Saturday, December 21, 2013

We Backline Fine Vintage Instruments

Eventcraft's Vintage Collection
In the world of backline there is nothing worse than saying "I'm sorry we don't have that piece available". When you're supplying equipment for legendary artists and major festivals you have to have a big league inventory to back it up. Eventcraft over the years has added a number of vintage instruments to our inventory in order to be able to say "Yes!" to artists and our loyal customers. Every year we have the privilege of working with some of the music world's greatest living legends and this year included legends such as Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Steel Pulse, America, Eddie Palmieri, Poncho Sanchez, Alabama, John Fogerty, Mavis Staples, and Bernie Worrell, just to name a few.
Some of you may be wondering what is a vintage instrument? We consider a vintage instrument a piece of musical equipment that was manufactured before 1980. Some may argue saying vintage would describe pieces 10 years older than that but we'll leave that debate to the nerds. At Eventcraft we regularly fulfill requests for vintage instruments. These instruments make up a significant part of the sound of classic albums and songs you know and love.

Some of the most popular vintage instruments we have in our inventory include: Hammond B3 Organs, Fender Rhodes Electric Pianos, Wurlitzer Electric Pianos, Hohner Clavinets, Vintage Slingerland and Ludwig Drums, and Vintage Analog Synthesizers such as the Juno 106 or Oberheim Matrix 6. The list goes on.
The large instrument to the left is the mighty Hammond B3 Organ and the wooden cabinet to the right of it is a Leslie 122 Speaker Cabinet. Hammond B3 tonewheel organs were manufactured between 1954 - 1975, the organ pictured here was manufactured in 1967. They have been used on tens of thousands of recordings and classic albums. The Hammond Organ is by far the most popular organ in recorded music and it is a very popular instrument to see on stage to this day.

The picture on the right shows three vintage pieces all of which are part of Eventcraft's inventory. The keyboard furthest to the right standing on its own is a Wurlitzer 200a Electric Piano. This Wurlitzer was purchased from Vintage Vibe, the leading specialist in Wurlitzer Electric Pianos in the United States. It was completely refurbished and is in absolute A+ condition both in tune and tone. To the left of the Wurlitzer on top of the Hammond Organ sits a Hohner Clavinet D6 which is probably best know as the first instrument you hear on Stevie Wonder's song Superstition. Most backline technicians are afraid to be around a Clavinet on stage because they don't understand how to tune or calibrate the instrument. We on the other hand have made repairing and refurbishing Clavinets a personal hobby and are more than comfortable opening one up to make adjustments or tune the instrument on the fly.
The day this picture was taken happened to be our technician John's birthday. John said the best part of that day for him was meeting rock and roll hall of fame member Bernie Worrell and hearing him play. Bernie Worrell is a founding member of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic. He has played with hundreds of different artists adding his unique touch and creative genius to their music. John was lucky to see Bernie play twice this year, once with Steve Kimock and once with his own group the Bernie Worrell Orchestra. Bernie is a virtuoso on the Clavinet, Wurlitzer and Hammond Organ. Search for a video of him online and you'll see and hear what we mean.

Every backline company has drum sets (we hope). But not every company offers vintage drum sets. Drummers can be the most particular member of a band in regards to their instrument but especially when a backline drum set is being supplied for them. Drummers need to walk in and feel comfortable that they can get a sound they are use to and a sound that fits the type of music they play. When we work with artists on the Daptone label they expect to get vintage gear. The drum set in both the picture on the left and the picture below have been played by drummers with Daptone artists Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, Antibalas, Lee Fields & The Expressions, The Sugarmen 3 and The Budos Band.

