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Are guitarists the usual culprits when a band has a terrible sound?


daveyboy

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It kills me as a guitar player, but thats been my experience after seeing more bands than I can even remember. And playing with, or more correctly, trying to play with guys that just have to dominate the mix. HUGE HUGE sound that encompasses the whole frequency spectrum and doesnt leave room for bass, perc, vox etc. I get this way after seeing those shows with a dozen bands that sound like bunk and one that just stands out. Even if the band is not really my style or favorite, I try to study their sound and how all the instruments complement each other and dont fight for sonic space. It always sounds to me like the guitar is way more "compact" than I think it should be. Even a little small on its own yet awesome in the sonic brew that is a band. Anyhow thats my little rant for now.

 

Any thoughts?

 

-dave

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I'm not sure the guitarist is the culprit 100% of the time but I do think "immaturity" is.

I see the same issues with bands in my area and it's usally the younger musicians (this includes bass and drums) don't seem to have a clue on how to dial in the right mix.

I've heard drummers use those big sticks and drown out the band and I heard the bass player turn up so loud it's nothing but muddled mess.

As we get older and more comfortable with "our role" in a band, then you see these issues go away.

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all the bands around my area have really bad guitar equpment. as a result..the songs really do sound horrible live. sloppy, muddled, muddy. makes ti very difficult to listen to and even enjoy. i remember one band one time was using a digital effects processor for distortion and there was soo much high end on it that it was piercing. you couldnt enjoy a damn note.

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In a word, yes.

The biggest problem is guitarists cranking their bass. There goes the whole mix! Scooping mids is also very bad, but I think the bass comes first, as you could probably still get away with being a little scooped if you don't use massive amounts of bass, and even if you use a lot of mids, a lot of bass is still going to screw everything over.

I don't know about you guys, but I personally don't find a wall of mud to be remotely heavy sounding. Being able to hear all the instruments clearly without thunder coming out all over does not make a band sound weak, it makes them sound good.

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It could be basically anything that is wrong. Both posts are good ones. It kind of eludes to the idea that novices tend to feel right only when they can hear themselves totally above everything else,or just don't care if they are using up to much sonic volume. Some learn how to deal with it,some never do. You really need to know how to hear the overall mix and fit in with the appropriate volume. And leave room for dynamics.And one needs to realize that the vocals are what sets the threshold for how loud the instruments can be,not the other way around. Few things make a band look worse than mains and monitors feeding back from trying to overdue things trying to get them on top of the instruments,in conjunction with the crowd just plain not being able to hear the vocals.

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Originally posted by OneArmedScissors

In a word, yes.


The biggest problem is guitarists cranking their bass. There goes the whole mix! Scooping mids is also very bad, but I think the bass comes first, as you could probably still get away with being a little scooped if you don't use massive amounts of bass, and even if you use a lot of mids, a lot of bass is still going to screw everything over.


I don't know about you guys, but I personally don't find a wall of mud to be remotely heavy sounding. Being able to hear all the instruments clearly without thunder coming out all over does not make a band sound weak, it makes them sound good.

 

 

+1

 

I can pretty much tell how its going to sound as the guitarist starts tuning up and hitting a few chords. If it sounds MASSIVE, most of the time its gonna be , as you say, a wall of mud.

 

-dave

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Originally posted by OneArmedScissors

In a word, yes.


The biggest problem is guitarists cranking their bass.

 

 

OAS: How'd ya like to jam with the guy that posted in a thread awhile back and said something to the order of: "a Recto with the bass on full really doesnt have all that much bass".

 

Yeah, OK!!!

 

Man I wish I could find that thread.

 

-dave

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Originally posted by OneArmedScissors

In a word, yes.


The biggest problem is guitarists cranking their bass. There goes the whole mix! Scooping mids is also very bad, but I think the bass comes first, as you could probably still get away with being a little scooped if you don't use massive amounts of bass, and even if you use a lot of mids, a lot of bass is still going to screw everything over.


I don't know about you guys, but I personally don't find a wall of mud to be remotely heavy sounding. Being able to hear all the instruments clearly without thunder coming out all over does not make a band sound weak, it makes them sound good.

 

 

I agree. Ive seen quite a few guitarists live who obviously didnt know how to dial in an amp, and of course the bass player who turns his rig up waaaay to loud.

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Originally posted by daveyboy



OAS: How'd ya like to jam with the guy that posted in a thread awhile back and said something to the order of: "a Recto with the bass on full really doesnt have all that much bass".


Yeah, OK!!!


Man I wish I could find that thread.


-dave

I've recently seen,"5150 doesn't have enough bass. Should I get it modded?"

