Turn down or I turn off - another Volume Wars post

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Jughead6, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. Got a bit peeved at rehearsal last night and basically gave my band an ultimatum: turn the volume down, or I stop playing.

    The Volume Wars really started when we got a second guitarist. Now, our oldies 50s and 60s rock n roll repertoire is in earsplitting hard rock territory, which just sounds wrong to me.

    The new guitarist also seems to think I should play rhythm guitar one octave down. I snapped at him over that issue, too.

    So... not an unfamiliar story. It's just the first time I've threatened to quit and really meant it. Now I have deal with the fallout.

    Thanks for being my leather couch, Dr. TB.
  2. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Universal law - Two gui****s = too loud.

    Get yourself some earplugs.
  3. Got earplugs. But I shouldn't have to wear them, and they don't disguise how ridiculous we sound playing Heartbreak Hotel like we are the Sex Pistols.
  4. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    You are drawing a reasonable line, and one worth sticking with.
  5. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Where do you guys find these bands? My very first band after college was pretty dysfunctional, but not half as bad as some of the stories I read here.
  6. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Good luck with that ;)
    They don't care, why should you? If you want to play in a band you have to let it go. Or you could always go back to playing in your bedroom like many of those offering advice here ;).

    Seriously, you don't have to quit to keep looking for a better band to play with - best way to do that is keep playing out and getting better yourself :cool:. Heck, I'm playing in three projects that won't ever go anywhere and a couple more just for a change of pace. Got one brewing that could actually not suck except it'll have musicians in it so we'll see LOL.
  7. lostreality


    Sep 2, 2016
    ...and today my guitar player called about some of our recordings and asked when I was going to play more and play louder. This site makes me feel very lucky.

    On a serious note, it sounds like guitarist #2 in your band isn't cut out for 60s rock. Maybe you should suggest he locate a band that's into having three guitarists play the same boring line throughout the song.
    Groove Doctor and BassGreaser like this.
  8. Not a big fan of the threat to quit. Just quit.

    It goes down like this:

    Me: Dude you’re playing to loud. This is a 50s rock’n’roll band, not the Grateful Dead.
    Dude: yababa, yabba, yabba (keeps playing too loud)
    Me: Check ya’s later. I’m not playing with this knobhead.

    Life is too short for drawn-out confrontations. It’s just a band. As soon as it isn’t fun, move on.
    Axstar, Joedog, Coolhandjjl and 18 others like this.
  9. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Loud rehearsals are totally unnecessary.
    You are not performing or impressing. It's to tighten up the arrangements and go over the songs.
    I don't know why but 9 times out of 10, it's a guitarist that is playing on top of the song rather than in it.
    The only thing worse than an overly loud guitarist is one playing at loud volume with every single pedal
    activated for every single song.
    IME, Loud + Pedals = Hiding their lack of skill, technique, erratic strumming and mistakes behind a wall sound.
  10. whatizitman


    Sep 9, 2014
    Well, if that's what the band is going for, then it would be ok IMO. But if you're trying to stay authentic then no way.

    Why is there a 2nd guitarist for an oldies band? In my experience anytime a rhythm guitar with 5ths is prominent, the volume wars are inevitable. Too many competing frequencies. I think part of the problem is the deluded belief among guitarists that they continually need to have more low end in their tone. I feel for ya.
    Omega Monkey and rolandm like this.
  11. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    This should be a thing!

    (I get what you're sayin', though...)
    Rickter, RSBBass, bobba66 and 2 others like this.
  12. OP here. I spoke privately to the BL yesterday and aired my concerns, and he generally agreed with me. During sound check next week, while our ears are still fresh, we're going to identify maximum gain and master volume knob settings for guitars and bass. No one will be allowed to turn up. If there is a volume matching issue, then someone turns down.

    The issue over sonic space remains. I am still concerned about how a 2nd guitar is supposed to fit into an oldies band.

    Glad I didn't quit, but I am a bit sick of the endless band negotiations.

    Gee it's good to have a forum of like minded folks.
  13. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    If one of the guitars goes into the bright (possibly jangly) realm to add layers of texture then it's no problem.
    But every guitarist I meet wants to crank his low end up for maximum brutality or (insert meaningless adjective).

    Weird how so many musicians don't understand how music works.
  14. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Get yourself a decibel meter or get one of decibel meter apps for your phone. If you have one decent objective measure than a bunch of subjective ones, you'll be much better off.

    Also, break out the OSHA noise exposure limits. This'll get you to the point where you can say: "We can play as loud as our equipment and rooms allows, but only for a couple of minutes. If you want a two hour researsal, you've gotta keep it less than 100dB" - which is plenty loud enough anyways.

    There's some detailed science behind this if you want to get all pedantic, but these guidelines and decent decibel meter WILL help.


  15. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    Current project is me and a guitarist jamming in my apartment living room. We have my 50w stereo handling drum machine and synth tracks, and his guitar and my bass going into an interface and Guitar Rig. At the last jam, for clean tones, he barely even turned up the volume on his guitar to send a signal into the interface, and we heard his un-amplified Strat "clean tone" loud enough to play. We could talk over the playing, without raising our voices. It might've been the most reasonable jam ever, and it was nice. I've been in the loud-band game before, and nobody wins. OP, hold your ground.
  16. Rip Van Dan

    Rip Van Dan DNA Endorsing Artist Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Duvall, WA
    Second guitarist in my experience isn't a bad thing, especially for oldies. In a lot of those songs if you don't have a rhythm guitarist playing with you a huge hole open up in the music when the guitarist starts playing a lead section. You can usually get around this by having a keyboard player. Another nice thing about a second guitarist is that it allows the lead guitarist to do various tasty fills in different places. Take a listen to a Doobie Brothers song and you'll hear all kinds of very nice little lead fills throughout their songs.

    The problem sounds like someone is stuck on "I've got to be heard above everybody and I don't really sound good until I'm LOUD! So, you have to be loud too." If your other guitar has seniority over the new guy, he's often the one the second guitarist will listen to. If not, then the Band Leader needs to be the authority. Sounds like he's willing to step up and do that, so hopefully this will resolve itself. Might take a bit, but hopefully you'll get there.
  17. How happy were you before you got the second guitarist. If you were all content with your sound they why tamper with it? I agree with you that playing Heartbreak Hotel like the Sex Pistons is silly and maybe the second guitarist has to go since he/she seems to have started this problem. :rollno:
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  18. lundborg


    Apr 8, 2008
    To be fair, The Sex Pistols only had one guitarist :)
    pcake, Hamish MacCleod, Ekim and 5 others like this.
  19. suededoesit


    Jan 28, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    He should care because it's important. Interpreting dynamics of a song are just as important as any other aspect of playing. And I don't think just telling someone to "let it go" is reasonable either. Playing too loud and misinterpreting a catalog can be a deal breaker. I think it comes down to making your case with your band mates and one of two things will happen: they'll listen and positively respond, or they won't. And you'll have to be prepared to move on.
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  20. Haha, and only half a bass player.