An aspect of crafting the performance is visual presentation. Not only in terms of ones attire (which I will speak to later) but also what one surrounds themselves with, props and such like, essentially how the performance is staged and ultimately received by the audience.
I wanted a worn-in aged / vintage lived-in feel which appealed to me for several reasons. First it speaks to age, and by association experience which in turn infers confidence. The pre-owned, used type of styling of new electric guitars has become increasingly popular, ‘road warn’ is the new black for guitar manufacturers like Fender and Gibson.
Secondly when attempting to elicit a donation from an audience, an aged warn-in styling is more agreeable to an audience over giving money to someone playing with shinny new gear. There in lies the rub. An affordable, efficient portable busking amplifier, one which offers both vocals and instrument input, is a relatively modern invention, with contemporary styling and just a bit too shinny. Second-hand / used equipment goes some way to taking the shine off the gear but this approach is not always possible or feasible with things like digital processors, efx and alike, they are simply not always available, and as it turns out not always reliable.
I’d like to think I’m fortunate, being of an age and having played a guitar for a long time, I have my very own ‘road warn’ instrument. The portable battery-powered amplifier and pedal-board (including digital efx processor, distortion stomp box and cough switch for the mic) have proven to be a little more problematic.
Having started with a second-hand amplifier which swiftly died, I took the plunge and purchased a new model of the amplifier, a Roland Cube Street. I have to admit that I purchased the amp before I’d considered the performance visual presentation and consequently purchased the bright orange model which has subsequently been re-sprayed black.
The pedal board has been housed in a custom made wooden case styled to look like a vintage crate/case. Initially conceived to be just a box to house and obscure from the audience the efx processor, distortion stomp box and cough switch, after repeated use it now includes power / audio interface sockets on the exterior surface of the box linking to the equipment within. This modification was made to enable the cables going to and from the case to be easily removed. Prior to this modification the cables, (two 2 meter ¼ inch jack leads and two 2 meter microphone XLR leads) would be wound around the case during transportation and storage which left the cables and associated plug ends vulnerable.