Are there benefits of using a wireless guitar/instrument system? If so, what are they? Getting a wireless guitar system isn’t usually the quickest decision to make. Most musicians that have never used a quality and reliable wireless are slow to the idea of getting one due to the poor reputation from the past.
Fear not, technology has made some incredible leaps in the wireless world in the past few years. The benefits of using a wireless guitar system today far exceed the negatives on a massive scale.
Here is a list of the top 12 benefits of using a quality wireless guitar system from my experience in the past 5 years.
1. Significantly Boosts Your Stage Presence
No musician will ever know their true potential during a live performance until they have been freed from their cable. Roughly 5-6 years ago when I got my first wireless system, my live performance got substantially better. As a matter of fact, this benefit alone has an entire article written about the new things you can do on stage with a wireless system along with some tips and tricks to help increase stage presence here.
2. No More Tripping Over The Cable
There is nothing more refreshing than not worrying about tripping over your cable haunting you every moment of your show. When every little move you make makes you nervous that your going to trip or step on the cord is gone, your stage performance and overall experience of the show dramatically increases.
3. Looks more professional
When your playing on a clean and beautiful stage rather than spaghetti floor, your band already looks more professional. This is especially helpful if all the stringed instrument players are using a wireless system. I understand that some of the lower quality wireless systems may have signal interference. Especially if more than one musician in the band is using a wireless system. However, you will not have this problem if all members use a quality wireless system. Cheaper systems are highly susceptible to signal interference, which is why we typically never recommend a system under $300.
4. No More Tangling The Guitar Cables With Your Band Members Or Yourself
This used to happen with my previous bands far too often. The worst part is the awkward moment of untangling the guitar cables in front of the staring crowd. No musician should ever have to worry about tangling their cord while walking to the other side of the stage. The stage should be yours to do as you wish it all times. You will feel and understand that once you go wireless.
Believe it or not, specific wireless guitar systems actually make your music career a bit easier than using cables. The Shure GLXD 16 wireless made my life much more comfortable than using a cable and considering that I use it as a tuner attached to my pedal board as well. It’s overall effortless to use and has many benefits and perks compared to the average wireless guitar system. As a matter of fact, it’s our Top Wireless Guitar System Pick For 2019.
6. No More Accidentally Pulling The Cable From Pedalboard Or Amp
Nothing is more annoying than waiting months for the big show on a big beautiful stage just to accidentally pull your cable out of the pedalboard from doing a drum riser jump. In many cases, my cord will unplug from merely walking too far from my pedalboard on the bigger stages. But feel free to run laps on the stage, crowd surf, and do all the drum riser jumps you want with a quality wireless system.
7. Gives Greater Enjoyment To Performing Live
Without all of the constant worries of using a cable from tripping, pulling it out of pedalboard/amp, tangling it up, and the general feeling of being tied to a leash; you will enjoy the experience of performing live on a much grander scale. When you the musician enjoys performing more, that in turn translates to the audience in which they enjoy the show more. The energy from the musicians on stage rub off of the audience and vise versa. I do understand that this claim may sound a bit far fetched, you may just have to see for yourself to understand.
8. Take The Guitar Solo Into The Crowd
I’ve mentioned this before in a recent article, and I’ll say it again, us musicians think this is lame, but the crowd (non-musicians) absolutely love it. Too many times, we as musicians forget what it takes to put on a good show in the eyes of the audience. When the audience is digging your band, and the guitarist decides to take the solo into the audience, those who witness it up close never forget it.
Video example of guitarist taking a solo into the crowd.
Video example of guitarist taking a solo on The Beach!
This also highly depends on the style of music you play or how long the guitar/bass solo is. Nobody knows the best time to take the solo into the crowd better than you. When you feel the time is right, walk off the stage to give it a try.
9. More Freedom = More Creativity
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club”
– Jack London
“By all means, good luck going after inspiration with a club when you’re tied to a leash”
Video Example: More freedom gives you more room for creativity in anything you do.
