Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by cochese, May 17, 2019.
Last nights guitar player was on the loud end of things. We went with a sidewash.
Reminds me of this!
backed up a singer pianist guy the other night (miked acoustic piano). excellent tone by many accounts, i was doing pretty driven strat tone underneath his playing, a drive pedal, some delay, and a volume knob on the guitar. and a goodsell valpreaux. ya just gotta play to whatever is going on around ya.
He might be right in a scenario such as his, when the guitar and the tone is the centerpoint of his gig. For all the rest, where and when guitar is a part of an ensemble, it's not so important. IMO.
Surley works for JB, and I'd probably do the same if I was in his shoes. With an eye on our local scene (whatever is left from it), we can either turn down or walk out.
What most players usually do is to turn up quite a bit after the sound check. Which results in sondmen insisting on even lower volume at the start. Vicious circle
It's also of people's mindset set and perception.
Once in a Clubsinger turns to and screams the guitar is so loud on stage she can't hear the drums...
My response...tell the other guys cause I'm flying blind (going direct and shared monitor)...
Always something I had a dB at rehearsals and soundchecks and there are always guys that 6dB above everyone else is too quiet for them.
The other thing about this article is the false notion that guitar players are being singled out on this. We're not.
On a quiet stage/IEM environment everyone is quiet. Drummers are asked to play dynamically and sometimes behind plexi glass. Bass and keys go DI etc...
Likewise, if you are going to crank up the 100w amp, your bass player will probably be rocking the SVT and the drummer will hit as hard as possible.
So no one is isolating the guitar player as the "pariah"... Either way a gig goes, it's a whole band effort.
Guitar players get called out more often because they are usually the ones that complain about it. You tell most keyboard or bass players to turn it down or even go DI they won't even flinch, no problem.
You tell a guitar player to do the same thing everyone else in the band will be doing and the crying commences...somehow, the fact the 40+ years ago amps had no master volume should still be a valid reason for preferential volume treatment today. Okay.
Amen. They had cranked amps back in the day bc PAs and monitors werent what they are now. Technology is insane now and there is nothing good that comes from overbearing stage volume. You get feedback, people playing louder to match others and for those NOT doing inner ears enjoy tinnitus and early hearing loss. Its being practical and logical versus trying to be a “rock star” because thats whats EVH, Jimi and Page did. Alex lifeson was using Palmer PDI-03s and IEMs for the latter decade of RUSHs career. His tone and sounds were immense and I never left a show saying the volume out front was insane or Lifeson sounded like crap. He figured out a way to maximize tone and keep Neil as the only real loud thing on stage. On the flip side, I saw the Marcus King band recently too and if I didnt take ear filters with me, Id probably be deaf. It was a medium size venue but the PA volume was insanely loud. He had amps but they werent overbearing by any means.
Yep.....One way ticket to bad show when using other sound companies or techs. I get it... you spend all this time and money investing in gear.. you want to use it the way you like. I think having a plan B by which you can accommodate many rooms and use backline amps is crucial. Otherwise youre just going to be miserable half the time.
That was cool; thanks! Fun to hear him talk about hearing Shawn Tubbs back in the day. Shawn was a big inspiration to us mid-90s SoCal guitar players. I remember hearing him play with a pop artist by the name of Crystal Lewis and had a stereo rig up there with a couple Matchless combos and he just played the most tasty stuff.
Also cool to hear him mention the 5w Supro around 27:00 or so, haha. I haven't done nearly as much stuff as he has but we both ended up doing the one amp with clean headroom, another little amp cranked up thing.
Around 35:00 his answer to the "If you had only one amp and pedal to take on tour what would it be?" question didn't surprise me at all... "Tube Screamer and my Princeton," haha.
You beat me to it @big mike.
Even within an article where he's trumpeting the benefits of volume he still points out that we need to play what's appropriate for the gig.
I think this is where most guitar players miss the boat.
If people are coming to a concert venue to hear a band, then the band should dictate the set up. THAT is art.
When you're playing in a bar, and you wish to do so again, you do whatever the bar owner/manager tells you.
The rare spots where you have a sound company running the show, typically involve 3rd (4th, 5th, 6th, etc...) parties being involved and dictating the sound. Diplomacy is always the best option, and leaves room for the audience to have a great time without any weirdness/awkwardness from a clash between the sound guy and the band.
If you remove your ego, this is all really simple.
If they're not set at a reasonable volume, yeah, sure - they can do damage. DBs are DBs right?
You ever have 90+ dB in some isolating ear buds? Not comfortable. If you’re playing that way you deserve hearing damage.
I’m a 40+ year player, I’ve toured extensively as a musician and I own a regional sound reinforcement company, and have for 27 years.
I mixed a national touring act last night in a 980 seat venue. The theatre was sporting a curved deflector as the ceiling structure directly over the mid stage....an architectural consideration designed to reflect the stage sound into the audience more appropriate for choral/ orchestral work.
