Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Researcher
Joined
·
2,847 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Used to be when you sat in with a band there would be a mic on a stand and you'd share it with the band's sax player, or he (or she) would sit down and you'd take the mic. Now with players using clip on mics, how does that work? It's kind of awkward to share, and bringing up your own clip mic to plug in is clumsy, even more so for a wireless, and better have an open channel on the board in any event. What are your thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,290 Posts
It's just like you said, a bit awkward but depending on the specific setup it can be a better solution than using a stage mic. There are gigs where I sit in on a semi-regular basis but sometimes the stage is very small and I end up in a corner or even off the stage. In that case, I usually have an old briefcase with a power strip and the receiver and just the power cable and the 1/4" output hanging out and there is always some space to just put it down and run the audio cable to the mixer. The caveat is that depending on the venue, there may be interferences with the wireless signal and spontaneous channel drop-outs that can completely throw you off if you drop in and out randomly. On the other hand, you are not stuck with some mic that's shared between the horn and a vocalist or is assigned to the horn because it is already half past dead.

So, the wireless really helps, if it works, it is great but beware of some of the malfunctions. The worst I had was losing signal gradually and the sound guy compensated by increasing the channel volume and then all of a sudden it kicked back in at a force that people came running from the bathroom to see whether it was still safe. It only happened once in maybe 50 times. Just as advice, when you set things up (and it takes usually less than maybe 2 minutes) and there is anything that you have to tweak, power-cycle the receiver and select another frequency band that works right off the bat.

Once you are used to the clip-on/wireless setup, it is awkward to go back. The other nice thing is that you can add some effects to dial in your own sound exactly the way you want it, for example a bit of reverb without being at the mercy of the mixer / sound guy. Don't get me wrong, some of them are really good but some of them are terrible or just used to electric guitars.

Bottom line is that these things are really nice but there are a few things to watch out for. As for sharing, I remember my first ever gig and the house band sax player had a clip-on and whenever he wanted me to play he just turned his horn upside down and I played "into his bell". It was awkward but it worked and not only that but it also created an instant bonding between us.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,881 Posts
I would have thought if a band want people to sit in, they have a microphone. If they don't then they wouldn't.

Whenever I have sat in it is agreed before hand, I wouldn't just turn up and expect to play.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2015-2017
Joined
·
3,187 Posts
Yeah, sitting in spontaneously is usually not a great idea.

If it is arranged, the mic situation gets discussed along with everything else.


dsm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,290 Posts
Yeah, sitting in spontaneously is usually not a great idea.

If it is arranged, the mic situation gets discussed along with everything else.


dsm
It depends, I have run into bands that I had played with before and had no intention of sitting in but during the break somebody asked whether I had a horn with me and wouldn't mind sitting in for a few songs. In that case it was mostly the stage mic that was shared.

But there were also situations where it was arranged and I had all my stuff with me and then some other musicians showed up and all of a sudden it got really crowded.
 

·
Just a guy who plays saxophone.
Joined
·
3,562 Posts
I’ve become a bit of an expert on the spontaneous sitting in thing the past year-and-a-half since moving to a small town with an equally small local scene. It was really hard to find good players, and the handful of quality local bands are a very tight-knit bunch. Hard to crack. There are two venues that have mid to high level regional and national touring acts regularly and I work at one of them (great room to practice in!). I figured that my best route to being ‘discovered’ by locals was to get on the stage with as many touring bands as possible. It’s working, as I’m now starting to book locally with good players. Never had a microphone problem: if there wasn’t one on stage I could borrow, the sound guys (now all my friends) always took care of me. It’s also netted me some bucket list sit ins, as well as two calls to join bands on the road as a sub.
 

·
Just a guy who plays saxophone.
Joined
·
3,562 Posts
Yeah, I don’t think people are asking Miles and Kenny to sit in on a stadium venue gig.
I don’t see nearly as many horn players using clip on mics as I do stand mics anyway. At least not the ones touring 250-500 seat venues like mine. A lot of heavy horn players have played here and all but a couple used a stand mic.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
7,354 Posts
I honestly don't find dealing with my wireless receiver very much of a pain.

