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Re: Advice for Looping Percussionist: was Help needed with RC 50 connections set-up

You're a wonderful man, Rick Walker!
On Oct 4, 2010, at 7:43 PM, Rick Walker wrote:

Hi Andrea,

I've toured all over the world as a multi-percussionist
and here's what I've found works:

Buy yourself an AKG C1000s microphone ($200 (USD) each or sometimes
available for 2 for $300 USD)

It's a condenser but it comes with a little plastic 'focusing' cone that you can
screw on that turns the mic into an ultra hyper cardioid pattern (thus eliminating
most feedback).

I'd also highly recommend that you invest in a decent set of
in ear monitors (for just your own monitoring).     Using
open ear plugs you can hear the other instrumentalists but you can
control your own volume with no danger of feedback whatsoever.

Do not be fooled into buy the expensive in ear monitor headphones.
Just invest in a good set of in ear headphones for a stereo.
I use a Shure wireless system.  It was relatively inexpensive (around $400 at the
time I bought it), it's light weight and it's amazing.

You can set up off stage at a music festival and get your sound completely dialed
in without disturbing anyone.   It has so radically reduced my anxiety touring
around the world when you are faced with really tough festival conditions and no
time to set up.

Additionally, I recommend that you either purchase or have someone
wire you a mic cable that has a silent on-off switch and then have the discpline
to continually turn your microphone off when you are not recording your loops.

There will be some venues where you will get feedback because of the particular
acoustics in the room.

Because of this I try to take either a Shure Beta 58 ($180 USD) or , better yer,
a Shure Beta 57 ($175 USD) to use instead of the C1000s.

You can pick them up cheaper and the Shures generally are very rugged so
buying a used one generally is a good bet.

The Beta Shures not only have a better frequency response than the older SM57 and SM58
(I've seen tablas sound like god with these puppies) and they also reject feedback at much higher
volumes than the older Shure SM57.

My last piece of advice for you is to be very, very careful if you use any kind of
frame drum..................the large parallel surface of the drum can be an instant
reflector for feedback coming from the monitors.

Some frame drummers (and other percussionists) will additionally use something
like a Schertler pickup that sticks inside of the drum.

Personally,  I just don't think this solution gets the nuance one needs from the drums
and, additionally, one cannot take advantate of the proximity effect that a good dynamic
microphone has which can be a great way of nuancing a performance.

A trick I love is to bring the mic right down on the frame drum or ghatam so that
it begins to feedback at the pitch of the fundamental frequency of the head.
By bending the head one can 'play' the feedback to end a song effectively.

Good luck and don't hesitate to write me if you need more advice along these lines.

yours,   Rick