We had a great rehearsal yesterday afternoon and I can’t wait for Wednesday night’s show! Ruthie is an awesome drummer — solid and steady — and Dave’s bass playing and high harmony parts add to both sides of the hi-fi experience. Dennis has been on a mission to rock with grit and overdrive and a few more foot pedals than I’ve ever seen him use before. All this gives me plenty of room to sit back and listen, which is a good thing to do while you’re performing. In fact, I can completely stop playing at almost any time to great effect. (As Todd Snider once quipped, “Silence — music’s original alternative!”)
It is always a challenge to avoid feedback when playing lead on an acoustic instrument in an electric band. That’s because magnetic pickups on electric instruments amplify changes in a magnetic field, while acoustic pickups and mics are amplifying physical vibrations. When you pipe those vibrations through house and monitor speakers, the resulting sound waves don’t interfere with the electric instruments, but the mics all pick them up again and again in a feedback loop. I need the volume dialed up as high as it can go without feedback in order for the rhythm parts to be loud enough to blend with the band, so when I jump in with a lead, everybody else has to pull back a tiny bit, which isn’t always the desired effect of an instrumental solo.
I’m dreaming of foot pedals which are tough to use with acoustic instruments. Hmm… Maybe it’s time for one of these!