Garage issues

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Beginner Bass, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Beginner Bass

    Beginner Bass

    Jul 8, 2009
    Round Rock, TX
    A&R, Soulless Corporation Records
    My band practices at our drummers garage. The problem is the garage is really loud. It's not a matter of outside volume but inside volume. The obvious solution would be turn down the amps, but then the drums drown us out. So what we're looking for is a way to reduce the volume on the drums so the turned-down amps can still be heard.
  2. This is a question that'll open a HUGE can of worms but the simple answer is to tell the drummer to play quieter!!. Although I've found that it takes a several years (and sometimes they never get it) for drummers to learn to play quietly, so this is a difficult one.
  3. DeluxeRed


    Jun 2, 2009
    There are things the drummer can do, using lighter sticks, padding the drums, etc. I don't like it, myself, when the drummer plays differently during rehearsal because of volume. I want to hear what I can expect live.

    One solution is to isolate the drums as much as possible. A couch or futon in front of the drums can do much to reduce the volume. Mattresses, etc, can be used as low-cost gobos to "wall-off" the drums. Reducing overall wall-splash can help, too. A piece of carpet on the floor will help a bunch.

    Another solution is mics and headphones, but that's usually a more costly solution.

    WATCH OUT FOR FIRE HAZARDS. Keep an extinguisher handy. Don't trap your drummer. Don't use easily-flammable packing foam on walls or gobos. Have a way to get out.
  4. Ask your drummer to play with bundles. Most drummers are resistant due to the fact they don't feel like regular sticks.

    You can find used office cubicle walls on Craigslist. Get a couple for cheap and set them up. They aren't technically gobos, but they will help deaden the sound somewhat. Otherwise, make some small walls yourself with wood and plywood, and put carpet or padding on the drumkit side. Anything to help deflect the drum noise.

    The biggest problem is that when a drummer is sitting on his throne, it seems about 1/2 as loud to him, as all the sound he's making is going out and away from his ears...but right into yours. I've had drummers play louder because they think they can't hear themselves when it's blasting the rest of us out of the room.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    We used a sound board (4'x8') sheet to block the sound from our drummer. We cut it in half and wired it at the top and bottom. Real simple. It worked very well. Our drummer wasn't a pounder, though.

    Building a frame (making panels) to the right height (above the cymbols) and covering it front and back with sound board(with insulation in between) would do much better. It would also help if the sound board went all the way around the drummer. If you build it tall enough, putting in a plexiglass window would help. You could even hang a panel from the ceiling above the drums to absorb more sound or even build a fully enclosed cage if needed. Sound board's pretty inexpensive and easy to work with.

    Take a look at a fully enclosed drum cage:

    Miking the kick drum might be needed when using the sound board or maybe cutting a small hole in the sound board would work.

    Electronic drums may be another solution. Be sure to wear ear plugs.
  6. The office cubicle stuff with about 4" of foam placed around the inside works great. Get three nice sections with glass in the top and you can see better. Plexi or ply wood will work too.

    Mostly he's just got to play quiet, and mean it. If he can do it, so can the rest of you and then you can have dynamics to die for, which makes you stand out head and shoulders above the one volume (just plain loud) bands.

    Suck em in with the quiet, wallop em with the loud, repeat until you got a frenzy going on.
  7. gregoire1


    Oct 19, 2008
    can you get a cheap rug for the floor and, maybe hang somthing against the doors to absorb sound?
  8. Quadcam


    May 8, 2009
    I have the same problem except I'm the drummer and it's my garage. I have the garage partially insulated and used liquid nails to apply carpet padding to the walls. my wife and I were practicing tonight and 9:50pm just as we were finishing the last song the local PD showed up.

    Now the funny thing is, we live out in the country on an acre and there is no sound ordinance where we live, theres pretty much no zoning at all and even if there were it would be a 10pm cut off. So this local cop shows up and it's the same guy that showed up another night at 7pm. So we kill it and I peek my head around to the garage door and say "oh helll nah, you again??" he laughed and says "yep, it's me...I hate having to come over here, you arent breaking any laws" so I just said "well we usually quit by 10pm anyway and that was the last song so we're about to shut it down anyway" . he just hung out for a few , tormented our dog and said ok see ya later. I laughed and said "hey we have band practice the next two nights, guess I'll see you tomorrow" he says "nah man, I'm off the next two nights, practice away " LOL

    I dont even really play loud but the sound carries out here, especially at night when it's all quiet. Theres isnt much you can do aside from building a room within a room in the garage, thats no possible in my garage due to the size 12'x24' and I would have to totally close off access to my garage door.

    if you live in an area where you'll get cited for noise violations it may be worth your while to find a rehearsal studio or rent space in a commercial district where you can make as much noise as you want.
  9. Good advice on this thread. You gotta quiet the drummer. My drummers are always very accomodating. Everyone is turning down, not just the drummer, and everyone has to adjust to not going full out balls-to-the-wall. You'll all develop two mindsets and volume levels, one "rehearsal" level, and the other "performance" level. Our drummers always used pads and played softer. We had lots of three-part harmonies as well, so we had to put the vocals above everything. In a confined space, everyone has to be prepared to make sacrifices.
  10. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Our biggest volume problem is the guitar player who isn't happy with the sound of his amp unless it's too loud for the rest of us. Our drummer hauls a small cocktail set to rehearsals and uses lightweight sticks and brushes - no need for a full-size set and heavy sticks during rehearsals, and no problem with his volume.
  11. Many guitarists love the tube saturation of a cranked amp. Problem is, most guitarists also like wattage. So, 50 and 100 watt amps are the norm, and they must be cranked.

    I have yet to be able to convince ANY guitarist that a 35 watt tube combo sounds amazing cranked...and is tolerable volume-wise. Most want the Marshall or Mesa half stack...even in rehearsal.
  12. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    We've also thrown a sheet/blanket over the drums (works wonders on toms and snare, and heck the drummer oughta be able to hit the drum without seeing it if he's been playing his kit long enough). That was for a house where there were two newborns..... one blanket went on the outside head of the bass drum too. The cymbals were dampened with cloths.

    Me personally, I bought a set of drum mufflers. They're rubber pieces , bounce like practice pads, cut to fit different sized drums. They feel about the same as a head and really kill the sound. They make them for cymbals too, I think the whole setup to muffle my entire kit was$50. Well worth it! Saved my own ears :)
  13. alapantera


    Mar 22, 2004
    Not to derail, but guitarists like these should be looking into acquiring a power attenuator. One of the guitarists in my last band was using a hot plate.

    back on topic. in my various projects we've done a few different things to keep volumes down. One band ran everything through a mixer where everyone had their own volume control. others would rehears with brushes or some of these:

  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008

    Here's another power soak/attenuator that's also pretty cool for the guitarists:


    IMO, it's not too smart to practice so loud (save your ears) when there is reasonably priced technology available to tone everything down to decent levels. It seems to me if more bands used these types of methods and tools there would be more places available to practice.