Share Your Story Contest Winner: Neil Berman: Read His Story

Share Your Story Contest Winner: Neil Berman: Read His Story

We recently had a contest where we asked professionals in the production industry to share their favorite stories from the road. We were overwhelmed with the response and the stories were so uplifting to read during this time. The winner of the Share Your Story campaign is Neil Bergman. Neil shared a wonderful story, and we wanted you to be able to read it as well.


"Early in my career I was a sound engineer at the Opryland Theme Park. My show was the earliest of the day allowing me to do "road shows" for them. These were contract shows, mostly for corporate entertainment. I'd load up a small truck with sound system and backline and occasionally lighting, drive around the corner to the hotel or other venues on the property, set up, run the show, tear down and return the gear to the warehouse by myself. One of these venues was a tin roof over a large concrete slab, with a barbecue setup for a catering kitchen at one end. To say the power in this venue was dirty would be a complete understatement. There was no separate service. I was working off of wall power there were no walls and shared the service with a small, dimmered lighting system of 500 watt cans. These were a few feet in front of the performers under the low ceiling. On top of that, the backline amps we had were old and noisy.

One day I set up and as was typical, the musicians arrived a few minutes before downbeat. The guitar player plugged in and immediately had an incredibly loud hum from the amp. It was worse than usual so I considered driving a half-mile away to get another guitar amp, but I was reasonably sure that wouldn't help the matter. Instead, I grabbed an extra instrument cable, lopped off the 1/4 inch end and stripped the wires. I used my multi-tool to connect the bare wire to a chassis screw on the amplifier. I then walked the other end of the cable over the fence and jammed it in the dirt just off the back side of the stage. Worked like a charm! I'd grounded an open loop right into the garden!

About 15 years later, I worked with the guitar player on another gig and he began laughing while setting up on stage. One of his bandmates ask what was funny and he proceeded to tell that story and compliment me for being the only engineer who ever solved a ground hum by literally grounding the amp!"

Thank you to Neil for the great submission!

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