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How to soundcheck 5 tips for bands

5 rules for successful soundchecks!  ·  Source: Shutterstock / 4 PM production

The soundcheck is one of the most important parts of any musician’s gigging day, yet the word “soundcheck” will have most musicians rolling their eyes. To take the hassle out of soundchecking, here are 5 essential soundcheck tips for gigging musicians that will make the whole thing a lot smoother.

1. Turn up to Soundcheck on Time

There are no excuses for this one; make sure you turn up to soundcheck on time especially if you’re the headline act. There’s limited time for the sound engineer, stage manager and other bands to get everything together before doors. Not sure when you should be at soundcheck? Pick up the phone and find out!

2. Be Self Reliant

Most venues are set up to cope with guitar, bass and drums; if your lineup features anything else make sure you carry what’s needed to interface with the venue’s PA system. Do you run backing tracks or have lots of keyboard outputs? Buy some DI boxes and bring them with you. Got a horn section? Think about buying your own clip-on mics.

DO NOT expect to be able to borrow gear from the other bands or the venue; it’s your responsibility to bring everything your show needs. With that said…

3. Bring Only What you Need

Don’t turn up with a 13 piece drum kit if you’re playing the 20-minute opening slot; likewise, don’t bring elaborate stage dressing which makes it difficult for other bands to get on and off the stage. You probably don’t need to use a full guitar stack in a 300 capacity venue either.

4. Open Your Ears

It might sound obvious, but make sure you *listen* at soundcheck; listen to your bandmates, listen to the stage mix and listen to the sound engineer and venue staff. They’re there to help you put on a great show and the more you communicate with them the better you’ll sound and perform. Need something different in your monitors? Make it clear exactly what you need and how you need it.

5. Be Professional

This is perhaps the most important point of all; professionalism costs nothing other than being considerate and thoughtful to all those you’re working with. Soundcheck is not a place for rehearsals, so other than doing the basics to make sure your instrument and gear works properly, don’t play until you’re asked to.

So much about getting ahead as a professional musician is about being easy to get along with and delivering a great show on the night. Keep the rock-star ego in a box until the gig.

Got any good soundcheck anecdotes? Any other tips you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line in the comments!

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David Jameson
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Consider bringing your own rack mixer such as an X32 that is already configured for your entire band. Everyone plugs into that mixer which then just sends the mix to FOH. Then all you need is a line check and to EQ the room itself.
Side benefit – major reduction in stress levels. I’ve toured for four years in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan using this setup.
Extra points if you can get your guitars and bass players to skip using amps and DI right into that mixer.