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Author Topic:  Band is too Loud!!
Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 8:37 am     Reply with quote

I'm glad to hear so many speak of dynamics. So important to good music. I just left a band (one with my wife) where guitar player has No sense of timing, lots of mistakes, and absolutly NO SENSE OF DYNAMICS AT ALL. He starts the night at one volume and never changes it all night, except when he becomes super rock star, where he turns up to 16.

I let it be known that I can no longer work with guitar player. Music is supposed fun. I was actually miserable in this band. The leader made it known that she wanted to keep a garage band guitar player (one who is very temperamental, blowing up on stage because the bass player couldn't hear him louder. Then it was facing the drummer too much that he asked the guitar player turn turn it back a little bit. KABOOM!!! ) over a professional steel player. SO, THAT WAS MY QUE TO EXIT. The only thing I regret is, my wife is in this band. She would never leave. It's her daughters band. She won't even take any pay. But it's impossible to find a gig as a backup singer, although she spent many years as a lead singer in a very good and popular band.


I am now not looking for a band. I think it's time to get out of the BS and retire. I had 47 years in as a steel guitar player, that should be enough.
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Last edited by Richard Sinkler on 23 Jan 2018 6:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 8:50 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
well this thread started as the "band is too loud" , and many pontificated. The op could not hear himself.

Then the op told us his amp was not really in a position for him to hear it and he was set up next to the drummer.

The op, rightfully so, will MOVE away from the drummer and place his amp in a position where he can hear it.

IF we set up next to a drummer and we can't hear our amp because of placement, what are we to expect ?

He never mentioned if there are multiple wedges and if everyone is in the monitor mix. That right there kids is a false notion of how loud a band is on a bandstand, especially if it's a single monitor feed with everyone in the same feed.


My take, the op is doing the right thing moving away from the drummer and re-positioning his amp but also there was not enough information to comment one way or the other if the band is too loud on the bandstand. In the ops mind it was because he could not hear his Steel. But there are multiple reasons for that, only ONE is the band is too loud.

IF we are playing on a bandstand with wedges in front of us with all instruments blaring away, and we think the volume of the band is too loud, move that wedge away from you or unplug it. The bandstand volume drops by probably 50 % , like right away !

Why are we mic'ing amps in a small to medium size room anyway ?

Because we can ! Very Happy


I also think that these bands that set monitors levels first (in smaller venues) cause the problem with volume. Players need to play loud enough to hear over the monitors. Then this drives the mains up. Many, and I mean many do this around here.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 10:11 am     Reply with quote

I feel a need to overstate the obvious again, because a manner of setting up a sound system appears to be taking the blame for people who don’t know how to use it. I think everybody here realizes that, but the frustration has taken over reasoned opinion.

It is not the sound system’s fault that a band plays too loud. It is not the microphone in front of the amp, or the monitor wedge in front of the player, or the guy who sets up the system and runs it during the gig. A pro sound system, in the hands of someone who knows how to run it, can make it easier for band members to hear themselves and each other (or to not hear that crappy player who doesn’t belong on the same stage with a genius like me), and make it easier to express themselves dynamically.

If you don’t have a pro sound system and someone to run it, then it’s the luck of the draw what you’re going to sound like, on stage and FOH. I’m not talking just about chops here - you either have people that know how to play in a band or you don’t.
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Dick Wood


From:
Springtown Texas, USA
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 10:35 am     Reply with quote

I'd take the direct approach. Get the band leader off to the side and say, I love you guys,your playing is great but we're playing way too loud and could we try coming down so there are some dynamics?

If they can't work with you then you may have to move on to save your hearing.
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Steven Paris


From:
Los Angeles
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 11:55 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
Why are we mic'ing amps in a small to medium size room anyway ?!

+1!!!
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Steven Paris


From:
Los Angeles
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 12:03 pm     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:
Problem is a majority of bands have only ONE monitor send and everyone is in the same monitor mix.

Now THAT IS the fault of the sound system.
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Jim Bates


From:
Alvin, Texas, USA
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 7:36 pm     Reply with quote

I was very lucky to see and hear Hank Thompson and his big band in the many times at the Sooner Inn in my hometown of Clinton, Oklahoma in the 50's . This medium sized hall was on Hwy 66 bypass about midway from OK,City and Amarillo, TX. Hank would stop by a do a show/dance on way out or returning from a tour.

