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Any legitimate sources to refer band to as to how to setup volume during rehearsal?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jamis, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. jamis


    Jan 5, 2007
    Worcester, MA USA
    This thread is an extension of a thread I had started in the "Amps Forum". I am in a 5 piece classic rock/blues band. They are just too loud when we rehearse. It's at the point where I'm getting pain, etc.

    Original thread under "Amps":

    My question is are there any legitimate online or published sources that someone can refer me to as to how we should be rehearsing?

    I keep telling them we are all too loud and I've suggested things from turning down to literally turning our amps towards the wall for a bit just to see what happens along with asking the drummer if there's any possible way for him to 'tone' it down.

    They continue to responded this is the way they've always done it and the past bassist had no issues and they always insist that he knew EVERYTHING about music. I just roll my eyes. I hear their recordings with him and all you heard was the bass. I like to hear the bass but seriously. If you cannot hear much else then theirs something going on.

    FYI - their bassist left because of 'creative differences'. I'm now starting to wonder if I'm experiencing the same issue as he.

    I'm thinking perhaps it's time to find a new group of guys that will turn their sh## off and just listen to reason and then turn it down. Our versions of some motown tunes sound like punk bands doing a cover. You gotta get that bass out there but not kill the people with it. Know what I mean?

    I was in two previous bands (played guitar in one) and never had this issue. Sometimes we were too loud, but if someone mentioned it we'd spend quite a bit of time trying to figure it out. In fact, one group of guys I was with spent an entire reherasal just arranging. It was one of the best things we did and actually got us all thinking alike.

    Oh well. too bad. I'll continue to turn it down and start looking for something else out there.

    But ... I think if I could point a couple of the guys to a published/legitimate source then they would be more than willing to further discuss and try something.
  2. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    Wear earplugs. You'll thank yourself later in life.
  3. jamis


    Jan 5, 2007
    Worcester, MA USA
    Sorry quick update or information I should have included.

    1. I ALWAYS wear ear plugs. I refuse to rehearse or do a gig without
    2. Bass = ESP B-255 (active)
    3. Amp = Peavey TNT 115
    4. We stand in a circular fashion with amps facing in; they have refused to do anything else
    5. Drummer for the most part has one volume 11
    6. My concern is I'm cranking the volume on the amp all the way up (not ideal situation for the equipment)
  4. gigslut


    Dec 13, 2011
    St Louis, Mo
    If they need a tutorial, they are hopeless. Common sense should dictate this. Usually a syndrome of people who don't get to play out often enough.
    Have the amps facing the players, tilted up. That will cure the "can't hear myself" syndrome.
  5. jamis


    Jan 5, 2007
    Worcester, MA USA
    ... sort of what I'm starting to think.

    I honestly can't believe I'm having such an issue. I really thought it would a simple thing to resolve. But it's not and they won't listen. They just say I'm too low with a Peavey TNT 115 set at 10 on Volume and Gain almost pegged too. That's plenty loud.

    They keep saying I need more?! :eek:

    May not be a good fit for me. We meet again this evening. I'll try one more time and may very well have to present them with an ultimatum. Turn down or start finding a new bass.
  6. If they wont change the circle style, get everyone to stand on the opposite side to their amp, so it's facing them, not their calves.

  7. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    If possible based on how large your rehearsal space is setup as if you were on stage. You can be the frustrated sound guy yelling to turn down the stage volume.
  8. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    That amp should be plenty for rehearsal, if not your band is too damn loud.

    Show them this thread, maybe they will get a clue.

    Oh, and did you imply that bass can be too loud? What?? Bass too loud? BAH! Bass can never be too loud! Guitars and drums, they are too loud. Bass? Never! :D
  9. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Inner ears get a burning sensation? Wear ear plugs. Try various brands/models to find ones that suit your needs. Some ear plugs cut out too much volume.
    Adjust the direction of your amp and the volume so you can hear yourself and others for both rehearsals and live performances.
  10. Start playing with Big Boys, Adults, etc.

