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Large Big Band Folders

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#1
Our big band is in the process of upgrading our folders. We bought the biggest ones we could find (Deer River Grand Concert), but they just don't have enough room in them. We thinned out our library from over 400 charts to about 340, but already the new folders are stuffed to the max.

Does anyone know of a good source for some high capacity folders? I remember seeing the Airmen of Note years ago, and they had some slick folders that looked more like a folding leatherette box with a snap closure on the side. It was about 3 inches thick, and unfolded on the stand with pockets on the left and right. I suspect that they had them custom made.
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#4
ADOC binders here. Their pockets are *really* glare-free, pages are quickly reorganized. Thanks to 360° opening the folder can be used for both portrait and landscape sheets, and it will stay open.

Not exactly cheap, but worth every penny.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
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Administrator
#6

saxhound

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Staff member
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#8
I believe Gandalfe is trying to track that down. Ed, I believe, has the info. The thread was http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1578, I think.
Well, since this will directly benefit Ed (our bari player in the big band), perhaps he will find the good stuff Terry sent him.

At this point, our new books are set up and ready to go. Unfortunately, since they are so full, it's only a matter of time till the folders start tearing and splitting like the last ones we had. The other problem is the music really gets wrinkled and torn as people try to pull and replace charts in an overstuffed book. For more recent charts, the leader has been making copies and filing the originals, but the stuff from 25 years ago is in really bad shape, with no back-up copies.

I've looked at those file boxes, but carrying 17 of them around doesn't seem like much fun. The ADOC system is kind of cool, but it would probably take about nine years to get the piano book set up. The other problem is that the trumpet players are always swapping parts during the gig.

Has anyone used the Protec F3 big band folder?

http://www.protecmusic.com/items.as...rumentGroupID=1&CategoryID=1&subCategoryID=24

It looks to be somewhat larger than the Deer River and Humes & Berg stuff.
 

Ed

Founder
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#9
I've sent the doc Terry sent me to you. It reminds me on just how far behind on various projects I am. :cry:
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
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#10
Once we got over 200 quality charts, I found that the boxes are the only way to go. Normally, we leave them at our rehearsal location (which has secured storage), but for a job we have gotten into the habit of pulling all of the charts ourselves, and then storing them in set folders in the front of the boxes.

Occasionally, when presented with a performance site that involves too much rough terrain cartage, we will pull all of the charts, place them in the set folders, and then place all of the set folders in one box and just cart that to the performance.

Usually, though, we just haul all of the boxes - that way I can sub in requests as required. The boxes fit neatly beneath our EmBee fronts.

As for hauling the boxes, all of our "small items" are contained in the selfsame filing tubs. Hat mutes and mute stands in one, sound snake in another, cables in a fourth, light snakes in two more, lights in one more, and so on. They all stack up nicely in the trailer, with the piano and baritone placed on top, and with trailer bars to hold them all in place.

After much trial and error in the early days, I worked out a "load out/load in" protocol that eases moving into a venue for the set up before a job, and for the tear down afterwards. There is even a space marked out on the plot plan where we "land" all of the stuff when moving it in, and then move it manually from there as it comes up in the set up process. (This was added when we found that catering folks were occupying all of the open space in front of the stage. Normally, it's in the part of the dance floor up against our setup site.) Normally, my wife and I do most of the set up (thus ensuring that it gets done right), but we also get help from the drummer and guitar player on most jobs, and tear-down help from everyone before we pay at the end of a job.

For the haulage, we use the smallest size of the Rock 'n' Roller cart. They fold up super small, and are suitable for most hard surfaces, carrying hundreds of pounds if needed.

The two small Rock 'n' Roller carts get tossed on top of all of that other stuff in the trailer. The file boxes stack neatly on the carts, and depending upon the surface on which they are rolled, can carry up to twelve boxes per load. Total move in/move out comes to something like five cart trips plus three "manual" trips (carrying stand bags and rolling other items with their own rollers, like the mike stand bag).

Microphones and sub mixer are in Pelican cases that also get tossed on top, along with the catch all "gig bag" duffle bag (tools, parts, spare pantihose, gaffer tape, CDs and business cards and all sechlike), and the speakers, mike stand bag, monitors and mixer all fit behind the boxes, with the stands and my small horns in the Scion xB that is our new "prime mover".

At our Reliant Stadium convention center job last summer, each cart load had to travel about an eighth of a mile from the trailer to the off-loading point. Even with all of the grief that that entailed, it still went smoothly due to advanced planning.

As I have said on many occasions, the time I spend playing music is miniscule compared to all of the administrative time that I spend. It's in many ways similar to what the Navy and Marine Corps do when putting together an amphibious landing, only without the boats. And, it's a lot of work to do it all right. That's why I get paid those extra bucks...
 
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saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
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#11
Good stuff Terry. I'm kind of like you when it comes to set-up / tear down Everything has a proper container, and there is a definite sequence to it. Nothing drives me crazier than one of my bandmates dropping their stuff in a pile in the middle of the stage while I am trying to set up. At the end of the gig, everything gets packed up properly, and goes back in the right container / bag so that we are good to go for the next gig. The only exception is if we are playing outdoors, and something gets dirty - usually microphone and speaker cords. Then it's time for the cleaning drill the next day when I get home. It all gets wiped down with a damp rag, and then laid out to dry before packing it away.

