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Author Topic:  Band is too Loud!!
Jonathan Mitguard


From:
San Rafael, California, USA
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 2:09 pm     Reply with quote

I play with a fella that is very good and a great song writer but can play super loud though with lots of dynamics. Still it has been a long learning curve to figure out how to play loud and not loud at the same time. I wear really expensive ear plugs often. It is fun but I do lose the clean bell quality. So I've used in ear monitors and left my amp lower were it sounds good and that works well but it requires that the sound person is attentive, which can be rare. In ears can be affordable if you don't go wireless. I sent less than $200.
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Mark Hepler


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 3 Feb 2018 2:29 pm     Reply with quote

Steve Spitz wrote:

For me, too loud takes all the fun out of it. And if its no fun, it has to pay stupid good. Too loud rarely meets with big time dough in my world.

Too loud doesn’t make it more exciting. Musical dynamics make it more interesting.


You're absolutely right, but it doesn't change the fact that a lot of guys--incorrectly--think they can hide bad technique with loud volume. It's mostly the same players who try to buy tone but don't get that blue grass pickers play circles around them on acoustic instruments.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 4 Feb 2018 12:49 am     Reply with quote

Mark Hepler wrote:

You're absolutely right, but it doesn't change the fact that a lot of guys--incorrectly--think they can hide bad technique with loud volume.


And vice versa, play so soft that nobody can hear them ! Whoa!
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Mark Hepler


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 4 Feb 2018 8:49 am     Reply with quote

Tony Prior wrote:

And vice versa, play so soft that nobody can hear them ! Whoa!


Hadn't thought of that, but I guess you're right! We could use a couple of musical cowards in our band so I could stand out more Very Happy
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Ricky Davis


From:
Buda, Texas USA
Post Posted 4 Feb 2018 7:42 pm     Reply with quote

I had my ears checked by a doctor and he was amazed at how great my hearing is(only 10% loss in right ear that's it) after playing a million gigs and sessions for 30 years. It is REAL EASY....when I joined a band and they were too loud, I would immediately say: "Hey I like you guys just fine, but I can't get drunk enough or loud enough to play with ya'll, so see ya down the road somewhere; good luck and goodbye".
Ricky
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Mark Hepler


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 5 Feb 2018 5:29 am     Reply with quote

Ricky Davis wrote:
When I joined a band and they were too loud, I would immediately say: "Hey I like you guys just fine, but I can't get drunk enough or loud enough to play with ya'll, so see ya down the road somewhere; good luck and goodbye".
Ricky


I like your attitude!

I quit three different bands here that rehearse so loud it hurts, but finally gave up and resorted to Etymotic passive plugs (they handle music pretty well) because I ran out of options.

(In Nashville, we rehearsed full bands in guys’ apartments with no complaints from neighbors: drummers used snares w/ brushes, guitarists played at acoustic levels, singers weren’t miked . . . so I was stunned by the volumes when I started playing after a 25-year layoff.)

It’s fun to commiserate once in a while, especially with steel players in the same boat. Great forum!
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Mark Hepler


From:
Virginia, USA
Post Posted 5 Feb 2018 5:49 am     Reply with quote

Jonathan Mitguard wrote:
I wear really expensive ear plugs often. It is fun but I do lose the clean bell quality.


What brand plugs did you use? Did you like 'em? I wonder if active plugs save your hearing more effectively than passives like my Etymotic ETYs; or is it that they sound better?

I've learned to adjust to ETYs, but have to review recordings to confirm what I think I'm hearing: it's pretty close.
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Barry Blackwood


Post Posted 6 Feb 2018 8:59 am     Reply with quote

Nothing is said here about music being 'noise ' (although I've heard some that is) but ...
http://time.com/5135279/noise-pollution-increases-heart-risk/
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Kenneth Kotsay


From:
Davie/Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Post Posted 9 Feb 2018 11:14 am     Reply with quote

The bands I played with in the past naturally played loud as hell, my solution was 2 fold, I either told them to lower the sound or I'm packing up - It worked a few times.

OR

I placed my amp on a stand behind me & off centered, that seemed to work much better I also sat in the back of the rest of the band members off to the side.

QUESTION: Is it possible to hook up a set of ear buds into a small sound board where you could control the incoming volume of the band (from another soundboard)& at the same time listen to the volume of your steel?????
Ken
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Steve Spitz


From:
New Orleans, LA, USA
Post Posted 11 Feb 2018 8:11 am     Reply with quote

I’m very lucky, as I’ve rarely had to deal with the super loud. I can’t really say why, but it might be I’ve played in mostly “retro” acts as a steeler.

