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drathbun

Playing the Hummingbird 12 Live Tonight

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I've been playing the Hummingbird 12 a lot lately but always in my studio or for friends and family. Tonight I'm playing in a ticketed, intimate club live. It is like an open mic but it only has 45 seats and is ticketed in advance. It is called "Free For All Friday" where anything goes from music, to poetry to book readings to stand-up comedy. Although they serve wine and beer it isn't a pub and so it doesn't have that open-mic atmosphere. People come to listen and you can actually hear yourself perform rather than the din from the loud crowd and background sports TVs. Should be fun!

I'm playing three songs; Peaceful Easy Feeling, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away and Early Morning Rain. My wife is reading a portion of the book she is currently writing. 

Wish me luck. I may or may not post images/videos depending on how well it goes. 😉

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2 hours ago, drathbun said:

....People come to listen and you can actually hear yourself perform....

Nice!  That's the way you want it!

2 hours ago, drathbun said:

I'm playing three songs; Peaceful Easy Feeling, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away and Early Morning Rain.

A great lineup!

2 hours ago, drathbun said:

Wish me luck. I may or may not post images/videos depending on how well it goes. 😉

You better! :^)  Preferably video with audio.  Would love to hear that bird 12!

 

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Thanks everyone! The gig went well. The preparation for the gig did not. I was rehearsing and warming up my voice just about an hour before leaving for the venue and, while tweaking the tuning, I snapped the octave G string! The only spare string I had was a .010 and that's a bit too stiff to tune to octave G. I put the string on anyway and tuned a half step down but it was still feeling like it was going to snap any second. It was binding a LOT in the nut slot which is cut to .009. 

I sent out a frantic call and text to my son who works at Long & McQuade here in Calgary. I was hoping to catch him before he left work so he could snag me a .009 plain steel. Of course, yesterday was the single biggest day of the year at that L&M location; they were having the annual "Attic Sale". This location gathers up all of the overstock, old stock, seconds etc from all of the  L&M locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and has a big blow out sale each year on this date. There were people camped (literally) in the parking lot from the night before and the line just as the doors were opening stretched for two blocks!

I was lucky enough to catch him before he left and he brought me a new string. I quickly restrung the guitar and set off for the venue.  Although the sound out from was excellent (two Bose L1 Compacts at each side of the stage) there was no monitor. So while on stage, my guitar drowned out my voice and I couldn't hear it at all. The guitar also sounded awful. It was shrill and mushed up and confused. I think next time I play the Hummingbird 12 live I will not use the pickup and mic the guitar instead.  The LR Baggs Element might be one of the better UST pickups but it is still a horrible sounding piezo IMO. 

Regardless, the performance went okay with me only screwing up in a couple of places and forgetting the lyrics in one place for one song. It was nice to have my family and friends there to cheer me on and it was a very supportive and attentive crowd.

Video attachment soon... it is compiling.

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You go, boy!  Jumping out live is a whole different ballgame, ain't it?!  Dealing with unexpected circumstances (no monitor, poor stage sound) adds to the anxiety of the situation.......it can be quite intimidating.  But good on you for forging ahead and making it happen regardless!  Huzzah! 

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I have a K&K in my Hummingbird 12 which sounds GREAT in it. Absolutely glorious from top to bottom. I'd definitely recommend exploring a K&K for yours if you're unhappy with the Element. I'm personally not a fan of the Element at all, every guitar I've removed them from has sounded better afterwards and massively better with a Sunrise as per most of my 6 strings.

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1 hour ago, Jinder said:

I have a K&K in my Hummingbird 12 which sounds GREAT in it. Absolutely glorious from top to bottom. I'd definitely recommend exploring a K&K for yours if you're unhappy with the Element. I'm personally not a fan of the Element at all, every guitar I've removed them from has sounded better afterwards and massively better with a Sunrise as per most of my 6 strings.

Hey Jinder, do you use a pre-amp with your K&K?

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Please forgive the mistakes and the horrible tuning when I capo up and drop D. I was too nervous to even attempt to tune on stage!

Next time I'll be using either my Gibson SJ200 or my Martin 00028vs but neither of them have pickups. 🙄

 

Edited by drathbun
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17 hours ago, billroy said:

Hey Jinder, do you use a pre-amp with your K&K?

I do! Usually the K&K Pure with my '67 J45 but my Boss AD10 does a great job with the 12.

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8 hours ago, drathbun said:

Please forgive the mistakes and the horrible tuning when I capo up and drop D. I was too nervous to even attempt to tune on stage!

Next time I'll be using either my Gibson SJ200 or my Martin 00028vs but neither of them have pickups. 🙄

 

Fantastic performance Doug! However, what was the sound engineer smoking? There's nothing wrong that a decent mix and some EQ wouldn't fix, and solo guitar and vocal is pretty much the easiest thing on the planet to mix...your performance was stellar but could have been made so much easier on you by a decent/non deaf sound engineer!

