Singer hates guitarist tone...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by sm49341, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    I get a followup call today after this weekends gig. Lead singer, (and sound man) complaining about the guitarists volume. Not only that but even moreso the tone. I have heard this a lot from him. He says its all these low mids that just make squash, and he plays loud enough where whiles hes micd up you gotta be carefull because he always starts quiet at soundcheck volumes, but eventually turns up in big intervals. The amp is tube, 30 watts 112 speaker. He says a good guitarist( singer has fronted good bands for years) have a crisp sharpness that cuts and is heard, but doesnt have to be turned so loud and doesnt fill the room mids either. I cant help to agree. He ends the call by saying, "i want you to take care of it". I guess im kinda known as someone not afraid to drop the hammer. Tactfully, Hmmm.
    Well i heard from the other singer as well, that they cant scream over that for 4 hours straight, it wreckd their voices. I do tell those guys that i understand a guitar player needing to hear himself, the bends, theres a lot to listen to.
    I final piece to this, guitarist recently got new amp. The singers hated the old amp's sound, it was the same dull middy low tone, and the guitarist keeps saying he might go back to the old one becsuse he cant make this amp sound like it.
    What i feel like i need to say to the guitarist is something like this: look, we need guitar coming from you, but not the entire sound spectrum either. We have a keyboard/pianist, p-bass and two harmonizing singers to fill the space. We all need to play to compliment each other. Can you come up with a sound that cuts through clean, but doest have all that low mid booming ever reverberating spongy bottom end?
    Maybe not those words, but first are we off base? And 2ndly how do you tell a guitarist his tone isnt working for the group ideal?
    Ewo and Jimmy4string like this.
  2. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'd tell him that we all agree that his sound isn't working for the band. And I'd follow that by asking if he'd be okay with the band helping him come up with a sound that you can all be happy with.

    If he fights you on that, then the only other alternative you already probably know. Fire the drummer.

    That one's getting old now, isn't it. Ehh...
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Is the guy hard of hearing?

    Does his amp have a headphone jack that does not cut off speakers?

    Tilt the amp way back so it's blasting in his ears.

    Tell him not to touch his volume after sound check.

    Since your mic-ing the amp, place his amp tilted back in front of him like a monitor. That way he only has to adjust it so he can hear it.

    Tell him only the sound man adjusts amp volume after sound check.

    As far as tone, make some recordings to let him hear how he sits in the mix.

    Get him a long cord or wireless so he can go FOH during sound check.

    Maybe he needs some new pedals?
    mrcbass, Sartori, pcake and 1 other person like this.
  4. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    They will ultimately be responsible for the death of Rock and Roll, should it ever happen.
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It's BS to tell you to "take care of it". In any band, people should feel they can raise any band related issue in a respectful manner. Especially since he is sound-person, he should have input, and listen to the respond of the guitarist. As usually say, time for a band meeting (not during rehearsal or gig).
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    The problem is almost always WHERE the guitar amp is. It's usually pointed at the guitarist's ankles......where he can't hear it. Meanwhile anyone NOT right beside the amp gets his skin peeled of.

    When I had to "take care of it" one time, I told the guitar player he could play as loud as he wanted on stage, the moment his guitar amp is pointed directly at his head. He could tilt it, by an angled stand, buy a higher mixer stand.....whatever. But he had unlimited volume ability as soon as it was pointed directly at his ears. Had he still cranked it wide open, that would have meant he was already mostly deaf and needed to be let go. But he didn't. He turned down....and pissed and moaned about it.....but still turned down.

    I had to do the same thing with a keyboard player. He would set one of those awful Peavey keyboard amps on the ground and crank the crap out of it. I turned the amp down and used its line out to get him into a wedge monitor. Same deal. He could turn it as loud as he wanted with it pointed at his head. Guess what! He turned down too!

