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  • Drummer can't hear rhythm guitar

    This may get the most-boring-question-ever award, but here goes. I play rhythm guitar in a 5-piece blues rock band. The drummer is always complaining that he can't hear me. He likes to key off my playing sometimes. Everyone else in the band seems to hear me fine. We're not what you would call a gigging band, so we don't own our own PA.

    We rehearse in an excellent studio with a simple mixer with 2 side fills and a floor monitor. It's small (20 X 16), but has state-of-the-art acoustics. We set up in a circle facing each other. So my amp, a Fender Deluxe Reverb, is 10 feet from the drummer and facing his general direction. Nothing is mic'd except the vocals.

    Since he's apparently hearing everything else OK, should we just run a cable from my external out to another floor monitor and set it next to him (maybe on a chair or something)? What do you guys think?

  • #2
    Can you move the amp closer to him without messing up everything else? Are their bodies between your amp and his ears?

    I guess if that fails, put an extension cab close to him.
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Full-Steam/179028619290

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    • #3
      Setting up in a circle pretty much guarantees that you won't play well "out" unless that's how you plan to do it on-stage . Loose the side fills and get a set of monitors like you will be actually using. You don'y need a PA system for rehearsals - just a decent monitor rig. Set up as if you are on a stage - if you can't hear each other fix it now, don't wait until you are on stage for the first time or you'll suck. Put some of the guitar into the drummer's monitor and whatever else he wants. Use a separate mix (or two) for the frontline monitors. Document your stage plot and monitor mix to give to the FOH guy when you play out - he'll appreciate the professionalism of that and be motivated to do his best for you. Now you have a much better chance of ever being "good" .

      "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

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      • #4
        Can you move the amp closer to him without messing up everything else? Are their bodies between your amp and his ears?

        I guess if that fails, put an extension cab close to him.


        Yes, I'm standing about midway between my amp and the drummer. I could move it closer to him, but then I would have to turn it to face the midpoint between the two of us (between us to the side facing the middle of the band). I don't want to start having problems hearing myself either.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by flanc
          Can you move the amp closer to him without messing up everything else? Are their bodies between your amp and his ears?

          [COLOR="Blue"]I guess if that fails, put an extension cab close to him.


          Plus one! I got tried of messing around with monitors and put a small guitar amp next to my drums fed from the rhythm guitarist. I use a small amp so I dont blast the stage volume. Some of the places we play in have next to nothing for monitors and some of the sound guys dont help much so when this problem arrises, I have the amp all ready to go.
          <div class="signaturecontainer">I dont want to work, just beat on my drum all day!</div>

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          • #6
            Setting up in a circle pretty much guarantees that you won't play well "out" unless that's how you plan to do it on-stage . Loose the side fills and get a set of monitors like you will be actually using. You don'y need a PA system for rehearsals - just a decent monitor rig. Set up as if you are on a stage - if you can't hear each other fix it now, don't wait until you are on stage for the first time or you'll suck. Put some of the guitar into the drummer's monitor and whatever else he wants. Use a separate mix (or two) for the frontline monitors. Document your stage plot and monitor mix to give to the FOH guy when you play out - he'll appreciate the professionalism of that and be motivated to do his best for you. Now you have a much better chance of ever being "good" .


            Sounds like great advice, but we're limited to what's available in the studio (there's no budget for buying equipment). I completely understand the idea of practicing with the same setup we perform with, but at this point that is nearly impossible. It's likely we could ask for and get another monitor speaker or make some other small adjustment.

            I'll suggest to the band that we set up as if we are on stage (facing an audience). The side fills in the studio act as our frontline monitors. Since there's no audience they face the band. We will have to live with having different monitoring when we perform until we own our own PA. The best we can do is simulate a recommended standard monitoring setup during rehearsal. Also, we can learn as we go general best practices for live stage monitoring. But, in the short term, I just want to help the drummer hear me better. Thanks for your insights.

            PS - I can't figure out how to delete the accidental 2nd post. I tried the 'Edit' dialog, but didn't see a way to delete the post.

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            • #7
              Yes, you can probably put the side fills on their sides and prop them up a bit as frontline monitors and give the other monitor to the drummer. Don't know what you have to mix with or to drive the monitors but if you can mic up the guitar amp and get it into only the drummer's mix you'd really be ready to concentrate on getting a great "stage sound" .

              "We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us" - Walt Kelly​

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              • #8




                Plus one! I got tried of messing around with monitors and put a small guitar amp next to my drums fed from the rhythm guitarist. I use a small amp so I dont blast the stage volume. Some of the places we play in have next to nothing for monitors and some of the sound guys dont help much so when this problem arrises, I have the amp all ready to go.


