Archives For Gear & Tech

Often the most unappreciated volunteers in a church.
Some of the most gracious & patient people I know.
To the tech geniuses who control the ‘suck’ button…
This shout out is for you!

Custom Drum Booth

andyallen —  March 3, 2011 — 52 Comments

My most visited blog post over the past year (by a long shot) was on building a new drum booth.  Call it a drum booth, drum shield, drum cage, whatever – the bottom line is that sometimes the acoustics of a room will create a need to control the sound of your drums.  I wanted to get a little more detailed with the specs, materials used and the things I learned so I’ve written an updated post here.

Start talking about building a drum booth and some people start talking about using an electric drum kit.  Not me, no way…I believe electronic drums are of the devil.  My feeling is that if you’re gonna have drums in your band, then play with an acoustic kit.

There were some specific challenges I had in building this particular booth due to the room it was in.  I’ll try to leave out things that won’t apply to everyone.  There were also some political matters that I won’t go into here….you know, sometimes there’s the insane pastor’s wife you have to deal with.

My goal was to build a booth that contained sound and visually kept the drummer as unobstructed as possible.  I wanted it to look and feel feel like he was part of the band, not tucked away in a box.  My first choice would be to go without a top/lid, but the acoustics of some rooms will amplify sound shooting up.  You’ll also need to consider reflected sound exiting the back of the booth.  Something will need to absorb those reflections wether it be theater walls, curtains or sound panels.  This will be determined by the room and space you’re dealing with.

Continue Reading…

Elixir Strings & Cables Rock

andyallen —  February 5, 2011 — 10 Comments

I’m often asked about the gear and equipment I use when I play out, so I’m going to do a little blogging on that over time here. This info is kind of a moving target for me because technology is continually updating and new gear is always hitting the market. I probably should confess that gear-lust often clouds my good judgment…but I’ll save my confessions for another post.

For years I’ve exclusively used Elixir Strings. I’m a rhythm guitar player, self-taught, but a keyboard player first. Perhaps it’s because I’m a sissy (or most likely because of it) that it took me a long time to build up string-calluses on my fingers. So when I first played Elixir Strings with the POLYWEB coating, my fingers felt like they were being pampered and I became an instant fan.

Not only do I love how the strings feel when I play, I’m also thrilled with the way these strings keep their intonation. Other strings I’ve played always seem to have a short ‘shelf-life’ and required constant tuning. Elixir’s stay in tune week to week, needing only minor adjustments, and last a lot longer than any other brand I’ve tried. I dig this because it saves me money and time spent constantly changing strings.

I’ve also found that my Elixir Strings consistently maintain their tone. They don’t just sound great for a few days of playing and then loose their brightness. I can play them for several weeks and still be happy with the tone I’m getting. Many other strings sound great at first and quickly begin to sound dull and lifeless. Elixir’s sound great the entire time I have them on my guitar.

Continue Reading…

I’ve decided to change up the way I’m  putting my set-lists here on the blog.  Until now I’ve been listing our performance key, but I think it would be a bit more helpful to post the artist that my arrangements most closely match for that week.  There will be some songs where I can’t really find anything comparable, so in that case I’ll just post what I think is the most popular version.  If you have any questions about what key I’m doing songs in and what’s working in a live setting, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to get you that info.  I’ll continue to add iTunes links for the songs to make it easy for you to purchase and download tunes I’m using.

This week we used a quick custom track I laid down for God Be Praised, a new song I heard at the Gateway Worship Conference last month.  I just decided to do a simple track in GarageBand.  It was a little tricky because the song has a tempo change midway through and GarageBand has some limitations I had to work around.  I just added a pad and string track to my click and cue/guide tracks.  I’m loving this song live…it’s a great worship anthem that is easy for people to connect with.

Here is my set from this weekend:

Friend of God (Michael Gungor)
Let It Rise
(Big Daddy Weave)
I Surrender All (Traditional Hymn)
God Be Praised (Gateway Worship)
How Great Is Our God
(Chris Tomlin)

Are you using enhancement trax in your worship?

What are your thoughts about the new song God Be Praised?

The services went really well this weekend.  Even with separate teams on Saturday and Sunday services, there is a cool flow to the way the tech and platform teams are working together.

We’ve used a click off and on, but I’m implementing it on a more consistent basis now.  We’ve purchased a Tama Rhythm Watch and our drummers run it.  Over the past year I’ve changed the way we’re set up on the platform, moved completely to a quiet stage with In-Ear Monitors and now bringing in the click to keep the band solid.  Change can sometimes be a challenge, but kudo’s to my worship peeps for hanging in there with me.  I’ve seen a huge improvement in the technical and musical side of our worship ministry.

Here is the set from this weekend:

Mighty To Save – G/A
Great Is Our God – A   (Andy Allen original, recording not available yet)
Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King – C
Hosanna – E
Beautiful Beautiful – Dm (Special Music Performed by Ivy Weesner)
All Who Are Thirsty – G (Saturday)
Son of God – G  (Sunday)

Have a great week!

Andy