The styles of music these drummers play requires that vintage sound. The characteristics of a vintage drum could be described as "dead" or "dampened", "warm" and "muffled". Vintage drums tend to have a wide range of these characteristics and the sound they make is one of a kind. The drummer who played the drum set in the picture added some gaffers tape to the heads of the drums to get a more exaggerated dead and dampened sound.
The last vintage instrument to note is the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano. The Fender Rhodes is distinctly different than the Wurlitzer Electric Piano. The action is a little heavier, the piano is easier to adjust in tone. It can be made to sound soft almost like a bell or it can be adjusted to bark and distort slightly creating a more funky and dirty sound. Eventcraft has several different Fender Rhodes in our inventory. Fender Rhodes come in 2 main flavors, Stage or Suitcase. The Suitcase Rhodes (pictured above) sits on top of it's own speaker cabinet and amplifier made by specifically for it's own amplification. The Stage model (pictured right) is a stand alone unit that typically stands on 4 metal legs. It is a passive instrument and is typically plugged into a guitar amplifier to amplify it's sound. Fender Rhodes require regular tuning and adjustment. They are truly unique and very popular even today and like all of these unique vintage instruments they are used in modern live and recorded music. Owning and offering these beautiful vintage instruments requires the care and attention of a knowledgeable backline company. We are proud of our collection of vintage instruments and next time you see one on stage appreciate the one of a kind sound you are hearing. There is nothing quite like the sound of a fine piece of vintage gear.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Neville Family

Eventcraft recently had the pleasure of working working with Aaron Neville at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. I've worked with Aaron Neville several times and on separate occasions with other members of the Neville family including the family as a whole who perform as The Neville Brothers. The Nevilles have a rich history in music and like many great family bands most of the members have their own side projects. Aaron's son Ivan Neville has his own band called Dumpstaphunk, a funk group based out of New Orleans who has become very popular in the festival scene here in Florida and throughout the United States. Ivan has many credits in his career most notably he recorded and toured with Keith Richards for Keith's solo album "Talk Is Cheap", he recorded with Bonnie Raitt, G'ovt Mule and John Mayer just to name a few. The original Neville Brothers idea formed when Art, Aaron, Cyril and Charles got together with their uncle Big Chief Jolly and did some recording with one of my favorite New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian bands The Wild Tchoupitoulas. That's another story all together so let's move onto the gear behind the sound of some of the touring Neville family.

On your left Keyboards. We provided a Yamaha Motif ES8, Yamaha Motif ES7 and a Korg Triton Pro

Saxophone: Artists almost always carry their own horns as is the case here but often times they need to us to supply a wireless microphone systems specially designed for horns. Eventcraft provides these wireless sax microphones and the most common one is the Shure Beta 98 HC. 

Drums: DW Collectors Series with Zildjian Cymbals. Eventcaft stocks a healthy inventory of Drum Sets and Cymbals for rent.

Bass Guitar: He's playing an Ampeg SVT Classic through 2 Hartke 4X10 Cabinets. A bit unconventional but he got a great sound. You can see more of the bass rigs we offer on our equipment page.

(not pictured) Guitar: He used a Fender Hot Rod Deville. They're great amps and we offer them in several different speaker configurations. Dave Mason is also a big fan of the Fender Hot Rod series. 

When we worked with Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk back in April his band had a pretty cool setup of backline that Eventcraft provided. Check out this picture I took of Ivan's keyboard setup from the show. He's using a Korg MS 2000 for bass synth, a Nord Stage for electric piano sounds, a Honer Clavinet E7 for it's one of a kind funky string sounds and Eventcraft's #1 Hammond B3 Organ. Eventcraft has one of the best Hammond B3s in Florida. Check out our special page dedicated to our Hammond B3 and see what people are saying about it.

Part of what makes Dumpstaphunk unique is they have 2 bass players so in turn they need 2 bass rigs. Nick Daniels used a SWR SM 900 bass amplifier with (2) SWR Goliath III 4X10 Cabinets and the amazing Tony Hall played a David Eden WT 800 bass amplifier with (2) David Eden XLT 4X10 Cabinets. Ian Neville plays guitar in the band and he used a Fender Hot Rod Deville. Nikki Glaspie played our Yamaha Recording Custom Drum Kit and she used Zildjian Cymbals. 

Whatever the Nevilles are up to chances are it's going to please your ears. If you haven't had the chance to see a Neville related show make sure you put it on your bucket list. The Nevilles are a special treat amongst the concert market of today. As always if you're in need of professional backline in Florida or Georgia or want to find out more about Eventcraft please check out our website:

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