Usually there's a sound person to do this for you. And if the band is doing sound then you can just plug in do a quick EQ and settings adjustment (because I've done it thousands of times now I know how much gain, level and monitor I need). And then go up on stage. Especially when you have a volume knob on your mic, it helps a lot.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2015-2017
Joined
·
3,187 Posts
I **do** like having my own mini mixer, cables, mic, stand, etc.
No matter what they have, I am just a 1/4" cable into their system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
This jogs a couple memories!

Eons ago I was living in New Orleans, working offshore on oil rigs, 1 week on, 1 week off. When I was off I'd play with the Tulane big band and busk in the streets with other street players. I went into the Absinthe Bar on Bourbon (surely others know the place) and during the band's break asked the bandleader if I could sit in. He looked over my shoulder and pointed at me, and 20 seconds later the bouncer had escorted me from the premises. I've never asked to sit in with anyone since, I may go to open mic jams. Actually, many years after that I was in NO to play for the Jazz Festival and was busking for old time's sake, went into Maison Bourbon and was invited to sit in, I did that.

The other is a big band chart I wrote a few years ago on 'Human Nature'. It's a good warm-up tune, and I've always liked it -- side bar, NOT Jazz! :) not even a solo, but it could be opened up. Kenny Garrett just kills it in that clip. Attached here, regardless what it does to my reputation, for your free use -- dare ya! Attacks and cut-offs need to be really clean, dynamics are critical. Otherwise, it's just Human Nature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
This jogs a couple memories!

Eons ago I was living in New Orleans, working offshore on oil rigs, 1 week on, 1 week off. When I was off I'd play with the Tulane big band and busk in the streets with other street players. I went into the Absinthe Bar on Bourbon (surely others know the place) and during the band's break asked the bandleader if I could sit in. He looked over my shoulder and pointed at me, and 20 seconds later the bouncer had escorted me from the premises.
.
Bourbon Street has never been much of a place to sit in with a house band. (Now, there's not much music there anymore). The 544 Club (at the other end of block from Chris Owens) would have been your best bet. Usually the warm-up band for Gary Brown allowed people to sit in. Almost anywhere off Bourbon Street would have been open to someone sitting in. I got to sit in with George Finola at the Blue Angel on N. Rampart several times several times. The saxophonist/clarinettist was really nice, even though I wasn't too familiar with Jelly Roll.

Before the clip-on mic became ubiquitous, I used a Barcus Berry transducer. I think I used it twice. I never liked it because sometimes you need to be off-line. The only way to get away from it was to unplug it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,447 Posts
For the very limited amount of sitting-in I do, it always seems to be places where we don't need no stinkin' mikes. It seems to me that if you're dealing with a performance that's scripted to the point that horn players are using clip on mikes, it wouldn't be a very likely sit-in scenario.

As I get older I dislike sound reinforcement more and more, and gravitate to non-amplified situations. (Yeah, the upright bass and guitar have little amps, and a mike for the singer and announcements, but I prefer no more than that.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,477 Posts
Ive never played at a jam session where they didn't have a mic set up for a horn player and vocalist. Most of the venues are so small I never use a mic, but they've always been available. I guess carrying a clip on in your bag is a good idea, just never had to deal with that.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
I find it a non-issue

If I am asked to sit in, I assume they have a mic for me. I'm not into futzing with gear just to sit in. I really have to be asked in advance though, because I don't hang out in places where live music is played unless I'm already on the show...


I also have a simple wireless setup and 3' XLR in my sax case if I'll be playing more than a song or two...it takes less than a minute to plug it into the snake or mixer....you really don't need a personal mixer / FX, and other gear for a show and go.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,967 Posts
Bourbon Street has never been much of a place to sit in with a house band.
One let me get up and sing The Sheik of Araby with them. That was some time ago however.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top