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Climbing The Sound Mountain, Part 3: Starting At The Bottom
Our fictionalized -- but instructional -- series on making it in the sound reinforcement business continues with Ben beginning his new job...
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Go here to read first two installments in the Sound Mountain Series.

Ben had gotten the gig but had some doubts about what he really did and didn’t know. Frank’s comment in the interview about killing someone with improper AC grounding had prompted him to order a book and study up over the weekend to help get a handle on things.

But overall, he was psyched, and now it was Monday morning, the start of his new job.

Ben entered the lobby at FSC, encountering the same slightly haughty secretary who had greeted him less than a week ago.

“Good morning Sonya,” he said.

She looked up at him without a trace of emotion on her pretty face and replied, “OK, thanks” as she took his tax form and placed it in a tray on her desk.

She added, “Frank isn’t here yet, but he let me know that you should report to Jack, in the shop.” With that, she pointed down the hall and Ben set off to meet his new boss.

Jack Dean looked up from his bench at the back of the shop when he heard Ben enter and silently motioned for Ben to head his way.

Jack looked kind of old and maybe a little bit hardened, some gray in his hair and beard, and lines on his face. But there was a friendly, knowing look in his eye. “Sit down,” he said, pointing to a stool next to his. Ben took a seat and peered at the guts of an amp.

“OK, Ben, why don’t you tell me something about yourself.” Ben started to talk about his experience with sound systems, but Jack abruptly cut him off with a wave of his hand and said, “No, I asked you to tell me something about yourself.”

Ben was at a loss for a minute then finally came up with “Well, I don’t really like beer.”

Jack roared with laughter and said, “That’s what I’m talking about. I like you already! But if you don’t like beer, you might not make many friends in this industry.”

He laughed again as if this was an inside joke. Ben was a bit uncomfortable at this point but Jack’s warm smile settled him.

“Let’s get started,” Jack continued, and nodded at an empty spot on the bench against the adjacent wall, next to another guy. “That’s David. You two will be repairing all the bad XLR cables, and he has a head start. So go ahead and grab some cables from that case over there, cut the ends off and then re-solder them. If you see a connector that’s just not going to hold up any more, throw it in there,” gesturing at a five-gallon bucket against the wall.

“No problem” Ben replied as he sauntered over to his stool and sat down next to David.

Source: Live Sound International

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