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Lower volume=More gigs

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by oceanman2, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    My country band played a wedding reception last night out at a winery. The place was fairly small, but definitely ritzy and upscale. Afterwards, the owner came up to us, congratulated us on the evening and said that he hosts over fifty weddings each summer and that he'd like to use us regularly, and the biggest reason why was because we kept our volume very low. He said he liked the talent, and the guests had a great time, danced all night, etc. But what set us apart from just about every other band they book is that they all try to blow the doors down and the owners have to tell them repeatedly to turn down.

    This is about the fifth time we've had this compliment(?) from various venues, and we've been asked back every time. I'm not really sure what to make of it (except $), because there's nothing I'd like to do more than crank up my DRRI and let it wail. We've got our drummer on a tight leash in terms of dynamics, and I guess it's paying off.

    Not exactly an earth-shattering revelation here, but just thought I'd share.
     
  2. tiktok

    tiktok Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can count on my thumbs the number of times I've been asked to turn up the volume at a gig.
     
  3. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    Travis? I thought I recognized that photo. I've seen you play with Jacob Carver and Wood Fowler, and we met at one of the shows. Haven't caught your trio yet, but I've heard great things. I'm currently playing in an original side project with Tom and Ryan from Carver's band.
     
  4. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Congratulations! Some one else "gets it!"

    I run the PA in my band and I'm the volume cop too. Once we check the sound and everything is set I gauge our level by one simple thing. The vocal monitors.

    If the guys are asking for "more monitor" I simply tell them to turn their amp down and they'll be able to hear it fine! LOL! And it works.

    I feel that a band needs to play loud enough that people feel it enough to dance, but not so loud that the staff can't hear food & drink orders and that people have to shout at each other just to talk.

    My band is very well known in our area, like yours, for playing at very reasonable volume levels.

    ...........and I despise punks who ruin the business with flippant comments like, "too loud? Too old" and then go on ego feeding volume assaults anywhere they manage to weasel a gig from an unsuspecting club owner.

    My hat is off to you oceanman2!
     
  5. DocG

    DocG Tele-Holic

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    I am so jealous. The band keeps asking me to turn up. The deaf guitarist won't wear in-ear monitors so his amp is always cranked up. The sound guy can't turn the instrument amps down. And there is no volume cop. There have been a couple of gigs where I've had to play by intuition because I can't freakin' hear my own amp that I'm standing in front of! To save what's left of my hearing, I've become guitarist emeritus, and join them only for the most fun of the outdoor gigs with my earplugs in. Sigh. I love those guys, but they just don't get it.
     
  6. voodoostation

    voodoostation Friend of Leo's

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    I totally agree with the lower volume approach. My band finally played our first real outing last night, replete with our own gear and P.A. and we nailed it on the volume. And it felt good. Drummer didn't have to wear earplugs and none of our ears rang. Good time and the neighbors appreciated it. I tend to be the volume cop as well. We play country, originals, so we don't need the ear bleeding volume.
     
  7. Tim Armstrong

    Tim Armstrong Super Moderator Ad Free Member

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    How many times have I said that around here?

    :D

    We have GREAT relationships with the managers, bartenders and waitstaff in the places we play because we're very careful to hit that sweet spot where folks want to dance, but they can also order drinks! And even more important, when they DO ask us to adjust the volume, we do it instantly, with smiles on our faces.

    One thing that makes this possible, and even easy, is that we keep our ONSTAGE volume down (smaller amps with mics on them). That way, we just turn down the master volume on the PA system. Oh, and we're incredibly blessed to have a GREAT drummer who can play well at just about any volume level...

    Tim
     
  8. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    "Oh, and we're incredibly blessed to have a GREAT drummer who can play well at just about any volume level..."

    That's the ticket there. Our last drummer was a thumping, crashing machine, and at times, it was really fun. But more often than not, it was just a hassle, and he was bucking against the rest of the band. Sadly, most drummers that I've played with have tended to ignore dynamics in favor of "lead drumming."
     
  9. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    "I feel that a band needs to play loud enough that people feel it enough to dance, but not so loud that the staff can't hear food & drink orders and that people have to shout at each other just to talk."

    Yup...funny that so few bands pick up on that. I've been the de facto sound guy whenever we don't have a sound guy, and I've come to appreciate what a difficult art doing sound is. Can't seem to please everybody. That business of keeping a low stage volume is critical.
     
