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Guitarists want to practice with acoustics?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Depth_Charge, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    We don't play at full volume either......
    And for a while me and the guitarists would get together, they'd just play their acoustics and I'd run through my practice amp. Let up play in a small house with close neighbors with no issues :)
    It works......it's amazing how many mistakes you'll hear:)
  2. Well we had the practice. First up the drummer didn't bring his kit and ended up using my acoustic kit with blankets all over it to muffle volume. Worked alright.

    Plus, my kick drums' now stuffed with pillows, better tuned and laid out better as well. :D

    Oh and we sounded pretty bad as a band. Both guitars seemed all over the place...not sure if that's a result of me and the drummer being louder and them over-compensating, but it wasn't the best rehearsal we've had to date.

    Oh, PS - To those who are saying we don't practice loud, when we are in the studio we can usually raise our voices over the music and be heard. We would play quieter except we get a lot of noise bleed from the people who think they are playing Wembley Stadium next door :D
  3. Rob Lewis

    Rob Lewis

    Feb 23, 2006
    Sorry to hear it didn't work out for you, but:
    1. Any reason why no V-Drums? That would have made it easier.
    2. If the guitars are "all over the place" then look for the reason why. Can they not cut the mustard at a lower volume, 'cos if not they have some work to do.
  4. I often practice with the guitarist in my band on acoustics. I find it especially useful when we are writing. Also the constant pounding of drums and powered amps can become tiresome. The nice thing about acoustic rehearsals is that you can pretty much do it anywhere outside in the sun is a nice alternative to the usual dingy rehearsal rooms. I picked up a Fender BG29 acoustic/electric bass that lets you play along without being plugged in.
  5. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Sorry the rehursal wasn't your best. One quesiton.

    Were you trying to play exactly what you do when you are plugged in?

    If so, that might be your problem. Songs played acoustically are rarely played the same way as electrically. When bands play MTV unplugged they don't play the same way that they would play when headlining a festival.

    Whatever the case, I hope you guys stick with it. I know from experience that low volume or acoustic playing can sometimes be demoralizing, but it's a great way to find your weaknesses and improve. Godspeed.
  6. We're a cover band. We don't write. We play as per recordings and on some rare occasion might improvise over a bridge or solo, but we're your standard greedy party/pub/club/corporate cover band. :)

    I was, yes. I can't speak for the guitarists as I couldn't tell and didn't think to ask them.
  7. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    Yep. Outta line. Are you the "band disciplinarian"? And people generally don't respond well to "do x, y, and z or don't bother." It scream "my way, or forget it." Kinda rude.

    Just relax and enjoy a practice session in which you can leave without your ears ringing from the normal volume. It's great to have forward-thinking or at least flexible guitarists who are interested in changing it up a little and trying something new, as opposed to the more common scenario, of "dude, if I can't play through my 1/2 stack, I'm just not feelin' it, so I don't want to do it" kind of statements. Enjoy the possible new creative juices/direction this development could provide.

    I played in a modern rock band, and one of the songs on the album came directly from "unplugged" practice sessions. And it was the only song on the album that didn't sound too much like all the others, and was a refreshing change of pace for both the band and the listeners.

    Good luck with it.
  8. Yep. I started the band and as part of my role I do think I should be steering people towards the vision I have for the band.

    I chose a passive approach to leadership the past nine months. It's taken that long to realise I've been walked all over and that there are 2 personalities in the band who seem to be vying for more power and control at the expense of said vision. More recently, I decided to step up my role as 'disciplanarian' to avoid them steering the band so far away from my vision it's no longer enjoyable for me. Does that make sense? If not, I'll go on...

    I started "my own" band because I could not be a reliable sideman due to family and work commitments and I believe I am building a niche product and market that a lot of other cover bands in our area don't reach. I told everyone that was my goal from the onset. But if these 2 guys keep getting their way on gigs and songs we play, we will end up being another highly replaceable run of the mill cover band with no hook. Being "my" band, I don't want that to happen and decided I will no longer be walked over or held to ransom over the kind of issues that are coming up. So I put my foot down.

    Straight after that email I posted this thread because I thought i was over the top and after reading the responses I got on here, I sent them another email backflipping the electrics only.

    That's a great perspective that I will take on board. Thanks for that.

