Gigging Tips: You can’t play if you can’t see what you are doing

If you’re just starting out and have never gigged, it may
not be obvious that you have to be ready for the effects of lighting and heat on
the displays on your hardware. Certain conditions if not dealt with ahead of
time can make impossible to read the display of your synth – which of course
means you can’t navigate – which means you can’t play.

 Issues with gigging outside:

  • LEDs are near impossible to read when direct sunlight is shining on them
  • LCD displays can distort or turn completely black on gear exposed to direct


  • Try to setup your rig where you are not getting blasted with direct sunlight. If you do have to setup in direct sunlight, bring a light colored towel to place over your gear until show time.
  • To make your display more readable, you’ll need to fashion something out of cardboard. Cut out one piece to shield the front of you display, and a tow others to shield the sides. Wrap all the pieces in black plastic tape, then tape them together to form a shield. Plastic tape can then be used to tape the shield to the gear so that it blogs the sun from the display. Obviously, never put tape on the display itself. The advantage of plastic tape is that it won’t leave as much of a residue as other tapes. This might all song "hoakey", but from a few feet away, this solution will look just fine.

Issues with gigging at night or in a dark room:

  • If your LCD is not backlit, you need to provide an external light source (not
         very common these days, but with vintage gear this could be an issue)
  • Evenif your display is visible, the buttons and knobs on your synth might not be


  • If you want to light gear on your keyboard stand or table, I highly recommend a Littlelite solution. Littlelites are fantastic in that they have a shielded light source and a flexible gooesneck so you can direct light where you need and not blind your self or your audience. Littlite provides numerous mounting systems to fit just about any rig. Check out the Littlelite web site –,The Littlelite dealer locator page is located here
  • If you
         want to illuminate items in your rack, Littlelite also has rackmount solutions. Another option is to use a powersupply in your rack that has built-in lighting, like the Furman
         PL-8 II Power Conditioner

    Furman PL-8 II Power Conditioner

  • Make sure you pick up some spare bulbs and bring them along to your show.

Test Before You Go:

With whatever solution you come up with, make sure you test
it before you gig with it to make sure it’s going to work.

Copyright 2006, Newecho Productions, LLC


Mark Mosher • Audio/Visual Synthesist | Boulder, CO View All →

Artist site:
Host of Sonic Encounters Podcast:
Boulder Synthesizer Meetup founder and host:

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