1st post – Mark and the Mp3’s


This project evolved from busking with an amplifier. Some of the songs I have recorded from scratch in the studio, many of the backing tracks are downloaded from the internet.  Some songs I only sing over the backing and others I also play lead guitar in places. Learning songs now days is easy, just look up the words on line, then copy and past into the song folder (I call it “The Book of Songs”).

Down-loading songs is legal, cheep and often free. You can select only the backing tracks that you want. I run an old 1980’s classic mini-effects rack Reverb/Delay/Chorus. The Mixer has effects send and return, so I can achieve a wide range of effects with precise control at my fingertips. This allows me to quite faithfully imitate many vocal artists unique sound and styles.


Coming Up

Coming up I have a gig Performing to a dinner in a very up-market hotel, so I will put on a nice suit for this performance. The person’s Grandma booked the event and calls the shots with much of the song list, so this show starts with a lot of Elvis Presley hits. The range is from the Beatles to Gary Moore. It should be a lot of fun with something for all generations.


Introducing My Band

I am in the last week of Rehearsal. Most of the practice and song learning is done on the headphones, so progress is quite rapid for a few hours every day. I am just learning the last of the final set of the evening.

Loading an Mp3 Player with the songs in the correct order is a skill in itself. I number them and copy the files 1 at a time to be sure. The full version songs that will be playing in the background through my dinner break, they are on a different Mp3 player. Not sure when I will be having that meal break, so it is better to have 2 players, than wasting stage time scrolling through the songs. I can get music set up ready to go, using the headphones.


Tech Stuff

Currently I am running powered performances with the following equipment;

  • 6-Track, Euro-Track Mixing Desk (Berrenger)
  • Boss RPD-10 Effects Rack
  • ES-335 Electric Guitar (Vesta copy)
  • Microphone (AT 88b) on a boom stand.
  • Peavey TKO-65 Amplifier (15 inch speaker)
  • 2 x Sony Video Cameras (on Tripods)
  • Mini Disk Recorder (plugged into the mixing desk)
  • a moderate size pile of plugs and leads with a few adapter plugs
  • a Store-mans’ Hand Trolley, to haul the big speaker around.
  • 2 Mp3 Players

This is an in-expensive way to deliver a reasonable quality performance. It has taken me a long time to get it together and I am still working on restoring another Ashton PA amplifier.

The 12-volt Busking rig is not quite so lofty, but still requires the trolley.  The sound quality is quite all right for busking with and very small gatherings.

  • 4-track Leem (9-volt) Sub-Mixer
  • 2 Foot-stomp guitar effects pedals.
  • Yamaha Acoustic Guitar (Fishman Pickup)
  • Microphone (AT 88b) on a boom stand.
  • Sony X-Plode – power booster amplifier
  • a Kit-set Pre-Amp (hand assembled)
  • Wharfedale Speaker
  • 12 volt Gel-Cell Batteries (2 run in series)
  • 1 Mp3 Player


As a little bonus, I have added value to this family celibration. Through the speeches part of the evening, I will be shooting video. After the event I will Edit this video onto a DVD.


Video is a great training tool for a musician. When you are in performance zone, you do not see all that is going on because your mind is focused. So to later watch a final run through of the set, played back on a large screen, this process can help reveal a few things improving the look or some fine details. I have found video handy for picking up hand and dance movements. It is all too easy to concentrate only on the music and stand like a woden statue(I have done that playing Bass in a band), but I think it is important to make a contact with the people and try to get some audience participation.



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