4 tips for playing the electric guitar outdoors
Playing the guitar outside is really fun, especially when the weather is awesome. Many guitarists love playing in the streets or playing in a serene natural environment while camping or chilling. Of course, you need some rig together with your electric guitar so that you and others around you can hear it.
1. Get Heard
The electric guitar sound is too low to be heard. Therefore you will need something to make your guitar signal hearable. There are super cool portable amps and small speakers that can help you rock in public.
You can carry a combo amp or a full-stack guitar amplifier to wherever you wanna play the guitar. However, they can cause a little back pain because of their weight. Plus, they will need AC power to run so they do not give you the absolute freedom of playing anywhere.
Portable amps are excellent for playing remotely. They do not sound as loud, as good, and saturated as regular amplifiers but they can save the day when you wanna jam in unconventional places. Almost all of them have battery compartments so you won’t have to search for an AC socket in the street or in the middle of a forest.
Small speakers or Bluetooth speakers you use to play music through your smartphone are very convenient devices to make things hearable in a small area. Unfortunately, as the signal out of your guitar is too weak, small speakers won’t be able to fully amplify your guitar sound when you connect your guitar directly into them.
The output voltage of phones and computers are much higher than a direct guitar signal. The signal out of your phone is strong enough for a Bluetooth speaker to handle, but the same cannot be said for a guitar. However, small speakers may give you outstanding results when you connect your guitar into your phone and then connect them into the speaker. (Click here to learn how)
2. Use guitar effects
People may easily get bored from hearing the same sound for an hour. Using guitar effects to change your tone and give different colors to your music is a more entertaining way of playing in public. Effects like overdrive and distortion help you reach that rock and heavy metal tone, time-based effects like delay and tremolo are really fun and they surely make the crowd feel better. A good equalizer makes everybody feel better and a noise-gate can kill unwanted feedback noises and disturbing squeaks.
Analog guitar pedals
Analog guitar pedals are the most traditional form of guitar effects. They are in the market since the ’40s and they have been the most common way of generating guitar effects for decades. However, 99% of the time each pedal stands for a single effect (e.g. chorus pedal, reverb pedal, overdrive pedal, etc). Plus, each pedal needs a different adapter or different battery so having a pedalboard with multiple effects is not the most convenient way of playing outside.
Multi-effects processors (a.k.a. guitar processors) are digital boards that may offer hundreds of pedals and amp simulations in a single casing. They are a good solution for the ones who want as many effects as possible with a single power source. On average, they are heavier than a portable amp but still too light compared to hundreds of amps and pedals.
Your Smartphones and Tablets!
Your Android or iOS devices are mature enough to simulate act like multi-effects processors and you shouldn’t count them as extra gear as it’s already there. Plus, you won’t need any power source to run them as long as they are charged. Using phones to generate guitar effects is the most portable way of playing the electric guitar, ever. They also make it possible to use your Bluetooth speakers as an output source. There are wonderful guitar effects apps in the market, click here to see the top 5 guitar effects apps on mobile.
3. Use drum machines or backing tracks
Playing the guitar through a drum machine beat or over an actual song attracts more people and it’s really fun for the guitar player too. Some multi-effects processors and mobile guitar effects apps may offer drum machine preset bank or backing track features. Either you are gonna play with some friends next to a campfire or you will play the guitar in a crowded street, using rhythms and backing tracks may give everybody a cheer.
4. You and your guitar’s health
Playing electric guitar outdoors may also be harmful and dangerous. So keep these in mind if you are about to play electric guitar outside.
The weather and the environment you are going to play is crucial for your safety. Especially if you will play with a regular guitar amplifier, you better avoid rainy weather and wet places. Those amplifiers can discharge huge electricity EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT PLUGGED INTO ANY AC SOURCE because of their capacitors.
You should also avoid direct sunlight or cold weather for too long. We all know that sometimes you just can’t stop playing the guitar, but don’t get too far.
Plus, choose an ideal location for your loud party, you wouldn’t want to disturb peaceful neighborhoods and you better don’t try playing on dangerous/illegal places (e.g. the roof of a skyscraper or the police station)
Your guitar’s and your gear’s health
Guitars are made of wood, you could consider them as a living and breathing instrument. They shouldn’t get too moist or too dry. Direct sunlight and being too close to a campfire may hurt more than your guitar’s paint, but it can also leave permanent damage in its sound. Also, they shouldn’t get wet, shall we say?
99% of guitar pedals, amplifiers, and processors are nowhere near being water-resistant. You can count them dead if they got soaked.
We are really lucky that smartphones are the most practical solution in our century. At least most of them today are water-resistant.