Top 10 Ways To Keep Your Sound Guy Happy

Sound_Engineer_TshirtOver the years, music and audio gear have come a long way from where they were even ten years ago. With the implementation of digital boards and bright LED lights and all kinds of awesome things, it’s easy to find yourself attracted to the sound board even if deep down in your being of beings you know, you’re really not supposed to be touching this! So PLEASE for the love of everything audio read this list to learn more about what NOT to do while around a sound guy.

    1. NEVER stand next to the sound guy expecting him to share his life’s secrets with you. It never fails.  If the front of house area is not roped off, it is guaranteed that people will attempt to approach and talk to the sound guy.  The dude is at work!  Let him do his thing.  Even if you have tied on a few drinks, try to contain your bubbly personality long enough to let the man do what he is there to do….. make the music sound its best.
    2. NEVER touch the gear.  Never touch the gear. NEVER TOUCH THE GEAR.  Just because you think you have run sound before does not give you a license to start playing with faders or turning knobs.  I’ve taken a thousand pictures with my iPhone but I am not a photographer.  If you have to ask what a knob does, just ask.  Don’t turn the knob while asking.  Randomly turning knobs can destroy the speakers, amps or even people’s hearing.  Don’t be that guy!  Enjoy what you are there for and let the sound guy do his thing.  Also, NEVER TOUCH THE GEAR!
    3. NEVER assume your sound guy can read minds.  They can spend hours setting up your mics, testing and equalizing everything, but you have to let them know if you are going to have a backup singer start a song or someone off stage come up and sing. These are just simple things that can make your life, and theirs much easier.
    4. NEVER ask the sound guy to move YOUR monitor.  Come on, Man!  You are fully capable of moving a monitor six inches.  Sure your intentions might be grand (or you’re super lazy) but all you do is ask if it’s ok and take care of it yourself, pretty simple.
    5. NEVER unplug your guitar before the channel is muted.  As simple as this sounds, we ALL are guilty of this one at some point.  Hopefully the first time you do that is the last.   Always try to make eye contact with your sound guy after you’re done playing, so they can mute your channel for you.  Do you really want the embarrassment of everyone staring at you because you just created the sound of a bomb going off right after a really emotional song? Didn’t think so.
    6. NEVER use the sound guy as a crutch.  The sound man has been working long and hard to make sure your experience, as well as the experience of the people watching you, is fantastic.  Don’t make any excuses to the crowd about the sound not being what you would like it to be.  You look like a fool.  Just stop.  Negativity on stage looks bad on YOU, not necessarily the sound guy.
    7. NEVER tell the sound guy how you think it should sound. Unless you know the sound guy, and you are training that said sound guy, never do this. It’s insulting and downright rude. Your intentions may be pure but these things can be taken the wrong way and possibly cause problems. As tempting as it may be, its easier to just refrain from talking to the sound guy and just enjoying the band you paid to watch.
    8. NEVER ask the sound guy if he can get you a table or a drink.  Really?  We have to write about this?  If he was the host, he’d greet you at the door.  He’s there to work and needs to focus on the band.  Let him do his job!  You can go to the bar and get your own drink.
    9. NEVER show up for a gig unprepared.  When you show up for a gig and don’t have the right gear, it creates a level of stress that could have easily been avoided. Do whatever you have to do so your sound guy doesn’t have to go digging through his tool box of “extras” because you forgot your guitar cable. Make it easier on yourself, remember your stuff.
    10. ALWAYS give your sound guy praise!  Running sound for bands is one of the more thankless jobs out there. Many times the only time people even notice them is if they do something wrong. Take the time to tell them thanks and show them the love! Everyone likes feeling appreciated, not to mention they do control your volume so might as well keep them happy.

In the end, much of the music you listen to on a daily basis was slaved over by two groups; the musicians and the sound engineer.  When you are at a gig, respect your sound man.  If you are watching a show, keep your beers away from the soundboard and if you’re going to spill them, make sure it is on your friends and not the gear.  Hopefully these tips will help you be a little more in sync with your sound guy.  If you have questions or need great gear at great prices give one of our sound guys a call at 1.877.347.6423 or visit us at  And remember, always practice “Safe Audioing”!

One thought on “Top 10 Ways To Keep Your Sound Guy Happy

  1. I have been guilty of all of the above at one point in my shamed past. Just want to apologize in advance to the sound people I will violate in the near future. Please don’t judge me too harshly, for on stage it can be hard to get your attention when the feedback is blasting my face off and no it’s not my guitar, it’s the kick drum telegraphing thru the stage. I am sorry I publicly humiliated my brother Peter over the PA at a show. After running sound for the band for Twenty some years I thought he’d be acostome to that, but again I’m amiss. I hear by re commit my self to appreciate ting are sound person at shows and while hauling the junk to and from gigs. Also for driving are drunk ass’s home safely and listening to endless rants about bad venues, Bar owners and patrons calling out “Free Bird” ! God Bless you Sound person. And thank you Don Bogdon, for your years of dedicate service to an unknowing public. Sincerely Deane Ballou.


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