    Eliminate the kiddie, as*hole quotient.
  11. jamis


    Jan 5, 2007
    Worcester, MA USA
    Last night we met. I raised the amp up and turned it towards the drummer more. It was now between us. I also switched to a different bass. I was able to turn everything down to acceptable levels and everyone but the drummer was happy. The others told the drummer to "clean his ears." It's amazing how just a simple fix such as moving 3ft closer and about 1ft up has made. We also had a different lead that placed his amps much further back behind him which I thought was a massive improvement. Where he stands there is more room behind him (the rest of us are surrounded by walls hard to explain but it's the configuration of the area). Just those subtle changes made such a huge difference. I do think I need new earplugs. I'm going to try a different brand as recommended by a few on the forum. It's not completely resolved but 90% of the way there but just making subtle changes. Then again a new lead isn't so subtle. LOL
  12. I know I posted in your other thread but I will post here again.

    I play in a loud band, really loud. At a show that is fine, that is what we do, its part of our thing.

    Practice is another story, I want to be able to talk over the music so that we can change and work on things on the fly. Every one is pretty cool with the idea. Keys player has no problem turning down and the drummer has great dynamic control so he can sit in any mix. The problem for the rest of us was our guitarist. He playes through a musicman HD130 into a 412 cab. In the room we practice in space is a premium, so he is either right on top of his amp (and his ankles take the volume) and cant hear it, or he is to the side and it blows the rest of us away (it beams so bad he still cant hear himself).

    So we finally had it out, I told him to turn the fu#k down. He responded that if I couldnt hear myself I should just turn up. I tried explaining to him that if I wanted I could drown him out no problem, but that wasnt going to make practice work better. I finally convinced him to elevate HIS amp. Got that sucker pointed right at his head and now he has no problem turning way down.

    Moral of the story is you have to get your guitarist in the line of fire of their own amps. 412 or 212 guitar cabs beam pretty badly. You have to encourage gui****s to place their rigs so they can hear them selves.


    If you are getting into a volume war, and want to fight that fight, you need the right tools for the job. Its not constructive, and bad for your hearing, but it does happen. Guitars sit in a frequency range that needs a lot less power to be loud. My guitarists 130 watt head and 412 cab equate to a pretty big gun as far as SPL goes. 115 combo equates to a sword. That sword can be deadly when used correctly, but just about any moron can kill with a gun. If you want to engage in the volume war you need your own big gun.

    Firstly a lot of cab. You have to move a lot of air to make those low notes loud. Doubling up on something like a 115, 212, or 410 cab gains you a few things: Doubles your power handling, or about a 3 dB gain in SPL. Increases your sensitivity, for another 3 dB of SPL.

    Secondly the appropriate power: Doubling the power sent to a cab increases SPL by 3 dB, but if your cab cant take it then its useless (those ratings on cabs are thermal ratings not the mechanical ratings so dont trust them to accurate).

    So for your combo if you add the extension speaker you gain 3 dB just from more cab, you will also increase your potential power handling meaning less risk or blowing a speaker.
  13. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    Good to hear you have made some progress, jamis.

    +1 too what CL400Peavey said. Get the guitar amps up in their face. It solves a lot of issues. It would be better to have them find a small combo amp,(kicked back or raised) but that may not be an option or attractive to the guitarist.
  14. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Besides hearing damage, here's the big problem with excess volume at rehearsal: It masks the very problems that you need to be able to hear, so that you can correct them. Cranking up the SPL, just like increasing the tempo, is a poor-musicians' substitute for creating real musical energy. Cranking up may make you "feel" the sound more, but it's substituting adrenaline for critical analysis. Sure, it "sounds better" loud, just like it "sounds better" drunk. Both mask sloppiness & create the illusion that you're playing better than you really are.

    You can hide a lot of mistakes & bad technique in an overdriven mush of a mix. You can't fix what you can't hear, but not being able to hear it doesn't mean it's gone away. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you can't make it sound good at low volume, you're never going to make it sound good loud.

