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Tips on getting a loud drummer to turn down

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Frijoles Negros, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. Frijoles Negros

    Frijoles Negros

    Mar 21, 2004
    In hindsight, i now know Ive been blessed in previous bands with quality, talented drummers.

    I dont take that for granted now. The drummer in my new band is loud - really loud. When he gets loud, the guitar player instinctively gets loud, and we all settle on ear piercing levels. other than that, the guy is good and has a good ear for time.

    Im not looking to approach this passive agressive style, im looking for tact and effectiveness. Asking him to turn down is one thing, but its a good idea to follow up with a helpful strategy to facilitate this move. Its gotta be tough to fight against muscle memory.

    So, how do you get a drummer to turn down?

    (how about turn the volume down on the drum machine) :D
  2. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    There's no hope.
  3. vbass


    May 7, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    Just turn your bass rig up. Louder is better. :D
  4. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    You could record a song with everyone being loud as hell... show it to him... then show him one where everyone is using dynamics.
  5. Frijoles Negros

    Frijoles Negros

    Mar 21, 2004
    mujibunga and vbass-
    Holy crap! Dont tell me that! i only have a ashdown abm 500 2X10. Im going to need Entwhistles rig for that.

    Mike Money. I just tried something like that to counter 'guitar wanking' and it was an effective tool. Too bad it was that session where everyone was at their loudest and the mix sounded great.
  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Well, everyone needs to cooperate with this. Everyone point your stuff at the drummer, and then just crank it. He'll tell you to turn down, and then you tell him that is how you feel when he is blasting you. Or just get earplugs. Which I reccomend anyways.
  7. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Unfortunately, I believe the only solution is to get a new drummer.

    Our "main" drummer cannot play quietly. He won't. The more we push him to play softer, the louder he seems to get as I think he starts getting pissed. It's not fun for him to play quietly and he believes that it's all about having fun - which is cool when we're doing our own thing, but cover gigs are another story. We've gotten into a ton of crap with him about that, lost gigs, gotten thrown out of bars, etc. We have another drummer we use when we know we gotta lay back.

    Give up.
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I have the opposite problem in one band ... the drummer uses #2 pencils for sticks. The only way to hear him is to mic his kit. In the rock band, we have a real musician at the kit. I was blown away ... at his first rehearsal with us, we'd play the intro and outro, discuss it for two minutes, he whips out his notation pad and writes the music, note for note!

    When we get into a venue, he assesses how the room will sound, and pulls out the right stick and plays appropriately. If I tell him he's too loud, he whips out the Hot Rods. Best drummer I've ever had the pleasure of playing with.

    One of my friends at work believes that Ringo Starr is the best drummer ever. When my band played at a BBQ at our office one Friday afternoon, my friend couldn't get over how good the drummer is. He finally confessed that there are better drummers than Ringo.
  9. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Munji, that is one good drummer! Guages the room, even! Nice! 10 points!

    The problem I have, is my drummer is partially deaf. He had spinal meningitis when he was borhn, and it took out part of his hearing. He is definitley tone deaf, but he has a good feel for time and structure, and even can write out his drum parts in notation! Good drummer, but always uses Promark tree trunks for sticks. Just plain loud!
  10. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Put sheet music in front of him! :D :bag:
  11. Frijoles Negros

    Frijoles Negros

    Mar 21, 2004
    Thanks for the replies.
    Well, Ill be leaving here soon enough, so Joe's suggestion will happen - in reverse. Joe's problems of pissing off the crowd with the volume is why im hesitant about playing out.

    Im going to look into these 'hot rods' muji is talking about.
  12. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003
    Just pray he doesn't play hard with the hot rods...they snap rather easily.

    What I've heard of many guys doing is just buying really think dowels and tying those together and use them as hot rods. It's about $25 cheaper and produces the same effect.

    And sheet music for drums is the easiest sheet music to read...coincidence? I think not.
  13. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    My solution is to keep my volume lowish. The rest of the band will ask me to turn up and I might oblige a tiny amount but, by excercising self-control myself, that often seems to bring everyone else down to a sensible level.

    Loud isn't good - any fool can hit things hard or turn up the volume on a big amp. It's making music that is clever and that means room for dynamics - playing at a volume where you can hear each other and being able to make things louder or quieter as a group.

  14. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    I have the same problem w/ the drummer I play with...super talented, but loud. Makes us have to turn up to a deafening level to keep up. Anyone have any real experience using plexi sound shields in front of the drummer? Do they work?
  15. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    He has to be open minded first and realize he's ruining your mix. My drummer has heavy hands. So in our practice room we tape folded up papertowl strips to the top and bottom of his drums. He plays a very muffled down snare. He also has those drum rings he puts on his drums. When we play out we take all the muffling off and run his kit wide open. Also most drummers put some kind of pillow or blanket inside the bass drum too. When recording most drummers do muffle their kits in order to stop any bleed of overtones from micing, I do not know why they don't do it most of the time. It can be done but does he want to do it for the sake of the band and the mix?
  16. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    our drummer is really loud too. if were playing a small venue where it needs to be quiet, we'll ask him to use brushes. he comes up with some crazy beats, but is just way too loud sometimes.

    luckily, i ordered everyone a pair of ER20s a few weeks ago and my ears dont ring nearly as often! :)
  17. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Go buy him/her a few sets of those sticks that look like shishkabob skewers taped together. They cut volume significantly. Plus, it's a nice hint.
  18. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA

    I know of only two surefire methods. They both require perfect timing. The easiest one is, feed your drummer lots of Jack Daniels about 6-8 hours before the gig. You have to time it so the hangover sets in just as the gig starts. Imagine that, a gig that gets quieter as the night goes on. :)
  19. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    The hard thing about a situation like this is that the drummer is usually the guy who controls the dynamics of a band. If the drummer plays loud, the rest of the band will too. If the drummer plays softer, everyone will turn down. People need to hear the beat.

    As far as songs go, it just doesn't sound right when you guys are playing something softly and the drummer keeps banging away. If you want to add some drive to a part of a song, there's no emphasis or difference since the song is loud anyway. Constantly loud volumes tire people's ears. A range of dynamics keeps people interested. It's not something that is always done at a subconscious level. That's why some people hang out to listen to no-talent musicians all night, while they walk out on a band in the middle of jamming out. It's a matter of their ears getting tired, not whether the music is engaging. In the same way that being in a mix-down session tires out your ears to certain frequencies, a show that does not use dynamic or has crappy mixes does the same.

    I would talk to your drummer about dynamics. Don't make the criticism on him personally, but make it constructive to how he can add to your performance and the overall mix. All musicians worth their salt want to sound good. Use this as a motivator.
  20. pbd

    pbd Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2003
    Metro Detroit
    owner Procables N Sound
    Does your drummer have a monitor or in ears? maybe you should put more of him in his monitor so he will have to quiet down to hear the rest of you. We sometimes enclose the drummer behind sound baffles leaving the front open. This allows the guitar and bass to play at comfortable levels on each side of the stage but allows the drum sound to punch through the front of the enclosure into the audience. We also use Hot Rods or taped up brushes when needed.