.....and another open mic heads for the toilet

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Telenator, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Jams and earplugs:- earplugs are no good, if the noise whites-out to earplug level it is way too loud. If you use 'plugs below that you cannot hear yourself letalone the other players.

    PA is for vocals and harmonica/sax/etc only, no mic'd amps (gets too loud front of house). Amps 17W to 150W but balanced to the little 'uns: do not allow players to bring their own amps (unless they're a bit special): the "resident" band provides enough interesting ones (but sometimes hogs them). Sometimes loud is good, but a jam needs you to hear everyone in the, erm, "band", train wrecks are optional. Rotate players ~2 numbers each on semi-random selection.

    Dunno how small that Cornell was but they don't usually need mic'ing for 100 punters.

    Circuit that dives amps at lower output is called a master volume pot.
     
  2. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Some Cornells have gain stages.

    Hey, here's a question. When I bring my amp up on stage and play in a blues jam, how can I know whether I am loud enough, or too loud, when I am squeezed into a small space with my lower legs right in front of the amp?
     
  3. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    I have an open mic that I happen to love playing at because of the high caliber, on average, of the performers who play there. It is mostly acoustic, but they do allow electric instruments and drums, but the venue is not intended for a full on band situation. For the most part everyone tries to be respectful and accompany the singer, but the place does have its moments. We do have a volume problem, however, because the guy(s) who will manage the sound are not good at it and they tend to set levels for vocals and acoustic guitar too loud from the start. I have tried to talk to them about it because what happens in a mostly acoustic setting is, if the volume is loud from the start, then the audience will elevate their volume to be able to converse over the too loud music. Subsequently the din in the room gets a little out of hand.

    If I am going to sing I often tell them to turn it down before I even start singing. As a singer, I have discovered if you want people to listen, then start off a little soft and let it build. If you can catch their interest in your performance they will tone down themselves to hear you and you can draw them in. If the microphones are too loud though even if you are singing softly there is a harshness to the overall sound that does not allow for subtlety without sharp extraneous background sounds and can kill the mood.

    I also play the Telecaster and accompany many of the performers if they ask me to, but I try to always be respectful of the singer and use tone and volume appropriate for the given song.
     
  4. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    I've gone to a number of blues jams over the years, and the only one that was worth going back to had a no-nonsense drill sergeant kinda guy in charge. No elaborate amp rigs, no foolishness or the hook came out. If he told you to turn it down, you did or else found yourself unplugged!

    I make half of my income gigging in bars, and follow one simple rule: never EVER play so loud that the waitresses and bartenders can't hear the drink orders! If that means not getting your amp into its sweet spot, too freaking bad! You brought too much amp!

    Tim
     
  5. Jack S

    Jack S Friend of Leo's

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    That is something I think a lot of guitar players do wrong. That is, they want their amps up high so they will put them on chairs or sit down so that their ear is close to the amp. What that does is give your ears an overdose of what you are doing and it is more difficult to judge your balance with other instruments. I want my amp down low on the floor and not pointed directly at at me. I prefer to stand off to one side or the other of the amp rather than have it directly behind me. That way I can hear more of everything else and get a better blend with what I am doing by comparison. I use my volume and tone controls on my guitar constantly depending where I am in the song and what I am trying to do, but it is a lot harder when I hear too much of my own guitar.

    If you are crowded in too small a space where you have to stand directly in front of your amp, it is difficult to get a decent balance.
     
  6. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Simmer now.:lol:

    I've heard of, but don't have any experience with the gear you mention so what you're saying may be completley accurate. I personally haven't heard any modelling gear that comes close to sounding like a real tube amp that's cooking. For those players that 'need' it loud it's more than just getting a certain tone I think. It's also getting hit by and being bathed in that wall of moving air. Whether that's a good thing or not is debateable but what's not debateable is that there is really only one way to have that experience and that's at very loud volumes.

    And I wasn't saying that I agree with the 'crank it up till your ears bleed' viewpoint myself. I was merely pointing out that many players have that belief.
     
