Cheating on the volume control

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Aug 10, 2001.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I feel evil. Whenever I soundcheck I always leave the volume on my bass about an 8th of the way down cuz I know the sound person is going to tell me to get lower. I do this because I know once we really start playing the drummer always pounds harder, and I can never hear myslef at the levels that sound people want me to go.

    I always do this, I almost can't not do it. Anyone else as evil as I?
  2. Kraken

    Kraken Guest

    Jun 19, 2001
    Aylesbury, England
    Yes I Do this too, it always seems to me that sound guy are interested in making sure our bottom end grooves are never heard:eek: go figure...
  3. Have a good talk with the band & make firm agreements on the volume.
  4. Kraken

    Kraken Guest

    Jun 19, 2001
    Aylesbury, England
    It's always the soundguy thats the problem, I've even had my guitar player talk to the guy, without me knowing, when he came back to me his comments about the guy's attitude is not appropriate for this board ;)
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You guys need to work as sound men for a while. Guess what THEY say...the problem is always the idiot MUSICIANS :eek:

    Think about it, playing gigs requires cooperation. The sound guy is out in the room and hears what the audience hears...hopefully :)

    After many years of gigs, what I have noticed is that almost everybody claims they can't hear THEMSELVES well enough but can hear others OK....what does THAT tell you?

    My rule of thumb is if I can really hear myself well, I must be too loud :)
  6. I do, actually :)
    i'm the sound-man for my new band :)
  7. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Which makes it a monitoring problem, right?
  8. Kraken

    Kraken Guest

    Jun 19, 2001
    Aylesbury, England
    No offence to all sound people out there as quite a few do an outstanding job (I was under the imression this statement was implicit). it just Irritates me when you get one that fade you almost completely out of the mix (just like ...And justice for all) this guy I was talking about in my earlier post had taken it to the extreme that even my Guitar player complained!!!!! I mean a guitar player complain that he can't hear another band member - How often does THAT happen ;)
  9. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I was guilty last night. I had my on board volume down and cranked it later. I ran a full rig on stage though so he could only cut me down on the PA side. I was loud enough to go over it from the stage.

    I wasn't really concerned about how much I was heard through the PA. I just have to hear myself (and the drummer needs to hear me too).
  10. Well I have been asked to be the sound guy in a band. I promise to other bass players everywhere that I will not let the bass be lost in the mix by any means, or any ohter instrument for that matter.....except maybe lead guitar:D

    JK they already have a bass player in the band but they want me as a backup eventually or even a replacement if need be but in the meantime they asked me to be the sound guy to be a part of everything in case change does come about. It is a christian hard rock band. I have yet to get togehter with them for a practice or anything largely due to the fact that neither have they since asking me to be a part of it.
  11. CaracasBass


    Jun 16, 2001
    Madrid, Spain
    I agree with you brianrost, this is a never ending problem.
    If you ask a singer, he can´t hear himself but he´s listening too much guitar, bass, drums etc etc (well, you´ll always listen the drums :rolleyes: ) the same for every member of a band....

    I think the key is to EQ your bass to add good presence for each gig, because IME every diferent place you play at has its own "tonal caracter" so what I look for is to add presence to the sound to "bring out" the bass, then I don´t have to blame the sound guy.
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I don't fault the soundpeople, it's more of a drummer thing in my case. During soundcheck most of the drummers I've played with don't hit quite as hard as when we start actually playing. I like having the extra volume as a safelty valve. I also don't crank it as soon as we start - I leave the room on the volume control so that I can push it as needed.

    I like the comment that if you hear yourself well you're too loud. It makes sense, especially since I'm most focusing on myself to begin with. I'm going to try and use that as my rule of thumb.

    I really have a rough time playing when I can't hear myself though. I wind up playing really hard, losing articulation, dynamics and sense of adventure. I guess this is stuff I still need to work on.
  13. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    I only kind-of agree. I need to hear myself well to play well. I can get away with it more in the cover band, but in my original group it's especailly important. It's very jazzy funky groove driven. The guitarist is always messing around. I'm responsible for tieing his diatribes in to the main groove. I have to be able to hear that what I'm doing is working because it's never the same thing twice. I don't suppose that if I were a better player I'd be able to do that without being able to hear myself. My ear is crucial.
  14. I played through a board last night, with a direct box. I crank the bass to full volume and use the amp controls to get my sound, and my level on stage. Then the sound man can get his sound, and his level in the house.
  15. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    If someone asks you to turn down go over to your amp and fiddle with the volume knob, but actually leave it where it is. You'd be surprised how many people are fooled by that. Maybe it's some psychological thing where if they think you turned down then they hear it that way, even though you're still playing at the same level.
  16. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Funny you should say that. Last gig the soundman told me after the first set that I was way too loud, I had to lower down. I said, "no problem". I didn't do a thing, and after the second set I asked if that was any better. He said "way better, thank you". :) !
  17. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    I have that problem too -- our soundman is also the (gasp) guitarist! He is always telling me, "The bass is too loud!" I have been told by our vocalist that he would prefer that I am louder, because I am the better musician, but obviously, no one has ever told the guitarist that. I have had to have several talks with our guitar player about the way he runs sound, because along with his disdain for loud, thumpin' bass, he also has a tendency to turn his guitar up ever-so-slightly after coming back from each break. The whole situation can be very unnerving at times. :D
  18. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Another thing to try along these lines is to cut some of the lowest bass frequencies in your mix a little. Boost the mids a little around 800Hz. You'd be surprised at the difference this makes in your apparent volume. It also helps me hear myself better on stage. A lot of times, when people are asking you to turn down, they are actually trying to tell you to turn the low frequencies down... I know that may not make sense, but this is IME.

    For instance, on my rock gig, I play a Precision most of the night, but whip out the DeArmond Ashbory for a few songs. The Ashbory is quieter, but way bassier at the same settings than the P. The guys in the band are leaning as far away from my amp as possible, telling me I am too loud, and still gritting their teeth. I turn the bass level from 2 O'clock to 10 O'clock and they're all nodding and smiles.

    I tend to agree with brianrost in that if I hear myself really well in front of the amp on stage, I am too loud in the house. Remember, the sound waves from your low E don't reach their full potential until they are like 30 feet from the face of your speaker. That means that the guy dancing out in the middle of the dance floor is hearing your bass louder than you are. Whenever I use my wireless and go out onto the floor, I am amazed at the difference in sound.

    Talk to your sound man and ask him what he wants from the bass to help it sit better in the mix. Remember, he wants the band to sound as good as possible too.