Lesson II. Live Sound

This video lesson addresses some basics of playing live. You'll hear different mics being used as well as a pickup.

Playing Live:

Notes About Live Sound

A good microphone will give you the most natural sound, but there is a price: a good mic picks up all the idiosyncrasies of your cello sound and this is a good thing (it's what makes a cello sound like a cello!). But all this information doesn't always get reproduced so well by a stage monitor or a even a mediocre sound system so you have to be flexible: maybe you have a little less of yourself in the monitors. Get to know the basics of EQ so you can help direct the sound person towards the best cello sound possible.

Pickups do not sound natural but the signal is strong and feedback is rarely an issue. If you can stand the sound this is the easiest way to go. If you send the sound person a mic and a pickup, which can work well, you can pretty much guarantee that the pickup will predominate: sound techs love that easy to control pickup sound. Try and have a little talk about how you'd like the mic sound to be dominant, you prefer the natural sound of the cello, etc., etc,...not a guarantee but a start.


Take some time to get used to a new stage. Often at first it feels completely bad, you can't hear a thing and right away everyone's monitor levels start coming up..louder and louder. Your ears and your brain need a little time to adjust to the new setup and if everyone in the band takes a little bit less than they think is necessary right away the stage sound will be better and then the playing will be better too.

It's not so bad to have to strive to listen rather than have all sound blasting into your ears. At least it's a better place to start..