    Then there's dynamics - changing the volume level to suit the musical mood. If you're already cranked all the way up, what are you going to do when you need a little extra "punch"? There's nowhere to go once you're all the way "up". Music is all about contrasts & one of the most important ones is the contrast in volume between loud & soft passages. You want to take your audience on a roller-coaster ride, twisting, turning, changing in a variety of dimensions. Reading this right now, you're traveling through space at about 70,000 MPH, but you don't notice it because it's all consistent in terms of speed & direction. A roller coaster gets up to 40-45, some maybe up to 60 MPH. The reason sitting in a roller coaster is more fun than sitting in an office chair is because that roller coaster is constantly changing speed & direction. Frequent changes from 0-60 & back, plus curves, is what makes it more fun than sitting in a chair. Music works the same way. If you're at full volume all the time, it all ends up sounding the same, just like sitting in that chair at 70 KMPH all day long. Being able to use dynamics effectively is one of the biggest differences between bedroom/basement/garage players & pros.
    rockinb and JCooper like this.
  15. jamis


    Jan 5, 2007
    Worcester, MA USA
    I hear ya guys. Trust me (no pun intended). I'm not going to win. We made progress and that's a step in the right direction. I'm not going to win the volume war until I find something else. I'm going to stay where I am for now. But I'm now researching another endeavor with more seasoned people that want a "tighter" feel vs. just a loud / loose bar band style. I came to the conclusion last night that I've made 90% progress. I bet I can even get the guitars to cooperate (rythm is a great guy and the possible new lead I met is nice guy). The drummer ... that's the issue. I had my bass amp up & facing him. He still wanted it louder. The only way I'm going to win this is to loose and move on. Hopefully, this other potential opportunity pans out. I can already tell the people I'm talking to know there stuff and are more aligned as to what I think it should be and how you describe it. I'm sure you've all played with guys that thought they knew it all. Sometimes it takes us leaving to make them realize. Still learning and getting play tunes in the meantime and making contacts. I'll take the 90% improvement for now.
  16. KenHR


    Jul 28, 2010
    Waterford, NY
    Have everyone in your band read this book, and let them know there will be a test in the morning.
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo

    Another option is to raise all the amps to ear level and each player has to stand in front of his own amp.

    Also,+1 to turning the guitar amps around. It smooths out the mids that naturally get attenuated at gigs due to larger venue sizes.

    The easiest and cheapest method to control drum volume is to surround the drums with a sound board drum shield. (check your local big box DIY center). It's cheap, easy to cut, not too heavy and comes in 4'x8' size.

    We used to buy 2 sheets and cut them in half. Put 3 of the cut pieces around the drums wired together. Hang the 4th piece from the ceiling at a slight reverse angle (back toward the drummer) down to about 2-3 feet above the drummer's extended reach. Make sure the 3 pieces on the ground are tall enough to block the cymbal clang/crash.

    If you need to hear the kick drum better, cut a hole for it. Or possibly mic it and put a bit of it through the PA.

    IME, drums control the volume of the group. This stuff really works and is simple to set up.

    It might help your group out w/o causing more problems.

    Once you solve the rehearsal volume problem, I'd worry about gigs more because, IME, you ain't seen nothing yet and it will be a real volume war out there.

    IME, too much volume at rehearsal covers up too many mistakes.

    These guys seem not to be very professional and business like. Big egos can be sometimes be expressed in big volume. If they won't deal with this issue professionally, doubt they work out other serious issues professionally.

    May be time to move on.

    Good luck.
  18. jamis


    Jan 5, 2007
    Worcester, MA USA
    Yup. I want to play a collection of things anyways. The more I play the bass the more my musical tastes are changing. Whereas it was only Prog Rock & Classic Rock ... now I can hear great things in just about everything. Gotta have that low end to move and sometimes a great dance tune is just that a great tune and fun to play. Nothing like seeing the people in front of you moving & enjoying it as much as you. Can't do that with these guys.

    Thanks everyone.
  19. Battles can be won, if you want to stay with the band. I have been building the proverbial "Bigger Gun". Practice volume starts to get out of hand, and I bump my volume. Its enough to remind the gui****s that they are not going to win. :bassist:
  20. Dantreige


    Oct 22, 2009
    I'm going to play devils advocate a bit here and side with the drummer for a bit. Have you ever sat behind a set and tried to hear things? It's loud as hell back there, even for people who are not hamfisted. Do you have the option to give him a monitor so he can get what he needs blasted in his face?

    I found that a good monitor helps drummers. They get what they need and the stage volume can still stay low.

    +1 to Stumbo on a drum shield, but he will definately need a monitor then! Your going to cut him off from the rest of the band. Is that an option? How about in ears and a butt kicker for the drmmer (+ a shield)?

    Good luck!

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