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WICKED The Musical - using Helix in a theatrical show


floyd99
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Hi all,

I posted this photo a few weeks ago but in my sleepy haze, clicked the wrong button a day later and deleted the post by accident.   

I took the GoPro in one night and did a little filming, so decided to hold off re-posting until I'd made some videos, a couple of which I've posted links below.  On my channel there's a couple more.  I thought folks might be interested given theatre shows is somewhat unique and most people never see what goes on down there!

 

I'm using the Helix for everything except the banjo.   I'm using just a single patch and running in 10 footswitch pedal board mode.  Paths 1A, 2A & 2B are basically one big chain,  output to Left XLR.   This is the electric signal path and i'm just using a clean fender amp model.   In an FX Loop & assigned to a footswitch is a Line 6 M5 purely for the Seek Wah effect.

 

Path 2B gets input from Aux In and is used for the acoustics, simple pre-amp and reverb output to Right XLR.   I have a volume block in there as well, with level assigned to a footswitch to basically mute/unmute the acoustic so I can swap the cable between guitars as required (sometimes up to 4 different guitars are used in a single song - that's theatre for ya!)

 

Cheers, dave

 

Run through of guitars and most of the sounds used in the show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3aZtCspcFU

 

Bows & Exit music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-Cz4UqKpbo

 

A tour of the orchestra pit & a few other areas - FOH audio etc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8fQZT4aY-0

post-561563-0-19919000-1464441357_thumb.jpg

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Wow! Fantastic videos. Thanks for giving us a peak into your pit. That looks like a blast.

 

I thought I had done it all in my career, but I've never played a pit (not a literal pit, anyway). I love gigs that have a huge variety of styles. I recently played a 2 hour big band show that covered 100 years of American music, so we played everything from Jelly Roll Morton to Pharel Williams, and it was a blast, but we were all on the stage. In some ways, I think the pit might be more relaxing - no one can see you (no makeup and hair!), so all you have to do is play. It's like studio and live at the same time.

 

I was wondering how the conductor sees the stage. Does he use monitors or can he see everything live? Do you often have to follow the conductor to stretch or compensate for stage f/ups? My wife once starred in a big Vegas production of a Rogers and Hamerstein musical and on opening night she was so nervous she started her first song in the wrong key and then stopped singing to get her note. She was so grateful to the conductor and orch. for cool-ly not stopping, but seemlessly cycling through the intro again so she could restart.

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Thanks Bill :-)

In one of the videos I actually take the camera to the conductor position so you can see what they do :)

 

It varies. In some shows (like this), he can see the stage as they are elevated on a podium with just their head sticking out at the front apron of the stage. In others, and becoming more common these days, we are completely enclosed either in the pit or under the stage or even a different building. When that's the case, they have monitors. In all cases there is a camera pointed at the conductor with screens in the auditorium so the cast can see the conductor without having to look down at the floor.

 

The most common spots in a show for stretching music is when there is dialogue mid-song. These are generally written in the score with open ended repeat sections (called a vamp). That could be just a single bar of music or multiple, and we basically repeat until the conductor hears the right line and we move on. Once the show is running smoothly it's extremely rare for unintended mishaps as the cast tend to do it the same way every time. It does happen, but we can hear them in addition to watching the conductor, so we know when something's gone wrong and as a band we generally can pick it up. What might seem like a trainwreck moment to us is probably not even noticed by the audience :)

 

Yes it's relaxing in one sense in that no one can see us. And whilst I look relaxed, it's a mammoth concentration. Time signature changes everywhere, and nasty ones. In the middle of a page if you miss that elusive 2/4 bar, not good! What you can't see is that almost all of the accents that the drummer/band hits are also hit by the cast in their dancing/choreography.

 

:-)

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Thanks Bill :-)

In one of the videos I actually take the camera to the conductor position so you can see what they do :)

 

It varies. In some shows (like this), he can see the stage as they are elevated on a podium with just their head sticking out at the front apron of the stage. In others, and becoming more common these days, we are completely enclosed either in the pit or under the stage or even a different building. When that's the case, they have monitors. In all cases there is a camera pointed at the conductor with screens in the auditorium so the cast can see the conductor without having to look down at the floor.

 

The most common spots in a show for stretching music is when there is dialogue mid-song. These are generally written in the score with open ended repeat sections (called a vamp). That could be just a single bar of music or multiple, and we basically repeat until the conductor hears the right line and we move on. Once the show is running smoothly it's extremely rare for unintended mishaps as the cast tend to do it the same way every time. It does happen, but we can hear them in addition to watching the conductor, so we know when something's gone wrong and as a band we generally can pick it up. What might seem like a trainwreck moment to us is probably not even noticed by the audience :)

 

Yes it's relaxing in one sense in that no one can see us. And whilst I look relaxed, it's a mammoth concentration. Time signature changes everywhere, and nasty ones. In the middle of a page if you miss that elusive 2/4 bar, not good! What you can't see is that almost all of the accents that the drummer/band hits are also hit by the cast in their dancing/choreography.

