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getting bands to turn down their amps

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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Matt_Moose » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:39 am

To learn songs we always rehearse unplugged and without the vocalist - drummer normally picks up singing duties.

Apart from anything else it's less gear to shift and the time saved setting up can be used for an extra couple of songs. Only when we're pretty much there on the structure do we move that song to the 'possible' list for a full rehearsal with pa and vox.

Other benefits: can sit out in the garden and rehearse, or in someone's lounge. Much more relaxed too.
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Dave Rowles » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:19 pm

Nico 3313 wrote:Agreed, but generally both the engineer(s) and the performers are fighting the same laws of physics.
Small stages, underpowered PA's, small venues and oversized backlines to mention a few.
I remember a bass player standing in front of a Peavey bass rig with a 2x15 BW cab, literally sandwiched between his bass rig and a 15" wedge asking to have more bass in the wedge. Why did he bother to bring the bass rig? I think in such cases it is to everyone's benefit to turn the bass amp up. Thus freeing the monitor mixes from unnecessary signals like guitars and basses as they are already amplified on stage.

On small stages
!st choice: IEMs, no wedge no amp
2nd choice: 15" wedges, no amp

If it's a larger stage, I'd choose IEMs and amp, but only if I wanted to mic the bass amp up.
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby robare99 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:12 am

Nico 3313 wrote:Agreed, but generally both the engineer(s) and the performers are fighting the same laws of physics.
Small stages, underpowered PA's, small venues and oversized backlines to mention a few.
I remember a bass player standing in front of a Peavey bass rig with a 2x15 BW cab, literally sandwiched between his bass rig and a 15" wedge asking to have more bass in the wedge. Why did he bother to bring the bass rig? I think in such cases it is to everyone's benefit to turn the bass amp up. Thus freeing the monitor mixes from unnecessary signals like guitars and basses as they are already amplified on stage.

True enough. I'll take a line from the bass. Sometimes I need it, sometimes I don't. I see some gigs in the city and some of the PA's are definitely underpowered Speaker on sticks kinda things. If the band is used to those types of venues, their amps are often feeding the crowd, so they might be used to playing at higher volumes.

Sometimes they just like being that god damn loud. Lol. I work with them as best I can and we make it through the night. If a band is too much problem we just don't invite them back.

Usually it's a pretty good night. I'm able to keep my band in check as well. Lots of monitor and we keep things same on stage.
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:19 pm

I've just re-read this thread from the start (note to self, must get a life sometime) and as it enters it's tenth year I feel it has become an old friend :)
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby OneEng » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:44 pm

Shock collars ;)

If I have a member of my OWN band that has volume issues on a continuous basis, they get replaced. I feel as if I have done my time with the lead player's with a JCM900 dimed out to get "their tone". Those kinds of people can either get "their tone" in their basement, or in another band!

I had a drummer a few years ago that I had a similar problem with. The snare hits were like rifle fire and he always had a forest of chipped wood around his kit after every gig and every practice. A new drummer and a set of vDrums fixed that issue permanently.
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby seablade » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:53 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I've just re-read this thread from the start (note to self, must get a life sometime) and as it enters it's tenth year I feel it has become an old friend :)

This is a sad reminder I have been doing this to long.

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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby BJG145 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:09 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I've just re-read this thread from the start (note to self, must get a life sometime) and as it enters it's tenth year I feel it has become an old friend :)

lol :D
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby CS70 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:11 am

You've gotta love it! A 10 year old thread! And the fun is, it could've started yesterday.. :)
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Guy Johnson » Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:26 am

10 years … I'm Gobsmacked. Thought it would be 4 or 5 at the most :crazy:
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Raphbass » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:02 pm

I agree some (especially valve) amps sound best at one (loud) volume, so I think the way you have to leave it is that given that a PA engineer can't make the band sound better than it is, it's not worth trying. If the guitarists think that their individual sound is more important than the band sound, that's not really your lookout same as you couldn't make them play in time or in tune. Good musicians use their ears and create a balanced sound naturally. You could also argue that if they appear to want a band with guitars too loud, it's your job to provide exactly that!

Sorry if that's a bit defeatist but you can't gild a silk turd with a sow's, er.. purse, thingy whatever... you know what I mean... They might be killingly superb players but if they knowingly compromise the whole band sound in favour of the finer points of individual tone then either that's a huge gap in their musicianship or the gig isn't the priority, their egos are. Or both.

