Wednesday, 16 April 2014

10 Top Tips for Playing an Acoustic Guitar Live

Whether you're making your tentative first steps onto the acoustic open mic circuit or if your a seasoned veteran who gigs all over the place, there is always room for improving your sound and standing out from the pack. 

The following are 10 tips which should help you improve your sound and performance. 

1) The Sound Engineer is all Powerful

Sound engineers are often notoriously difficult and it seems every musician has a story about an awful sound engineer. The truth is that like most things in life respect is a two way street and they're often on the receiving end of untold rudeness. 

Simply put the person sitting behind the mixing desk has the power to make you sound good or bad, being polite and calling them by their name will enamour them to you, especially when compared to what they usually have to deal with. So if you want to sound great, you know who to speak to.

2) Get on your Feet!

Unless you're playing in a big venue or a guitar superstar, stand up while playing. People will be more engaged by your performance, your body is more loose and open and if you sing it will help you sound a lot better.

3) Acoustic Amps are Great

They might be expensive, but they're essential for a serious live acoustic guitar player. You can control your sound to a much greater degree and everyone will be able to hear you properly. 

4) Strap Up

Acoustics can be really bulky and cumbersome, wearing the strap shorter shorter than on an electric will make them more comfortable and easier to play. 

5) Have a Tuner on Hand

A floor tuner as a separate unit or built into your preamp/effects unit, is not only great for making you sound good, but you can mute your guitar when needed. 

6) Get Fresh Batteries 

New batteries may be very expensive, but they need to be fresh to provide a strong signal. They also need changing regularly, and having a spare ready in the bag for a gigs is essential.

7)  Fight the Feedback

No don't fight critics of your performance, eliminate the horrible noises. Your guitar should a manuel notch filter on the preamp. Once feedback begins, turn the notch filter until it goes away.

8) Know what Hertz

Make sure you're guitar compliments any other instruments and cut back on frequencies which will muddy the sound. Take away some of the 70-80Hz bass sounds and if you're in a band cutting off some of the 600-800Hz can do wonders for your clarity.

Increasing the 1-1.5Hz can help you cut through in any situation. 

9) Band of Bother

Cutting back on the frequencies inhabited by other instruments, such as the bass guitar, can help improve the mix. It's important to get the mix correct rather than every instrument sounding perfect.

10) Make it Right

Don't damage your guitar cable or base, use a right-angled jack. This should stop any potential damage to your prized possession.

If anyone has any other tips, please let us know in the comments or on social media.

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