 

And yes, it's very much like a studio but live. Especially as we're running silent with headphones, drummer in a booth, etc.

 

:-)

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Hi all,

I posted this photo a few weeks ago but in my sleepy haze, clicked the wrong button a day later and deleted the post by accident.   

I took the GoPro in one night and did a little filming, so decided to hold off re-posting until I'd made some videos, a couple of which I've posted links below.  On my channel there's a couple more.  I thought folks might be interested given theatre shows is somewhat unique and most people never see what goes on down there!

 

I'm using the Helix for everything except the banjo.   I'm using just a single patch and running in 10 footswitch pedal board mode.  Paths 1A, 2A & 2B are basically one big chain,  output to Left XLR.   This is the electric signal path and i'm just using a clean fender amp model.   In an FX Loop & assigned to a footswitch is a Line 6 M5 purely for the Seek Wah effect.

 

Path 2B gets input from Aux In and is used for the acoustics, simple pre-amp and reverb output to Right XLR.   I have a volume block in there as well, with level assigned to a footswitch to basically mute/unmute the acoustic so I can swap the cable between guitars as required (sometimes up to 4 different guitars are used in a single song - that's theatre for ya!)

 

Cheers, dave

 

Run through of guitars and most of the sounds used in the show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3aZtCspcFU

 

Bows & Exit music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-Cz4UqKpbo

 

A tour of the orchestra pit & a few other areas - FOH audio etc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8fQZT4aY-0

That's awesome!  Thanks for sharing!!

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I remember seeing a guy about 15 years ago playing keyboards and guitar for a small play. He was the only musician. Obviously when he was playing guitar there were MIDI tracks but he still had to do a bit of a pedal board dance during the show with various timed music/play stingers ( you could see him to the side of the stage). He was using a POD 2.0. All kinds of different sounds and performed excellently. You guys that do that are very impressive. I am so jealous of your skills and I hate you. ;) :D Seriously, very nice!!!

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Hi all,

I posted this photo a few weeks ago but in my sleepy haze, clicked the wrong button a day later and deleted the post by accident.   

I took the GoPro in one night and did a little filming, so decided to hold off re-posting until I'd made some videos, a couple of which I've posted links below.  On my channel there's a couple more.  I thought folks might be interested given theatre shows is somewhat unique and most people never see what goes on down there!

 

I'm using the Helix for everything except the banjo.   I'm using just a single patch and running in 10 footswitch pedal board mode.  Paths 1A, 2A & 2B are basically one big chain,  output to Left XLR.   This is the electric signal path and i'm just using a clean fender amp model.   In an FX Loop & assigned to a footswitch is a Line 6 M5 purely for the Seek Wah effect.

 

Path 2B gets input from Aux In and is used for the acoustics, simple pre-amp and reverb output to Right XLR.   I have a volume block in there as well, with level assigned to a footswitch to basically mute/unmute the acoustic so I can swap the cable between guitars as required (sometimes up to 4 different guitars are used in a single song - that's theatre for ya!)

 

Cheers, dave

 

Run through of guitars and most of the sounds used in the show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3aZtCspcFU

 

Bows & Exit music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-Cz4UqKpbo

 

A tour of the orchestra pit & a few other areas - FOH audio etc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8fQZT4aY-0

 

Such a cool world and one of the few decent paying jobs for a musician unless you reach stardom. Only the most talented, dependable guitarists who can play well in a variety of genres get to do this. Congratulations! Thanks for a great glimpse into that universe. When does the full documentary come out?  :P

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Thanks for posting!!! I shared the videos with my music-theater-major wife, and a HUGE Wicked fan, and now she fully supports my Helix!!!  

 

Except now she thinks I don't need any of my old amps and cabs and thinks I should get rid of them :(

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Thanks for posting!!! I shared the videos with my music-theater-major wife, and a HUGE Wicked fan, and now she fully supports my Helix!!!  

 

Except now she thinks I don't need any of my old amps and cabs and thinks I should get rid of them :(

 

Sorry you had to take the hit for the rest of us. Thanks for the warning, I will be diligent in taking precautions to carefully frame just how I go about singing the praises of the Helix to my wife.  ;)

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Sorry you had to take the hit for the rest of us. Thanks for the warning, I will be diligent in taking precautions to carefully frame just how I go about singing the praises of the Helix to my wife.  ;)

Yeah, no doubt.  If a next gen Variax gets released I sure wont go waving that around her in victory.  I could actually spare a few amps and cabs, but the axes are like my children.

