Stage Smarts: Hey Ladies, Know Your Gear...Please!
We get a bad rap a lil bit.
Oftentimes we hear,“You’re good for a girl.” “Oh, you play the [fill in the blank]?” “Man that’s hot, I love watching girls play.”
Get over it. It won’t go away. It’s just something we have to deal with as female musicians.
It's kinda physicality thing. Anything we attempt to do that requires a bit of physicality aside from having babies is usually met with some challenge from our male counterparts.
We all know we gotta work a little harder, be a little more diligent, push a little further. That’s life as a woman. It can actually be a bit of an advantage to be a woman who kicks ass on an instrument, honestly (or who kicks ass at anything untraditional really).
So for those of us who enjoy our womaness, it’s kinda cool to watch the naysayers and doubters change their tune. Even still, as women we have a tendency to skip out on the technical side of things. I mean the technological side of things, the nuts and bolts of how and why things work.
If you've never grabbed a phillips head screwdriver and opened up your toys as a kid, I’m talking to you!
You don’t have to be a complete gear head (unless you’re into that sort of thing), but it’s like driving a car. How many women drive cars and know absolutely nothing about them except that they need gas? Don’t be that chick. Especially when it comes to playing an instrument. It just makes us all look bad and there is a sense of power in knowing what you’re working with.
I mean, playing well is awesome, but knowing what you’re playing is awesome-er. Learn a little bit about the mechanics of your instrument. How does it make sound? Open up your bass or guitar or even your keyboard and just check out the electronics. Take your drum heads off (drummers are pretty good about this stuff, though), change your batteries, change your strings, go in there and mess something up so you can learn how it gets corrected.
I personally enjoy the look on the soundman’s face when I can talk to him a little bit about my gear and about my pedals and adjust things on my end so he doesn’t have to. I think they appreciate that.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I still call up my boys and ask them questions about Logic or Pro Tools or some technical roadblock I might come up against.
READ THE MANUAL. Learn how to connect your pedals and research signal flow (a little bit), understand pick-ups and how and why they work. Be sure you know how to work any piece of gear you add to your repertoire. You don’t have to be an expert about these things, but have a little bit of knowledge about them.
Think about your sound. You control the sound of the instrument. It doesn’t control you. You have more power than you know, and with a little bit of knowledge, you can really become a force to be reckoned with.
Being a musician is an honor and a privilege. Respect it. That starts with respecting your instrument, learning more about it, and then you just may gain a little more respect.
Divinity Roxx has wielded her bass guitar as a weapon in front of 50,000 screaming Beyoncé fans. She’s toured and appeared on recordings with Grammy Award Winning bass virtuoso Victor Wooten. She’s shared the stage with such artists as Kanye West, Jay-Z, George Michael, and Destiny’s Child. But it is in her solo performances where Divinity Roxx shines brightest. Find out more about her and her music at www.divinityroxx.com