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Inside the minds of guitarists

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by dougjwray, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Why do guitarists think that "being able to hear myself" requires them to be completely enveloped in a cocoon of their sound, which is so deafeningly loud that it makes the other musicians unable to hear themselves? Why? WHY???!!!
    :rage: :banghead:
  2. inside their mind:

  3. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    *some guitarists
    GregC, Atshen, BurnOut and 7 others like this.
  4. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    OK, point taken... how about "most guitarists"? Or "way too many guitarists"?
    Polfuste, bassdude51, Loring and 15 others like this.
  5. Egomania, increasing deafness from playing so loud, not being team players, not positioning themselves properly in relation to the amp, thinking they're the most important person in the band, etc.
    MrLenny1, ELG60, gebass6 and 9 others like this.
  6. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Inside the mind of guitarists...
    Steadfast, kobass, LowRick and 10 others like this.
  7. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    This is one of those questions like: "What is life all about?" ;)
    JoshS, Ellery, BOOG and 5 others like this.
  8. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I think a lot of people think certain ways about certain things, but I’m not telepathic so I’m probably wrong.
  9. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    how about "most guitarists I've played with"...

    i know this phenomenon you're talking about. i was a guitarist primarily myself for 20+ years. and I've played with lots of other guitarists both as a guitarist and a bassist. it has been a minority of the guitarists I've played with with that operate this way. i choose not to be a part of any project with a musician that doesn't understand dynamics so it's been a minority based on my own choices. i've been in some very loud bands... but we could also play quiet, and in between, and when we were loud, you could still hear everyone...

    moral of the story--quit the band or fire the guitarist. life is too short, your ears are too valuable.
  10. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    What kind of amp are we talking about? Putting aside ego and hearing issues, what irks me if they’re combo users is that they just leave ‘em on the floor(hello, your ears are not on your ankles) and then stand too close, while the sound is spreading everywhere else. Just put the damn thing on a stool or roadcase, so they don’t have to be turned up.
  11. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I'm primarily a guitarist these days and I get asked to turn up far more often than to turn down, even when I was in a classic rock band playing with a Marshall half stack. Frankly, I can't remember the last time someone asked me to turn down. One of the last bands I played an SVT with fridge and the guitarist played a full Marshall Stack and soundmen frequently asked us to turn up.

    It's about playing with adults.
  12. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Being able to hear oneself in the mix while also hearing the other parts is a skill that distinguishes a player from a musician.

    The lack of this skill may be more prevalent in guitarists to the extent that guitarists disproportionately lack formal musical training compared to other musicians. Just a theory. I've never run into this issue with horns or strings or piano players.
  13. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I have been wearing earplugs at every gig since I was about 16, so part of every gig ritual is pushing in the foam ear plugs and feeling them expand to tone down a loud guitar amp. And then I sink into my own audio world.

    1x12 guitar amps are usually never to loud, but a 2x12 or stack can be so oppressive.
    Supadope, BOOG and TortoiseBass like this.
  14. LoTone

    LoTone Clean as an Entwistle... Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2010
    Quebec, Canada
    Don't go there...
    Squittolo and TortoiseBass like this.
  15. Right? It's insane. They think because they can't hear the tone that they hear by themselves, that everybody else is too loud. My guitarist has no concept of live sound...at all. You can never hear my vocalist because he sets up his mic. He cuts his mids because, "it sounds nasally" yeah, thats the point. He has a nasally voice. You cut out the nasal, you cut out his voice. You cut your mids because you don't like the "honk" you cut out your guitar, and get washed away by everything. He's stubborn though. He'll get it eventually. But right now, it's not worth the fight.
  16. coyote1


    Mar 23, 2012
    Oy. I’ll step up and defend them, just for giggles.

    If you’ve ever played lead guitar on a decent sized stage, you can play loud. And what happens when you do is this, as described by David Gilmour: you can lean back into the sound, and it will hold you up. :)

    The sustain that comes from sheer volume simply cannot be had with ANY pedal or variac or other gadget. And that sustain is so musical and luscious that if you’ve done it once, you want it again. Likewise distortion. No pedal or simulator can get that. Think Blackmore on Made In Japan, and on Rainbow Live On Stage. His sound is not really distorted! It’s aggressive on MIJ, and more aggressive on the Rainbow album - but the notes are clean, and they sustain like crazy.

    That only happens at high volume.

    Now back to the reality of most bands’ worlds. A huge component of the problem is often that the guitarist’s amp is too small, and is sitting on the floor. And the guitarist is near the amp. So he’s missing most of the sound! It’s blowing past his knees. And because he is struggling to hear that, he cranks up the amp. Which is splitting the eardrums of those sitting in the audience right in front of him, and in a rehearsal room is blowing out the ears of all his band mates.

    The answer, somewhat counter-intuitively?
    A full stack of amps.

    For the guitar sound to have ‘oomph’, it needs a speaker on the ground. The floor coupling gives the sound body. But for the guitarist to hear himself, he also needs a speaker up at ear level. So a full stack gives his sound depth, while simultaneously getting the sound up by his ears. Thereby allowing him to do what you want, which is to TURN DOWN THE VOLUME a bit.

    Btw, a full stack does not mean a pair of 4x12s and monster head. A 1x12 combo amp, sitting atop a vertical 2x12 extension cabinet, does the trick just fine - and takes up no more floor space than his combo.

    Try it, and see how it goes.
    Woodpile, LostJohnny, Loring and 12 others like this.
  17. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive Suspended

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    Deep inside, guitarist think that can mostly replace any instrument and that they are the most important instrument on the stage and should be loud.
  18. Yup. They utterly refuse to believe in the simple fact that bass and drums are the cake, that they're the filling, and the singer is the icing. That we are all just pieces of the singer's band. He's the one people are looking at. Me and drums are what gets people moving. If we aren't tight, nothing sounds right. Where as, the guitarist can play just about anything he wants at any given moment, and it still sounds good. Right?
    Mk90, Squittolo, obimark and 4 others like this.
  19. mattj1stc

    mattj1stc Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2009
    Dallas, TX USA
    Definitely not all guitarists. In my experience, the irony is that the ones who want to be the loudest are often the least capable players. A few years ago, I was in a band with 3 guitar players, and the 2nd rhythm guitarists was always the most audible and the most off the mark.
  20. I play metal. Loud is a part of that style. I also play loud, when I play bass, drums, or guitar. The places I play require that.
    Some songs have quieter sections and louder sections. It’s about dynamics, as well.
    Garret Graves, Loring, chadds and 6 others like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Dec 3, 2020

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