1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Drummer with sensitive ears - What to do??

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Sub300Hertz, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Hey there, folks,

    How do you deal with a drummer (old friend) who bothers everybody, specially the guitarists with endless complaining about the volume?

    Dude can play the drums, no doubt, but he's a bit loud himself, sometimes he goes over the top and you can't hear anyone during practice time but him.

    The point is: 90% of the time the band isn't loud at all! It's like he's got some dog-like hearing and can stand nothing but himself going beyond 10dB! A drummer ffs!!!

    I've suggested the use of earplugs which he refused promptly.

    One guitarist left the band after getting fed up with the complaints. The second one seems to be going down the same road... What to do except firing his ass?
  2. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    Get some custom doctor made ear plugs. I used to hate ear plugs and now I don't leave home without them. They keep the frequency flat and don't hurt to wear. The only other option would be to use digital drums and software amps, play into a mixer and control the volume that way. You know what they say though, if its too loud you're too old!
  3. You need to read the OP again.
  4. Maybe he has damaged hearing and certian frequencies actually cause him pain?

    Send him to an audiologist - and if he won't get help - fire his ass.
  5. The custom form fit, db filtered earplugs are actually comfortable and don't make everything seem like it's underwater. Depending on the filters, they reduce all frequencies at the same rate. If he refuses to deal with HIS problem, I'd say it's time to move on.
  6. YuppyPunk


    Oct 21, 2011

    I bought a pair and thought they weren't working as there was not the muffled affect of normal earplugs; I could even hold a conversation easily with the in. Then I noticed at band practice that the volume was actually very comfortable. I was standing in front of my amp and could feel the air, but volume I heard was just above home practice amp levels. It was a bit freaky at first, but nothing anyone couldn't get used to very quickly.

    The ones I bought have a -12 and a -18 db filter. Both reduce all frequenies nearly equally. They were about $20 at BestBuy.
  7. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    Actually my first instinct was to suggest the band turn the f down, but if he plays loudly as well…

    Maybe earplugs are the answer, and maybe the cheap ones that typically cut out the higher frequencies.

    I’d be curious to know what amps/cabs you guys are using and the size of the rehearsal space.
  8. Record the practices. The playback should settle whether the drummer is too loud.

    Get a decibel meter. Not playing too loud in practice is a great idea. With a few trials everyone can agree on a decibel limit.

    It's possible that he is the only one in the band who hasn't lost some of his high end hearing and the guitarist is hurting his ears but no one else's. That's the situation in my band but I solve it by using ear plugs when it gets too loud.

    Finally, consider rearranging amp placement.
  9. Keep in mind, the directional nature of electric guitar amps. These amps can send soft nice sound to the guitarist standing off-axis to his amp which is at his knee height, but send screeching loud piercing sound to a drummer sitting on the other side of the room.

    He's sitting, are you guys standing? How high are your amp speakers? Next time, try sitting on his throne when you all play without drums. What do you guys sound like then? Maybe he is hearing something you are not?

    Play with room positioning and amp placement. Point your own speakers towards your own heads. Especially those guitarist!
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011

    1. Are you guys playing TOO LOUD, maybe?
    2. Are you in a practice room where everything is bouncing back at the drummer?
    3. Are you all pointing amps at the drummer, instead of directing them so that each player is in his own sweet spot?
    4. Does your drummer play with dynamics? Or is he a basher?

    Practices don't need to rip anybody's head off. We practice, and no one complains about volume. If anyone did, someone would be turning down. Our usual problem has been drummers who are too loud. If a drummer doesn't have dynamics, then he is useless.

    And he may have to try earplugs. That can't be a "I just won't do it" option; if it's a problem, the problem is HIS just as much as it is YOURS. Otherwise, he is uncooperative, and must be replaced.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Here's the thing. (As mentioned before) the VAST MAJORITY of guitarists point their amps at their ankles. And then they freak out if anyone across the room or at a lower height says anything about it. What I would do is insist that all guitarists in the room point their amp directly at their heads. If it's a half stack (first of all that's stupid as practice) have them put the cabs up on something that sets the top speakers at face level. If they are combos, have them tilt those sucker back and point them right at their faces. If they still play as loud as they did before, the problem is them, not the drummer. I have spent two decades going back and forth with idiots who play loud into their ankles while tearing my face off 20 feet away. I have even bought (and still have) amp stands and tell them either to use them or lose me.

    If all of what I said is not the case, and the drummer is just hyper sensitive, either he gets plugs or he's gone.
  12. drpepper

    drpepper Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Columbia, Maryland
    Is there any viability in your situation to going to in ear monitors?
  13. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    +1. Instead of ear plugs, custom molded IEMs fed by an aux from the board would let the drummer hear the mix he wants at the volume he wants.
  14. Drum Isolation screen? - should block each other out a little.
  15. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Usually the sign of a control freak - he doesn't want to fix the problem, he want YOU to fix the problem to his satisfaction, the way he wants it fixed. If everyone else is happy I'd tell him to either 1) get earplugs, 2) quit the band or 3) shut the F__K up about it. If the BAND doesn't think it's too loud, then it's no one else's business.
  16. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area I can't think of anything to put here.

    Jan 17, 2011
    DFW, TX
    Yeah, if he's refusing simple fixes to his complaints and his complaints are driving multiple people away, he needs to go. Because even if you do resolve this somehow, I doubt this'll be the last time he's going to be a problem.
  17. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Our drummer wears ear muffs..... if he is not willing to make it better on his end, find a new drummer....
  18. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    This seems to me like the only realistic response here. You're not going to change the drummer, unless of course you replace him, and he already told you he wont wea ear plugs. Put your amps in front of the drums at ear level. That's all ya gotta do.

    I played, still play sometimes actually, with a guy exactly like your drummer. He's an egomaniac that wants and needs to hear nothing but himself and only enough of anything else to keep him following the music. His argument is he wants to be able to play dynamically and not have to pound out everything. I can understand that, but he really needs to learn how to work that out himself, without annoying everyone else in the band. Bottom line is hes not a team player, and as I said, he really just wants to hear himself.
  19. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I have found that most bands playing out don't really have a Clue about what Loud is. MOST bands play too loud.

    You should scientifically measure your volume first.
    If you prove it's not too loud, then the drummer has to solve His problem or he should go.

    Sounds like a situation that would absolutely suck all the fun out of playing.
  20. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    I agree with the thought that the amp placement should be reconsidered and worked with. Also consider that he might be pounding the drums harder because he can’t hear himself well enough.

    And I’d still like to know what amps are being used and the size of the rehearsal space. I’m aware that large amps can be turned down, but there seems to be a consistency with large amps/cabs being played too loudly, especially guitarists.