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Thanks for posting!!! I shared the videos with my music-theater-major wife, and a HUGE Wicked fan, and now she fully supports my Helix!!!  

 

Except now she thinks I don't need any of my old amps and cabs and thinks I should get rid of them :(

 

hahahaha!  sorry!!

 

I haven't got rid of any of my pedal board or amps yet.. not sure i can bring myself to do that.

 

where the helix, for me, has really helped isn't the show so much (as once we've loaded in I'm basically set up for a while).. it's the couple of rehearsals prior.  Previously i'd have to lug my amp, plus a separate acoustic amp, plus separate pedals for the acoustic etc.  When i'm also having to carry a car load of guitar cases, having to also fit the extra acoustic amp and stuff really made it painful.

 

The one thing i'm not liking on the helix is the footswitches are a bit too close together.  I, more than once, have hit two switches at the same time by mistake - and i have small feet.   The other thing for me is they all look the same.  The coloured scribbles are cool but don't really help too much - stompboxes are good in that they're so obvious.   In the show there was a really fast change and i hit the wrong effect a couple of times (supposed to be the rotary, and in a VERY exposed section- just me).... ended up putting white electrical tape surrounding that switch just to make it stand out.

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hahahaha!  sorry!!

 

I haven't got rid of any of my pedal board or amps yet.. not sure i can bring myself to do that.

 

where the helix, for me, has really helped isn't the show so much (as once we've loaded in I'm basically set up for a while).. it's the couple of rehearsals prior.  Previously i'd have to lug my amp, plus a separate acoustic amp, plus separate pedals for the acoustic etc.  When i'm also having to carry a car load of guitar cases, having to also fit the extra acoustic amp and stuff really made it painful.

 

The one thing i'm not liking on the helix is the footswitches are a bit too close together.  I, more than once, have hit two switches at the same time by mistake - and i have small feet.   The other thing for me is they all look the same.  The coloured scribbles are cool but don't really help too much - stompboxes are good in that they're so obvious.   In the show there was a really fast change and i hit the wrong effect a couple of times (supposed to be the rotary, and in a VERY exposed section- just me).... ended up putting white electrical tape surrounding that switch just to make it stand out.

 

You need to get you some of these for the Helix:

 

http://www.stomplabel.de/

 

I did a stint with the local high school doing the "Back To the 80s" play as the pit guitar player and it was one of the best times I've had playing music. All the changes, the stress, watching the actors do their things, the whole process, everything. It was terrific, I would love to do it again.

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The one thing i'm not liking on the helix is the footswitches are a bit too close together. I, more than once, have hit two switches at the same time by mistake - and i have small feet. The other thing for me is they all look the same. The coloured scribbles are cool but don't really help too much - stompboxes are good in that they're so obvious. In the show there was a really fast change and i hit the wrong effect a couple of times (supposed to be the rotary, and in a VERY exposed section- just me).... ended up putting white electrical tape surrounding that switch just to make it stand out.

I'd suggest using expression pedals to control more things. I use them to increase from rhythm sound and level to lead sound; to introduce or control amount of fx; or to go between two very different sounds on a particular tune. For example I just put together a patch for Sanata's Europa with forward being the distorted sound and back position for the clean phaser part. No dancing around. And if you set them up right you have the nice stuff in between your full lead and your soft or clean rhythm.

 

After perfecting my methods with exp control of a modeler this way, I could never go back to pedals and amps, because of all the control I would lose.

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I'd suggest using expression pedals to control more things. I use them to increase from rhythm sound and level to lead sound; to introduce or control amount of fx; or to go between two very different sounds on a particular tune. For example I just put together a patch for Sanata's Europa with forward being the distorted sound and back position for the clean phaser part. No dancing around. And if you set them up right you have the nice stuff in between your full lead and your soft or clean rhythm.

 

After perfecting my methods with exp control of a modeler this way, I could never go back to pedals and amps, because of all the control I would lose.

 

All my patches have 2 amp-states for my amp model. clean and dirty, and the amp's bass, treble, and delay mix. I used to use an EXP and that works well, but now I use a footswitch.

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All my patches have 2 amp-states for my amp model. clean and dirty, and the amp's bass, treble, and delay mix. I used to use an EXP and that works well, but now I use a footswitch.

I dig. Because I'm also a singer, I can't do that. Looking down at foot switches while singing is a royal pain. My right foot can find the exp ped without looking.

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