Any "bar manager says you're too loud - don't come back" stories?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by GassieBall, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. GassieBall


    Oct 15, 2006
    I need some ammo to convince our guitarist that bar managers do not need his 100W Marshall stack cranked up to 11 when people in the audience want to enjoy music and converse with their friends without their ears bleeding.

    Any good stories out there?
  2. I'm sure you'll have some of your own before too long :)
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Question: Do you need this guitarist? Remind him that playing at an appropriate volume, and equipping himself to do so, are part of knowing how to play an electric instrument. Suggest lessons.
  4. JKT


    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    Classic sign of immaturity and/or inexperience as a musician. Or, non-musician. It is cliche and cartoonish in this day and age to be dealing with this kind of situation. :rollno:

  5. Owning a full stack or just knowing when to use it?:eyebrow:
  6. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    My old band lost several gigs because of our knuckel headed drummer and keyboard player. they took it as a personal insult when anyone asked them to turn down. It was embarrassing to watch grown men (in their 40s) act like that. Especially when its costing us hard to come by good paying gigs.

  7. namraj


    Feb 7, 2008
    being a six piece band with live horns its hard for us to play quietly, but we try to keep the volume down as much as we can, and if we don't need to we don't mic the horns and the drummer uses blasticks (soft sticks) so that he is quieter too, we always get more complements if we aren't blasting out, for one people can hear the music rather than just a thump.

    I've always had quiet mature band mates so don't have any stories of being too loud and being either told not to come back or had a go at by the owner. but i have had owners and people thank me and my band mates for playing at a sensible volume, loud is very rarely better, just needs to be loud enough for people to dance to.
  8. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hardest lesson musicians have to learn it is a business and you need to cater to your audience and whoever signs the check. Bet this guitarist is spouting the "I'm an artist, they don't understand". That may work with yo mama or girlfriend, but when it comes to making a living with your instrument you do what the check writer says or don't take the gig. That is why some of the best and happiest musicians are ones who play as a hobby. They can play what they want how they want because they don't need to pay the bills by playing.
  9. There's a difference between "playing what you want" and trying to simulate arena rock volume levels at a local bar, though.

    I did see something like this a couple years ago...our cover band opened for a hard rock/metal type band at a large venue. We played, crowd seemed to like us, then we were done. The metal band came on, and completely overwhelmed everyone with their massively loud PA. Everyone was crowed over at the bar way on the other end of the room, it was so loud. Our band went outside to talk, and was chatting with one of the owners. The other owner came out and said "Come listen to these ****ers you booked." Obviously, not a great way to get return gigs.

    Believe it or not, most people who go out to enjoy live music don't want their ear drums to explode in the process.
  10. If it's too loud, people leave. Most people don't plan on going to a bar and going deaf.

    Ya see, bars make money when people buy drinks. If they leave, they won't buy more drinks. Tell your guitarist this. Draw pictures if you must. If that doesn't work, can him.
  11. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    "But I have to play at that volume to get my tone!"
  12. GassieBall


    Oct 15, 2006
    Yes. I fear that you are right. Our guitar player is such a good guy, but over the night he just gets louder and louder. I would much rather rehabilitate him than ax him, though :(

    I was just looking for some real true-to-life anecdotes for when the rest of the band and he have "the talk". :)
  13. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    When I get good enough to have a "contract rider," it will say: No tube amps on stage. I have noticed that the guitarists who figure out how to sound good with a solid state amp are also typically the ones who have figured out how to control their volume.
  14. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I got a million of those stories. They're all the same.

    "Bar owner says you're too loud. Turn down."

    We turn down and keep the gig or the problematic player looses his gig.

    Either one of you is out of work or all of you are out of work. Fairly simple math.

    "The Talk" that is had is exactly that;
    "Look, either one of us is going to be out of work or all of us will be out of work.There is no point in putting in time and effort into anything if one member is going to keep sabotaging those efforts."
  15. Excellent point. I've always used solid state (w/tube simulations) guitar amps and have never had a problem with my stuff not sounding good at lower volumes. I mostly stopped messing with tube amps after warm up/overheating issues, broken tubes, dirty power sources, etc.
  16. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    i think you need to make that tube amps over 'X' watts. A little 20w tube amp can comfortably fill a bar, have great tone without being too loud. Or, only employ guitarists that use a powersoak!
  17. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    I was in a basement bar venue the other day and the opening poppy-rock group was so freaking loud I felt like my head was going to blow up...I had to go to the bathroom and stick toilet paper in my ears....when I have to stick TP in my ears to keep them from ringing the next morning, your band failed regardless of how awesome the guitar players tone was.
  18. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Interestingly enough I've had problems on both sides...

    I've had bar staff and patrons ask us to turn down when we've played small bars without PA support.

    I've also been told that FOH has had us way too loud (Thursday night's gig being the most recent) for the audience member's tastes.

    Sometimes it's the soundguy that makes things unpleasant for the audience.
  19. GassieBall


    Oct 15, 2006
    Thanks for the input, guys. The other "reasonable" guitar player even let our loud guitar player borrow his English Muffin so he can get a relatively better tone by overdriving that without blasting the Marshall itself (which is a solid state).

    It's more that the guitarist says he can't hear himself at low volumes. I interpret that as more like he likes to hear himself over the band at the detriment of the mix. I'm working on it. He's really part of our family, and we love the guy. He's more like a brother in the family that we just have to convince of our ideas. :)
  20. JPaulGeddy


    Sep 19, 2007
    South Carolina
    You'll never play a casino (more than once) with that problem. Most of the ones I've played actually have db meters. Sound guy goes and does a check every so often, and it better not be over their limit He'll obviously do what he can, but if your guitar player is cranking...
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