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TURN IT DOWN...YOU'RE TOO LOUD!!!


Larryz

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On another thread regarding firing a Drummer, a club owner wanted the drummer to back off and turn it down and the drummer had a hissy fit. After an embarrassing squabble in front of the owner, The band leader had to fire the drummer...

 

While discussing the situation, we started getting into other issues like guitars, bass, drums and other band members playing too loud or drowning out the vocals, dynamics etc. We were also getting in to the chain of command with regard to band leaders and club owners wanting the music turned down. Then you have the audience shouting "Crank It UP" (which hasn't come up yet with regard to small venues where you control the sound and are trying to keep the owner happy). I think there may be some war stories and/or opinions out there with regard to what happens when you're told to "Turn it down, you're too LOUD!!!" :cool:

 

 

 

 

Take care, Larryz
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Our drummer plays way too loud too - says that's just the way he plays - we had him put ringers on all his heads and now he sounds great.

Before, our sound guy had to cut him out of the mix for some of our indoor gigs. Now he sounds really good in the mix. Audiences can actually hear him better than before - everything is balanced now, especially on stage.

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

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I recently had a similar situation, but it wasn't because of owner or audience complaints. Everything was going along smoothly until we got to about half way through the second set. I have a wireless and usually go out front to get levels set. All of a sudden I can't hear my guitar and I haven't touched a thing, so I stepped out front and all you can hear is BASS. I went back on stage and asked the bass player if he turned his amp up and he said no. Just because it's going between his legs, he thinks it's not loud enough. We've gone through this before, a bunch. So I quit. I play with another group anyway.
Les Paul Studio Deluxe, '74 Guild S100, '64 Strat, JCM 900 Combo, Peavey Classic 30 1x12, Peavey Classic 30 Head, CBG
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I use a kickback stand with my amp to make sure I can hear me regardless of the rest of the stage volume. It keeps me in check, because I'm not trying to blow my own head off, and I want to hear the rest of the instruments too. It's tricky, though, because you lose that sustain from sympathetic guitar body vibrations if you're too quiet...
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I remember when I was doing wedding photography, one of the rare weddings that had a BAND, instead of a DJ, THEY used wireless devices on their guitars. During the FATHER/DAUGHTER dance, a LOUD, distorted chord BLASTED out of one of the amps, and SUSTAINED at FULL VOLUME for four minutes or so while the embarrassed guitar player vainly scrambled to correct the situation!
I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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Volume sanctions are inevitable, and every bandmate needs to be adult enough to care about the gig. Our crowd was sparse last night, so we had to adjust accordingly. Even with most of the crowd wanting us a bit louder, the owner got an email from one patron who said we were great but way too loud. Once the staff let us know, we turned down. The room is way too live - lotsa glass and booths and partitions reflecting sound everywhere. Tough room to set, but a very regular gig, so we'll do what we have to.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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Old Fart story...back when I was a kid about 29 or so, this old fart at an Elks Lodge with a hearing aid (probably about my age now of 64 or so), would come up to me and say "Turn it down, your guitar is just too LOUD!" I never ran my amp past 4 and kept the volume knobs on the LP at 1/2 mast so I could crank it up on the leads and fade back into the mix on rhythm. I apologized to the old guy and turned my amp down to 2 and went out front to make sure I wasn't too loud, and it sounded good to me as the rest of the band was now much louder than I was...

 

So after a song or two, here he comes again saying the same thing basically "You're still too LOUD!" So I knew that the next song on the list really didn't need me to play guitar at all and put my amp on Stand-by. After the song was over, here he comes again and this time I showed him my amp wasn't even on and strummed my LP acoustically for him and pointed out that I couldn't be the one that was too loud as my amp is off...he said, "well I guess there's something wrong with my hearing aid, I could have sworn it was YOU!" We both laughed and I went back to my normal settings...sometimes you just have to play along and have fun with it! :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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Back in the early 80's in D.C., as the D.C. Punk scene was growing, a lot of the old-school sound companies hadn't figured out how to deal with new bands that depended on cranking their beater amps for their sound. Part of the problem was that the local club owners had no interest in underage crowds that couldn't buy booze, so most of the shows were held in places that would rent space to anybody, for anything. As you might expect, most of them were cheap public halls, or other spaces where the acoustic properties were nil.