When your mind is rid of the consistent worries mentioned above from being tied down by a cable, you’ll see how there’s more room in your mind for creativity. Your subconscious mind begins calculating what is now possible and achievable. Not only does this new freedom give you a significant boost in your performance, but the fewer worries you have on stage opens your mind to increase your playing ability as well.
A boost in your performance and musical playing abilities does not happen the day you get your wireless. But your skills will gradually increase every single show on an accelerated pace. This is what happened to most musicians and me once the mind is freed from the worries that come from being boxed down by a cable.
10. Behind The Back Solos Made Easier
Having no wire attached to your instrument makes the behind the back solos significantly easier. Congruence is a considerable part when it comes to a live performance.
When you can throw the instrument behind your back with ease when it’s not attached to a leash, you’re ready to make the behind the back solo process look natural rather than choppy. Using a wireless system makes the behind the back solo not only look like a smoother and natural process but also less likely for something to go wrong.
11. Join The Mosh Pit
Dear metalheads who feel left out when watching your fans in the mosh pit of your own show, with a quality wireless system, you can join the fun.
Before entering the pit with your wireless instrument, there are a few things you must keep in mind. Make sure your wireless transmitter (the part that attaches to the instrument) is made of metal rather than plastic. Plastic transmitters are very susceptible to damage or breaking due to impact. Also make sure you use the Neotech Wireless Pouch for more protection from impact, sweat, water, humidity, and dust for your transmitter.
12. Able To Take A Guitar Solo On The Bar
Before reading this next part, take a look at the video below for greater understanding.
This is a crowd favorite when your playing in front of a packed-out audience. Once you arrive at your show with a wireless system, ask the bartender for permission to walk on top of the bar during a part in your set. The bartender might think your very weird at first, but he or she will understand after the gig.
Taking a solo on the bar is not doable everywhere considering the placement of the bar, the height of the ceiling, etc. But if you get the right type of bar, audience size, and the OK to do it from the bartender, take the solo to the bar. This gives you, your fans, and potential fans an incredible experience that’s hard to forget.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wireless Guitar/Bass Systems
Do Wireless Systems Cut Out?
Answer: This highly depends on the wireless system. Typically cheaper units under $300 have a much higher chance of getting signal interference or cutouts. If your wireless is above that range, you have a much lower chance of your instrument cutting out.
The highest-rated wireless systems in terms of reliability and signal strength with little to no dropouts recorded are either the Shure Anxient or the Shure GLXD 16. Once again, The Shure GLXD 16 is our top wireless guitar system pick for 2019 for many reasons. To learn more about the Shure GLXD 16 click here.
Do Wireless Systems Work For Bass Guitars?
Answer: Yes, wireless guitar systems work just fine for bass. We recommend using a digital system rather than an analog system for bass guitar. We also recommend a system with a broad frequency response with a dynamic range of 120dB. A few great choices for bass along with the info on dynamic range and frequency response can be found here.
Can You Use A Wireless With Active Pickups?
Answer: The vast majority of quality wireless guitar systems (above $300) are compatible with active pickups. You can view the list of exactly which wireless guitar systems are compatible with active pickups here.
What Makes A Good Wireless Guitar System?
The 5 most important factors that make or break a wireless system.
- Reliability -Signal strength, little to no dropouts
- Durability- Able to last long/withstand touring conditions
- Tone- Does it negatively affect guitar or bass tone compared to a quality cable
- Convenience- Battery life, setup simplicity, easier instrument change, pedalboard attachable
- Range- Able to have a strong signal to cover a big stage, or perform in the crowd
Are There Wireless Systems For Brass Or Woodwind Instruments?
Answer: Yes, there are wireless systems designed for brass and woodwind instruments, whether you play saxophone, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, or any wind instruments. If you’re interested in taking a look at some of the more popular wireless systems designed for brass or woodwind instruments, click here.
