhole pickup, since the feedback plug is just rubber, you can carve it up to accommodate your pickup so it looks something like this (without the Fishman price tag):

vzi9rOq.jpg

A music stand for lyrics or an ipad with the lyrics on it and an iPad mic stand clip is also useful.

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Have fun!

 

Keep it simple. The more things you bring to worry about the more you will be stressed. Have an extra set of strings/battery/cutter in your case.... a few picks...tuner...and you are good. Dont sing Roy Orbison.

 

Be yourself. You will see many guys our age at open mics trying to recapture their youth... dressing the way they dressed at nineteen. Be natural you.

 

I will dissent from the no drink crowd. Have a beer....

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The only open mic I've ever done, I guess, was at the Bluebird Café in Nashville many years ago. You had to stand in a long line for a long time to assure a spot, and I think I was # 34. You got ONE original song.

 

There were signs all over the place telling the audience to BE QUIET, SCHHHHH, stuff like that. I was a seasoned veteran of the stage having been playing bars since the age of 12. Seriously. But....

 

When I got up there, plugged in my J-45, got "THE SIGNAL" from the sound guy, and bumped a few strings to check my level/monitor, I looked out at an eerily QUIET, ATTENTIVE and FOCUSED crowd of people. It was a bit scary. I had NEVER played for sober people who were there to LISTEN to my song. You literally could have heard a pick drop on a table at that point. I blasted away with one of my goofy ones and within a few lines had em' hooked in and it went quite well, they loved it. I mean, I wasn't signed on to a songwriting team or picked up my MCA or anything, but got a good applause and stuff.

 

So yea, don't sweat the jitters, it happens to all of us at some point, just play your best and be as relaxed as possible. It doesn't matter if you ARE relaxed as long as you LOOK relaxed.

 

Best of luck.

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I agree: have a beer. Be relaxed and have fun with it. Try not to compare yourself to each performer—-that can cause a lot of stress and kill the fun part of it. Chances are that there will be a couple of kick-*** performers there. Don’t let it freak you out. Use it as an inspiration to keep improving. And maybe try to pretend you’re just playing at home—-and consider the fact that literally everyone there will make a mistake and most people won’t notice it or care or remember—-most folks will be very supportive.. And the advice about dressing like who you are is “spot-on.” Also, before the show starts, talk with the gal/guy who is running it. Find out what they are expecting of you in regards to performance time, sound check, song content, are covers allowed?, politics allowed? They will appreciate it. Some places want to avoid politics, some only allow original songs, and some venues are family-friendly and don’t want any 4-letter words or raunchy songs (no matter how cute they are). Still, some places allow whatever you want. I’m running 5 open mics each month and they’re all different. .........The pickup you have is fine for what you’re doing,but like Dan said, you’ll likely want something more after a while. As everyone is saying, have fun with it. Don’t make it a competition, because it’s not. Just take your time, try not to stress, and be “you.” [thumbup] [thumbup]

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I just looked in the case of the guitar I took to the hootenanny last night. The were three single strings of different brands and a strap because this place is SRO so getting a stool or chair is not easy.

 

I would, however, recommend a capo. My wife keeps one with her and uses it a lot.

 

Other than that bone up on your G, C and D chords.

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If you have your stuff sorted, first up is the way to get attention while the audience ears are fresh. A plan of attack is helpful.

 

When you play everywhere, you are always....first...and last! And it is terrifying but once you get trundling along it is great. A couple of timesat open nights, I have gone first because I couldn’t stand the others dickin’ around like chooks...so put myself in.

 

I am not sure about the making out you are at home advice either, bring your best, learing megolamanic Zappa face. [blink] [blink] [blink] You’re a STAR. Show them.

And plan a return bout.

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

Edited by BluesKing777

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Alright folks, i'm looking to go big. I'm looking to step beyond the kitchen table, patio camp fire, chickens... and heading to an open mic.

Good for you, billroy! Have fun!

 

 

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I think there is a lot to be said for cover versions of songs if the audience like the song you are more than half way there. Walking through a subway last week I heard a busker playing the Beatles Eight Days a Week not very well but the money was coming in!

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Good for you!

See if you can drop a floater before the show. A time tested sign of a good performance coming up.

Rock on!

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I have one of those dean markley but have not used it for years.

I had a Lawrence before, with a volume button. This one was very good in my opinion compared to the DM one, but i lost it somewhere...

The DM is prolly better with preamp / DI. I dont use anymore since the guitar i used it with has been equiped with undersaddle pickup.

 

My lawrence was this kind of thing :

A345C.jpg

Edited by Mafy31

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Good input with some pretty funny replies mixed in! Here's my take-aways...

 

I'm good to go, but would be good to have

 


  •  
  • Wire snips
  • Guitar strap
  • Set list
  • Bubble gum
  • -----------
  • Keep it simple
  • Don't be first or last
  • Drop a deuce for luck
  • Remove Roy Orbison from my set list
  • Talk with the people running the show before, get a feel for logistics
  • No Judas Priest leather outfits (dress as myself...)
  • Do something to capture attention up front
  • If distracted, envision my happy place
  • Enjoy

 

 

I expect equipment upgrades over time (p'up etc) will happen, I've got a roadmap, but happy with where I'm at for this next step. I'll probably eat those words for not proactively addressing the pre amp or feedback, but... For the ultimate set list i was thinking 'In a gadda da vida, followed by freebird, closing with stairway to heaven' can't go wrong!

 

Again, appreciate the input, and humor mixed in (that's not my real set list...).

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As you prepare yourself mentally for taking the stage keep in mind that an audience wants you to do well........they want to hear a few songs done well......they are on your side. Other than the other musicians waiting their turn, the typical club crowd has no concept of what goes into preparing and performing......all they want is a good time with some friends and some tunes as background to their conversations. See it that way yourself: a good time with some friends and nothing more......remove the anxiety from your performance. As for going up first or last..........huh? Can't see why position in the order makes any difference at all, and most open mic events have a signup sheet anyway.........write your name down when you enter the joint.......might be the first through the door, might be somewhere in the middle, might even be last. Don't matter much if you're prepared and confident. Do what you do well and others in the place will come along for the ride. And in the event you forget a lyric or punt a chord change, roll with it........smile, shake your head and press on, brother.

 

Less is more at an open mic. Extra strings and tools? You're doing 3 or 4 tunes with others waiting their turn.......you will not have the time nor the opportunity to change a broken string.......they're not going to cut you that much slack. Have a history of breaking strings anyway? Prolly not. Don't worry about such trivial issues for this kind of event.......it only clutters up your mind. Leave all but the minimum requirements out of your preparations......simplify everything.

 

If your slot falls somewhere down the list of performers, pay attention to those that go before you. Observe the get-up-and-get-going process (managed by the host). How is the player working the mic......right on the grill or backed off.....and how is this affecting the sound balance out front? Figure out what's working well for them logistically and use it when it's your turn. How's the audience? Carrying on with their friends, paying no mind to the players? A few watching intently? Play to them, those that are listening......the others couldn't care less. Not too much chatter as your time is short, just enough to let them know you are in fact human and are in the moment. No drawn out story telling outside of the song itself. And be conversational when you do speak, as if it were just you and a buddy sharing a few words.

 

Relax. As a good friend once told me, they can kill you but they can't eat you. It's easy......relax.

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