Author Topic: Diplomatic advice needed!  (Read 507 times)


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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2018, 06:12:41 AM »
Oh, forgot that kind of musicians, the egotistics. The ones who do not care about hearing the band. The guys who grew up playing alone in their bedroom, always balancing to hear themselves above the records and feeling unconfortable when they can't overshadows it. That's a shame ... guitarists who does not want to become musicians.

Stephen is right, that never ends well...
Not just a bass, this is an Alembic!

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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2018, 08:11:00 AM »
The age-old problem...

Simply put (without getting into a physics discussion), guitar is loud in immediate proximity to the stage and bass is loud about 20-30 feet away from the stage. Guitar is unidirectional, meaning wherever you point the speaker cab is where the sound will go - like a beam - and bass is omni-directional.

So, how can a group of musicians deal with these discrepancies without resorting to a brawl?

I play both bass and guitar and here's a few simple ideas that have worked for my projects:

1. The guitarist(s) should tilt / angle their speaker cabs up at them (like a monitor). They'll be amazed at how loud they really are (and how much treble they are using) when that cab is blasting them in their face. If they can place the cab in front of them and angle it up, it's even better, but that usually isn't practical.

2. The guitarist(s) should use less overdrive and less reverb / echo and find a tone that cuts (usually high mid-range). This will be a tricky sell because most guitarists crave that "bedroom tone" dripping with saturated OD and lots of delay. What they don't realize is that tone sounds great by itself, but gets murdered in a group setting, so they instinctively reach for the volume knob.

3. Run everything through the PA and use stage monitors for stage sound. This one may be impractical for an open mic / jam situation, but if there's a house backline, just throw some mics on it and inform all players that they are to use the house amps and keep stage volume to a minimum because the PA is doing the work.

4. If the stage is hollow, the bassist needs to adjust the bass volume to compensate because the hollow stage will act as a primitive sub-woofer. This also affects the bass drum, but that doesn't have a volume knob...

5. If there isn't a house backline, limit the size and power of the amps that will be allowed on stage. Inform all players ahead of time that stage real estate is limited and use of smaller equipment will be required if one wishes to play at the event.

Good luck!


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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2018, 11:23:38 AM »
The guitar players I know that play loud usually have some hearing loss and don't know how loud they are. They also think their solos are the most important thing in the song.
This makes them very hard to talk to. Typically, this also means the band leader is not going to do their job either, if it has been going on for any length of time.

Has anyone had any luck with getting the rest of the band to make this an issue and demand changes? I know this pits band members against each other, though. Frankly, I don't have an answer.
I also play guitar and bass in several bands. This issue is important to me, and I am tired of listening to guitar players who are too loud or endlessly noodle. It is a hard subject to broach, as every guitar player I have seen asked to change their behavior has gone into a 12 year old kid sulk and becomes even more of a PITA.


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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2018, 06:23:05 PM »
I think Glynn touched on an important key. Guitarist vs. Musician.  I think we all understand that.

A good friend of mine who at one time was a fabulous musician has digressed to being a guitarist... a very capable and talented guitarist - sadly he no longer understands what playing for the song means, sometimes less is more, both in the arena of decibels and length of solos.

My intent is not to bash guitarist but to acknowledge that this friend and the change to him is deeply saddening to me...  we all have the freedom to change and can't fault anyone for changing... something deep has happened to him and I long for the person he used to be - both on and off stage.
1984 Distillate Zebrawood


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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2018, 03:15:44 PM »
This thread is exactly why I do not play in a band anymore!  I have had enough of the prima donna's to last me a lifetime.
If you are a good musician, people will make a point to listen to your performance regardless of volume.
This reminds me of an old quote from Eddie Van Halen regarding guitarist - he stated real talent can be found when he/she picks up an acoustic guitar! (summarizing...).  A tongue in cheek poke at his own effects and playing.
This is another reason I enjoy classical music these days - No Amplifiers!  I recently attended the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, an amazing performance; strings, horns, percussion etc. all masterfully blended without any amplification.  I'll be quietly playing my bass & guitars in my recliner in the family room, thanks for reading and please stay off the lawn...  Sincerely, Mr. B. Curmudgeon
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 04:52:53 PM by southpaw »


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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2018, 01:38:02 AM »
Soulution found guys, I've had three weeks off due to holiday and decided I was going to leave as things had not improved since I had discussions with the band. I did my last session last night at the venue and although it was a big quieter it was still too loud for me. So after the gig, I told the band leader I was leaving the house band and the reasons why and that my decision is final. He understood my position couldn't deny the volume issue and accepted it gracefully. I did say that if they ever needed a dep I would do it on an adhoc basis if I was available but won't be their regular house band bassie from now on.

Interestingly some of the friends i've made there and bar staff had told me in my absence that it was even louder! So I guess they were trying when I was there but not enough for me.
Anyway good luck to them.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2018, 01:40:45 AM by jazzyvee »
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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2018, 05:58:47 AM »
Life is too short to lose your hearing over someone's ego and ignorance.

I just started playing in a jam band where 1) the drums are electronic so don't determine the typically too-loud volume level. 2) the piano is acoustic so we all adjust our volume to it. 3) when one of the guitarists played too loudly he was asked to sit the tune out going forward, and he was ok with it! 4) one of the other guitarists is a really talented, musical player as well as being a great singer--he asked me to turn up! 5) we have a female in the band.

All firsts for me. Music playing should be fun!


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Re: Diplomatic advice needed!
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2018, 11:58:28 PM »
Dear Jazzyvee-

I don't mean to pry or be rude and obtuse in asking this, but I am really interested in what you feel you want to do musically, now, that the situation with the gig at pub has some lead to some closure.  It seems like a really great opportunity to be seized by a more seasoned musician, and being a much less experienced one that doesn't play out often, I am curious what you feel is the "right" fit for "right now" for you, partly out of curiosity for what you want to do, and partly to learn how to size up opportunities such as this based on someone else's experience.  I hope this is not a super weird question to ask, and I apologize if this is over-stepping decorum.  Regardless, I wish you all the best with the opportunities that will present themselves to you in the future and that it sparks something really great.  Cheers, sir!

Best regards,