Appropriate volume for church gig

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by count_funkula, Aug 6, 2001.

  1. I have a question. I get a lot of people at church telling me I don't play loud enough. Most of the stuff we play if off of chord sheets and some of the songs I have never heard before we sit down and start playing. That often leads to me making mistakes as I play. It's easy for everybody else to srew up because the effect is not as big of a deal. When I make a mistake everybody feels it.

    I guess a lot of the problem is confidence related. Should I just crank it up and let the mistakes be heard or keep the volumn low enough where they are somewhat masked?

    Another problem comes when the music minister forgets to give me the music for a particular song. It's very uncool for me to poke around trying to learn a song right there on the spot. What do I do in that situation?

  2. Hey count...
    I also play in a church praise team. we have rehearsal on friday nights and play saturday mornings, so everything is still sort of fresh in my head. I make sure i get the music sheets,(lyric sheets with cords marked on them, usually in the wrong place or wrong cords), so everything is sorted out before the show. I also get the music a week before the next saturday so i can practice a bit. I find if I am not loud enough to hear myself, i will make more mistakes than usual.
    No one seems to complain about the mistakes .
    I find this is were learning some music theory is handy, if you know the cord structure, you can figure out some kind of bass line. But my number one rule is if in doubt, play the root.
    I have only been playing 7 months myself so i do make a bunch of mistakes. Confidence will come with time. When i first started in the praise team i was playing drums and making lots of mistakes due to confidence problems, but after 4 years everything just flowed out nicely. Im hoping it is the same with the bass. The songs seem to move too fast to think about the next note and that is when the mistake is made. The sign of a good musician is when they make a mistake, they make it look like it was not.
    One other thing, i find if i cant hear myself in the mix or monitors i play harder to hear myself, then im gripping the bass too tight and make mistakes from that.

    take care

    take care
  3. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    One of the beauties of playing in a live situation, be it a band gig, show, or church, is that you are going to make a mistake. It's great to be human! One of the biggest things I have learned is that it's not about the mistakes you make, but how you recover from them. Sometimes you just can't.

    There's a great live recording on Kazaa, ( of Ella Fitzgerald doing 'Mack The Knife', which is one of my alltime favorite tunes. She absolutely butchers it!!! After three verses, she forgets the words... This is one of those situations where EVERYBODY KNOWS that she's blowing it! She just forges ahead through the song to the finish. Sure, you can say 'Thats Ella Fitzgerald, she's great and I'm not'... I believe that part of what makes the greats is how they handle the mistakes.

    I play in worship band too, and have done so for many years. The charts are definitely not perfect, the music ranges from very simple to very difficult, and you're often playing with varying claibers of musicians. Some advice...

    Everybody, and I mean everybody, is looking to hear the bass. Play it so they can hear it, mistakes and all. If nothing else, this will force you to improve, which will build confidence. As to volume, try to match the drums. If your church has a sound person, talk to them about volume and where you sit in the mix. Let them know that you will be periodically looking to them for visual clues as to volume. In our church, everything BUT the bass is run through the board. I know the sound folks appreciate the fact that I look to them several times during each service for confirmation.

    There is nothing wrong with staying with root notes played on the beat. In time, you'll be spicing this up some, but roots are always a safe choice when starting out or learning a new tune.

    Learn a little bit of keyboards and watch the keyboardist's left hand if possible. If you're comfortable enough, let the keyboardist know of your plight and ask them to clearly outline the chords. IME, the keyboardist is usually the heart of the worship band and will be pretty accomodating. Your mileage may vary!

    Good luck, and let us know how it turns out...

  4. I also play in a curch worship band. I'm in a really conservative church that's only been using a band for worship for about a year and a half, so we're still kind of breaking the congregation in. :D What I've found it that it doesn't matter if you're a little louder than you should be, as long as you sound REALLY smooth. This is kind of hard for me, as I play a Warwick, but you just have to bend your style a bit. Turn up the bass and turn the treble down. I get a lot more compliments when I'm loud enough to hear that when everyone hears an occasional "thump." Make sure you do a sound check during practice. Then you turn yourself up a little past what they say sounds good, because the actual service is always a little louder than practice.
  5. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    What's a good volume for church?!

  6. Thanks for the encourgement guys.

    With our band everything goes through the PA except me. I don't know why that is but thats how the sound guys have decided to do it. That fine because I have a Carvin 2x10, 1x15 and a 600W head so I can get all the volumn I need. My mistakes come when the song is fast and there are a number of chord changes placed very close together. If I am unfamiliar with the song I'll fall apart.

    Most of the stuff we do is very easy and slow. I stick with the root most of the time because thats what seems appropriate to the songs.

    I think I have some things I can do before each service to prepare:

    1) Write the key the song is in at the top of the sheet.
    2) Mark in red where the chorus starts and ends (we often times will jump to the chorus whenever the music director feels appropriate and I don't need to be searching the sheet for the right spot).
    3) Familiarize myself with our most common keys (Eb, and F).
    4) Look for rapid chord changes in the music and establish the pattern in my head before we start to play.
    5) Put my pride away and crank it up to 11!
  7. BigJH


    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I'd say loud enough to blow the old lady's wigs off!!! :D
  8. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    on a fender hot rod deluxe, the volume goes up to 12, :).

    Here is a conversation that i have heard:
    "Hey man, you're playing too damm loud."

    "I know, there is something wrong with the amp. Whenever i have a couple shots of whiskey the volume seems to go up."
  9. Trust me, its good not to go through the PA, then the sound guy (whic at my church is me when Im not playing) gets to comtrol everything. When Im playing, Bob (real anal guy) does the sound, and always has the vocals way louder then anyone else, but he cant control ME.

    But yeah, mistakes happen. My friend Shane wrote this song "Witness" and we nailed it, and he tought it to us before the service. I wish I could get the tape of that service, it was so beautiful.
  10. OH YEAH... crank that baby up!
  11. ARA punk

    ARA punk

    Jul 11, 2001
    USA, Shelby, NC
    I would turn up as loud as possible. The bible says, make a joyful sound to the lord. Who cares how loud the thing is. As long as its HAPPY!!!!!!!!
  12. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The bible also says 'Play skillfully with a loud noise.'

    See my signature for the chapter and verse.;)