I still remember all of those identical Standel amps lined up on stage with ALL controls on max. There may have been at least three mikes (one for Hank,one for backup singers in the three fiddle area, and one for the piano player who on a back corner of stage behind steel player.

The PA was very simple - a big tall speaker on the floor at each end of stage. I do not rememnber any monitor at all.

The fiddle players usually set up the PA (or bus driver) and tested mikes. Only controls I saw was maybe a volume for each mike, plus volume and maybe tone for PA amp.

When they begin the show, someone stomped the floor two or three times, and BOOM the band exploded and sounded exactly like they had recorded it. When the piano took a break the whole band played softer so piano could be heard during his riff, then went back to volume.

Hank would usually show up around 11pm and do an hour of vocals, and the band NEVER played over him! Quieter when he was singing and louder during their breaks.

Clean and clear and powerful! It can be done now, but it takes 'EGO' control.

Thanx,
Jim
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 20 Jan 2018 10:50 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks for the story Jim. That is exactly what I'm talking about.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 2:20 am     Reply with quote

Dick Wood wrote:
I'd take the direct approach. Get the band leader off to the side and say, I love you guys,your playing is great but we're playing way too loud and could we try coming down so there are some dynamics?

.


"WE" are playing too loud ?

And if we say that to a band leader , where we are not a member but just a fill in, what do you think his response may be ?

What if he says, I don't think we are too loud at all, you are the only one complaining ! Now what ?

Before we complain to a band leader we should make sure our Ducks are lined up !

We generally do not tell band leaders what to do, they tell US what to do. If the band leader is told the band is too loud, he or she makes the adjustment.

back to this topic...

The op has already stated that he set up next to the drummer and his amp was in a not so good position to hear it.

He is now moving away from the drummer and placing his amp so he can hear it better.

We have these VOLUME threads all the time, mostly we don't really have any way of gauging how loud anyone is other than one person saying " The band is too loud ".

Not long ago, I played a duo gig, small outdoor patio of a sports bar. Really, not loud, two AC guitars , 1 PA speaker. YET, one gal sitting as far back as possible came up and complained because we were too loud, she didn't want to hear any music while she and her friends talked. She went to the bar tender and complained. He came out and listened. Without telling her to go fry ice he told her he paid to have music on the patio. He offered to pick up her entire tab if she was not happy but the music is not going away. She told the bar keep that she came here to talk with friends not to hear music, he said..'You came to the wrong place " . The other odd thing was while we were playing, we could hear her and her party yelling and laughing , they were louder than the music !

Yet, we were too loud... Oh Well

No they didn't leave and about an hour and a half later we left , each with a $100 bill in our pocket.
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Bill C. Buntin


Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 4:57 am     Reply with quote

High stage volume has damaged many ears permanently. Notice when you get a group of pro players all together, everyone talks like really loud?

Tony is right. Too loud is subjective. If stage volume is over 85 to 90 dB, get some ear plugs. I wish I had gotten ear plugs back when I was working full time.

The problem for many is your ears just begin to start ringing gradually over time, you don't really notice it so much, but THEN....one day, the ringing never stops.

Protect against this, no matter what you do.

One of the first commercial gigs I worked was with legendary fiddler Dale Morris Sr. He wore earplugs through the entire gig.

It wasn't until after my hearing was damaged that I understood why the man was wearing earplugs.

Reece Anderson told me years ago that he has jumped down off of band stands before and asked someone in the audience for two cigarettes. Reece did not smoke. He would break off the filters and use them as ear plugs.
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Georg Sørtun


From:
Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 5:36 am     Reply with quote

Bill C. Buntin wrote:
If stage volume is over 85 to 90 dB, get some ear plugs.
+1.
And, given that most speakers used by musicians output in the area of 92 to 96db at three feet distance when fed as little as one Watt – that's what speakers' sensitivity is measured at, reaching dangerous on-stage levels isn't hard.
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Rick Barnhart


From:
Arizona, USA
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 8:47 am     Reply with quote

I recently played in a group that included two fantastic session players. Whether or not Tony thinks it's subjective, they were too loud. I could see it in some of the faces of the audience. The way I handled it was to turn down. They never got the message and came across as very very good egomaniacs. Musicianship is a conversation, not a yelling match. I had the watts, just not the desire.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 8:50 am     Reply with quote

We’re at about +5 on the ear plug solution since it was first mentioned. The Steel Guitar Forum is where science and common sense can still get a fair hearing...so to speak Cool
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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 10:35 am     Reply with quote

Most bands have 4 or 5 musicians and a drummer.......... Mr. Green
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Bill Moore


From:
Manchester, Michigan
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 3:14 pm     Reply with quote

If you are dealing with typical weekend bands, there is always someone that plays or sings too loud. All they want to hear is themselves. It seems like if they can hear you at all, YOU are the one that's playing too loud. Question
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 7:35 pm     Reply with quote

Rick Barnhart wrote:
Musicianship is a conversation, not a yelling match.

