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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Simple Mic/PA recommendations for vocals at public bluegrass jam

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KD Banjer - Posted - 12/15/2019:  16:46:32

Hi Everyone,

I've been playing (and singing) at some bluegrass jams, and for the jams held in public venues, sometimes its difficult for the audience to hear the vocals.

It is an all acoustic jam, but I thought that it might help to pass a mic and mic stand around for the person who sings so the audience can hear the vocals more clearly.

Any recommendations?

I am thinking of a wireless mic with a one amp/speaker on a tall stand directed to the audience.

Thanks for your thoughts.

KD Banjer - Posted - 12/15/2019:  17:59:46

For about $600, I have been reading the the Ear Trumpet mics (for about $600) are good for bluegrass bands.

But, at a bluegrass jams, if there are 10 musicians in a circle, for example, I am thinking it would be helpful to have a roving vocals mic to move around the circle so that the singer can be heard better by the audience.

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas.

KD Banjer - Posted - 12/15/2019:  18:02:04

This is a good video from 'Ear Trumpet Labs' about choosing a bluegrass mic for live gigs.

Foote - Posted - 12/15/2019:  19:22:41

Also an opportunity for the jammers to learn to art of playing softly while the singers are singing!! In my over 40 years of playing I have numerous compliments on my ability to play quietly when needed. I've been in too many jams where, sorry to say, the banjo player or players knew only one volume, 11.

Old Hickory - Posted - 12/15/2019:  20:22:02


Time to turn it from a circle jam to a performance style stage jam. The microphone stays put, it's the musicians who move.

That's how Michael Daves's First Monday Jam at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC works.  Michael, a guest musician, a bass and usually guitar are a permanent on-stage band. Some jammers also stand on stage while others stand off to the side. Everybody who wants to gets a turn to call a song or tune just like in a circle jam. Difference is there's a condenser microphone front and center where the song leader/vocalist performs and where anyone who wants a break jumps in. Song leader still has the job of giving out solos. Here it involves the would-be soloist catching the leader's eye.

This is a high-level full speed jam

eagleisland - Posted - 12/16/2019:  06:25:52


Originally posted by KD Banjer

This is a good video from 'Ear Trumpet Labs' about choosing a bluegrass mic for live gigs.

It's good indeed. Pasting it into the PA 101 sticky. Thanks for posting it!

KD Banjer - Posted - 12/18/2019:  18:00:31

Thank you, gentlemen, for all of your thoughts and advice.

One of the co-organizers of the Brewery jam I was referring to suggested that we have a circle jam for a couple of hours, and then perhaps follow with a couple of bands on stage for 30 min sets in front of a mic.

In the meantime, the singer in the circle jam will need to sing loudly, I guess.

Thanks again.

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