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In-depth Feature:  Why Can't You take it With you?
Getting your studio to fit on stage.
It’s a dilemma every gear junkie has faced: what can I take with me live? For my purposes, I’ve narrowed down the list to a few essentials - well, maybe more than a few.
Mr Sheen writes: .

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It’s a dilemma every gear junkie has faced: what can I take with me live? For my purposes, I’ve narrowed down the list to a few essentials - well, maybe more than a few. The first show is 7 hours away in Pennsylvania at the end of May, far from the confines of the cozy home studio. Ouch.

My mom always says to "make a list." Worth a try. So let’s put the gear in order of necessity:

The main board is a JUNO 106, an item for everyman for good reason. She’s beautiful, not so heavy and easy to make sound crazy. Good for bass and leads.

Next is the CASIO CZ1000, which sits above the Roland on a two-tier stand obtained years back. Useful preset strings emulate that old Gary Numan string sound, plus some painfully programmed faux Moog settings are apropo for leads. And I’m not proud: I love the preset organ sound on it too.

The next item is tricky. The beloved MOOG TAURUS II pedals. A piece of history and all, and fragile. But the main concern is the weight. God, these suckers are heavy. But live, the Taurus is a real treasure and leaves the kids in awe. Worth the trip for the wow factor.

For busting out guitar solos, I’m bringing the CASIO DG20. A MIDI guitar with iffy tracking, the Casio looks cool and makes me feel like Eddie Van Halen. MIDI’d her into the Juno and watch out world. Suddenly, a guitar synth God (or the kid that always got beat up in high school). Maybe both.

And lastly, an ALESIS HR16 and CASIORZ1 for any live drum programming will also be in tow.

Now, to run it all into something. I have an old Pyramid DJ Mixer. Its downfall is that its all RCA inputs. A trip to Radio Shack will solve that problem.. (Why do they always ask for your name and address when you shop there? Such a feeling of violation.). The final musical element is a portable CD player filled with backing tracks. Cross the fingers that the CDRs don’t skip.

The amp is an old Pioneer stereo component. It’s crude, rude and free: a donation to the cause from my girlfriend. Coupled with two big old PA speakers, another ultra heavy item, and so far, this little tour is gonna need a panel truck.

But wait! There’s more. Lights. I got lights. And 3 TVs and a VCR to show old movie clips too. Oh boy...

The first thought was to build a cross-like structure upon which the lights and 5" TVs could be mounted. Ugly visions of it crashing down or creating religious fervor killed that idea: mostly the ‘crashing down’ part.

The new plan involves kitchen equipment. Kitchen equipment? Yup. A cheap, foldable metal frame, the sort which sit in dark corners of hardware stores named after the man that owns them. One just might do the trick. Put the amp and mixer on a shelf, the VCR and drum machines on another, then mount the lights and TVs with brackets along the top and sides.

Will it work? I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.

Mr Sheen

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