• Please use the following thread to discuss any bugs, issues, or feature requests related to the forum software upgrade.

    Click here for Thread

     


Band communication on stage

There are times I'm having a hard time communicating with band members on stage, or even in rehearsal. Generally it's too loud to just speak, and it's hard to get everyone on the same page.

I'm thinking we should be using signals of some kind, above and beyond listening to each other.

Do you guys use signals to communicate intention or direction?
 

Jignant

Member
I have found that over time, the guys I jam with have learned certain non verbal ways of communicating during practice time and while gigging. It is kind of a learned response that helps us to smooth over rough spots in songs or adjust volume levels, or to begin or end a tune etc. etc.

Nodding your head upwards to increase dynamics or crouch down to decrease. **** like that

My experience is unique though because I play music with friends and bandmates that I have known for very a long time. I make it a habit (and most of my band mates do too) to not noodle around between tunes at practice and keep focused on the task at hand. Either working on rough spots in newer material, or working the cadence of tunes thru "set" practices. It all depends on how disciplined your band members are.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Silver Supporting Member
Depends on what you need to communicate. The next song? Do you have a set list? Relative volumes up and down? "d00d you suck!"?

We were just working on stuff like that last night... we have a trilogy of songs that the bandleader really wants to play as a steady unit, but with a noise section between each one. Had to make sure the drummer didn't dive into keeping a beat before she did on one particular transition, and that I had time to do my stuff before the next song started. I also have to change instruments from one song to another, while the rest of the band makes noise to cover me... that's lots of fun to communicate!
 

Leonardo

Member
ONE TWO THREE FO'




V/II II V TURNAROUND! DON'T SCREW UP THIS TIME...




SEE, THE PLACE IS SOLD OUT!




CAN'T HEAR YA...




LOOK, ASSHOLE...




MY TURN TO SOLO!




DRUM SOLO...




ENOUGH! SOMEONE MAKE THE DRUM SOLO STOP...




TURN THIS **** DOWN...




OR I'LL TURN MY AMP UP...




FINE, JACKASS! TO ELEVEN IT GOES!




CRANKED AMP EQUALS BALLSY TONE!




PIANO, PIANISSIMO...




MEZZO-PIANO / MEZZO-FORTE




FORTE, FORTISSIMO!
 

bynt

Member
Yeah, that's freakin' hilarious. I can't seem to get anyone's attention. I wish I had an answer for you. I'm thinking of getting one of those annoying air compressed bull horn jobbies like you see at sporting events and clip it to my my guitar strap.
 
Didn't Kane Roberts used to play one of those guitars in Alice Cooper's band? :D

Just head nodding and stuff is usually good enough on stage. I tell you what really grills my goat though: during practise, when we need to talk between songs, discuss how that song when, which bits didn't work etc, no-one can hear a thing because the drummer spends the entire time between songs noodling around on his kit... o_O
 
A couple recommendations:

1. Rehearse quieter. It's heresy, I know, but when you're learning stuff or working out the kinks, it shouldn't be at full volume for precisely the reasons you've mentioned.

2. In between songs, TURN YOUR VOLUME TO 0. No exceptions, no noodling, no nuthin'. NOTHING wastes more time in rehearsal than everybody wanking while someone's trying to speak. If you need to tune, do it silently with your tuner.
 
The band Umphrees McGee has taken sign langauge to a new level. They have a system to compose using signs, so if they step forward, they all move up a full step. If they point down they all play down a minor 3rd, some signal means repeat that phrase, some mean lable that phrase A and move on to B, knowing that we will return to A later.

Its really interesting to hear their stuff, then see them compose live onstage.
 

xroads

Member
What type of band are you in?
If you want to set up a tight show/program, there is no need
to communicate on stage. Practice until you can play the entire
program in your sleep. Trust me, on large stages (esp. outdoor)
it is extremely difficult to communicate during songs.
Write down the songlist for each band member, and agree on who
starts the song (do you count in, or have a single musician playing the intro etc.)
and how you end the song.
 

Lance

Member
Umphrey's McGee also uses talk-back mics. Or, at least Jake & Brendan do. For those that don't already know, they play guitar, and do most of the singing. They usually have a mic each that is behind them. These mics are all routed through the monitors, and not the mains. So, they can just say whatever they want, which gives them that , "Turn on a dime," precision.
 

Zero

Member
During songs (at gigs) we just walk up to each other and talk directly into ears. Seems to work even through the volume. The tricky part is finding a spot to talk where you don't have to play much.
 

m@2

Member
Leonardo... dude that was CLASSIC!!!!

My band(s) will regulalry do a VERY low volume practice (at least one per month), to just focus on arrangement and vocals/dynamics. No, it doesn't RAWK to play quiet, but for me, I gain MUCH more from those practices, and it translates into improved full volume rehearsals/gigs. I also use eye contact a lot, we face each other in practice, and (hopefully) work out the kinks there, so when it's gig time, there is less need for on stage communication...
 
Leonardo, that is great stuff.

I guess for my band in particular, we have some members that definitely lack discipline, so I need to try to keep them all together, and I'm having a hard time communicating to all of them, while making sure to play my parts right.

Volumes up and down are generally ok, it's more about timing and song structure that these guys need a little "guidance" on.

Obviously the solution may be to work on the discipline, but it's not always easy as our band members don't all necessarily have the same goals.

Thanks for the ideas.
 


Trending Topics

Top