Issues with stage volume

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by crucislancer, May 15, 2021.

  1. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    When I play with people who like to tweak the volume, I let them know that I'm setting my level at the start of the show for a proper blend, and if they start complaining they can't hear me, they need to remember that there's a reason for that and it has nothing to do with anything I'm doing because I'm not touching anything. I'm quite direct with guitarists about not participating in or expecting to have to deal with volume wars and if they want to act like this is high school they can hire a high schooler.
  2. He will keep on playing too loud but if you bring it up more than once then you are the problem.

    I really hate this "if it's too loud you're too old" attitude.
    DaveDeVille, rockinb, Wasnex and 2 others like this.
  3. rockinb


    Jan 26, 2013
    Irvine, CA
    Totally agree with Buldogs515bass post. Would add:

    5) People go to 'concerts' to see the band. If you are headlining a 'concert', then loud can be ok as long as the sound is good.

    People go to 'bars' to socialize, talk, etc. If you are playing at a bar and the sound is so loud people cannot talk or socialize easily, then the sound is too loud.
  4. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Or if the bartender can't hear drink orders, then it's too loud!
  5. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    And the latest: I gave notice to the band over the weekend, effective end of August, once the current list of gigs on the calendar are complete. I think that's plenty of time to find a replacement.
    31HZ, DaveDeVille, ELG60 and 7 others like this.
  6. I think you made the right move. It sounds like you'll never win this volume war.
  7. OregonJim


    Apr 3, 2021
    That's probably the best & fairest outcome for all involved given the circumstances.
    BlueTalon and crucislancer like this.
  8. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    and did you tell them why (and if so, was it the truth)?
  9. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Yes, and everyone knows why I'm leaving.
  10. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    awesome. well you did what you needed to do.
    crucislancer likes this.
  11. How did they handle the news? Was there any blowback?
  12. crucislancer

    crucislancer Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 2009
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    They were bummed, and a couple of them want to talk with me further about it. I had a long conversation with the drummer about it a couple of days ago. As far as blowback, none so far, or that I know of, but there are several gigs coming up that give someone the opportunity to misbehave.

    It sounds like they might have a potential replacement, so that's good news. I was a little concerned that I was going to leave them in a bind as there are gigs booked after I leave. Hopefully this new person will pan out and I won't need to worry about it.

    I have my second band that is going to start rehearsing more in the next month or two, and that should be just fine for me. We don't gig very often, but if I need more gigs I can sub myself out as needed, though it's tough to say just how much I will be able to do that. Anyway, thinking back on the past few years, and looking at some writing I did in the past, I'm actually surprised I didn't leave sooner. There are more issues with the band than my conflicts with the guitarist.
    31HZ, DaveDeVille, BlueTalon and 2 others like this.
  13. It wouldn’t surprise me if the guitarist is bad mouthing you behind your back but that’s beyond your control. Best of luck moving forward and be sure to report any further drama! :thumbsup:
    crucislancer likes this.
  14. Liko


    Mar 30, 2007
    DFW Metro
    This. If it's too loud, it's too loud. Remember that the threshold of physical discomfort for most people is 110dBA. 110dB is a sound pressure level that OSHA recommends for no more than 30 minutes per 24 hours. And that's a rating for hazardous workplaces, where there's an underlying understanding that workers are getting paid for the damage dealt to them. For everyday life (including your audience, for whom this is leisure, not paid work), NIOSH recommends limiting 110dB exposure to less than two minutes per day. You cannot play a single radio-length song at a volume level that keeps people off the dance floor, without risking hearing damage in your audience, to say nothing of your own hearing.

    Personally, I try to keep on-stage volume below 95dB, which usually allows for a FOH volume of about 90. That's still more than we should be putting up with for more than about 2 hours, but it's still more flexible than what our friends across the pond have to abide by. The limit for volume level at most pubs and clubs in the UK is 85dB, and as of 2020 that's no longer a guideline, venues that violate the limit can be fined up to 10,000 GBP. I'm honestly not sure my drummer is capable of playing below 85dB.
    Bass Viking and crucislancer like this.
  15. If some loud bands played at a reasonable sound level you would hear how lousy they really are.
  16. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois

    Good call.

    The last time I played with a band that had endless volume wars on stage between the 2 guitarists, was in the late 90s, and I quit because of that, and other examples of unprofessionalism.

    I can't be happy in a band where 1 or more members let their egos make them behave as if they can make themselves more important than the others.

    Setting everybody's stage volume to the same, modest level, and leaving it there through the entire show, demonstrates that the entire band is functioning as a team, to the benefit of all. When 1 person decides to boost their volume in the middle of a gig so they can hear "more me" and screw everyone else, then it's a selfish act that makes the entire band sound bad.

    Unprofessionalism as a band is a deal breaker for me. Some acts are worse than others, but playing paid gigs where band members are constantly engaging in volume wars is close to the top of my list for behavior I won't tolerate.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2021
    DaveDeVille, EdO. and crucislancer like this.
  17. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    Lots of bands require two electric guitars and there's absolutely no reason why bands with two guitarists can't play with modest stage levels and keep them constant through an entire show and have everybody sound fantastic on stage and on the floor.

    It's frustrating to me to see so many bands intentionally ignore the best advice from successful gigging musicians about the benefits of stage volume discipline. For some inexplicable reason, a whole lot of musicians, particularly guitarists, are stuck in the arena rock thinking of the 1980s, where the guitarist in even the local garage band played through a 100w Marshsll full stack, set to 11, and everyone else could only push their own instruments to the limit and hope for the best.

    It's frustrating because there's no rational reason for it. The right way to do this was figured out more than 30 years ago.
    EdO. and Lesfunk like this.
  18. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    I think excessive volume is the sole reason of the death of live music.
    Not declining CD sales, COVID, Netflix, Youtube, overpriced drinks and underage drunks, aggressive bums or crokked bartenders.
    Just a damn inability to realize that it isn't the 70s anymore. People want to talk and keep control over their evening.
    getbent and EdO. like this.
  19. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) mmm Woody! DHDIK? Supporting Member

    Really? Have you been to a venue where the "music" is provided by DJ?
    So loud I can't think, the subs sound pressure high enough to whip cream .
    It's like being in a steel drum while mafia thugs whack it with baseball bats.

    Meanwhile it's packed shoulder to shoulder
    newwavefrank, 31HZ and BlueTalon like this.
  20. That was my hard lesson some 20 years ago when my band was forced to lower volume at practice by neighbors. We played loud because we sucked and rather than focusing on tightening our act we played louder to ignore it. Once we played quiet for a few months we tightened up because it was no fun to listen to ourselves suck.
    getbent, hbarcat, Wasnex and 2 others like this.
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