Guitar Player Habits for Percussionists

by Bob Kilpatrick

The WalkaBout Drum has changed the way percussionists relate to the sound system in some pretty cool ways. You don’t have to set up a microphone and stand still in front of it to be heard. You can jump, dance, and groove anywhere you want—as long as you’re plugged in. However, plugging in is a new concept for many drummers and percussionists. So, I thought I’d share some pointers for making the most of these cool changes.

  1. First, plug your WalkaBout in! It sounds good acoustically, but it sounds great plugged into a sound system or full-range amp. If you’re not wireless, I recommend that you loop the instrument cable around your strap once before plugging in. One of our artists in London accidentally unplugged when she danced away at the end of her cable. This will keep you plugged in and rocking the house.
  2. Remember that you have volume and mix controls (on the Odyssey model) that you will want to adjust. I suggest turning the volume all the way down before you plug in and then bring it up gradually afterwards. (The best sound is at full volume.) Then adjust the mix so that you’re getting about 3/4 microphone and 1/4 pickup. After that, adjust to taste.
  3. Unplug the WalkaBout after you’re done. There’s a battery inside that automatically turns on when you plug in and turns off when you unplug. Battery life will be considerably increased if you unplug between sets.
  4. If you play in a high volume stage setting you might want to pop the SoundCap into the sound hole. It will reduce feedback considerably. Of course, if you’re using in-ears or low volume wedges, you probably won’t need it. But it’s there just in case. Also, your position in relation to the monitor speakers will reduce or increase feedback. Simply turning the WalkaBout slightly away from the monitor will almost always stop it.
  5. When you’re done with your set, turn the volume off (on the Odyssey) so it doesn’t ring or feedback on the stand.

Welcome to the world of amplification!