 

At one show, the FOH sound guy keep trying to dial the noise back, but every time he did, the band onstage would turn to look at their amps, as if something had gone wrong, and start futzing with the knobs, If the amps were already dimed out, it was time to crank the Level on the Distortion pedals. All night long, the sound guys would try to turn it down, while the bands would keep turning it up. This went on until someone pointed out was what happening onstage, every time the sound guys made an adjustment. Eventually, they dialed it back into the earthquake zone, and everyone was happy.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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One of the loudest bands I ever played with had the lowest stage volumes. The level of control over the mix was great. If we were ever too loud it was an issue with the front desk. If someone can't get with the program there is someone else wanting the gig. Went through 3 drummers one year. When we replaced the 1st one 27 drummers called the first day wanting a shot. It is a business. Band democracies suck.

 

Worked a local show for a loud headbanger band called Avenged Sevenfold. Zero guitar amps on stage. Only Iso cabs. I never used an iso cab but I have off stage amps and play played out with a 5 watt 1-12 combo.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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The PA situation has an impact, too.

 

I play a bunch of wedding receptions often in small function rooms or restaurants just with a vocal PA. You need to point the amp forward to be heard, but you don't want to smash the singers or tables closest to the band. It's very often the case that you're standing right in front of your amp, so it's hard to perceive how loud it is, say ten feet away. Angling the amp, or getting it a bit higher off the ground is useful.

 

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and realise everyone's mix (band, audience, staff) is more important than your own. I know guys who don't get booked because they are just too loud.

 

Another story...I also play at my church in a 1000 seat auditorium with a great PA. We just started using in ear monitoring with little Allen and Heath mixer units to set your own mix. What a pleasure! My amp level came down heaps with the IEMs. I might even try using some amp sims next time 'round and leave the amps at home.

 

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@ Bluesape: COOL POST POST! It's nice to get some positive [feed back] from friends in the audience. I think lower volume in smaller venues can get you more gigs. It helps the band craft their overall sound before playing at increased volume at larger venues... :cool:

 

@ Harvey: I've never had the opportunity to hear a band through IEM's yet. I'm looking forward to doing so some day. I like to hear what the audience hears coming from the monitors. The monitors helps me control my volume levels both vocally and instrumentally. I know it helps me sing and play better when I can hear myself... :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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In the 80's....I was the guy that bought all the PA...because no one else would.

That meant I was always the sound guy as well.

Needless to say....I'd tell everyone to get a good volume and sound they were happy with and I'd set the PA.

 

We started out sounding great and as the crowd started increasing through the night....all I'd have to do is touch up the mains just a little.

But NOOOOoooooo.

They bass player would jack the hell out of his amp...and when you mention it, he'd get all pissy.

Geez....that was a never ending battle.

 

Drummers do need the clear screen.

That does help much and all they need is good monitoring so they can hear properly.

 

But as the night would go on....I'd starting turning the morons down in the mains as they got louder on their amps.

It was really my only option other than putting a foot up their A$$. ;)

 

"Just play!"
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This is literally a never ending story.

I haven`t been dealing with it so much lately but, basically without IEMs you have two options, look like a sound guy while you hover over your monitor the whole gig, or turn it up so you can hear what you`re doing and bring the wrath of the house down upon you (and the band). One or two members who have since moved on, were sold on the Bose `sound towers`-I think they are not actually called that but, it`s a PA with speakers that project omnidirectionally. Everyone onstage can hear the entire mix without IEMs.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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Loud guitar players are usually the problem. I work with a couple of them who not only like to hear themselves over the mix, they want it to be like the old days of playing through a Marshall stack, moving a lot of air and just blasting, right at the point of being able to get feedback on any note. I don't know of any way to make that mindset work in a bar.
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In my old band, everything was direct with IEM's - electric drums, keys, direct bass, 15w guitar amp mic's, but pointing sideways across the stage....virtually zero stage volume. As such, we relied heavily on a beefy FOH PA to deliver good sound quality.

 

We were setting up for a private party and hadn't even made a sound yet, and the client walked up, looked at the PA, and said "you're too loud". "We haven't even turned it on yet". "Yeah but I can already tell you're too loud, these speakers are too big". " They have a volume control, we can turn them all the way down to zero and you won't hear anything"

 

That was a rough gig.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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We were setting up for a private party and hadn't even made a sound yet, and the client walked up, looked at the PA, and said "you're too loud". "We haven't even turned it on yet". "Yeah but I can already tell you're too loud, these speakers are too big". " They have a volume control, we can turn them all the way down to zero and you won't hear anything"

 

That was a rough gig.

