Sunday, January 10, 2010

A serious electric bassoon setup

Jazz bassoonist Paul Hanson has a gig playing 380 shows a year with Cirque du Soleil in Tokyo. Here's his rig. Briefly, he's got a bocal pickup (well, pressure transducer -- FRAP) and an overhead mic. The pickup goes into the effects chain: FRAP preamp (Trance Audio), Avalon U5 preamp (tone color), BOSS SuperShifter for adding an octave up in harmony, a Line6 delay modeler, then a volume pedal and out. The sound board can mix the wet (effects) signal with the dry signal from the overhead mic. Less fancy than some of his other rigs, but their band already has an electric guitarist with a full kit of effects, plus Abelton Live, so his job is to sound like a bassoon. I find it interesting how all this stuff gets integrated into a stage context -- piped off to the front-of-house sound board, monitoring room, in-ear monitors plus separate channel so they can talk to each other, tiny light so he can operate his equipment on the darkened stage... plus outlandish makeup and costumes. It's very theater, very much a show.

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