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TURN IT DOWN.....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Rockin John, Mar 26, 2003.


  1. Part way through last night's rehersal, the club's steward came in to ask us to reduce the volume following a complaint from a nearby house.

    Now, even as a 3 piece rock band we're not loud: turn everything flat out and we've about 300 watts total for the whole band. And we play at much less than that. Anyway, not wanting to cause trouble, we turned down. And a strange thing happened.

    The band seemed tighter, my (lead) vocals were easier and unstrained - my voice lasted longer, too - the mix sounded better, my playing technique was lighter and less fatigued, the guitarist said he felt more relaxed, etc.

    In short, the band was improved by some measure. (OK, the drummer moaned because he couldn't hit so hard, but that's drummers I guess :eek: )

    Playing at a lower volume was an enlightening experience and caused us all to consider the implications of so doing.

    Just thought I'd share that.........

    John
     
  2. It makes sense. I think the louder a person or band plays, the more of a negative affect the volume has on the central nervous system. The type of music also has something to do with it, I believe.

    Disonant type music, such as Rock, Punk, etc. assaults and stimulates your nervous system and almost makes you want to dance involuntarily.

    Smooth Jazz and other types of consonant music can give you a mellow attitude and even make you drowsy.

    Just my spin. :)

    Mike
     
  3. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    You mean brain dead? :D j/k
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    In the context of electric instruments, being loud doesn't take any skill - it just takes gear.

    What loudness does is to inhibit and eventually damage your hearing. Details and nuances such as the timing get lost in the mess of soundwaves bouncing round the room.

    For the average band, I'd say the optimum rehearsal volume is as quiet as the drummer can reasonably be expected to play. Get the intensity through musical skill rather than by sheer volume and it should still sound good even when you're in a large venue and the FOH sound needs to be cranked up a bit.

    Wulf
     
  5. You can actually hear the band .

    Which is nice.
     
  6. DanGouge

    DanGouge

    May 25, 2000
    Canada!
    Volume can hide an awful lot of mistakes, I think that's the simple truth here...
     
  7. My opinion exactly - the band should be as loud as the drummer. After all, he's the only one that's not amplified.

    Just let the FOH do the work, if it needs to be any louder than that.
     
  8. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Took me 2 years of moaning but my band is finally starting to see it my way. Thank heavens. Loud is good - to a point. And once you get past that point, your band starts to sound like sheit. And you sound even worse out front - ask any sound guy. But they didn't start getting my point until i forced them to come and watch a whole bunch of live bands with me. It became pretty obvious that the louder ones sounded like garbage.

    And don't get me started on hearing damage and ear-plugs. I'll whinge for hours.
     
  9. In the days of upright basses before amplification, bands (and particularly drummers) had to play down to the volume of the acoustic guitar and acoustic bass. Drummers that could'nt, did'nt work! There's a lesson there for most drummers today......
     
  10. I've played with a drummer who can do that..... it was the best jam I've ever had, sooooo nice. Quiet, controlled, just about perfect.

    Why can't we get drummers to jam with other drummers, or something, any way to help them see our point of view?
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree - this is one of the reasons I go to Jazz gigs a lot nowadays. I mean I used to go to rock/pop/punk gigs throughout the 70s/80s and make allowances for distorted and muddy sound.

    But then I discovered my local Jazz club with great musicians playing quietly - usually acoustic DB and Piano - very rarely, amplified guitar.

    It is such a difference!!!

    The sound, balance and the playing is perect - you can hear everything and still get muscially intense performances - even at much higher tempos than any rock band would attempt!!

    So I often hear acoustic Jazz quintets/quartets that sound absolutely perfect live - like the best Blue Note, classic Jazz recordings and I think as soon as it gets any louder, a lot of this goes out the window.
     
  12. Plenty of wisdom in the replies, gents.....never expected anything else, really. :D

    We never set out to be loud. The volume we've become used to rehersing at just seemed sort-of natural: we just did it like that without perhaps being aware that it wasn't such a good idea.

    Then when we were forced to turn down, it opened this door we never knew existed. (I guess we could take some critisism for being so unaware, but that's life I guess). We were obviously fighting each other for a space in the mix and never knew it.

    The most remakable thing was my playing. The hand fatigue I was suffering at louder levels just disappeared. My fingers felt far beter able to move and that made for much better control.

    As a band, I bet we improved 5% Tuesday night, just by turning down: that's guite a bit considering we had to learn to play more quietly there and then.

    Interesting stuff.............

    John
     
  13. yoshi

    yoshi

    Jul 12, 2002
    England, London
    Too right! I'm always pestering our guitarists to turn their amps down and balance them out evenly.

    The worst thing about being dead loud is the acoustics; you get shabby echo's that just distort the sound as a whole even more (this probably explains the increased tightness of your band)
     
  14. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Forward this note to the Guitar players in MY band Please...
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    There's been something bothering me about your username for ages and it just clicked!! ;)

    Is it anything to do with a track on Todd Rundgren's album "Something Anything" : P*** Aaron ? :meh:
     
  16. Johnny BoomBoom

    Johnny BoomBoom Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2001
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Weused to play loud, and wear ER-20 plugs! When that rat bag drummer and guitarist left........we got a new drummer and a new guitarist (OK it was actually 2 guitarists, but one had to pull out because of other commtiments), now we found we could actually play quieter and it sounded better - no need for the ER-20s.

    All down to the drummer. The biggest surrpise I got was that the new drummer made the kit sound like a pretty good drum kit, whereas our former 'basher' made it sound like a burst couch!

    Band practice is much better now!