[Dixielandjazz] Megaphones?

Ministry of Jazz jazzmin at actcom.net.il
Thu Nov 16 21:53:39 PST 2006

Shalom Kent,

First of all, I'm with you about hating sound systems and all the nonsense
that goes with them, as well as clutter on the stage. I like to keep things
as clean and simple as possible. But I always have to fight my players about
this, and often the customers too, until they hear what real natural music
sounds like. Before I die maybe I will convince a young person or two that
music can be made without electricity!

Here in Jerusalem, I found an old fellow in the farmers' market who makes
buckets and such out of sheet metal, and I asked him if he could make me a
couple of megaphones. At first he didn't understand what I wanted, but I
drew him a picture and put the dimensions, and he got it and made us 2 of
them, about $25 each. Mine is about a foot long, 2 inches wide at the mouth
end and 6 inches at the business end, with a handle. Haven't tried using it
with a stand, but it's light and easy to pick up and put down. The main
problem is, it dents easily, and should really be carried in a protective
case, but I'm just very careful with it, and so far it's been OK. It could
be painted but I haven't done that yet either. Not sure how much that would
affect the sound, but I think it would be OK.

So does it work? We did a gig with our full 5 piece band when I first got
the thing, at a very noisy outdoor circus event. It was my first full gig on
trumpet -- 2 hours with no break -- and I needed to sing because nobody else
in the band does and my lips need the break from the horn. My players fought
like mad trying to tell me nobody will hear me and I should just play
trumpet. And I told them if I do that they will have a trumpet for only the
first 2 songs then nobody will hear that either. So I insisted on singing
and using the megaphone, which they thought was just a visual prop. When we
stopped strolling and reached a place we would stand and play, and the crowd
could sit and listen, my partner hollered at me again not to sing. So I
picked up the megaphone and asked the audience (100 people or so) if they
could hear the vocals. Without hesitation every hand went up.

Now the effective range of the thing width wise is more or less limited to
the angle of the sides of the megaphone, and you still have to belt out the
tunes. You can't croon. You can pan a bit to cover a wider angle. Distance
from the audience depends on how strong your voice is, but we were some 50
feet from most of the people. The girlfriend of one of the players was in
the audience, and she later told us she could hear the vocals clearly. It is
rather amazing how well the thing works if you use it properly. And the
crowd liked the effect -- audio and visual.

Good luck,

Dr. Jazz Dixieland Band
Tekiya Trumpet Ensemble
Jerusalem, Israel

P.S. Doctor Jazz will be playing for a city of Jerusalem event 3 consecutive
Thursday nights at one of the museums in the Old City, at the south end of
the Temple Mount. The event will be heavily advertised and is free to the
public, including entrance to the museum.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kent Murdick [mailto:kmurdick at jaguar1.usouthal.edu]
Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 11:40 PM
To: dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Megaphones?

What's the deal with megaphones?  Where can you get a good one?  Are
there megaphone stands avaiable or should I just modify a mike stand?
BTW, our group does not like amps, sound men, music stands, music lights
or music just to name a few things.


More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list