Gig at the Douglas Hotel

Cams practising at home for a gig

I’ve got a solo gig this coming Saturday 25 January at the Douglas Hotel in Brodick, my first solo in gig in over a year.

I generally practice through my PA at home when I’ve got a gig, so that I can get used to the differences of playing amplified. I have a D-Tar Wavelength pick-up in my SCGC Vintage Artist and I couple that with a D-Tar MamaBear preamp and I had never really got my tone dialled until after a recording session a month or so ago, when the sound at the recording session was so bad that I got home and was determined to figure it out or give up on it.

I’ve got the pickup set as:

  • 16: Neutral – No Input Compensation
  • 14: Gypsy Jazz
  • Blend – 11 o’clock, so one hour into wet

It’s really the input selection that makes the biggest difference and that’s where I’d been going wrong all these years!

So, now to prepare for the gig. I managed to squeeze into a corner of the living room with the MamaBear by my side, an SM57 mic and the XLR cables going into my passive Soundcraft mixer. I’ve got one XLR running from the mixer, behind the sofa to an AER AcoustiCube60 and I can leave it set up all week without anything really being in the way. Result!

The tone I’m getting is very good indeed! Both fingerstyle and strumming work well, and the vocals sound great. Even my wife has commented on the good playing, which, I explained, is a direct result of having good sound! If it sounds good, I play well; if I’m constantly worrying about the tone, as a normally do, the playing suffers.

I’m going to see what kind of tone I can get with my Model A tonight. It has a PUTW 54 and UST wired in stereo and I’ve always had trouble getting the balance right. I find that there are too many variables with that set up so, although I prefer that guitar, I find myself using the VA for gigs because of the simple, single-source pickup. I’m now reviewing pickups for my next guitar and reckon I’m going to go with a K&K. I’ve never tried one and they get great write-ups.