Normal people go to concerts to take in the performance. Musicians, however, make the performance almost a secondary consideration. The real reason we’re there? To find out what kind of gear the band is using, of course!
I’m exaggerating some, but scoping out the instrument brand and model situation is of utmost importance the minute a gear-head enters a venue. What keyboard is that? What kind of guitar amp is he going with? The drums? What are those extra microphones for? (And my favorite…) Ooh, I see a laptop on stage – wonder what they’ll do with that!
Checking out the music gear is often more exciting to people like me than the opening act. But you know what’s frustrating? When keyboard players cover up the brand names on their instruments. Argh, it makes me so mad! I have a right to know! (Again, exaggerating.)
Even worse, I suppose, is someone who understands the frustration of not being able to see the keyboard brand and still tapes up the back of his own keyboard. God help that guy…
I have been asked twice in the last two weeks why I cover up my keyboard logo. Here’s why:
1. It gives a cleaner look in my teaching videos and onstage.
I’m very much a fan of uncluttered spaces and views, so covering up the logo is kind of a no-brainer for me.
2. It removes a distraction for the viewer or worshiper.
As a worship leader, you want the focus to be on God. As an artist, you want the focus to be on the music. As much as enquiring gear-heads want to know, your choice of equipment isn’t the message you’re there to share.
3. The platform isn’t an advertising space.
Advertising permeates everyday culture (think brand name emblazoned across the seat of a pair of sweatpants). Though I haven’t figured out how to tactfully cover the soft-glowing apple on my Mainstage- and Ableton-playing device, I draw the line at promoting a keyboard brand alongside my music.
One important tip
If you decide to cover up the brand name on your instrument, do yourself a favor and use real gaffer’s tape. For two reasons: 1) it has a flat, fabric look that will blend in with keyboard finishes, and 2) its adhesive will leave minimal (if any) residue. Black duct tape looks cheap, and its adhesive is nasty. You’ll have to pay for quality, but use the real stuff, like this. It’s also great for taping down cables and other important stage functions.