Live

7 Ways to Make Your Music Gear Invisible

We own music equipment to serve a means, not to be an end in itself. Here are 7 ways to make your performances more about your music and less about fiddling with your equipment:

 • Practice pressing buttons. The quicker you are at getting the sound you want, the less you have to worry about twisting knobs during the performance.

• Pre-prep everything.  Don't wait to the last second to put together your equipment – test everything at home, so it's not a distraction at the venue.

• Buy intiutive equipment . If your live rig is difficult to work with, get rid of it. Speed is everything when you're making on the fly tweaks.

 • Buy quality equipment. Settling for cheap may be easier in the short term, but paying a few extra dollars for something that won't constantly need fixing saves time and a lot of headaches.

• Don't switch equipment too often. It's tempting to always buy the latest and greatest, but having equipment on stage that you're comfortable with is often more important than having all the latest bells and whistles.

 • Practice using your equipment at home. Don't just program at home – set up your equipment just like you'll be using it at the venue, and practice with it frequently. 

• Simplify, simplify. The fewer cables, software instruments, and keyboards you have on stage, the less likely you are to have a problem with one of them.

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My 5 Worst Nightmares Onstage, and How I’d Solve Them Now

My 5 Worst Nightmares Onstage, and How I’d Solve Them Now

Since I’ve been playing out, I’ve had everything from power surges to stunned June beetles try to ruin my performances. Here’s my top 5 preventable train wrecks onstage, and how I would prevent them from happening now: 

10 Tricks to Using Mainstage 3 Live

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So you just downloaded Mainstage 3 and all of the additional sounds, hooked up your audio interface, and got your midi controller working with Mainstage. What now? Here's 10 tricks I've learned to use Mainstage 3 live:

1. Test your patches before you go to the show. Make sure they're all roughly the same loudness level.

2. Put together a bunch of stock sounds you like to refer to during the practice or show. Write me, and I'll give you a bunch of my favorites.

3. In a hurry? Use a 1/8th inch audio cable hooked into your mac instead of hauling an audio interface. The sound quality and latency difference live is pretty negligible, in my opinion.

4. Make sure you're running in mono, if you're running a single audio cable out to a DI box. You can change the main output from stereo to mono in the channel strip window.

5. Put a light compressor/limiter on your master output to tame loud and quiet sections.

6. If you have faders or knobs, map one of them to the master expression fader (not the master audio out) to control your volume live. Make sure to move it once before you begin playing, to avoid any sudden jumps in volume on stage.

7. There's a tricky way to add chord charts to a live program. Write me, and I'll send you a step-by-step guide for free.

8. Quit all other programs and restart your computer before taking the stage. This will clear out your memory, and make sure everything runs smoothly live.

9. Take notes during the practice of what worked patch-wise, and what didn't. When you get home, make modifications to your patches using your notes as a reference.

10. When you're done, export all of your patches in folders to your desktop for next time. That way, you can add only the songs you need next set. This works particularly well for cover bands with large repertoires, and worship bands.