Learning on job


It is a special feeling, to be an intern one day, and an actual full-fledged sound engineer the very next day. When you get in a situation like this, you’ll soon realise that you still have a lot to learn (I’m guessing that will stay the rest of my life). You will learn something new everyday.

Today I had another learning opportunity. Everything started as a regular day, greeting the band, linecheck, soundcheck, Go! At first everything seemed to be fine. But then suddenly, clipping! Ok! Elimination time! Vocals? Safe. keys? Check! Bass? BINGO! In that moment I saw the painfull look on the bassplayer’s face. I quickly jumped on stage and ran towards the bassplayer. Unfortunately, stealth is not an option, when your stage is 4 by 3m. The band was still playing, but letting the bassplayer just play it out wasn’t an option anymore. Main jack to the amp? No. Wait, main cable? Off course! I immediately took the stompboxes out off the chain. Problem fixed for now! Awww yiss!

In the break I asked the bassplayer new if there was something wrong with one of the pedals. “Yeah I got one which has been showing some problems lately. Ill better get it to a store to get it fixed.” As I’m always eager to learn new sound stuff, I saw a chance, and asked him if I could take a look at it. “You are capable of that kind of stuff?” After I told him I had a basic knowledge in electronics, he allowed me to give it a check.

This was quite exciting for me since I never had opened up a stompbox before. When I looked into the stompbox I could almost imediately see what was wrong; a piece of plastic was broken off of one of the F-jacks, which allowed a piece of copper to escape out of it’s housing. So i did what any engineer would do, I grabbed a tiny piece of Gaffer tape, and put the piece of copper in it’s place. After this, I put the stombox back together, gave it to the bassplayer, and he played the rest of the gig without any problems.

So what did I learn from this?

1. Gaffer tape is a serious miracle worker, even in the smalles of places.

2. Elimination is a very fast way of finding the cause to your problems.

3. Curiousity and recourcefullness will get you very far in this line of work (and probably every kind of work).

Thanks for the trust Peter,

Bart Schellekens

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