Freeway Music — Columbia, SC’s Premier Music School

7 Tips for Good Sound Check Etiquette

As I was creating my last blog about performance etiquette, I joked about the fact that I could write a whole blog on sound check etiquette…Well, here we are!

Be on Time
Just because you are “Awesome” doesn’t give you a pass to be late. Be considerate of the sound guy, and the other bands that are playing.

Respect the Sound Guy
This is the sound guy’s realm, and like it or not, you sound is in his hands for the evening. So, you definitely want to be on his good side. There is a right and wrong way to communicate what you desire sound-wise. If you are really anal about it, you may want to consider hiring a sound guy to tour with you, if you can afford it.

Communicate Your Stage Needs
It’s best if you can communicate your stage setup, and instrumentation beforehand. This gives the sound guy an idea of what to expect, and a head start on setting up the stage for you that night. This makes the whole process smoother. Also, don’t start setting everything up before talking to the sound guy.

Don’t Noodle
Nobody cares how much you can rip it up during sound checks. Everyone hates a noodler. It’s okay to check your tone, volume, and various settings, but that shouldn’t include a 5 minute epic solo. While others are sound checking, you should remain dead silent. It’s respectful, and it makes the process move a lot faster.

Sound Check Properly
Learn how to properly sound check your instrument when it’s your turn. For example, drummers should hit each piece of the set in a slow steady pace and the velocity they would while playing, and then test the whole kit for the sound guy. Often people use hand signals to let the sound guy know how much want in their monitor, as it’s hard to communicate to the sound guy while checking. Learn these various nuances.

It’s Not Rehearsal
Sound checking is for…that’s right…sound checking. It’s not an extra rehearsal for the new song you are working on. It’s one thing to run through a new song as a sound check to have one last practice through it, but completely different when you run through it several times. Generally, one or two songs is plenty for a sound check. Don’t stand up there and have a 30 min rehearsal. You should’ve rehearsed earlier that week. You are just wasting the sound engineer’s time.

Wait to Unplug
Sound guys hate when people yank cables out while the sound is live, creating a large popping sound through the speakers. It not only sounds annoying, it is bad for the speakers.

I’m sure there are many other things to consider when sound checking, but these 7 will definitely get you in a good direction. Make sure you check out the blog on Performance Etiquette

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