Help. My band has no dynamic volume.

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Triocd, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Triocd

    Triocd Supporting Member

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    I need advice. We have 5 members. 2 guitars, keyboard, bass, drums. Everyone seems to be always fighting to be heard and way over playing. Everyone is hammering chords when we need to back off on the verses to make the chorus more powerful.

    I play lead guitar and try to play fills and stuff during verses, but the rythym guitar and keys are always hammering chords so my amazing (sarcasm) lead work is completely lost. Keys feels the same way. He wants to do subtle stuff but you can never hear it so he ends up hammering away too.

    We all agree on the problem but nothing ever changes. Occasionally the lead singer/rhythm guitar will stop playing for a verse and things sound so much better, but it’s hard to tell someone to stop playing.

    We need better arrangements. It’s just everyone always playing full on. I feel weird about being the one to do arrangements though because it will involve telling some members to stop playing at various points. Any advice?
     
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  2. cnardone

    cnardone Member

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    Have you recorded and listened back as a group? If everyone hears it, it might help. Also, is it possible that moving people around and where their amps are might help everyone hears themselves better?
     
  3. 8len8

    8len8 Supporting Member

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    A safe thing to try out is pull back the 3rd verse in any song. After the guitar solo everyone drops real low in volume and plays simplified parts. Then when the last chorus hits, Bam!, back up to full energy.
     
  4. GuitarGuy66

    GuitarGuy66 Member

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    Everyone has to understand the band comes first. It’s not 5 lead players at the same time. You have to serve the song, you have to be comfortable sitting in the mix and then stepping up when it’s time for your lead. In my band the keyboard player just doesn’t get it. She thinks it should be LEAD KEYS ALL THE TIME.

    I always have to rein her in. :(
     
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  5. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    "We all agree on the problem but nothing ever changes."

    It sounds like lots of egos run amuck and little musical maturity/listening. I would be looking for different people to play with.
     
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  6. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    All of you need to work on the art of listening.
     
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  7. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    The first thing to look at in any "We're too loud all the time" scenario is: the drummer. If the drummer's Too Loud, you'll always be Too Loud.

    After that, a rhythm guitarist who strumstrumstrums all the time. There's a bassist and a keyboardist: the chords are covered, the drummer is providing the beat. What's left over for the rhythm guitar to bring to the party? If you've got a singer who writes the tunes on guitar, you may be doomed on this if they can only play That One Part.

    After that, the keyboardist. Two guitars and bass? Put the left hand in the pocket.

    No arrangement should be "Everyone is playing all the time".
     
  8. Lephty

    Lephty Member

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    Dynamic problems do usually start w/ the drummer for sure.

    Maybe try working on some funk stuff à la James Brown, where each instrument has a very specific part to play, and each part is relatively simple and has a lot of space in it, but all of the parts mesh together to create the groove.
     
  9. mabinogeon

    mabinogeon A really hoopy frood. Silver Supporting Member

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    I play with a couple of guys every now and then (not in public, thankfully), and it's the same story. Everyone bangs everything out as loud and hard as they can. And they keep turning up so they can hear themselves over everyone else. After an hour of that, it's almost hard to hear the drummer over all the noise.
     
  10. bob-i

    bob-i Member

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    I auditioned for a band like that awhile ago. I made it through 2 songs and walked out.
     
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  11. Triocd

    Triocd Supporting Member

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    Pretty much spot on right there, except for the drummer part. Drummer is great and plays at the right level. Our recorded album is great because the engineer “fixed” the problem by removing the excess noise. Live it’s bad though. Guitar and keys playing the same thing. They’re my friends so it’s tough to be that guy telling everyone what to do.
     
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  12. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Gold Supporting Member

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    IME sadly, it rarely gets any better.
    This is exactly where a STRONG leader comes into play.
     
  13. jerrycampbell

    jerrycampbell Member

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    Have the singer/rhythm guitarist start a song alone at the volume and intensity where he is comfortable.
    Then add drums supporting the singer, with no change in intensity.
    Then add the bass, always making sure the singer/RG is not being buried.
    You should have enough room to clearly be heard on lead but not step on the singer.
    Listening to the singer is the key to band mechanics.
    As mentioned above, record yourselves.
     
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  14. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    You should talk to the band leader about this.
     
  15. crambone

    crambone Member

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    When I was in a 2-guitar band I played rhythm guitar. I was told by the lead player to "stick to the middle 4 strings - the high E is mine and the low E is the bassist's".
     
  16. joelster

    joelster Silver Supporting Member

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    I keep telling the guys in one of my bands:

    Three words, guys: DY - NAM - ICS
     
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  17. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    With a KB player, 2 guitars are one too many. Fire the other guy - more money for you. No joke.
     
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  18. jeffm725

    jeffm725 Member

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    That's great advice in an easy to digest manner.

    that brings us to the other thing about Band dynamics. Volume and overplaying absolutely are major offenders and they get talked about a ton, but what I find also contributes to it (and actually has a direct effect on the first two) is people stepping into the same frequency ranges. Especially guitars. because when you have a bunch of stuff in the same EQ range it mushes up the mix individual definition gets lost. And whats every ones first solution to that? Play louder, play harder so they can hear themselves which just continues the cycle. Its a zero sum process.

    Players have to get out of each others way sonically. You would be suprised at how loud a band can actually play at and sound clear with little ear fatigue if the instruments all have carved out separate sonic spaces.
     
  19. mrotenberry

    mrotenberry Member

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    For me, it was always the drummer. Have him purposefully get softer than normal at low dynamic parts, and see if others notice they cant hear the drummer over them.

    Or get a good sound level, and make everyone promise to not change their volume. Doubling keyboard range with same guitar range should be worked out between the two in practice. Communication.
     
  20. jackson

    jackson Member

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    The old 'lead singer banging out chords' problem. Does he do a solo act? Lot's of singers I know play guitar (barely) to accompany their singing. In a solo setting, they have to bang out (strum) chords to fill space and add harmony, and they do the same thing in a band setting.
     

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