  7. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    When I helped run a weekly jam the main guy 'Ike' was either on stage or right there to turn things down. This was not quite a 'show up and play' jam. Nobody got on stage without his or our OK & if they were a jerk previously, they were kept off until the end of the session. He ran the PA so that took care of that part. We told other guitar players when needed to turn down, with some success. Some guys just won't. We were lucky in that Ike started this thing, kept it going, lined up other bands we were in to play the club & brought in good talent from out of town so he was in very tight with the bar owners. This jam was pretty good for years and only ended when the club had to close as their lease expired & the owners were too old to start another place. Sure miss it...

    I think another thing is that many musicians are pretty darned deaf. I know several who can hardly hear a thing and consequently crank it. The crank it syndrome certainly a vicious circle w. multiple guitars on stage unless somebody's in control.
     
  8. chucksmi

    chucksmi Tele-Meister

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    Look, let's say another thing people tend to dance around about open jams:

    Lots, if not most of the guys who come to jam re not experienced players, are not in bands ( or at least good ones ) and don't know how to listen or use dynamics. You get inexperienced and crappy players in a loosely controlled environment and then people are surprised when kaos ensues.
     
  9. elicross

    elicross Poster Extraordinaire

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    Who was it that said "If the applause is not louder than the music, you need to play better or turn it down"? :D
     
  10. LoudTele

    LoudTele Tele-Meister

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    Rock and Roll, cranking up the volume to listen to bad guys, and gunfire (the latter two from my time spent in Army Intel) have together destroyed a lot of my high frequency hearing. I now bring earplugs to jam sessions and concerts. I may be uncool, but I plan on retaining whatever hearing I have left.
     
  11. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    LOL! I love it! :lol:
     
  12. detuned

    detuned Tele-Holic

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    If they've been playing that loud for that long, they probably need it that way to hear it at all.

    I know a couple of classic rocks cats. Great players, real sweethearts, but deaf as posts. Sad.
     
  13. PaulCreedy

    PaulCreedy Tele-Meister

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    I left a Walter Trout gig because it got too loud, sat out in the foyer with a couple of other guys who felt the same.
     
  14. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Its a rare thing, even amongst experienced players, to get a group of people who listen as much to the rest of the players, as much as they listen to themselves. Its a rare treat to get with a group who play for each other, without the masterful hand of the soundman.
     
  15. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    This is very true. The inexperienced ones come to learn, this is a good thing and they are not all crappy.

    Getting the mix right can be tricky: some guys presented with an unfamiliar amp have not a clue how to turn it on let alone adjust it - tip, ask its owner.

    Standing over your amp is a bad thing: you cannot hear it. I occasionally like to swan out onto the floor to hear the entire band from the front, you can really only adjust mix levels from there. Got a complaint that I was standing back to audience but hey, it's a jam and the audience are mostly more players.

    With a jam I feel for me it is essential to hear all the other players and fit in with them: it is not a competition.
     
  16. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    It's too bad you can't just have a sound pressure meter for offending players, visible to all the players on the stage, and anytime it touches the red, that player's amp shuts off for 60 seconds.
     
  17. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to "play to the song." By that I mean, play what is appropriate volume-wise and rhythmically considering all the other people playing and being conscious of the way my parts are blending.

    When I hear these LOUD free for all jams it just makes me want to leave. Well, in fact I did leave. I normally show up and sit in all night with these guys but it's been growing into a thing where there's 6 or 7 people all playing loud and it's turning into a bit of a clique. And none of these people have even signed the list. They just plunk their stuff down and start playing. This doesn't look good to those who come out, sign up on the list, and patiently wait their turn.

    Last night, the first guy on the list who finally got to play actually apologized for "creating a lull in the action." That's just not in the spirit of the open mic.
     
  18. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    LOL "maggot harp players..." That is definitely an addition to my lexicon! :lol:
     
  19. fakeocaster

    fakeocaster Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I agree 100%. Its usually too many big egos in the one room
     
  20. Guit-jitsu

    Guit-jitsu Tele-Afflicted

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    That's a great rule of thumb! After all, if the bar ain't sellin' drinks, you ain't comin' back!
     
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