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A stressful gig and a narrow escape

OldNotGrey

Member
Messages
110
A quick tale of survival.

Saturday evenings gig was not expected to be any different to others that we have performed as a 10 piece soul and blues band, it was a regular club venue, familiar set list and generally just another evening of musical fun. The only planned change was the unavailability of our alto sax player, which meant I had to take and transpose to my tenor sax a couple of unfamiliar solos which i hadn't played before and having just returned from holiday there were only 2 days to rehearse them - profuse apologies to the wife allowed me to disappear to the bat cave for 2 consecutive evenings in order to learn them as best as possible (but I did leave her with the TV remote in compensation!!)

Saturday morning I was reasonably comfortable, although a little apprehensive, and hoping that I would be able to remember the new solos under the spotlight and focus of the audience. So early evening trudged off to the gig.

All was well until....

Issue #1... our faithful(?) drummer realised he had left his snare drum behind (no great loss to me personally as that's one less piece of noise to cope with in my ears) but apparently it's a key piece of equipment in the drum set, so he frantically disappeared home to retrieve it. Fortunately the set-up allowed us plenty of time and it was a reasonably local venue.

Issue #2... whilst the drummer was away I got myself rigged up and took my recently purchased Yamaha 82Z custom tenor from it's case only to find a lovely shiny piece of brass sitting on the velour lining. Argh.....what the hell!! Upon close inspection, under a fair amount of duress, it was clear that it wasn't a standard key but a lever with a couple of pieces or cork at salient places along it's length. After several minutes looking to find where it was missing from, I couldn't find anything obviously missing from the body of the sax, all the keys seemed to be there so what was I dealing with?!? Was the sax playable, could I trust it for a 2 hour gig? In the end I realised it was the front F key which as 1) I have limited altissimo capability and 2) it wouldn't be used in any during our set, I trusted I could get away without it and sort it out the following day under less stress and in the daylight with a clear head.

Issue #3... don't they say problems always come along in 3's? Well not to disappoint, with our drummer now having a full kit (shame!) and me hoping nothing else would fall off my sax, we started a sound check only to find that the left side sub-woofer wasn't kicking out any drums or the bass guitar..... something definitely seems to be conspiring against us !!! Many eyes were cast upon the speaker switches, yes - they were set the same as the right side, yes - it is cabled correctly, yes - it is getting an input signal and the the top PA speaker is working, no - there aren't any gates on the channels to obstruct the low frequencies.... argh once again!!! With the clock ticking towards performance time, many equipment and mixing desk resets later and with several confused and exasperated musicians, we decided to go with the remaining sub-woofer and hope it resonated enough to fill the room. So soundcheck commences with a familiar number that we can try to relax into (I Wish, Stevie Wonder) and half way through as if given an electrical kick up the backside, the left side sub-woofer suddenly decides to spring into life.... way hay, we're cooking again !!!

Fortunately that brought stress levels down for everyone, except me because with all the previous excitement I now had a mental blank remembering how the solos went. But once we starting playing the melodies of those songs, the memory from the previous couple of evenings came back to me and whilst they might not have been performed to the best level of gusto, dynamics and growling the solos were performed well enough to get some credit from the other band members.

So in the end the audience were happy, the band played well and I left feeling satisfied that I had accomplished something, which makes it all worthwhile (I must have masochistic tendencies)

Now onto this coming Saturday where I hope and pray that normal stress-free service will be resumed.

PS. Threaded pin for front F key found and key replaced where it should be - and tightened up!!
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,589
When you do lots of gigs it's amazing that things don't go wrong more often than not. I do suggest that you get more familiar with your horn's mechanics though so that you can identify a potential (and solve?) problem quicker. Good to hear that all was well though and the fun levels were kept suitably topped up.
 

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
556
That's quite a night.
Something you could do for that front F key (most of my female sax playing friends do this, a noticeably smaller proportion of my male friends) is put just a drop of clear nail polish on the end. I think you can also use the right type of thread locker, but be extra sure to quadruple check which one it is. I can't be bothered to ask my sister for a toothpick's worth of goo, so I just keep a close eye on it and tighten it with my thumbnail or reed knife,
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,984
Something you could do for that front F key (most of my female sax playing friends do this, a noticeably smaller proportion of my male friends) is put just a drop of clear nail polish on the end.
Real men would have several tins of interior and exterior varnish, clear and coloured, silk, matt and gloss out in the shed.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,304
I have black and clear nail varnish. The clear for the sax and the black for touching up stone chips on the motorcycle frame. Ordering on line has the added bonus of lingerie dpam turning up. I could undubscibe but...;)
 

OldNotGrey

Member
Messages
110
Thanks for the tips folks... I now have the dilemma of which colour nail varnish to sneak from my wife's collection :)

@Pete Effamy, you are absolutely right that we under-estimate how easy it is for Murphy's law to appear and as a band we have remarkably managed approx 10 years of MTBF (Mean Time Between Feckup) so I guess it had to come at some point ;)
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,589
Thanks for the tips folks... I now have the dilemma of which colour nail varnish to sneak from my wife's collection :)

@Pete Effamy, you are absolutely right that we under-estimate how easy it is for Murphy's law to appear and as a band we have remarkably managed approx 10 years of MTBF (Mean Time Between Feckup) so I guess it had to come at some point ;)
Yeah. It’s difficult to keep a professional attitude as it can make the gig less enjoyable on stage. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years though - give a good performance and mostly the punters don’t know or care about our gremlins. :sax:
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,672
I pack an emergency repair kit in my case. A few screws, rubber bands screwdriver etc.

More than once over the years I have had to use rubber bands to fix either a slipped or broken spring. Also useful as a temporary fix if a pad gets really sticky

The other thing I recommend is prior to any gig, check the sax over making sure all screws are tight corks in place. Once you have done this a few times it only takes a few minutes. Back when I was gigging a lot, I always carried a backup horn (hence 2 gold medal tenors).
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,984
I have black and clear nail varnish. The clear for the sax and the black for touching up stone chips on the motorcycle frame. Ordering on line has the added bonus of lingerie dpam turning up. I could undubscibe but...;)
Daddy bear said 'The black nail varnish is really for my motorbike'.
Mummy bear said 'And I suppose the clear nail varnish is really for your saxophone'.
Baby bear said 'Why is Daddy wearing your lingerie'?
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,589
Daddy bear said 'The black nail varnish is really for my motorbike'.
Mummy bear said 'And I suppose the clear nail varnish is really for your saxophone'.
Baby bear said 'Why is Daddy wearing your lingerie'?
And sniffing your porridge... oooer..
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,987
It was quite stressful just reading that!

There is some sort of law which indicates that he number and severity of issues is proportional, raised to some power, to the importance, significance, and time criticality, of the event...

I have noticed this many times with IT systems implementations...
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,672
A tiny drop (using pin) of penetrating threadlock will stop a screw from coming loose BUT so will a tiny dab of clear kitchen or bath silicone will do the same thing and is waaaayyyyy easier to get off. Threadlock, if incorrectly used, could result in tech having to extract screw
 
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