Thank you Rick. I am going to remember this quote the next time I have to chastise players (albeit "tastefully") for playing loudly and without any restraint and dynamics at all.
Gary
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Rich Rubel


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 21 Jan 2018 8:05 pm     Reply with quote

I play Bass in our cover band. Our lead guitarist with his Jimi Hendrix fixation and our "loud what loud?" drummer seem to engage in a battle of who can play the loudest as our evenings progress. Anything in excess of 90db will progressively damage your hearing and our stage volumes come in regularly at 103 to 105 db. Hearing loss starts at the highest frequencies and works its way down. When you start to notice, it already too late. I love the band but I will not risk my hearing. Since we don't mic our instruments and use the PA just for vocals I started out with these.

https://alclair.com/monitorshop/musicians-earplugs/

I have the -15db filters which I use during any live music event I attend regardless of why I'm there. I use the -25db at the shooting range and on the motorcycle. Since they attenuate all frequencies evenly its like having a volume control on the world.

After using them for a year I decided that I really wanted to customize what I hear a little more, much like a true IEM system. I was lucky enough to run across this system.

http://posseaudio.com/

This coupled with a set of Alclair custom IEMs really fit the bill and got me right. I insert my bass into the box and then out to my amp. I take a vocals directly from the monitors or FOH board and there are ambient mics on either side of the mic stand box I use to listen to the rest of the band. Everything is on a separate volume control. It comes in a small carrying case and I can set it up in less than 2 minutes

I would sooner lost my sight than my hearing. These product and this system insures that will never happen.

BTW I have no financial, promotional or filial relationship with either company and I have paid full price for the items I purchased from them. If your willing to wait you can get a 20% discount on Black Friday. Hope it helps.
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Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 22 Jan 2018 7:05 am     Reply with quote

Fred Treece wrote:
I feel a need to overstate the obvious again, because a manner of setting up a sound system appears to be taking the blame for people who don’t know how to use it. I think everybody here realizes that, but the frustration has taken over reasoned opinion.

It is not the sound system’s fault that a band plays too loud. It is not the microphone in front of the amp, or the monitor wedge in front of the player, or the guy who sets up the system and runs it during the gig. A pro sound system, in the hands of someone who knows how to run it, can make it easier for band members to hear themselves and each other (or to not hear that crappy player who doesn’t belong on the same stage with a genius like me), and make it easier to express themselves dynamically.

If you don’t have a pro sound system and someone to run it, then it’s the luck of the draw what you’re going to sound like, on stage and FOH. I’m not talking just about chops here - you either have people that know how to play in a band or you don’t.


I gotta disagree. When the band sets the monitor volume so loud that you have trouble hearing your amp, you naturally turn up so you can. A couple of years ago, I was playing in a band who had this problem. They let the girl singer, who had no idea how to run sound, set the PA. One night, in a small club, she forgot to turn the mains on. We played a full one hour set without mains. The crowd could still hear vocals from the monitors, not real clear but they could still hear them. Now that is way too loud. At the first break, the bartender mentioned that the PA was really muffled.
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Some anti-virus programs, like Trend and Norton, try to block my site and say it's malicious. It is not. Our computer experts on the forum have helped me and found nothing to worry about. It is safe to put in the exceptions list. See this post in Computers: http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=301399
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 22 Jan 2018 8:35 am     Reply with quote

Well... I did specify a “pro sound system in the hands of someone who knows how to run it”, so I’m not really sure what you are disagreeing with, Richard. Sorry if I am still not making myself clear.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 22 Jan 2018 10:16 am     Reply with quote

A Pro sound guy sits out front and can't judge the monitors, thats up to the players who have monitors in front of them.

Typical bands DO NOT HAVE PRO SOUND GUYS ,they have a PA with a single monitor send and they hang mics in front of all the amps and each monitor has way too much stuff blowing thru a single 10 or 12 with a mid range horn. Many times the monitor mix is louder than the band. Too much sound. The monitor in front of you is louder than the amp behind you.

