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I've got an outdoor gig, which is my first paying gig outdoors.

It's essentially going to be on a street corner in a outdoor shopping area, (book stores, bed stores, target, movie theatre, etc)

I'm going to be switching between alto/tenor sax.

So far all I've heard is to make sure to have a variety of reed strengths.

Thanks,
-Bubba-
 

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When you put a horn down to play the other, make sure you cap your mouthpiece or wrap it in a wet rag to keep the reed moist. Also bring sunglasses and a hat, and wear sunscreen.
 

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If it's in this kind of heat, bring plenty of water, take as many breaks as possible, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen. Ideally, you might even see if the shopping mall could provide a collapsible tent, esp. if during the heat of the day. Really, keeling over is your greatest concern.
 

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Generally I will use Rico Plasticover reeds on hot outdoor jobs, particularly on the non-primary horns. Take a cooler with just ice and bottled water - no covert drinking. Wear light-colored clothes. Take a straw hat if there is going to be no shade. Speaking of shades, always play in shades, particularly in the daytime. If anybody makes a remark about wearing shades inside or at night, just say 'The sun always shining when you cool'. :)
Keep your horns out of the sun if possible.
 

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If it's really hot, your horn will be sharp. Pull the mouthpiece out as far as possible. You will still be sharp.
 

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Unsupervised children will want to touch the horns while you are on break. When you are playing and one sax is on the stand a small child may take an interest and want to touch it and may knock it over. Take your cases and build a barrier to keep them away from your horns at all times. It would probably be best to put them in their cases during your break.
 

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I've never had an enjoyable outdoors gig, never. It's always HOT. If I'm reading, it's HOT and windy. I hate playing outside.
 

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Why is that I wonder? I would use the same reed strength as I use indoors.
I'm lost here as well? I would use my normal set-up, indoors, outdoors, high ceiling, low roof line, whatever. Play to the conditions.
 

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30% of my gigs from April to September are outdoors. They are no different in most ways. Keep your saxes from baking, hydrate, sunscreen and bug-spray. Play and enjoy. Yes- excessive heat will make your sax play a bit sharp. It sounds like you may have the added concern of keeping a careful watch on the sax you're not playing at the moment.
 

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Why is that I wonder? I would use the same reed strength as I use indoors.
I play a lot of outdoor park, festival, and private parties during the summer. Although I play the same reeds regardless, I find that as the temperature increases my reeds tend to feel softer and softer. It's difficult to tell if it's the reed or that my body is also getting hot and I've become unaware of increase pressure on the reed. I probably should have some slightly harder reeds on hand but I just adjust my playing.

Pulling out the mouthpiece is also a must. I played a short shank Selmer piece last summer but during 90+ degree outdoor gigs, I was down to about 1/4 inch of cork holding the mouthpiece. Loved the sound but I just couldn't have an expensive piece hanging off my horn.

BUG SPRAY - There's a thread already started.

HAT - Cool-dude hats are great BUT when facing with staring directly at the sun for 2 hours ANY hat that works is OK.

MONITORS - One of the most difficult aspect of outside playing - especially flat open fields is lack of any natural reverberation. Your sound may feel dead. Even if you have a plexiglass shield - anything the gig will feel much better. Otherwise, it's as if the sound it going out into space.

Good Luck - and Enjoy
 

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Much good advice here. For me, the variable which looms largest in how well I can tolerate an outdoor concert is whether we can set up in a shaded area. Playing in the sun, especially if surrounded by concrete and paving is pure H.....!
 

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Can't agree more with keeping your horns safe from kids. The little buggers will get into everything so put your horns in the case during breaks. You can leave the mouthpiece and reed on the neck, just stuff it in the bell. And keep your cases out of reach as much as possible. I lost a set of earplugs and a few other items while onstage at a local "kid friendly" place. Don't rely on the parents to keep the little darlings in line either. I've seen parents do nothing while their kids raided the tip jar.
 

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MONITORS - One of the most difficult aspect of outside playing - especially flat open fields is lack of any natural reverberation. Your sound may feel dead. Even if you have a plexiglass shield - anything the gig will feel much better. Otherwise, it's as if the sound it going out into space.
I do a lot of outdoor gigs this time of year. It's not particularly hot here on the coast (more likely to be a bit on the cool side), so that's not so much the issue. But what A Greene says here about your sound feeling dead is a real major adjustment you have to get used to. And the acoustics can vary a lot, depending on whether there are buildings (walls) in the area where the sound might bounce off, or an open field, etc, etc. It can be a real challenge from that standpoint.

We just played a party out in the backyard of a mansion (well, from my perspective it was a mansion!) last weekend. Probably the best acoustics I've ever experienced outside, because the wall of the house gave just enough feedback to liven up the sound without any 'echo-chamber' effect. So in some rare cases you'll get good acoustics outdoors. Just be prepared for anything soundwise...
 

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Can't agree more with keeping your horns safe from kids. The little buggers will get into everything so put your horns in the case during breaks... Don't rely on the parents to keep the little darlings in line either. I've seen parents do nothing while their kids raided the tip jar.
Yeah, what is it with outdoor gigs that people think that during breaks the stage becomes a hospitality tent. I will scare the living hell out of any kid that comes near the equipment... and in some cases, even wives. Should be no different than on indoor gigs where I feel the stage is sacred and I will discourage anyone from crossing over the border during breaks or set up. Anyone.
 

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I used to do quite a lot of outdoor gigs. They made me switch to synth reeds. Try to play in front of a wall, door, window, whatever, instead of ... nothing. Having some surface behind you will give you a bit more of projection, and also avoid the above mentionned kids to jump in from anywhere.
By the way, think again if you REALLY need both horns. Having only one makes it REALLY easier outside.
 
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