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I'm going to start playing solo acoustic gigs--tips needed.

I've been playing for years for pleasure, and for the past two years with my church band. Now I want to start playing gigs at coffee houses, pool decks, bars, lounges, etc.

I've got a pretty good set list of songs I can play by memory, plus others I can do with a few cheat sheets.

My main questions are:

What kind of equipment should I get? I have an Alvarez AD60CK but need an amp and mic. How many watts do I need for the amp?

Also, what is the typical set length and the rate of pay I could command? I've played a few weddings and got paid $100 for about 20 minutes of playing. I assume a coffee house or bar set would be a couple of hours at least for about the same amount of money.

Thanks for your help.

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Figure about 45 minute sets. Talking a little between songs will help - especially if you have original songs.

As for an amp or PA system. Many coffee house have their own where you can plug in directly. But there will be time you will not have that luxury. You want an amp designed specifically for acoustic guitars and will have enough wattage for what you think might be your largest venue. And my suggestion would be to over do the wattage because you'll find its so much easier to turn it down than to push the amp louder than it can actually produce.

Another thought to keep in mind is how will you mic your vocals? There are some amp out there that could do a vocal and guitar channel. A small PA system can be used as well.

Moving forward you should define the types of places you want to play and make the decision on how to handle micing vocal and a guitar (either as a direct plug-in for the guitar or miced - if miced then you have to research the type of mic for the guitar - a Shure SM57 could suffice.)

John G.
I started out like you over 15 years ago. What you need will evolve. Here is a good place for you to start that is affordable and will do what you want. Carvin was the first good PA I got, I now have a Bose system that really works for me now but the Carvin stuff will get you started and fill the bill. The "Search For Tone" is the Holy Grail of acoustic giggers. It took over a decade and thousands of dollars, however, you don't need that much to start. And if you can find coffee house gigs that pay 100 buck for 20 minutes..................Ain't gonna happen! ;-)
A Shure 58 is the classic answer to the mic question. There are way better mics out there but $$$$$$$. Here is another Carvin link to the smallest PA system that is just above the link I sent. Just remember you are also gonna need cables, guitar stand, mike stand, speaker stands, tuner (VERY IMPORTANT) and before you start hittin' the road you might frequent any open mic nights to work on stage presence and comfort. The old joke......."He askd the cab driver, How do you get to Carnegie Hall?........Practice, practice, practice." Oh, and also remember to have fun.;-)
I forgot to post the new link.......Here ya go.
Thank you for the information. I checked out the Carvin, but it was a little more than I want to/can spend right now. I ended up buying a Crate Gunnison Acoustic amp. It's 60 watts and has inputs and seperate controls for each input.

I also got an Audiotechnica PR99 with a stand and 25 foot cable. The whole setup cost me $280 from World Music Supply. Maybe I'll upgrade the mic later, but it will do for now.

Now I just have to get the amp settings dialed in and start practicing.


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