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48 Tips To Make Your Band Sound Better
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Give Your Sound Man A Proper Set List!

6:00 am Live Sound

In the band I run sound for, Rusty Strings, there are three singers and two lead instruments, namely guitar and keyboard (the keyboard player also plays flute on some songs). Each different combination of lead vocalist, harmony vocalist, backup singers, and lead part(s) calls for a slightly different mixer setup: turn Singer 1 up and Singer 2 down for this song, get ready to bring up the keyboard solo in the middle, and so on.

For me, it is vital to at least know what the next song is so that I can preset the mixer appropriately for it during the prolonged applause for the song the band just finished playing. Having a simple list of songs may be enough if the sound man really, really knows the band’s songs and arrangements. But even then, it’s nice to have something beyond just a list of titles to go on. If the sound man is unfamiliar with the band, it’s even more important to provide a proper set list. OK, what would be a proper set list look like? I’m glad you asked!

Good and Proper

Here is the actual set list that guitarist Rusty Jack has prepared for an upcoming Rusty Strings gig (click on the picture for a larger copy):

In addition to the attractive color scheme, notice the two columns after the song title: Who sings it? (K, J, or P?) Who plays lead? (B or P, or both?) This is very handy info to have if you happen to be the sound man! Note that Pk means that Rusty Pam plays a keyboard lead; Pf (not used here) means she plays a flute lead.

Jack puts a fair amount of effort into these lists (as you can tell), but hey, if he can do it you can do it. The best approach is probably to maintain a spreadsheet that lists all the band’s songs along with the lead vocal and solo information, then make custom set lists for each gig by copying out the rows for the songs that are in the show.

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3 Responses
  1. Darrin Reeves :

    Date: September 30, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

    Hello,
    This is more of a question for help and guidence.

    I run sound for a country gospel group out of Indiana.

    We use an XR8600 PA Head with 3 Behringer powered monitors.

    Each Band member wants to use their own amps on stage but they face them out to the audience and I’ve tried to

    Tell them that it interferes with me trying to set sound on the system, which everyone is plugged into anyway.Through a direct box into a snake back to the head.

    The instruments we have are Rolland electric drums, Bass, Lead Guitar, Rhythm guitar, Steel guitar and two singers.

    They complain about volume control when everyone is overpowering each other on stage.

    Then the music overpowers the vocals. It’s a real head ache and I can not convince them to leave their amps either facing themselves or

    Leave them at home.

    What do you suggest?

    Also how do you get the front monitor outlet to work on the power monitors?

    Thanks for any help or advice

  2. Alfonso :

    Date: May 2, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

    Hi! I read the comment about Darrin Reeves. This is more of a question for help and guidence.

    I run sound for a country gospel group out of Indiana.

    We use an XR8600 PA Head with 3 Behringer powered monitors.

    Each Band member wants to use their own amps on stage but they face them out to the audience and I’ve tried to

    Tell them that it interferes with me trying to set sound on the system, which everyone is plugged into anyway.Through a direct box into a snake back to the head.

    The instruments we have are Rolland electric drums, Bass, Lead Guitar, Rhythm guitar, Steel guitar and two singers.

    They complain about volume control when everyone is overpowering each other on stage.

    Then the music overpowers the vocals. It’s a real head ache and I can not convince them to leave their amps either facing themselves or

    Leave them at home.

    What do you suggest?

    Also how do you get the front monitor outlet to work on the power monitors?

    Thanks for any help or advice

    i am sitting with the same head ache could you advise what to do please??

  3. Domingo Estrada :

    Date: October 14, 2010 @ 11:45 am

    My brother and I own a small Latin nightclub in Vancouver, Washington.
    We brings in bands from Mexico and all over the U.S. My brother wants to move the Dj booth/sound booth next to the stage. I want to keep in front of the stage.
    My bother want to make more room for customers, I believe that it would benefit the bands, sound tech and the Dj to keep it in front of the stage.
    What do you recommend?
    Thank you for your time

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