                Funny you should say that, because that was my first idea, but I thought it might be too rinky-dink (substandard). I have a tiny Roland Cube that I could use. Do you patch it directly from the back of the rhythm guitar's amp? Do you raise it off the ground?

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                • #9
                  cant you just turn your amp on an angle?

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                  • #10
                    Yes, you can probably put the side fills on their sides and prop them up a bit as frontline monitors and give the other monitor to the drummer. Don't know what you have to mix with or to drive the monitors but if you can mic up the guitar amp and get it into only the drummer's mix you'd really be ready to concentrate on getting a great "stage sound" .


                    I like where you're going with this and this is something we could do. There's a 16 channel mixer in the studio and the side fills are self-powered. I can put a SM57 (I have at home) on my amp, patch it to the mixer, and figure out how to route it just to the drummer's monitor. Should I try to mix in the vocals to that monitor as well or let the side fills (frontline monitors) take care of that? Does the drummer's monitor need to be raised or can it sit on the floor?

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                    • #11
                      I would guess that the whole band in general is way too loud. I had a guitar player tell me ,, he couldnt hear me at practice and all he heard was his guitar. I just said ,, you know i have this thing turned up loud enough that it would do for a small bar. This is a 12 x20 basement. If you cant hear me ,,, turn down. I finally quit because these guys just didnt get it. He gave me one too many of his tone lectures. I just said ,, guy you have muffed the last three leads in a row ,,, maybe you need to work on your playing and let your tone take care of itself. The golden rule is if you can hear yourself real well ,, typically you are too loud and stomping on other band members.

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                      • #12
                        cant you just turn your amp on an angle?


                        Good question. We have tried repositioning my amp a few different ways. I even put my amp on a tiltback amp stand once and angled it halfway between the two of us. He said it helped, but didn't seem satisfied.

                        I'm not sure if he's hard of hearing or his drums are drowning out my guitar (he does wear custom ear plugs). Like I said, he seems to here everything else fine. I'm assuming there's a sonic cancellation of some kind occurring between the sound of his drums and my guitar. He needs my guitar mixed higher than mere amp placement will allow.

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                        • #13
                          I would guess that the whole band in general is way too loud. I had a guitar player tell me ,, he couldnt hear me at practice and all he heard was his guitar. I just said ,, you know i have this thing turned up loud enough that it would do for a small bar. This is a 12 x20 basement. If you cant hear me ,,, turn down. I finally quit because these guys just didnt get it. He gave me one too many of his tone lectures. I just said ,, guy you have muffed the last three leads in a row ,,, maybe you need to work on your playing and let your tone take care of itself. The golden rule is if you can hear yourself real well ,, typically you are too loud and stomping on other band members.


                          Rhat, I think you've made a good point. But let me mention a couple things about how loud we play. It's hard to play electric blues with 5 people in a 20 X 16 room and not be too loud sometimes (even though, as mentioned above, this room really does have great acoustics). We play some quieter songs, where I play an acoustic electric, and the drummer says that he can hear me OK on those songs.

                          While playing most of our songs, though, I think our sound level is about average (I've played with guys who play really loud, too, so I know what you mean). Bottom line, I think we could turn down a little, and that would probably help the drummer to hear me, but I don't think it would solve the problem.

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                          • #14
                            ahhh, earplugs. explains a lot. while I'm a big proponent of saving one's hearing,
                            i find it odd somehow that i see bands who wear them, then turn up so loud it almost negates their use, and makes the band difficult to mix. I'm not saying you have this issue but it sure seems complex to hook up a bunch of stuff. perhaps the little amp paralelled off yours might be easiest

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                            • #15
                              Setting up in a circle pretty much guarantees that you won't play well "out" unless that's how you plan to do it on-stage . Loose the side fills and get a set of monitors like you will be actually using. You don'y need a PA system for rehearsals - just a decent monitor rig. Set up as if you are on a stage - if you can't hear each other fix it now, don't wait until you are on stage for the first time or you'll suck. Put some of the guitar into the drummer's monitor and whatever else he wants. Use a separate mix (or two) for the frontline monitors. Document your stage plot and monitor mix to give to the FOH guy when you play out - he'll appreciate the professionalism of that and be motivated to do his best for you. Now you have a much better chance of ever being "good" .
                              My band sets up in a circle in a 20x20 room. Doesn't affect our live show at all.

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