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Low Volume Gig Tips?

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by bgoodwin, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. Captdan61

    Captdan61 TDPRI Member

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    At the end of the day you are hired for entertainment for the venue and for the patrons so yes that needs to be taken into consideration. That's a guitar player we played lots of small bars and restaurants and stuff. Summing amplifier seem to respond to barely being turned on like literally having your volume at less than 2 better than others I ended up changing the taper of the volume and tone pots on my Tweed Deluxe because the original CTS pots that were in there really didn't work very well at low-volume. Back in the seventies you could use Marshalls and things like that these days using a Tweed Deluxe wirh volume at 2 and 1/2 you're told you're too loud. and in some instances you are I thought of getting an even lower wattage amp for those kind of gigs you're building a lot of amps these days like the new Fender Deluxe that has power scaling. Perhaps it's the wave of the future I hope not.
     
  2. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    We played an outdoor event recently, which could have been a loud gig, but we actually kept it pretty quiet on stage and let the PA system do all the work. I had a 15-watt Vox amplifier, which I ran clean and just used a Timmy clone pedal for the overdrive. The amplifier was very quiet, and it sounded fine. I'm starting to question whether or not it's necessary to crank a tube amplifier up to get great tone. It was just loud enough to hear over the drummer, who doesn't play that loud anyway. I saw some video from out in front, and the guitar sounded just fine, being pushed loudly by the PA system.
     
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  3. bigbandtele

    bigbandtele Tele-Holic

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    Or get a better drummer...
     
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  4. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Kick, snare & hi-hat and play at lower volume.
     
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  5. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Holic

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    I'm not recommending a specific product, but something like Lidwish sticks?
     
  6. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think the most difficult thing for guitarists to get past with regard to playing quietly is not necessarily the drummer but our need to use loud or vintage tube amps, to get "that tone", something that nobody at a venue, including the guy who booked your band, cares about at all. They just want to hear a good band. Even using a tube amp with a resistive load box, to get "that tone", is only going to pacify the guitarist. Nobody in the dance floor cares about your high-dollar vintage amp with NOS tubes. This is the direction things are going. Low stage volume, let the PA system do all the work.

    We guitarists are a weird bunch, we will load heavy tube amps and carry them to a gig just in case there is that one guitarist in the crowd who would be impressed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  7. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    A couple simple tricks as I bring all volumes down. I have a drummer who likes to be a wild man. He controls it usually but its obvious he wants to hit hard. We got an electronic drum set and he has been liking it. And now that its through the pa its pretty quiet but just the right loudness everywhere. Me and the bass player run our amps pointed at ourselves. I find I can be as loud as I want and the rest of the band actually wants me louder. Run a smaller amp so the sweet spot is lower but the big trick for me is I got a casino coupe hollowbody. You can get a similar resonance and connection with a small hollowbody small amp combo that normally needs a cranked half stack with a heavy solid LP. You can get crazy low with some gain if you use a big jazzbox and sit in front of your amp
     
  8. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    I've tried this before. We put all the digestion music up front then more rock and louder later. 1st song in you could tell the crowd wanted dance music and some vol. Completely screwed up my plan and there was no good time for the quiet stuff. Fun gig though.
     
  9. AAT65

    AAT65 Poster Extraordinaire

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    We played a while back at a really old pub with a tiny back room — like playing in someone’s living room but with solid stone walls. So the drummer brought his cajon and some hand-percussion, we had one electric guitar and bass through solid-state amps kept low, acoustic guitar, lap steel and vocals through a mixer into a small PA. Worked a treat - and it was fun finding material that worked well in that format.
     
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  10. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    $550?!?!? Thats like 50 gigs worth of cash. Wait did you say per PERSON?!?!?! :)
     
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  11. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    No...it's because we're doing a lot of work for very little money....so, if we're in it for the fun, we want to have some damn FUN.
     
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  12. Fretts

    Fretts TDPRI Member

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    I'll chime in here. You have to band-practice at a very low volume to get your nerves used to it. If you are a pedal guy, you'll get your familiar tones. If you are a straight into the amp guy, you need a quieter amp. One of those 5 watt amps can serve the purpose. I got a Vox AC4TV with a 10" speaker and built-in attenuator for $199... there are quite a few small amps that can get the job done. For the drums, like everybody has said, brushes, wooden dowel brushes or 7A sticks and light dishtowels or something over the skins a la Ringo at Abbey Road.
    The thing is, when you can readjust and get the right balance, the sound becomes amazingly rich and full when everything is in balance. This is hard for a rocker to get used to, but it's a whole new cuisine that can be pretty dang tasty.
     
