The Sound Guy is your Friend

After reading the title of this post, I know what many of you are already thinking...

"Friend?! You mean the guy who is always telling me to turn my amp down?"

Yes, that's him.

A common mistake most electric guitar players make is crafting their tone all alone in the spare bedroom of their house. But a couple pitfalls arise.

1. When you turn your amp up at the gig, the character of the amp changes; thus, the bass and treble you added at home now cause boominess in the lows and ear-piercing highs.

2. In a full band mix, the guitar only occupies a small part of the frequency range. Tones that sound great when played solo usually sound muddy in a band context. (Ever noticed how sometimes the louder you turn your amp up, the harder it is to hear anything?)

Here's where your FOH sound guy becomes a valuable resource (assuming he knows what he's doing). After your next sound check, ask him to show you your channel on the board. Ask him to explain how he has you EQ'ed and why. While you're at it, ask him about the bass, keys, drums and vocals. Make a note of the frequency range each instrument occupies. Ask him what kind of tone he likes to hear from a guitar amp. Ask him how you can change your guitar tone to make his mixing job easier.

Chances are you'll learn a lot about mixing live sound, but also about crafting your guitar tone to fit with a band. You'll probably have a new friend as well. Sound engineers are the oft under-appreciated and over-worked among us. And in this business where your reputation and likeability are at least half the battle, it never hurts to go out of your way to show genuine interest in everyone you work with.

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