 

I too had the exact same problem once upon a time...showed up with a small trio using my bigger PA for an outside gig, with 4 studio 15" mains, horns and tweeters and 2, 400 watt amps, at a small winery gig. The owner came running out saying "Oh no, you guys aren't going to blow us away are you?" I said no, we can turn it down and keep it at a nice low under the shade tree volume, but that cheap 110v extention chord you're giving us to run all of our PA and amps, just ain't gonna make it...can you give us some kind of heavier ext. cord so we don't blow your circuit breakers LOL? Anyway, we got the heavier quality plug in's and everything came out great! Some players think smaller sized amps and equipment mean something important, while I believe you can take a 100watt, 4 6L6 Twin Reverb Amp, or a 60watt, 2 6L6 Hot Rod DeVille or a SS 100watt ZT Club and simply "Turn Them Down"...kind of a Santana thing! :)

 

Take care, Larryz
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Well everyone has their own experience-my first regular gig was with a band where the drummer was a nationally ranked karate competitor. Subtlety was not his strong point. Don`t get me started on small practice studios.

Leaving aside overall levels, I have pointed out to various bands, that even if we`re not playing jazz it`s useful to listen to they way a lot of combos use dynamics. Too often it`s start blast blast blast finish. I think in the case of one group in particular, they just wanted to keep the learning curve as short as possible. But it`s not like some kind of demanding composition, just back the freak off sometimes. Jeez.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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Here is one from the opposing camp, a drummer that could play as needed.

 

I had this drummer once, a Nicky Newark greaser lookin hairdresser named Jimmy, he sat in with my old band one night at a club in Surf City NJ, and my gawd did he play so sweet. So we asked him to come and rehearse with a new band we were envisioning which we called The New Children Of Jazz. When he showed up with his kit a little thing with a kick, a snare, two toms, crash, and ride, and a high hat. And began to play. I was astounded at how much he did with that little kit. That cat did not only keep the beat but his musical was tone full, melodic, tasteful, and completely in with what we were doing. It was an improvisational band with him, myself, and a bass player. He could play at every sound level.

 

We practiced it one night and took it back to that same club the next weekend and played 3 sets of make it up as we go. Of course the crowd was not into it, all they wanted to hear was freebird, etc.

 

But it sure was a players dream.

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It's not just guitarists and drummers.

Sonny Rollins used to go out and practice his sax on the Brooklyn Bridge because he didn't want to "subject the baby next door to so much sound."

Another great sax player, Stan Getz would annoy his neighbors with his practicing, and when neighbors would complain, she'd say "play a little louder, Stanley."

I don't get too many complaints from my neighbors for practicing flute or acoustic guitar, although one neighbor asked me not to practice flute before 10 a.m., which I thought was reasonable. One neighbor bitched like hell when I played electric guitar, amp on 2 or so, at 2 p.m. on Saturday. So I practice my electric unamplified or through headphones.

I'm not sure what my neighbors would do if I took up BAGPIPES, LOL - it probably wouldn't be PRETTY......

 

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I'm not sure what my neighbors would do if I took up BAGPIPES, LOL - it probably wouldn't be PRETTY......

 

You could always take up the Theremin, for that horror-movie vibe.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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It always cracks me up when a neighbor complains because your guitar, flute, sax, bass, etc., is too loud at 2 in the after noon. But, that same neighbor will fire up a weed eater, table saw, nail gun, chain saw, lawn mower, back hoe, etc., at 6am on Saturday or Sunday when you're not quite ready to wake up so he can get his job done at the butt crack of dawn...LOL! :mad::crazy::facepalm::D
Take care, Larryz
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It always cracks me up when a neighbor complains because your guitar, flute, sax, bass, etc., is too loud at 2 in the after noon. But, that same neighbor will fire up a weed eater, table saw, nail gun, chain saw, lawn mower, back hoe, etc., at 6am on Saturday or Sunday when you're not quite ready to wake up so he can get his job done at the butt crack of dawn...LOL! :mad::crazy::facepalm::D

 

Or they have the dogs that never stop barking until 5 AM...

 

Had a neighbor in an apartment once that didn't like people being noisy in the middle of the afternoon- but he had the car with the loud exhaust (not the cool kind of loud) and the belt squeal he'd fire up every day at 6 AM and let it beller and squall for 10 minutes before he left.