    I think we're establishing a trend here. :thumbsup:

    So, @sm49341 , wanna be "diplomatic"? Offer hi the same deal. You can go nuts as long as it's pointed at your head. And until then, you have to turn down. Period. He will quickly get an amp stand.....and turn down.
  7. +1. I can't agree with this more. It's BS for the front man (and sound guy) to lay this at your doorstep simply because he thinks you're 'kinda known as someone not afraid to drop the hammer tactfully'. The issue needs to be discussed as a band.
    Roberto Nunez and smogg like this.
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    "...hey man: for what we're trying to accomplish here, together, the rest of us are in agreement that your tone isn't working...and we're willing to help you with that issue: we know what the problems are and we have some ideas and solutions."

    the truth of your experience, stated directly, could be useful. good luck! :thumbsup:
    Gearhead17 likes this.
  9. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    THIS is the God's honest truth. You want to be LOUD???? YOU WANT TO BE LOUD????? I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!!
    two fingers likes this.
  10. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    At rehearsal, have everybody else play really quiet. Really, really quiet.
    When he realizes he can't hear anybody else, the normal response is to turn down too.
    If it doesn't work, either he already can't hear anyone else, or he doesn't care if he can hear anybody else.
    Either is a problem.
    Once you have established a new baseline volume level, you can work on tone.
    All that other stuff about amp stands and better monitoring is excellent advice too.
    Playing quiet once helps you calibrate his interest in cooperating and costs nothing...
  11. Mock him....
  12. Yes. But...that only works if the guy isn't deaf already.

    I recently went through a similar situation. Second guitarist in my band had awful tone and was always too loud. We'd show up for practice and from the moment he flipped his amp off stand-by it was noise city, with no regard for people trying to talk to each other, etc.

    And his tone was crap, too, and you can't blame it on the equipment. He had a nice guitar and a nice Fender amp. His problem was that he didn't know how to set up the amp and had poor finger technique. And no, he NEVER wore hearing protection, and it shows. I don't how he can sleep at night, his ears must ring like a fire alarm.

    Then he'd show up late, want to tune on stage, etc. Always had excuses, manufactured "problems" with other band members, always in his own little world...

    All done with that, now, we finally "fixed" the problem and are now a one-guitar band. But guitarists like this are out there, anyone who plays long enough will get to experience this sooner or later.
  13. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Tasteful guitarists are hard to find. I've had my share that don't understand volume/tone and playing in a group setting. I don't know what else to do other than to be blunt. If it's too loud, i think its easy enough to just say so to him. I wouldn't be offended is someone told me to cut back, in fact i would love it. Tone thing is a little harder...he might just not know how to get a suitable tone. You might have to be more specific with that comment, and maybe give him a specific solution. Do you know why exactly his tone sucks so bad?

    Now that i am thinking about it i really have played with more clueless guitarists than any other instrument. I've played with a few clueless bass players too as a guitarist myself.
  14. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    I've played with that guy! Never again tho.
    Herrick and Spectrum like this.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Is your band part of the Mafia?

    "Hey Vinnie, guitarist is giving us a bunch of ____ with his attempting to take over. He's gonna destroy our whole thing. Take care of him. You know what to do. You KNOW what to do."
  16. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    +1 to the suggestions of tilting back, to extreme levels if need be. Also the idea of setting his amp up in front of him, tilted back is a good one. I'm always surprised more guitarists using mic'd combos don't do this more.
    pcake likes this.
  17. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Fly me with la la la
    JimmyM likes this.
  18. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    ^^^^^^THIS^^^^^^ IMO the sound man needs to step up address the issue first. Then, you and the others can back him up on the issue. Recording the live mix will determine how much of each issue needs to be fixed. It could be really small changes could help a lot. With out a decent recording it's all just opinion.
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    jgroh likes this.
  20. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    Nope. Truth never gets old. Especially when the singer is blaming the bass player and making him solve the problem. Maybe the drummer's name is Vinnie Then firing him isn't necessary. He will be useful to have around.