  13. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    With all respect, if I was in a band that was too loud with players that couldn’t/wouldn’t manage their volume for the venue, going in with them and spending thousands of more dollars on IEM equipment would be pretty far down on my list of ways to solve the problem.
     
  14. TPWastewater

    TPWastewater TDPRI Member

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    Most of the issues solved with monitoring done well. Something tight and clean on the mains (i.e. Yamaha powered cabs with 10” drivers). Don’t put the mains up in the air to high. Some smaller restaurant gigs we go with one speaker mounted on pole into a 500 watt powered sub. In hard surface, reverberant spaces the traditional two speaker set up can easily cause more trouble than it’s worth. We’re a six piece boogie blues band and usually have a pair of floor wedges on front line (three of us sing) and a small 100 watt powered wedge for the drummer.
     
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  15. Aristeas

    Aristeas TDPRI Member

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    "pull a Mike Campbell and turn the amp towards you away from the audience and mic it through the PA. You and the band will hear your amp, and the PA can help with the overall mix..."

    A variaiton on this - If you have a good low volume practice amp you could use that for a foldback and run a line through the PA.

    Trickiest part will be reducing the volume of the drums.
     
  16. chamas

    chamas TDPRI Member

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    I just bought the Captor X just for this reason. Now I can use my amps in the sweet spot and keep the volume down. And I can choose different cabs to change up the tone and not have to bring mine.
     
  17. XTRXTR

    XTRXTR TDPRI Member

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    If we have a group of people dancing and get a complaint we ignore it. In the end how thirsty you made them means money to the bar. Never been told to stop when people are dancing. There are a few bad business bar owners out there, most don't last and fold when their personal preferences get in the way of every one's fun. Most of the time we say we'll get it down and we all just walk to our amps and act like we did something:twisted: Works every time.
     
  18. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, sure...jaja. The owner is not gonna take orders from your hobby band with half stacks and cargo shorts.
     
  19. LeeInAustin

    LeeInAustin Tele-Meister

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    Love all the good ideas, read every one. Thanks!

    Mine, not necessarily limited to the OP's situation =

    Guitar: Amps pointed at ears--amp stands or tilt-back legs. Only use tube amp if it has good master volume, like Allen or Gries. Fender's Tone Master series--master volume + attenuator + oddly realistic tube sound. No amp at all: I get 85-90% as good as my tube tone by going Wampler Black 65 (blackface EQ/OD pedal) into Tech 21's Blonde amp emulator pedal, though this rig needs full-range PA speaker to sound great.

    Going acoustic: one lead guitarist I played with put electric strings on his acoustic for a quiet gig, and he loved being able to do his bends like usual and thought it was well worth the loss of tone.

    I'd say we electric rhythm guitar players are the second-worst culprits, after drums, in pushing the band too loud, though obviously not in every band. A digression: In fact, I think we electric rhythm players are usually too loud even at louder gigs, burying the vocals, which need a lot of open space in the mid range of frequencies. Audiences want melodies and lyrics, the stuff they relate to most--more like studio mixes--not the unending rhythm guitar solos that so many mixes sound like. Compressors help. But maybe that rhythm thing is worse in my town, Austin, than in yours. Back on topic:

    Bass: Amen re. running direct, if the monitoring system can give a realistic bass sound.

    Percussion: Tambourines, cowbells, etc. can be surprisingly loud in a small, quiet room. We keep both loud and quiet tambourines on hand for different situations.

    PA: Amen on IEMs, especially those with More Me option.

    Overall: I used to do gigs through a booking agent who said his clients re-hired bands more because the following than because of their music: 1) show up on time, 2) play at the requested volume, 3) leave the stage area clean. Guess they're all versions of respecting the people you're playing for. I know some players aren't about that, though. Me, I'd much rather do those things to get re-hired than to play stuff I don't wanna play!

    Thanks again for all the great ideas.
     
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  20. ballynally2

    ballynally2 Tele-Holic

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    At some point you are going to hit the bottom end of acceptable dB levels to play rock/rnr.
    If the drummer has to use brushes you might as well bring a small ss guitar amp because the juice cant be had at that level.
    What you do is pull the switch in your head from rocknroll to lounge, smoke some pot and relax.
    It'll be cool, bro!
    Ive done it many times.
    From conquering hero to cool dude.
    It can all be YOU...:)
     
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