 

! Some players think smaller sized amps and equipment mean something important, while I believe you can take a 100watt, 4 6L6 Twin Reverb Amp, or a 60watt, 2 6L6 Hot Rod DeVille or a SS 100watt ZT Club and simply "Turn Them Down"...kind of a Santana thing! :)

 

But you HAVE to crank it to get the TUBES workin, man.

 

Personally, I do agree that you can turn the big amp down. But if you're going to barely crack the throttle on the big amp, why not save your back and cargo space and bring the small amp?

 

The worst problem I have is in my work band where I play bass. I play through a G&K Backline head and an old Crate 4 x 10 cab 8 ohm, and the amp is rated 180W at 8 ohm. I play w/ volume on 2 or maybe 3 and one older guitar player is telling me to turn down. We have 3 guitars playing thru 40W Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amps, keyboard, and drums, I can barely hear myself, and it's frustrating. His issue I really think is related to vertigo because the bass frequencies mess with his balance. But no one else can even hear me.

 

I've found many times it isn't always 'loud' that people have the issue with- it's EQ and frequency balance relating to hearing comfort. Dealing with things like mic bleedover from amps and drums, compression, EQ, gates, that kind of thing. It can be loud(er) but comfortable or not as loud but still sound bad. I HATE the 'wall of mud' from some hack sound guy burying the bass and kick drum in the sub with no conditioning on the signal- no tone, just mud and bad harmonics.

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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I've found many times it isn't always 'loud' that people have the issue with- it's EQ and frequency balance relating to hearing comfort. Dealing with things like mic bleedover from amps and drums, compression, EQ, gates, that kind of thing. It can be loud(er) but comfortable or not as loud but still sound bad. I HATE the 'wall of mud' from some hack sound guy burying the bass and kick drum in the sub with no conditioning on the signal- no tone, just mud and bad harmonics.

 

Ear fatigue, more than anything, comes from excessive high frequencies. If you have a strong sub (and a bass tone dialed in to take advantage of it, not just the kick slamming through it), you can run at much higher volumes without ear fatigue, because the bottom is so well supported the highs aren't scorching anymore.

 

The difference is night and day in a rock band with good bottom versus one without it.

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@ 5String, +1 on why crack your back packing a heavy tuber around with the volume barely cracked open? I limit myself to 35lbs on speakers, amps, etc., to make it easy on my bad back. My 55lb Hot Rod DeVille has been in the closet for at least a year or two now as I use my little 20lb ZT Club with my Fender Floor which sounds like a Fender tuber and gives me plenty of volume. I can also leave the amp at home and go direct with the Floor to the PA. Back in the day the old tubers run at half throttle really filled larger clubs and sounded cool! I needed the extra power when playing clean to get enough volume sans House PA. These days Mic'ing the smaller amps and using them more as a monitor when going into overdrive and/or playing clean is a good way to go...but when I'm playing an outside gig or just want that old Fender tuber classic sound, I'm going to bring that DeVille out again one of these days. :cool:

 

+1 on the Bass frequencies causing the old guys vertigo issue LOL! Back in the day, I noticed that the bass volumes on both the drums and bass guitar caused my eardrums to vibrate. I was in a club once where they were both so loud that the windows vibrated in sync with my eardrums! I learned to stand to one side of the bass drum and bass amp (i.e. not in front of either one of them) and it helped me a lot. Griff may be on track with the other higher frequencies causing most ear fatigue problems but for my ears it's in the low ones... :cool:

Take care, Larryz
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A guy who puts on a monthly show here has been hiring me a lot to be the lead guitarist. In introducing me last time, he said he picks not only for my playing and easygoing personality, but I'm a rare guitar player whose volume fits the room and doesn't blast everyone out. I and a few people in the audience laughed because I'm complained about as the loudest guitarist in town in other situations... But most have caught on that if the band isn't too loud, neither am I.

 

And about those loud bands... I'm getting tired of them. When I try to get them to consider volume overall they say "you're just starting to get 'old guy ears.'" Apparently, I share that developing condition with all of the young women who leave the room at the beginning of the gigs.

 

I just bring my AC15 to gigs, now, and if I get drowned out, so be it. But really, these guys are playing so loud that since I'm using that amp and they can't hear me, they will screw the song and not notice.

 

And that bass player thing in the original post... I've been through that a million times... And as a bassist myself, it's not just that they aim the speakers at the back of their knees, I think they don't know how to listen to bands from the inside.

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