My rock band does a lot of backyard type private parties, so I invested the extra bucks in the large Rock'n'Roller cart with 4 inflatable tires. It's a little bigger, but still breaks down small enough to fit easily into my truck. Those soft tires are really nice when you have to deal with uneven or muddy terrain, or hump the cart over the threshold on a boat.

Back on topic - no one has used the Protec F3?
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
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#12
I used those for the first ten weeks of our existence. Borrowed them from a teacher friend, and they worked well enough for a limited repetory. However, if you accumulate anything beyond a concert band concert's worth of music, they are way too limiting.

What I like about the file boxes is that the parts are separate and individually replaceable. You've got your $8.99 box (on sale frequently at the office supply stores) plus your hanging folders (to sort the charts by tens or twenties) that cost a bit up front but are infinitely replaceable.

(Pendaflex hanging folders are guaranteed forever. That includes all parts of the system - tabs, folders and hanging bars and all. The vinyl tabs (used to number the folders at the top) are not all that robust, and sooner or later a few of them get broken. When this happened to ours, a call to Pendaflex resulted in their instant replacement without a question - only the company sent out a whole case of folders (ten boxes worth), not just the tabs.)

Other groups that I have played with have used the boxes for their music, but none of them used the file folders. The charts are easier to find, and stay in better condition with the indexed hanging folders. But, it takes a little effort to make it all work.
 
#13
With Buddy Morrow's Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, the whole book is in one large black folder per instrument. (For the piano, it's two folders; one won't hold all the charts.) Buddy does the same show on all one-night stands, so those charts are already pulled and in order. I could almost play it in my sleep. But the entire book is always there in case Buddy wants to do something else or if there is a request.

There's usually another folder for the vocalist's charts.

On extended gigs, such as cruise ships, we meet before each set and get a list of tunes for that set. Even so, the book has to be nearby in case onstage of unexpected changes.

Those folders are really fat, and they get stacked in cases for transport.

We use folders instead of individual boxes because there's no room on the bandstand for 16 boxes, plus it doesn't look good. They give me a music stand next to the piano for the folders so I don't have them stacked on the floor. (A piano music stand usually won't hold a filled book.)

The thing that bugs me is when I come in behind another piano player who neglects to put the charts back in order, probably because he knows he's not playing the next gig. That happens a lot.
 

Ed

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Administrator
#15
I've been playing with a second big band recently and everytime I have to play the first alto part I want to ring the neck of the regular guy. I file everything alphabetically. He just tosses stuff in the folder. Makes it real hard to actually find a tune on short notice. Luckily I mainly play bari.
 

saxhound

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#16
I will say that Ed gets a gold star for keeping his book shipshape. After sifting through and re-organizing all 17 books over the past two weeks, I'm ready to slap a few people silly. The trumpet books in particular were a gnarly mess.
 

Ed

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#17
Thanks! :D

I do try. It shouldn't be that hard to put things back in order. All the charts are numbered and I hate it when I sub and can't find anything so I figure I should file things accordingly.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#18
...We use folders instead of individual boxes because there's no room on the bandstand for 16 boxes, plus it doesn't look good...
That's one of the good things about the EmBee fronts - the boxes that we use fit underneath them and cannot be seen by the audience. That way, if someone's fiftieth wedding anniversary calls for "The Missouri Waltz", I can make the call and everyone has it up on the stand within thirty seconds.

The only exceptions to the under the stands method are the piano (who has two boxes) and the vocalists (who have two smaller boxes for male and female vocals, kept separate). The piano player is too far in the back to be seen, while the vocalist keep theirs off to the side in their seating area.

And, I truly do hate toting the full boxes around.

One other "apparent" solution is to get those PDF viewers that you used to see advertised in International Musician. However, the screen is smaller than even an 8 1/2 by 11 page, it only shows one page at a time (at least in the version that I have seen), and they are VERY expensive.
 
#19
The piano player is too far in the back to be seen
Buddy keeps the piano up front next to him where he can hear it. Many of the big bands I've played in do that so the piano sound doesn't get buried.
One other "apparent" solution is to get those PDF viewers that you used to see advertised in International Musician. However, the screen is smaller than even an 8 1/2 by 11 page, it only shows one page at a time (at least in the version that I have seen), and they are VERY expensive.
A pal of mine played trombone in Harry Connick, Jr.'s band for a while. Each player has a full sized flat screen and the whole thing is run by a backstage server. Chart selection and page turning are automated. No need for stand lights, either.
 
#20
For years, my bandleader kept the rather extensive book in three of the old-style black music boxes--the ones that are strapped together. The vocal tunes were on the left, the instrumentals on the right. Now that he's getting a bit frail, he decided to divide the book into four set 'lists'--two lists for the male vocalist, two lists for the female. Of course, heavily requested tunes like 'In the Mood' are in all four set folders.

Still, we get requests for tunes that are only in another setlist. Ollie just suggests that the patron come back and hear the tune requested on the date we play it.:emoji_smile: It's nice playing regularly twice a month.
 
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