Sometimes you can get them to either:

a) turn amps towards themselves so they get their own full blast, - or,

b) if the sound they like is a bassy warm sound because all the piercing treble is going elsewhere, i.e. they're standing by the amp but insisting the amp is on the floor and not tilted, they can point the amp somewhere innocuous.

Sadly there is the type of guitarist who actually wants other people to suffer the colossal hugeness of his sound, perhaps to compensate for some deficiency eslewhere (like the joke about the elephant and the mouse!) and loves the idea of being begged by his supplicating inferiors to turn down - this is a mental defficiency that a PA guy can't do anything about unless (s)he has a degree in psychology, or even better a kalashnikov.

A guitarist I play with regularly is tooth-looseningly loud, always likes me to play upright for him, which is limited in volume due to feedback. Audience comments are invariably "can't hear you at all, and the guitar's sawing my friggin head off".

Nico 3313 wrote:Sound Engineers are supposed to enable Performers to perform. Not the other way around.

Really??? Sure it's certainly not the other way round either, but since when can a sound engineer do the combined decades of practice that the band didn't do, or imbue the performers with good pairs of ears and musical judgement etc...? The performers perform as well as they perform, the sound engineer can only make that as audible as possible to the audience. Can't "enable" anything.

Or maybe you didn't quite mean "enable"? The idea that an unable band can be rendered able by a sound engineer is comedy to me. Maybe you meant "teacher"? "Band coach"?

Monitoring is the bit where the word "enable" comes nearest, but even then, if the musos don't listen, the sound engineer can't do anything about that.

I'm a musician, not a sound engineer, I love to blame sound engineers whenever possible, but actually it's quite rare. And if I'm too loud on stage and it's interfering with the PA, I turn down. I see it as us all working together to get a good gig, neither sound engineers subservient to musicians nor the other way round. Musicians create, PAs convey - you need both. Sometimes I'm on PA duty and I'm stunned by some of the stuff musicians say - "it's a bit boomy" (yes dear, I'll remove the roof for you and line the walls with organic Mongolian yak pelts, would that be better?) - gives me an insight into what the PA fraternity get thrown at them.

On the other hand, the stoned drongo you sometimes get who mangles your sound till it's unrecognisable, then says "yeah well you's the c**t who's playin' it!", or puts lots of LF on a double bass so it throbs and howls an armageddon of feedback then looks at you and shrugs shoulders like it's nothing whatsoever to do with him... would do the musical world a huge favour by falling off a high cliff. But these are rare in my experience, and getting shirty with them is a) pointless and b) unwise as they have the unique power to "disable" the rest of your gig very effectively!
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Raphbass » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:19 pm

PS - “You can’t polish a turd!”

Very true. However, totally ruining a priceless piece of art and then calling it a turd is very very easy.

People who quote that poignant albeit very true saying are usually the ones that go on to totally pulverise what was actually a pretty good band.

Good saying, but too often used to excuse incompetence.
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby CS70 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:49 pm

Raphbass wrote:A guitarist I play with regularly is tooth-looseningly loud ...

It begs the question, why do you keep on playing with him regularly?
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Raphbass » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:52 pm

CS70 wrote:
Raphbass wrote:A guitarist I play with regularly is tooth-looseningly loud ...


It begs the question, why do you keep on playing with him regularly?

Let's see... I like the material we do, the other musicians we play with, he's a mate (though that on its own wouldn't be a reason!), it's a local jazz club that regularly has a full house, the regular punters are a really nice bunch of people, it's a regular gig, pays well for a jazz club, I get to play unfamiliar tunes, I get to play with a lot of well-known guest players, it's given me a huge list of seriously good name-drops, apart from the guitar volume issue it's pretty good, I don't get many other gig offers on that particular week night so might as well be gigging... I think it would seem a lot more strange if I gave up all that just because of the guitarist's volume.

And his amp is facing away from me so I don't suffer the worst.

PS sorry forgot to mention - it's his club, not mine. I'm a "hired hand". The gig is take-it-or-leave-it.
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:00 am

I suppose one of the better reasons for putting up with a too loud guitarist is 'cos he owns the club' :)
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby OneEng » Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:00 am

Sam Spoons wrote:I suppose one of the better reasons for putting up with a too loud guitarist is 'cos he owns the club' :)
That is the best one I have ever heard ;)

Personally, there are quite a few clubs ...... and most of them don't tolerate offending their audience with "ice pick in the ear" guitar volume. I might start looking for another club.
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