People didn’t play too loud in the 40s, 50s, and early 60s. As a purist, it would be really inappropriate.

The few times it was a problem was at a larger festivals, where a soundman didn’t understand this, and stage volume was mixed as if a metal act was playing.

Do you guys who find it too loud play more modern country, or is that not the issue ?

You can be a beginner and understand taste, volume dynamics, and ensemble protocol.

If you are technically proficient, but have no understanding of the above, IMHO, you aren’t a good musician.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 11 Feb 2018 9:43 am     Reply with quote

I can still remember my very first concert experience watching Lonnie Donegan in a variety theatre when I was 14. Back then the house mic-system consisted of maybe a 25-watt amp chassis tucked away backstage with a couple of 12" speakers suspended on the proscenium arch somewhere.

That was it! There may have been two mics available for the headline act. Donegan was a powerhouse of a performer who swung like the clappers! Light-and-shade were at the heart of what he did - he almost invented the word 'dynamics'.

Not a thought back then of mic'ing drums and there were just two combo-amps, one for the double-bass and another shared by Lonnie (for his Martin) and his electric guitarist. 1500-2000 people would be swept up in the excitement at every show yet we heard everything.

What's gone wrong???

I learned the lesson thoroughly when I was lucky enough to tour with singer/songwriter Sonny Curtis ('Walk Right Back', 'I Fought The Law' and more). Sonny demanded complete control of stage-volume and that band remains in my memory as the best I ever played with.

I think the trouble started when someone thought it would be a good idea to mic the bass-drum.
Sad
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 11 Feb 2018 10:03 am     Reply with quote

Roger Rettig wrote:
I think the trouble started when someone thought it would be a good idea to mic the bass-drum. Sad

And Marshall stacks turned up to 11.

Roger, your stories continue to reveal a very interesting life in music. When is the book due out?
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Dave Grothusen


From:
Scott City, Ks
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 4:24 am     Reply with quote

putting a mic on the drums would be fine if they were in a sound proof cage
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 4:54 am     Reply with quote

But that's why bass-drums are big to start with - to move air and fill a room! Why do they have to multiply everything's output?

I contend that that's where the trouble started. In my earliest days of professional playing our (typical) line-up of two guitars, electric-bass and drums required us to transport instruments and three amps. We may certainly have been too loud occasionally - I was eighteen and I knew everything, after all - but there was a ceiling above which we were unable to go. If I'm really honest I might have to concede that it was the chaps with Fender Twins that started this nonsense. Smile

In any case, the human ear can only absorb so much. I'm simply saying that musical excitement does not have to involve ear-splitting volume-levels.

(A PS: In 1963 it was decided that we would transport our own 'PA system' to our gigs. As I was at that time buying my guitars from his Hanwell Broadway music shop, the proprietor suggested that we try his latest product. We took a chance on a 45-watt amp head and two column-speakers, each with two 12" speakers. It was Jim Marshall's very first foray into the realm of sound-reinforcement so I now imagine that we should have held on to that equipment - it'd be worth a fortune today.)
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Last edited by Roger Rettig on 12 Feb 2018 8:30 am; edited 2 times in total
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Per Berner


From:
Skövde, Sweden
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 7:54 am     Reply with quote

I actually had to leave a concert a couple of years ago, the sound level was just too painful. It was British rock legend Dave Edmunds, backed by a Swedish rockabilly band. The guitars were like knives in my ears. The bass was so loud that you couldn't hear any notes, just feel the vibrations in your chest. Well, I say vibrations, but I really mean punches...

Last year, at the same venue (a modern concert hall with very good acoustics, with a capacity around 500 people) I heard a folk/country act playing very softly. Pure hifi! As an encore, they turned off the sound system and the whole band did a song a capella, without any kind of amplification at all. Still loud enough!

Less actually is more.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 9:26 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
It was British rock legend Dave Edmunds, backed by a Swedish rockabilly band. The guitars were like knives in my ears. The bass ...

A friend of mine left also because of the loudness, maybe it was the same tour, I'm talking about the late nineties.
I was pretty annoyed also when I saw a Country package Festival (I thnk Roger Rettig was playing with Tanja Tucker or was it another act?) when J.L. Lewis was extremely loud. Out of curiousity I went up to the balcony and I was standing directly about 10 meters above the group and I noticed that the stage volume was not loud at all.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 9:43 am     Reply with quote

Joachim

If Tanya was on that show as well as Jerry Lee, then I was playing with David Allan Coe (I drew the short straw!!!)

