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getting bands to turn down their amps

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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Raphbass » Mon Apr 07, 2014 12:10 pm

OneEng wrote:
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.

Don't think it hasn't occurred to me, but for all the other reasons I gave, this is a pretty good one and worth sticking with. Also, in the massive metropolis that Oxford isn't... there isn't another one. We're resigned to sabotaging the guitar volume wherever possible, sort of damage limitation.

The guy has a phenomenal denial mechanism - you say "the guitar's drowning out the guest (the one the audience have actually paid to come and hear) - every single time he says "really???? NO!?!?!? - turns down a nano-fraction of a micro dB as a magnanimous compromise, then later re-cranks up, usually within a couple of minutes. I think he actually believes that being louder than everything else is a good balance, even when he's comping.

Once I stopped playing but continued miming. It took about three times round a blues before he noticed.

His wife occasionally comes to the gig, I once asked her what she thought the balance was like - "it's perfect! Isn't he wonderful!!!" - fluttery eyelashes, googly-eyed adulation for her fella. Guitar the size of a mountain, the rest of the band sounding like the flea circus seemed to her to be a perfect balance.

You have to weigh up the pros and cons... then work on the cons bit by bit. It has improved over the years - by the time we're all about 150 the guy will have mellowed out! I don't know if I'm an idiot or just an easy-going human being but he's still a very good friend despite that. :crazy:
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby tacitus » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:06 pm

You get them everywhere - players who either can't tell they're too loud or don't care. And the truth of it is that in most cases it's a question of damage limitation for any of a hundred reasons. I'm more involved with wind instruments and if I had a quid for every saxophonist or trumpeter who blasts on regardless, I could afford to take out a contract on some of them.

The trick is to make a joke of the reasons they come up with to cover the fact they're in denial about it. I've had everything from bad reeds, wrong mouthpiece, wrong temperature (yeah, where did that come from?) and even diabetes. My personal view is that somebody who can converse with you at a reasonable volume and master the intricacies of driving a car ought to be able to manage playing the notes at the right volume, but ...
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby ef37a » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:30 pm

tacitus wrote:You get them everywhere - players who either can't tell they're too loud or don't care. And the truth of it is that in most cases it's a question of damage limitation for any of a hundred reasons. I'm more involved with wind instruments and if I had a quid for every saxophonist or trumpeter who blasts on regardless, I could afford to take out a contract on some of them.

The trick is to make a joke of the reasons they come up with to cover the fact they're in denial about it. I've had everything from bad reeds, wrong mouthpiece, wrong temperature (yeah, where did that come from?) and even diabetes. My personal view is that somebody who can converse with you at a reasonable volume and master the intricacies of driving a car ought to be able to manage playing the notes at the right volume, but ...

Interesting your comment about conversing whilst driving Tacitus. Even with my digital aid I find it hard to conduct a conversation with my wife when driving. I often have to ask her to repeat things at traffic lights and other stops. It seems there is more to understanding than just the level (my car is not particularly noisy). Maybe this is why learners seem to ignore instructions?

One of the best bits of "Outnumbered" for me was when the dad said "There is no such thing as multi-tasking. It is just doing two things badly."

Dave.
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Guy Johnson » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:49 pm

Raphbass, I like the way you write!
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Raphbass » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:55 pm

Guy Johnson wrote:Raphbass, I like the way you write!

It's not me that's writing - it's the voice of bitter experience! ...(SOB!!!) :headbang:
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Phil Reynolds » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:07 am

Nathan wrote:
The worst sinner I recall was a guy from "the Uk Subs" who had a 200Watt custom Trace elliot guitar amp, running 2 4x12 long throw cabs absolutely flat out..... and absolutely would NOT compromise whatsoever, even in a venue where both stage AND room were plainly too small for the rig........ Man i HATED him.....

Still made him sound good....... But i hated him......



...not just me then :D

Only just seen this ancient thread...

...but...

...I know EXACTLY who these guys were talking about. Gave us many chuckles here!
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:51 am

Ancient thread!!!! don't, you'll hurt it's feelings, call it "venerable", "mature", "experienced" or some such..... 8-)
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby squire » Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:10 pm


I know this sounds low tech but here goes
Ive used a tilt stand on some players to keep the faces of the front audience from being peeled.
Others ive side fired effectively once its hitting them more directly instead of blowing through their legs theyll usally turn down some .
Ive had some that wiil adjust the screaming mids ,and improved the overall amp sound.
you,d be amazed
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Raphbass » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:22 am

I've just realized I posted on this thread two years ago and forgot all about it. So my comments about a certain guitarist show that nothing's changed in that time!

The specific problem for me, worse than simply volume itself, is guitarists that don't make enough difference between comping and soloing volumes. I coach bands at a college, my advice to guitarists is to comp quietly but solo loud - and always be aware of where you are in the mix, so if you're comping and you think you can't be heard, that's fine - you're not the centre of attention at that moment. Point the amp at yourself! And go out front on a long lead and listen to the FOH.

The guitarists that I play with who really have their [ ****** ] together use amps roughly suitable for the gig, and it's surprising how few watts are adequate - one of the best ones uses a tiny 15W Fender valve amp he puts on a chair behind him, even in big marquee gigs. It runs at what sounds like near max on most gigs, but the sound at quieter levels is still a bit sort of "driven". When cranked up it sounds monstrously good, if there's ever an issue of not enough welly, well guess what - that's what the PA's for.

Another one who's a beautiful blues/rock player has a biggish amp (1x12" 50W tasty old valve thing, shame on me for not remembering what it is!), he's loud and always wants to be in the PA to "spread it around" - but in my opinion it's never wrong for the music, e.g. the solo in "You Really Got Me" - that's GOT TO BE LOUD!

Trouble is, on the day, if yer guy turns up with a nuke powered colossus, it's too late to say "bring a smaller amp". Perhaps you could call in a NATO airstrike?
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Re: getting bands to turn down their amps

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:30 am

I use an 18 watt hand wired combo I built from an Ampmaker kit a couple of years ago, it always goes on a tilt stand to point it at my ears and is virtually always miked (even on pub/bar gigs). I mic it not necessarily to make it louder but to get an even sound across the room, 1x12 combo's are notoriously directional but set up like this I get the direct (and gorgeous) sound of my guitar and amp and the audience and rest of the band get as much as they need. :)
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