Gig Bag Items

As a performing musician, there are a couple of essential tools you need in addition to your horn. Here is what you should have if you are performing a lot.

A Check List – The FIRST thing you should do create a check list of things you need to take to a gig. I recommend using some sort of iOS or whatever repeating task list. I use Omnifocus that I created a bunch of repeating items that show up Fridays. Things like “Water”, “Microphones”, “Snakes and cables”, “Bari Sax Stand” are on the list. Yes, obvious things. But things you NEED for the gig. You might be thinking “of course I’m going to remember the bari sax stand”….until you don’t and then either do the gig without it or have to turn around and go get it. 2016-10-20-13-59-28

Two of everything – There is a survival rule, “Two Is One and One is None” that supposedly comes from the Navy Seals. Popular youtube video creator GCP Grey has taken it a little further “Three is two, two is one, one is none” on his Cortex podcast. I generally try to have TWO of everything, sometimes three. Three extra reeds. Three XLR cables even though you need only one. Two microphones (though I usually have three with me). Extra batteries. Say you break a reed…..and the spare is sorta crap as well. You have another reed to try. Or if your microphone cable is crapping out on you….you have a spare. An extra mic clip in case your clip breaks. And an extra microphone just incase. Or if you need to maybe mic something else. If you use your iPad for music, it becomes a little more complex. I was usually carrying a binder of all the songs we might do at a gig, but that becomes cumbersome. I am lucky enough to have TWO iPads (the original iPad and an iPad 4), but if I didn’t have an extra iPad, I would probably put everything on my iPhone. The bigger screen iPhones (6 and above) are good enough to read in an emergency. All the charts are in Dropbox.

Tape – Scotch tape, Electrical and/or gaffers tape. Useful to fix just about anything. I’ve had to use some electrical tape to fix my Sennheiser 421 when the clip broke. Took 30 seconds, and it was good to go.

Screwdrivers and Rubberbands – To get that wayward screw back in the slot and maybe fix a broken spring.

A Multitool – I find I use this a lot, especially the pliers. It’s good to use to bend a key back (use some tape on the gripper parts of the players to keep you key from getting groove marks). The knife comes in handy, as does the screwdriver (to adjust a microphone stand clip) and stuff. It’s good to have in the bag.

These are things in my bag that I have found I need for a gig.

Sheet Of The Week – If This Was A Movie (Taylor Swift)

Another by TSwift

  If This Was A Movie by Taylor Swift for Eb Instruments (104.6 KiB, 3 hits)
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  If This Was A Movie by Taylor Swift for Bb Instruments (109.1 KiB, 3 hits)
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Fake Selmer Saxophone

The Bassic-Sax.info site had an interesting article about rampant counterfeit Selmer instruments being sold. The pictures are quite compelling and I can totally see how someone could be mislead. These look great…..if I didn’t know anything I would think these are legit.

Check out the article. I guess some sort of praise should be given to these counterfeiters in their work….too bad they don’t channel that work into making their own saxophone brands.

Sheet Of The Week – Little Do You Know (Alex & Sierra)

One from Alex & Sierra

  Little Do You Know by Alex and Sierra for Eb Instruments (92.7 KiB, 14 hits)
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  Little Do You Know by Alex and Sierra for Bb Instruments (92.9 KiB, 8 hits)
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Shure SM58 50th Anniversary

You know it…the metallic ball grille…..it’s legendary ability to be abused and still sound great. A mic that many of us have used for saxophone and countless vocalists use. The Shure SM58 (which is basically a SM57 with a different grille). It is celebrating its 50th birthday. Some interesting links about the history of the mic can be found below.

10 Things You Might Not Know About the SM58
Shure’s SM58 Anniversary site

Roland Marketing……Needs a Change Now

I’m a little confused and slightly worried about the Roland product marketing for the Aerophone AE-10.

The absolute best video on the Roland site is this one. It sounds great, and Roland should do more of these.

But on the Roland site, they have this chump…who sounds terrible.

Come on Roland. You need to refocus now. Ditch the chump, and put more Alistair videos up for promoting the instrument. Videos I see of Alistair playing the AE-10 sound great. Fire everyone else and make him your guy associated with this instrument.

Roland Aerophone AE-10

Roland has introduced a new Digital Wind Instrument. Awesome!

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All the saxophone sounds you need in one instrument

Nothing beats the sound of your favorite acoustic sax, but sometimes its tone might not be quite right for the job at hand. Whatever scenario you’re playing in, the Roland Aerophone AE-10 has the onboard digital sax sounds you need. Choose from alto, tenor, soprano, and baritone sax types that all respond just like their acoustic counterparts to your playing dynamics and articulation, thanks to Roland’s advanced SuperNATURAL modeling technology. Alongside individual sounds, you can pull off a seamless performance with the Full Range feature, automatically switching between sax types by key range.

Steve Coleman Mainstream?

The NYT had an article about Steve Coleman:

“On Tuesday, to celebrate his 60th birthday, he begins a monthlong residency at Stone, in Manhattan’s East Village, playing almost every night with his longstanding quintet, Five Elements. It’s a throwback to a much earlier era, when the likes of John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk took over the stage at clubs like the Five Spot or the Half Note for a month or more to work out their next new things.”

There are several things wrong here. First, that Steve is turning 60. He doesn’t look or sound 60. Second is that New York doesn’t do things like that anymore. They don’t let a creative genius come out, play, and work out something new. There are TONS of great musicians in New York….why not rotate in people for a month at a time. Who wouldn’t go see Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano, or people we’ve never heard of play there, and work out arrangements and sounds? It could be a huge draw.

Personally, if Yoshi’s or some place did that I’d would go. Right now, Yoshi’s likes to over charge for their food and then ream you some more for drinks on top of the ticket price to see an act there. No thanks.

The State Of Effects Pedals in 2016

Lots of saxophonists use or have used effects boxes with their saxophone. Some my favorite recordings of the Brecker Brothers from the 70s where he uses and octavider and an envelope filter for those sounds hear on the recordings.

More modern saxophonists, like Jeff Coffin, are using a Q-Tron and a Line 6 M Series Effects pedal. Q-Tron gives you a great funky sound, and the Line 6 gives you a ton of options.

Dean Mongerio has a pretty sweet pedal setup I covered before. It is worth checking out.

But what else do people use? I see a lot of people using vocal effects pedals like the Boss VE-20, and TC-Helicon pedals. But there are tons of other pedals as well.

My current setup is a Q-Tron like Jeff Coffin, and a Eventide MixingLink which I love. The MixingLink allows we to blend the Q-Tron with my sax sound, and I can bypass the Q-Tron all together. That is helpful as my Q-Tron has no Redlight to tell me it is currently engaged. I am looking to add some sort of Harmonizer. If I had the $$$ I would get the Eventide Pitchfactor or a Eventide H9. Though the Boss VE-20 looks interesting…..

What effects pedals are you guys using?

Jazz-Sax, all things Jazz and Sax