I may be done playing loud

Average Joe

Member
Yeah I know, if it's too loud you're too old. Well, maybe at 47 I am then.

I've played in rock, funk, disco, etc bands for 30+ years. Most of the time, they've been loud. Honestly we've sometimes been too loud for the places we've played. Even when it's not too loud there's a basic SPL that go with a rock band. Ear plugs have been par for the course, if I didn't want my ears to ring after a gig. Lately though, I've been part of two loosely based jazz bands where I'm usually the only amplified instrument. Ok in one, the singer go through the PA, but other than that. The volume is naturally lower, though those horns can wail when they want to.

I'm loving it. I love that it's not a barrage of sound, that I'm able to discern everything that's going on in the room and respond in a meaningful way, that my ears aren't shot by the end of the night. Lot less gear to drag around as well. I see myself going this way in the future.
 

TonePilot

Supporting Member
Yeah I know, if it's too loud you're too old. Well, maybe at 47 I am then.

I've played in rock, funk, disco, etc bands for 30+ years. Most of the time, they've been loud. Honestly we've sometimes been too loud for the places we've played. Even when it's not too loud there's a basic SPL that go with a rock band. Ear plugs have been par for the course, if I didn't want my ears to ring after a gig. Lately though, I've been part of two loosely based jazz bands where I'm usually the only amplified instrument. Ok in one, the singer go through the PA, but other than that. The volume is naturally lower, though those horns can wail when they want to.

I'm loving it. I love that it's not a barrage of sound, that I'm able to discern everything that's going on in the room and respond in a meaningful way, that my ears aren't shot by the end of the night. Lot less gear to drag around as well. I see myself going this way in the future.
I enjoy both experiences. When I play my coffee shop gig, it's very much low volume, single note instrumental stuff. It's nice. But when I get back home, there's nothing like a bit of Cocaine Cowgirl to get the blood flowing again.
 

supergenius365

Supporting Member
I’m in a fairly loud band. The best rehearsals we have are the ones we make a conscious effort to play quietly. We can actually hear what the other people are doing and we get much more accomplished. Unfortunately, we don’t rehearse like that very often :(
 

B Money

Member
A few months ago I was helping out a friend who was trying to get a band started. They needed a bass player so I volunteered to play bass until they could find a permanent replacement.
Rehearsals were done in the living room. Drummer used an electronic kit and everyone played very quietly. Vocals weren't even really amplified.
It's weird trying to rock out at TV volume but I eventually got used to it and it really helps being able to hear things more clearly (no need for earplugs) and talk to each other while playing.
 

MikeMcK

Silver Supporting Member
Yes, yes, yes. I know way too many musicians hitting their '40's with serious hearing damage. And you can sound huge out front with low stage volume. I currently mic a 1x12 cab on a 20W amp and went to in-ears (and have been wearing hearing protection onstage my whole life). And I'm dealing with a great singer who needs louder and louder wedges with each passing year, to the point where my personal volume problem is his wedges bleeding over my IEMs.

If I had my way, all monitors would be IEMs, all drummers would wear isolation headphones behind plexi shields, and everyone (including me) would be able to afford a quiet-stage rig. Once your hearing is gone, you don't sound good any more.
 

dpeterson

Member
I've used a jamhub since they came out, been a long time now. Everyone gets their own mix and a side benefit is that nobody can hide behind volume, helps tighten the band up immensely. Everyone has to have the ability to go direct though, so I have a vdrum kit, and bassist uses a pod and i'm on the axe-fxIII.
 

Average Joe

Member
I enjoy both experiences. When I play my coffee shop gig, it's very much low volume, single note instrumental stuff. It's nice. But when I get back home, there's nothing like a bit of Cocaine Cowgirl to get the blood flowing again.
I sort of enjoy it too. The year out is booked for the disco/pop band - lots of company and christmas functions where the objective is to lock in with the rest of the rhythm section and get people on the dance floor. I enjoy the task aspect of that, even if it does get kinda loud. But I don't enjoy it as much as I used to and less with each passing gig. Volume is a big part of that.

I love playing loud with a band but my ears have taken a beating as a result.
Mine too. The left one in particular seem to shut down/feel clogged if I'm exposed to loud noises for an extended period.
 

gigs

Member
We play gigs fairly loud, but not over bearing... but we only play out 10-12 times a year (which is exactly the way we want it).

Our practices are fairly quiet... just worked in a new bass player and he said he was amazed how quiet we were at practice and it was nice to be able to hear everyone.
 

RupertB

Supporting Member
There is something eminently satisfying about having a big sound on stage but often it gets in the way of hearing the details, correcting mistakes and tidying up "loose ends"; all hallmarks of the best/tightest bands, IMO.

Trick is finding the right balance. Finding the right drummer doesn't hurt either.
 

TonePilot

Supporting Member
I sort of enjoy it too. The year out is booked for the disco/pop band - lots of company and christmas functions where the objective is to lock in with the rest of the rhythm section and get people on the dance floor. I enjoy the task aspect of that, even if it does get kinda loud. But I don't enjoy it as much as I used to and less with each passing gig. Volume is a big part of that.



Mine too. The left one in particular seem to shut down/feel clogged if I'm exposed to loud noises for an extended period.
What helped with my band rehearsals was using an app (Decibel X Pro) with my iPhone on a stand to show how we were doing volume wise. Got them to dial in 85dB average with up to 95dB peaks.
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Silver Supporting Member
I've used a jamhub since they came out, been a long time now. Everyone gets their own mix and a side benefit is that nobody can hide behind volume, helps tighten the band up immensely. Everyone has to have the ability to go direct though, so I have a vdrum kit, and bassist uses a pod and i'm on the axe-fxIII.
my drummer friend has his rehearsal room set up with his VDrums, and we all plug DI to his Jamhub. it's a GREAT tool.

as an alternative, i made a preset on my Touchmix 16 for silent rehearsal, and we just each take an AUX mix into a Behringer mini mixer https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/502--behringer-xenyx-502-mixer with headphones. we can control our individual mixes with iPhone. pretty sleek and makes practices extremely productive and less exhausting.
 

Tweeker

Supporting Member
There is something eminently satisfying about having a big sound on stage but often it gets in the way of hearing the details, ...all hallmarks of the best/tightest bands...Trick is finding the right balance...
I’m in a fairly loud band. The best rehearsals we have are the ones we make a conscious effort to play quietly. We can actually hear what the other people are doing and we get much more accomplished. Unfortunately, we don’t rehearse like that very often :(
We know we should eat our vegetables, but burgers and fries always appear on the plate.

The bands that sound best in the back of the room usually have a low and well balanced stage volume. If you realize your own band sounds better and players play better with low volume, you'd think that would just become the norm. But loud is easy and primal. Maintaining consistent low volume and really listening take discipline.
 

gigs

Member
Yeah, I'm happier with stage volumes where you can hear everything and don't walk away with blood dripping from your ears.

Frankly, I'm amazed I've retained as much hearing as I have. Likely a testament to neuroplasticity because I was rather stupid with my hearing when young.
Yup, same for me. Have lost some high freq's in my left ear and have some mild tinnitus, but at 60 and still playing out a bit, I'm surprised its not much worse as well.
 

gigs

Member
We know we should eat our vegetables, but burgers and fries always appear on the plate.

The bands that sound best in the back of the room usually have a low and well balanced stage volume. If you realize your own band sounds better and players play better with low volume, you'd think that would just become the norm. But loud is easy and primal. Maintaining consistent low volume and really listening take discipline.
In our case, our drummer is great but he can't help himself during gigs... and awayyyy we gooooo....
 


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