    In short, I know I'm wet behind the ears when it comes to strong leadership and I know I am walking the tightrope known as "striking a balance" and will often make some mistakes like this one on the way. Which is why I love being a member of TB. So many people willing to help out!!

  9. pbagley


    Jun 2, 2008
    Ham Lake, MN
    Coming in late, as usual...

    First, I admire your drive and commitment in starting a band with specific goals and a clear vision. This is often lacking. Start a band, then what? No vision, eventually no follow through, then no band.

    Are you communicating your vision to the rest of the band? Once is never enough. Often, in different words, and with feeling. The best leaders are those who are able to communicate their vision well. That said, as long as those other people are part of this they too must share the vision and commit to the direction of the group. Some will have ideas. Don't be so rigid that you cannot consider ideas outside your vision. Things change over time, and it is good to grow. Sometimes it is even good to try something and fail. You learn a lot from failure, and this is good as long as you continue on. Don't loose site of the goal, retain the vision.

    Re-establishing the "leader" role: Reasserting this role may be met with resistance. On the other hand, some people want you to lead, but like to give directions from the back. Tact can be a burden at times, but try to appreciate and value the suggestions, even when rejecting them. Reasons are important - often "great" ideas have not been fully thought through, and your perspective may differ. Communicate well.

    Then again you may run into a guy who doesn't want to be part of the group if he isn't in charge. Please say "Hi" for me. He left one of my bands about 7 years ago. That band is more a democracy, and leader roles rotate around. Often the "leader" is the one who booked the gig, at least for logistics.

    And back to the accoustic rehearsal - I've done it, it worked well but had limitations. It was far better than jamming 4 guys into a 12x12 room and running at stage volume, if only because I didn't have to deal with ringing ears for the next few days. Limitations - maybe a few missed effects on gig night and less practice working the vocal mic.

    Good luck,

    - Paul
  10. Rob Lewis

    Rob Lewis

    Feb 23, 2006
    Odd that the guitarists wanted to do this-they're normally the first to reach for the twin crutches of volume & effects.
  11. 51m0n


    Jun 30, 2005
    We rehearse as qietly as possible.

    ELectric guitar nearly always though. But a v-drums kit usually (though we hate the sound of it)

    However quiet is better pretty much always.

    As for messy guitars, try setting up a drum machine with a very simple rhythm (clap on 1 and 4, maybe a shaker to get the right swing) and play the songs over that. Doesnt half sharpen up a bands feel. When you go back to the big rigs it really shows up that you are all tighter than before.
  12. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    I can see having an 'acoustic practice' for an electric group on occasion. Similarly I could see doing 'listening sessions' or 'writing sessions' or allocating half the time to discussion, like you said. But, I think your intuitive response was correct, even if too terse. Maybe I am very picky, but I play differently with different string tensions, amp settings, strap lengths or seated vs standing. My concern would be that the same would apply to the guitarists, who - I would guess? - play their acoustic instruments differently (not just "quieter") than their electrics. What I was taught, and what has worked for me, is to, in the main, practice as you would perform. I guess this is pretty personal though, and the amount of individual practice the other members put in would make a difference. I.E., if they known their performance ax and setup extremely well, and the rehearsals are more for arrangement (or vocals as suggested) or spot-checks, deviations from "performance mode" would be less of an issue.
  13. Fretless1!


    Feb 19, 2007
    The Eagles rehearse acoustically, as well.
  14. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    "You'll be amazed at what you can achieve practising like this without colossal volume & distortion (and the rest) to hide behind."
    Very good advice.
    You want the weak areas to stand out so they can be fixed not covered up.
  15. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    "Oh and we sounded pretty bad as a band. Both guitars seemed all over the place...not sure if that's a result of me and the drummer being louder and them over-compensating, but it wasn't the best rehearsal we've had to date."

    On the contrary, that was the best rehearsal you've every had. It exposed issues. Address them and be a better band.
  16. Rob Lewis

    Rob Lewis

    Feb 23, 2006
    Spot on...
  17. I remember a thread about a guy that had some massive PA and his band was drowning it out and was looking for suggestions.

    They were mic-ing the drums and cranking stacks in rehearsal, and complaining about not hearing vocals.

    This wasn't a little practice PA, but a decent sized PA- probably bigger than the average bar gig would consider overkill.

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