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Yeah  none too shabby Doug !

 

Bit closer to the mic with the vocals would've helped perhaps,  good stage patter though you're a natural show off  ! 

Hope you're going to do more 

 

Who was it said , with a 12 string guitar you spend half your life tuning it and the other half playing out of tune 

But it was nowhere near as bad as you think it was 

Edited by blindboygrunt

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9 hours ago, Jinder said:

Fantastic performance Doug! However, what was the sound engineer smoking? There's nothing wrong that a decent mix and some EQ wouldn't fix, and solo guitar and vocal is pretty much the easiest thing on the planet to mix...your performance was stellar but could have been made so much easier on you by a decent/non deaf sound engineer!

Thanks Phil! Oh there is no sound engineer. The lady that owns the cafe has a small mixer and she turns stuff up and down. I had control of my own pickup volume and should have turned it down but I seriously couldn't hear myself. When the guy adjusted my mic, I tried to get closer to it but then started popping my P's so I backed off. Each time is a learning experience. Next time, before I go up, I'm going to turn the Bose L1 Compacts slightly to see if the stage can get some of the mix.

Edited by drathbun

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7 hours ago, blindboygrunt said:

Yeah  none too shabby Doug !

 

Bit closer to the mic with the vocals would've helped perhaps,  good stage patter though you're a natural show off  ! 

Hope you're going to do more 

 

Who was it said , with a 12 string guitar you spend half your life tuning it and the other half playing out of tune 

But it was nowhere near as bad as you think it was 

Thanks, BBG! Six string next time with two mics; one vocal and one guitar.  It doesn't matter how good you are as long as people are entertained. So playing a song where people can sing along or clap along gets them involved and they don't notice (or don't care) you aren't hitting the notes.

I got so involved in my story about my G string, that I forgot to tell the joke I had prepared...

"Everyone here who believes in psychokinesis, raise my hand." - Stephen Wright

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36 minutes ago, billroy said:

Out of curiosity, are they hard to get in tune, or hard to keep in tune.?  

Both. Every time you tune one string, it puts enough additional tension on the neck that the other strings tend to go flat. By the time you've got 12 strings on, it sometimes feel like you're chasing your tail to get everything close to pitch.

I've only owned one 12 string: a 1968 ES 335-12. Unlike with a six-string, you often get to the position with a 12 of saying "that's close enough" when it comes to tuning. It seems particularly tough with the paired unison strings. With the octave strings for some reason tuning discrepancies aren't quite as noticeable to my ear.

Trying to re-tune during a set would be a complete nightmare. It's not quite as bad when you're just playing for yourself.

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1 hour ago, j45nick said:

Both. Every time you tune one string, it puts enough additional tension on the neck that the other strings tend to go flat. By the time you've got 12 strings on, it sometimes feel like you're chasing your tail to get everything close to pitch.

I've only owned one 12 string: a 1968 ES 335-12. Unlike with a six-string, you often get to the position with a 12 of saying "that's close enough" when it comes to tuning. It seems particularly tough with the paired unison strings. With the octave strings for some reason tuning discrepancies aren't quite as noticeable to my ear.

Trying to re-tune during a set would be a complete nightmare. It's not quite as bad when you're just playing for yourself.

ty

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I agree with everything Nick just said. In addition to "chasing the tuning" around, I had just replaced a broken octave G string. Although I stretched it a bit, it was only an hour old and when I went to capo 2 and detuned the low E strings down a full step, the whole fretboard was out of whack. The Hummingbird 12 stays in tune really well I have to say. But under these circumstances, no 12 string would be in tune.  I just had to decided which was worse, hearing an out of tune guitar or listening to an amateur tune a 12 string for five minutes. 😉

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Ok, been thinking about this.  Seems like there’s umpteen times the difficulty w a 12 string, but I gotta say, I do love the sound.

 I think you should go at it again w a 6 string plan b in your pocket.  Hopefully the string snafu is a 1 off - and you can get up there and show your 12 string magic.

 

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I've owned quite a few 12ers, and they certainly can be intimidating, that's a good way of putting it...most I've owned have struggled with general usefulness, they tend to excel in the studio and suck live, or vice versa. One thing I can say for sure is that my Hummingbird 12 is the most stable and realistically useable of them all in any setting. Takamine make a decent 12er too, I very much enjoyed the one I owned but the Bird occupies an entirely different altitude. Mine goes in and out of vans/buses/trains (depending on the type of tour!) and in and out of hot/cold/lukewarm venues, hotels, studios etc and is always pretty much bang on in tune whenever I open the case. It intonates superbly and takes a capo (my G7th Newporter with the stepped pad) like a champ.

Just a really high quality professional grade instrument...I'm very grateful to out very own JohnT for the great deal he cut me on it when I bought it from him!

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