The band was using tube amps for the guitarists, a Vox AC30 and a Blues Deville...both were placed along the upstage curtain and dimed. The band was on IEMs, and I think the major reason was to support the click they served to themselves all night...tick,tock.
The stage volume was certainly not Motörhead level but it was stout given the content (pop) and the crowd demographic (over 50)....regardless, it’s my job to deal with the venue/ promoter/ band/ audience and strike a sonic balance that keeps everyone happy as possible. The stage volume was hitting the audience at an average of 96 dbA at the rear of the house before the introduction of the PA. This of course sounded like a train-wreck. By the time I had a mix built in sound check, we were averaging 101 dbA with 105 dbA peaks. Below this level I had no coherency and certainly no proper balance of the instrumentation and vocals....so that’s where I mixed the show...The single largest contribution to stage volume was the drummer, who was heavy handed and played with marching drum sticks, using large heavy cymbals...The bassist had an 8x10 cabinet and was facing it directly at FOH.
End of the night, the audience enjoyed themselves, the band was appreciative, the promoter reaffirmed his decision to bring in a professional to engineer, and I received more than a few audience members who went out of their way to comment to me how good the show sounded. All in a success...
The takeaway here is that there is so much involved in providing a proper sonic outcome. It’s an over simplification to declare that “guitar is a pariah” and “soundguys” are a PITA who rain on everyone’s parade. The room acoustics and boundary loading on surface materials have the heaviest influence on the audio experience, but no less important becomes the sound system deployment and tuning, the musicians and sound engineers skill levels, and yes the stage volume. Miss any of these by a magnitude and the outcome is never good. Everyone here has heard a “bad” sounding show even if not acutely aware of the root cause(s).
There is no cure for broken room acoustics, and the best outcome you can hope for is that in challenging circumstances the whole ensemble cast and crew have made at least an unconscious decision to work together and provide the best experience for the audience (the reason we have the opportunity to work in an artistic field). Deny any of these realities and the outcome is perhaps severely compromised. Laying blame on an engineer might be deserved...I’ve seen plenty of poorly trained house mixers in my day...and I’ve seen plenty of guitar players wreck their show over stage volume.
Right? I caught Landau twice last year: once at the hockey arena here in STL with James Taylor and again at the Musicial Instrument Museum in Scottsdale with Steve Gadd Band (!!!). He had a big Morgan with JT and a couple smaller Fenders with Gadd. The Fenders were cranked but he didn't hit the gas all that often so it wasn't fatiguing.
Sidebar: during "Blues for ..." at the Gadd show Larry Goldings played an absolutely perfect B3 thing that (no joke) resulted in me physically throwing my hat on the floor in amazement, haha. The guys behind me simultaneously let out a "Whaaaaaaaaaat???"
While walking the dog this morning I thought of this thread and a funny story from my first time playing in a bar.....
Going back 20 years... I was 14, maybe 15.... the guy I took lessons from invited me to play 3-4 songs at a jam where he was part of the house band. I didn't know what a jam, open mic or anything. It was at a redneck restaurant with a bar. Luckily, I found an older friend to give me a lift so my Mom didn't have to take me. They invite me up and we play the first song. I'm on cloud nine. Someone comes over and says "sounds great.... but you guys need to turn it down." Immediately a redneck at the bar shouts.... "hell nah! Crank it up!"
Flash forward to a gig this weekend.... with my amps volume knob acting funny I got told 1-2x I was too loud. We do mic the amps though, but I could hear more of myself out front in the PA than from my amp.
Somethings never change.
I hear ya @sinasl1
I love it when the amp moves air, I love it when the guitar and amp work together and the magic sh!t starts happening, it's awesome.
You nailed it re: healthy loud but also dynamic. That's where it's at, for sure.
Flip side of the coin: my hearing aids are a PITA but they're better than constantly asking my wife and daughter to repeat themselves. I wish I'd made some different choices about protecting my hearing when I was younger.
Frankly if I had to narrow it down I think the damage was done more in rehearsals than onstage at shows. Small rooms, longer exposures, etc.
I didn't say it was a smart move
Ever spent all day mixing tracks down?
The first time I got the chance to hang out with a producer during mixdown was eye (ear) opening.
He set a db meter on the console and then set the master volume in the room so we were riding at about 85db.
Just before lunch break he got it out again, and we had crept up to 95db. He pointed out that our ears get tired and we turn it up as the day goes along.
Same is true for IEMs. Not to mention the peeps who go with the one-ear-in, one-ear-out deal.
I play louder at home than I do at gigs. Many times at home I dime the JCM 800 2205 half stack, use a wireless, and go to the other side of the house to jam out. I'm not playing arenas or even HOB size venues... there's nowhere I could play that I could get close to that. I suppose I could respond with something along the lines of "do you think Eddie Van Halen gets told to turn down"..... but then I'm back to playing at my house and not at the gig.
To me playing in bands is one big compromise. If I could sing maybe I could call more of the shots. So, I play the gigs and when I'm having fun I hook up the PA at home, turn Appetite for Destruction up loud, dime the Marshall.... and have a lot of fun.