How Long Do Wireless Guitar Systems Last?
Answer: It entirely depends on the quality and build of the unit for how long a wireless system lasts. The units with the best longevity and durability are typically made of metal. When searching for a quality wireless system, make sure the transmitter and receiver are both made of metal to withstand vigorous touring conditions for years to come.
List of Guitar Wireless Transmitters made of Plastic Casing.
- Shure BLX
- Shure SLX
- Shure ULX
- Shure PGXD 14 (receiver made of plastic)
- Line 6 -G10
- Line 6 -G30
List of Guitar Wireless Transmitters made of Metal Casing.
- Shure GLXD- series
- Shure QLXD- series
- Line 6 – G50
- Line 6 -G55
- Line 6 -G70
- Line 6 -G90
Will It Affect My Guitar/Bass Tone
Answer: With the vast majority of high-quality wireless systems above $350, you will hear little to no difference in tone compared to a high-quality cable. In the video below, I experimented my Shure GLXD 16 and compared it to the highest quality cable on the market (Mogami Cable) to see if you can hear the difference.
How Do I Use A Wireless System With My Pedals?
Answer: The pedalboard must be hooked up to your amplifier with an instrument cable as you usually have it. The cable that generally attaches to your guitar is then connected to the wireless system’s receiver. Thus, all pedals are able to be used with your wireless guitar system. For a detailed article on how to use a wireless system with your effect pedals, click here.
How Often Do I Need To Change My Wireless Systems Batteries?
Answer: The vast majority of wireless guitar systems take AA batteries that need to be changed every 8 hours. Many of the cheaper wireless guitar systems don’t take AA batteries as a USB cable charges them, but I don’t recommend cheap units for serious musicians.
The only quality wireless guitar systems that use lithium-ion rechargeable batteries is the Shure GLXD 14, Shure GLXD 14R, and the Shure GLXD 16. These systems have the longest battery life of 16 hours that can be recharged by the receivers charging port (for the 14, 14R) or a USB charger.
Are Wireless Guitar Systems Hard To Set Up?
Answer: Some wireless systems are harder to set up than others depending on the type of receiver and whether you use one with a manual or automatic sync and frequency selection. The most effortless quality wireless to set up is the Shure GLXD 16 considering the receiver is able to attach to your pedalboard and it automatically connects the receiver and transmitter frequency once turning it on.
Can I Use Multiple Instruments With One Wireless Guitar System?
In short, yes. You are able to switch between multiple instruments with one wireless guitar system. Some systems are very easy, while others can take a bit more time. There are a few ways you can do this depending on your wireless system.
There are 3 ways to switch instruments with a wireless system.
- Have a different wireless receiver and transmitter on a different frequency for each guitar/bass (not recommended, far more expensive)
- Have a separate transmitter on the same frequency with one receiver already attached to each individual instrument.
- Swap your transmitter to each instrument. (highly recommended)
The Bottom Line
There are many incredible benefits to using a wireless guitar system, but it absolutely must be a quality brand. In the music world, it’s best to wait until you have the funds to purchase quality gear rather than wasting your money on cheap equipment that breaks easily or becomes highly unsatisfying.
The absolute most significant benefit of using a wireless system from my experience is that it unlocks the hidden performance potential that you never quite knew you had. Based off of new research, visual is more important than audio to the audience (new listeners) during a live performance. When most musicians don’t even consider investing in a wireless system, the few who do use one have a massively unfair advantage for stage performance.
Although using a wireless guitar system to gain an unfair advantage on the stage may be important, you must get a quality wireless system that won’t cut out, that’s not a hassle to use or set up, doesn’t hurt your tone, doesn’t break easily, and all at an affordable price. See full reviews of The Top 6 Wireless Guitar Systems For Pros here, they will not fail you.
Perform Wireless is written by musicians, not salesmen.
May all of you free the leash, find your true potential, and perform wireless happily ever after.