googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: Live Gigs And Guitar Problems

Live Gigs And Guitar Problems

My biggest worry when it comes to live performance is equipment failure. I don’t worry about performance problems since I rehearse enough that I can literally play the set in my sleep and I’m not a great technical player anyway so anyone expecting perfection from me is at the wrong show to begin with. But what does concern me is staying in tune, not breaking any strings and having all the cords and the amp working.

In anticipation of an upcoming show I had my guitar restrung and intonated by a professional guitar tech. After a couple of rehearsals and the gig I noticed the guitar seemed out of tune even when the electronic stage tuner said it was in tune. I discovered the intonation was off again so even though I was in tune low on the neck I was sharp when playing high up the neck. Apparently this was caused by my use of the vibrato or “whammy” bar.

The bridge of my guitar is inset in the body of the guitar rather than “floating”, independent of the body where it can lock back into position after the whammy bar is used. I have to take the guitar in to have the bridge “floated” before our next show. The last show actually went very well. My funky tuning on a couple of songs gets chocked up to my sloppy playing anyway which is part of my charm. Isn’t it?



  1. I play guitar. In 25 years of playing, only twice have I broken a string during the gig. I'm amazed it hasn't happened more. But it is always on my mind . . . or I should say, I try NOT to think about it so as not to bring it on. The hardest part when that happens is being me older and blinder makes it very challenging to change the string FAST. I always have my glasses on stage just in case.

    I change my strings after about 10 gigs or so because the worn out strings not only get dull sounding but they tend to go out of tune. I am always hesitant to change the strings but always happy with the results sound-wise.

    I have never played with a whammy bar, though. I can imagine the challenge with tuning that could cause. Wham Bam - Thank You Man!

    1. Why take the time to change a string in the middle of a set? Why not just have a back up guitar ready to go? It always looks good to have instruments set up on stage too, part of the set decorations.

  2. Umm - That makes total sense for you local heroes . . but traveling makes it practically impossible to have that luxury if you are trying to make a living.

    1 - Good luck bringing 2 or 3 guitars on a plane, let alone 1.
    2 - The airlines love to break guitars. It's happened to me.
    3 - The baggage charges for the extra luggage means you make less $$$ for the extra guitars.

    I could go on, but unless you're Bruce Springsteen, you're not getting the bucks to afford this luxury.

  3. Don Butler, the guitarist for Working Class Hero, The John Lennon Tribute, plays shows all over the world and he brings two guitars in a dual soft bag case that holds both guitars and can be stowed in the overhead compartment. He brings thin, solid bodies, not semi-acoustic Gibson 135 types in a think, hard shell case but they seem to travel well. He NEVER lets the baggage handlers stow them in the cargo hold. The star of that show, Tim Piper, carries an Epiphone Casino in a hard shell case that the airlines gave back to him with the head broken off at the nut. It made it through the show but when they loosened the strings the head just fell off the guitar. The string tension was the only thing holding it on. (I think I just wrote my next blog).

  4. Don Who? Do you mean Tim's butler? Does he do Tim's toes . . . never heard of him. Is this a joke? I recognize the Piper name. See what happened to Piper's guitar! Airlines, ugh!