Volume wars finally hit a head at rehearsal last night

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Crusher47, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    It's been an issue of contention ever since we added a lead guitar player. Always seems like when things are going great otherwise and have several gigs scheduled, there is always a bump in the road. Hopefully this all blows over and cooler heads prevail. Will see what happens next week. Ugh!
    johnny_bolt likes this.
  2. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Try this -- if the band feels the same way, everyone turns way down in rehearsal and refuses to turn up. When the guitar player screams "I can't hear anyone" that's your excuse to tell him to turn down.
  3. You're assuming the guitar player will actually care. Sometimes all these types of players think about is hearing only themselves.
  4. You need to have a discussion with no instruments and set the ground rules. You have to establish a noise ceiling. If you have an acoustic drummer, that's your threshold. No one should be playing louder than the drummer. Also, everyone should be able to listen to and hear the other instruments, even if that means crawling outside your own ego, and if things start to fade compared to your volume, you're too loud.

    It takes a lot of honesty and mutual respect, but volume wars are hell on earth, especially if you're trying to polish your part and get tight and interact with the musicians around you. One of the most counter-productive and selfish behaviors found in combos.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  5. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    Yeah we did that.... didn't work out too well
    johnny_bolt likes this.
  6. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    Everybody put your amps on stands. Seriously.
  7. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    Maybe you have the wrong lead guitar player. If you had a band before him and all was well, then you need to replace him if he wont work with you. Sounds like a maturity issue to me.
  8. A good DI with headphones is the direction we went for rehearsals. Nix the amps. Also isolated the drummer. Later added the proper pieces so each person could get their own individual mix. Might be pricey for "starter bands", but we`re a bunch of old folks with nothing else to spend money on and there comes a time where we realize we want to conserve what hearing we have left.
  9. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This. One rule for the guitar player. You can be as loud as you want IF YOUR RIG IS POINTED AT YOUR FACE. If he runs a stack, get it off the ground. If he runs a combo, tilt it back. If he can take it ta high volumes in his face like that then his hearing is shot and you will never ever solve the problem. I have seen it for thirty plus years (keyboard players included).

    But under no circumstances should he be allowed to point his rig at his ankles and get righteously indignant when the guys across the room are getting their faces peeled off.
  10. Johnny Crab

    Johnny Crab HELIX user & BOSE Abuser

    Feb 11, 2004
    Have used this more than a few times and intentionally do this when the keyboard starts using his left hand to step all over my bass when he is +20dB above everyone else. The best part is I've got a Zoom H4 recording of every gig and rehearsal in case there are complaints.

    "point his rig at his ankles and get righteously indignant when the guys across the room are getting their faces peeled off."

    I've asked folks when they are getting surgery to put their ears on their ankles.

    If it's this girl guitar player, find another band while your gear is intact:

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  11. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Good luck.
    It's always T F L.
  12. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Three things I will NOT deal with:

    1. People not being prepared
    2. drug/alcohol problems
    3. Excessive volume.
  13. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    +1 to guitar amp on a stand, pointed at guitarist's ears
    +1 to establishing one instrument as establishing the volume ceiling (although I prefer that be vocals over drums; drums have to play under the vocals too)
    +1 to headphones for rehearsals if the room doesn't allow you to rehearse with a decent mix (in a tiny room, some drummers don't have the control to play under the vocals, even if vocals are as loud as they'll get before feedback)

    If you have a bandmate who won't listen to reason, I've not always been above opening up the bass rig to stupid-loud volumes at rehearsal for a few bars. Usually, once the offending drummer or guitarist is absolutely drowned out by the bass (and covered in bits of acoustic tile that have rained down from the ceiling), the moment is right to have a discussion about playing so that our volumes build a reasonable band mix.
  14. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    Thanks guys
  15. You're right, and I've always had enough rehearsal P.A. to get the vocals above the drums.

    Speaking strictly for the instruments, acoustic drum volume is the threshold for instruments. Turn the vocals up just louder than the instruments.

    If you don't have enough P.A. to get the vocals above un-amplified drums, that is a problem. You can ask the drummer to play quieter, but I'd rather not (and neither would he). Get more rehearsal P.A., it doesn't take that much to get louder than the drums and instruments at drum level.
  16. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Invest in some good earplugs. I recommend the Westone ES49. Expensive, and worth every penny. Looks like they have some cheaper universals that may be worth a try.

    As others have said, point the guitar cab away from you and at the guy's head. Do you have the ability to to mic the guitar cab, and give the guitarist a custom monitor mix with more guitar? FWIW, I tried all this with my old band, and it was all a waste of breath. In my experience, once people convince themselves they need to rehearse at Wembley Stadium volume from their mega stack, there's not much you can do to convince them otherwise.
    bassplayer2014, TrevorR and Rayjay like this.
  17. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Spend 1.99 and get an SPL meter app for your phone. Keep the rehearsal volume lower than 95db as measured in the middle of the room.

    Subjective "too loud" or "not loud enough" complaints don't hold up under the gaze of the SPL meter - even a cheap one.
  18. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    You could try getting a decibel meter and setting a threshold. A lot of clubs and clients have done that to bands over the years. This would be good prep for the guitarist so he doesn't tick off hard earned customers.
    Kubicki Fan likes this.
  19. Been there a hundred times, unfortunately I can't offer an 'ultimate solution.' I refuse to go the same way the loudest player (mostly guitarists) goes, after a certain point, I simply don't turn up. If the bass is burried, so be it. If mature discussions aren't possible and nothing else seems to help, I'll walk away from the band.
    I have grown accustomed to my hearing. If someone else wants to destroy their hearing, ok, doesn't mean I have to be part of that madness.
  20. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Had this problem with the last band (power trio) that I played in. I set my volume at a reasonable lever. After we ran through a song, the drummer (who played with the stick butts, not the tips!) said I needed to turn up. You know what my reply was...
    johnny_bolt likes this.