  10. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    Over almost 10 years, we've gone full circle from a blow-the-doors-off band to a tasteful, disciplined bunch. Part of it was playing gig recordings for the drummer to show him that a light touch actually sounds better, when the drums and especially the cymbals aren't splashing off the walls and muddying his sound. Then the campaign for amped instrumentalists to always use tilt-back stands so the amp isn't blasting past their knees into the front row. Gradually we changed our ways, and yes, it's translated to more and better gigs!
     
  11. jglenn

    jglenn Tele-Afflicted

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    We started taking some acoustic blues gigs so we could play some smaller clubs,and during dinner time at restaraunts,we are a 6 piece band so we have had to squeeze into some tight spots too.Now we are doing some half acoustic half electric shows,has really worked in our favor,the club owners like it,and,the patrons like the transition from one to the other style.So I have played my fist payin acoustic gigs in my 40 years of part time giggin!Funny how I feel no pressure on my playin on acoustic,as I consider myself a beginner at it!.Nice way to work on dynamics as a band too,and a nice way to get more paying gigs in lean times.
     
  12. 91xlntS-3

    91xlntS-3 Tele-Afflicted

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    In terms of volume-Less IS more! Sometimes, it just takes a while for some to "get it". But after they do, it's great to do a gig without having trouble hearing the monitors, or going home with a headache, or your ears ringing!

    I've run our sound/PA for years and it's not a problem to set levels or tell someone they need to turn down a bit. The end result is for EVERYONE to have a great time during the gig; and to get asked to come back again.

    Tim was right on the money - Smaller amps, with mics if needed; then just make an adjustment to the PA :)
     
  13. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Best way to annoy the owner, is to be so loud that the punters/staff can't hear the drink orders. Find the right balance, and its the sweet spot for more bookings.
     
  14. thxcuz

    thxcuz Tele-Meister

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    In the last band I was in I made the drummer use brushes...it fit our style well. (he wasn't a "real" drummer btw, just a guitarist who filled an open spot)
     
  15. mickeydean

    mickeydean Friend of Leo's

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    we used to set all the backline stuff on the sides of the stage facing just us
    instead of at the audience.

    with everything mic'd, it allowed us to set our amp volumes for what we needed with almost no effect on the room.
     
  16. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm kinda caught twix the rock and hard place on volume. 'course I now longer gig but when I was, I liked to hear those "tubes" doin' their job.That's the main reason that I employed 2 amps or more.My Twin was setup for the clean purty stuff and my little Deluxe was cranked for kickin' butt..I used an A/B/Y switch box and sometimes ran both amps.The trick was positioning of the Deluxe.While the Twin was always flat on the floor at 3 to 6 ft. behind me,I set the Deluxe in different locations:sometimes almost on its back with enough space to allow air flow..Nothing was ever mic'd and I was the soundman and "cop".
    No band that I ran was ever too loud..And no one that wanted to play louder than I wanted ever came back to another gig.Yeah, I was a tyrant in that respect.But I made good money and payed my guys good so there was never a problem finding players.
     
  17. woodman

    woodman Grand Wazoo @ The Woodshed Gold Supporter

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    10-4 — my main bellwether, when I look out at the crowd, is whether people can carry on a conversation without leaning toward each others' ears. The only exception is when the vast majority of the room is actually listening to the band and/or dancing. When ya know you've got 'em, you can goose the juice a little, but not until then. :cool:
     
  18. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yup.
    Most of my gigs are done at "polite" volume.
    Less stuff to schlep, too.
     
  19. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Well, unfortunately, I don't stop at my own band. I went to see a nationally known artist at a small club one night and the band was so loud I could make out any of the notes or anything. It was like standing next to a wood chipper. When the first set was over, I approached the artist, told him I was a big fan and that I'd really like to hear some of his playing but because the volume was so excessive in a small room, there was just a dull roar with no clarity or definition.

    He got pretty tick off when I brought this up, but I just re-stated my enthusiasm for the group and how much I'd like to hear the band sound better.

    He must have asked a round because he cut back to half the volume for the second set and it was awesome!

    Yeah, sometimes I have a big mouth. Especially if I know it will help someone.
     
  20. tiktok

    tiktok Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I can hear the conversations at the bar, from the stage, while I'm playing, then we're too quiet. The trick is to get just loud enough to drown that out.

    If I have to wear earplugs onstage, the band is too loud. In recent years, the drummer has always been to blame.
     
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