So..we turn it up ! Very Happy
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Rich Rubel


From:
Colorado, USA
Post Posted 22 Jan 2018 3:30 pm     Reply with quote

Fred, a thought about your comment “pro sound system in the hands of someone who knows how to run it’ , I have a small sound reinforcement business and run live sound at some of our local venues. The hardest thing to accomplish is convincing the talent to keep stage volumes low. They often play so loud that they end up competing with the mains forcing me to cut many of the my channels to keep things clean. None of these bands has a separate monitor technician so I run monitors as well. I can run up to 6 independent monitor mixes and I let each member specify his mix. Sometimes the stage volume is so loud that I’m constantly flirting with feedback from the monitors and they are still complaining they can hear. I understand and I am sympathetic to the talent wanting to control their sound. It’s hard to convince them that my job is to make them sound as good as possible.
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Richard Sinkler


From:
Oakdale, California
Post Posted 22 Jan 2018 5:35 pm     Reply with quote

Fred Treece wrote:
Well... I did specify a “pro sound system in the hands of someone who knows how to run it”, so I’m not really sure what you are disagreeing with, Richard. Sorry if I am still not making myself clear.


The first paragraph of your post mentions setting up a sound system and being run by people who don't know how to run it. That does not sound like a pro sound company to me. That sounds more like the local band with their little 8 channel Mackie system. Not until the 2nd paragraph did you mention a pro sound company. Sounded like you were shifting gears. My bad.
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Some anti-virus programs, like Trend and Norton, try to block my site and say it's malicious. It is not. Our computer experts on the forum have helped me and found nothing to worry about. It is safe to put in the exceptions list. See this post in Computers: http://bb.steelguitarforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=301399
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Mel Bergman


From:
Camarillo, California, USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2018 10:48 am     Reply with quote

Here is another thought from someone who has severe tinnitus after almost 40 years of regular gigging. Most engineers( structural, aeronautical, etc. ) need vast amounts of education and certification to practice their profession. Most, but certainly not all “SoundEngineers”, not so much.

Interestingly enough, Japan and Holland ( and possibly other countries that don’t sprung to mind) are exceptions. And most of those running sound in Japan are females who are excellent

At my very first professional gig NYE 1980, the sound guy said if we wanted to hear the kick drum in the PA, he was going to need a few lines of blow. True story!
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Howard Parker


From:
Clarksburg,MD USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2018 11:16 am     Reply with quote

Rich Rubel wrote:
I take a vocals directly from the monitors or FOH board and there are ambient mics on either side of the mic stand box I use to listen to the rest of the band.


Similar to my approach. I carry a wireless 2ch IEM rig PLUS a small mixer. I take vocals off of the PA and run them to IEM ch 1. I mic the snare drum, lead guitar, steel and bass thru my mini mixer and off to IEM ch 2. I listen in mono.

I listen at living room conversation levels.

Yeah, costs a few $$$ but OMG the first time I used this rig the flexibility and clarity stunned me.

ymmv

hp
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2018 11:24 am     Reply with quote

Rich Rubel wrote:
Fred, a thought about your comment “pro sound system in the hands of someone who knows how to run it’ , I have a small sound reinforcement business and run live sound at some of our local venues. The hardest thing to accomplish is convincing the talent to keep stage volumes low. They often play so loud that they end up competing with the mains forcing me to cut many of the my channels to keep things clean. None of these bands has a separate monitor technician so I run monitors as well. I can run up to 6 independent monitor mixes and I let each member specify his mix. Sometimes the stage volume is so loud that I’m constantly flirting with feedback from the monitors and they are still complaining they can hear. I understand and I am sympathetic to the talent wanting to control their sound. It’s hard to convince them that my job is to make them sound as good as possible.

Rich, I treat the sound guy like he’s the 5th Beatle - the Secret Weapon that will make my band sound better than the sum of its parts. It is terrible that you aren’t getting the respect you deserve. Musicians need only a brief course in sound reinforcement theory to understand what your job is. Unfortunately the reason many players get into bands is so they can play loud. I am certainly guilty as charged, but I got over it when I was about 17 and learned about feedback and something called “clipping”.

Richard and Tony - yep I get it, have been there and done the “bass player owns a PA” thing. That really is where most bands are at, and that’s what makes it hard for seasoned veteran players to hang with them. I have been very lucky the last 20 years or so, for the most part not having to deal with that.
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