The blame can't all be laid at the bands' feet. After all, that show played enormous venues (where were you? Zurich, perhaps?) and the front-of-house volume is entirely in the hands of the sound-guys.

But it's the same complaint - us musicians used to regulate things from where we stood (or sat) by using our ears. I know there are pitfalls when playing stadiums because they were never meant to be music-venues but, in my experience, they'll set the level of the drum-kit first then wind everything else up to match that. In a cavernous hall the natural reverberations are next-to impossible to control.

Albert Lee was always kind enough to get me seats for Everly Brothers shows during the '80s/'90s but, as great as that band was, sound-checks (and I saw a few) were horrible. Kick-drum first, then crank everyone else up to that level. Don & Phil changed before my eyes from a sophisticated and delicate pop-act into a thundering circus (albeit with fine musicianship!)
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 12:02 pm     Reply with quote

It was at the Festhalle in Frankfurt, Roger. It got louder act after act. Emmylou Harris was soundig quite good. though. There was also Newgrass Revival and nobody paid attention. Nice insight from your side.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 12:09 pm     Reply with quote

I remember the Frankfort gig in particular because of my hotel room! I was miles up in the air, maybe the 40-something floor, and I have a fear of heights. And this hotel wasn't surrounded by other high buildings so the effect was even more pronounced. I just didn't look out of the window.

Oh yes, and I recognised the big railway station from the early scenes in Elvis' "G.I. Blues" movie.

I always felt that Emmylou's lot kept things under control. A highly professional outfit.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post Posted 12 Feb 2018 12:32 pm     Reply with quote

Yes Emmylou's band sounded pretty good. She introduced Frank Reckard as Mr.Cigarette. Quite funny!
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 16 Feb 2018 9:11 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
But that's why bass-drums are big to start with - to move air and fill a room!


That's not correct.

Bass drums are comparatively large because they head(s) vibrate at lower frequencies. Just like floor toms are larger than toms and two mounted toms are often different sizes - different frequency response.

From a sound support/mixing standpoint a well-tuned snare drum is quite a bit louder than a bass drum. I have no idea where you're getting your information.

As far as mic'ing drums - it can be unnecessary in small clubs, but in situations where amps are mic'd and the bass is run direct the drums can be very imbalanced/low in the "house". A competent. trained sound engineer can mix the sound without causing volume issues.

The problem is often *untrained* people on the board. In countless situation I've run into "sound guys" who were the club owner's buddy that happened to know how to use a soldering iron - but had NO mix training.

Comments regarding Marshall amps and such are so stylistically slanted they aren't worth the time to discount - other than to say "wrong".
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 16 Feb 2018 11:27 pm     Reply with quote

[quote="Jim Sliff"]
Quote:
Comments regarding Marshall amps and such are so stylistically slanted they aren't worth the time to discount - other than to say "wrong".

Shoulda said “any amp turned up to 11”. What was I thinking Question
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 17 Feb 2018 4:00 am     Reply with quote

Mr Sliff, with his snotty and patronising response, is missing the point. Stage volume has been driven steadily upwards and we now have to accept an entirely new standard, apparently.

As for where I got my information, it's mostly from standing next to drummers for over sixty years.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 18 Feb 2018 3:44 am     Reply with quote

Several years back we did a show with DAC , outdoor event. He demanded , or maybe his road manager demanded, someone demanded that the wedges and mains blast off into outer space ! And they did !

Nobody in his band threatened to quit far as I can tell. The sound crew told us to fry ice, we were using the exact same stage set-up, live with it is what we were told. It really wasn't a problem, it just seemed unbalanced to me. But what the heck did I know, I was just the Steel guy on the far right , very far off to the side ! Thru our whole set two of DAC's band members were sitting next to me and we were kinda chatting the whole time ! That was fun !

DAC sat in front of two Fender amps ( I think 4x10 something or others) evidently he wanted to feel the frequencies !

To me it wasn't really loud just a mish mosh of everyone playing at the same time out of control. .

But then again his tour Bus looked like it couldn't go another 5 miles without a breakdown either !

Laughing

Oh yeah, there was maybe 100 people out in the audience at best.
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Don R Brown


From:
Rochester, New York, USA
Post Posted 18 Feb 2018 10:03 am     Reply with quote

And to top it off, I bet he never even called you by your name, Tony!
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