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Originally posted by CTBMETAL

all the bands around my area have really bad guitar equpment. as a result..the songs really do sound horrible live. sloppy, muddled, muddy. makes ti very difficult to listen to and even enjoy. i remember one band one time was using a digital effects processor for distortion and there was soo much high end on it that it was piercing. you couldnt enjoy a damn note.

 

 

As for gear, I've heard bands sound great going direct to the P.A. with cheap old floor processors and modellers and on the flipside I've heard guys with Bogners, Marshalls, Boogies and Insert Manufacturer here sound like doodoo............and of course vice-versa. Not so much the gear but being able to dial it in correctly.

 

-dave

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Originally posted by tlbonehead

I've recently seen,"5150 doesn't have enough bass. Should I get it modded?"



tlb: May as well add some more gain while he's at it.:D

Thats like the guy that said my T100 only had enough gain for "that old AC/DC stuff". Nice.

-dave

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Originally posted by telephant



I agree. Ive seen quite a few guitarists live who obviously didnt know how to dial in an amp, and of course the bass player who turns his rig up waaaay to loud.

 

 

Even when I see bands that I know can handle their equipment, their tends to be too much bass in the guitars, I guess because they are trying to sound "heavy." They may not ruin their sound like the guys who just outright crank the bass, but if they'd turn their bass down some, they'd still sound a hell of a lot better, and therefore heavier, just because you could hear everything better.

 

Bass ? heavy

 

Bass screws over live sound in a heartbeat. The acoustics of pretty much anywhere I have been where rock music is played are very muddy to begin with, so there's no sense in adding to the problem.

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Originally posted by OneArmedScissors



Even when I see bands that I know can handle their equipment, their tends to be too much bass in the guitars, I guess because they are trying to sound "heavy." They may not ruin their sound like the guys who just outright crank the bass, but if they'd turn their bass down some, they'd still sound a hell of a lot better, and therefore heavier, just because you could hear everything better.


Bass ? heavy


Bass screws over live sound in a heartbeat. The acoustics of pretty much anywhere I have been where rock music is played are very muddy to begin with, so there's no sense in adding to the problem.



Werd. I always run my bass on zero. Then again I use a Superbass... :D

On the flip side of the coin, Ive also been to shows where the guitar is waaaaay too {censored}ing loud and absolutely hurts to even be in the same room.

Or the shows where you hear nothing but drums and vocals and the bass and guitars are too loud.

Or the shows where you can hear the bass, drums, and guitars, but the keyboads and percussionist are completely drowned out of the mix.

Ive been to way too many shows where the mix sucked. :(

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Originally posted by OneArmedScissors



Even when I see bands that I know can handle their equipment, their tends to be too much bass in the guitars, I guess because they are trying to sound "heavy." They may not ruin their sound like the guys who just outright crank the bass, but if they'd turn their bass down some, they'd still sound a hell of a lot better, and therefore heavier, just because you could hear everything better.


Bass ? heavy


Bass screws over live sound in a heartbeat. The acoustics of pretty much anywhere I have been where rock music is played are very muddy to begin with, so there's no sense in adding to the problem.

 

 

Yep. It's been my experience that the "better"(to me) more articulate sounding bands sound a bit bighter or less bassy guitarwise if you will.

 

-dave

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Originally posted by telephant



Werd. I always run my bass on zero. Then again I use a Superbass...
:D

On the flip side of the coin, Ive also been to shows where the guitar is waaaaay too {censored}ing loud and absolutely hurts to even be in the same room.


Or the shows where you hear nothing but drums and vocals and the bass and guitars are too loud.


Or the shows where you can hear the bass, drums, and guitars, but the keyboads and percussionist are completely drowned out of the mix.


Ive been to way too many shows where the mix sucked.
:(



Same here.

One of the only heavy bands I have ever seen that actually sounded really good was Cattle Decapitation, of all things. Of course, they only have one guitar, but he was sitting on top of the mix, not flooding it. He has a very nice rig, but so did all of the other bands I saw that night, and they were all pretty muddy, and that includes Between The Buried And Me and Darkest Hour. They both sound good on their CDs, but their guitars were just too damn bassy.

Of course, I have to see almost every band at the same crappy place, with lazy, worthless sound guys that tend to just screw things up, but at least I know that it's POSSIBLE to sound good there.

That's cool that you turn your bass down. I do too. I was going to ask if anyone else did that, but most everyone seems to want to have a lot of bass for anything hard rock and on.

My gear is not the greatest by any means, but here's how I like to set up lately, and I think it sounds very good for what it is:

Ibanez SZ >

Fish 'N Chips EQ with 100Hz all the way down, 400Hz up a little, 800Hz up a little more, and 1.6kHz up a little >

Pod XT Live on the Diamondplate model with gain 5, bass 0, mids 10, treble 0, and presence 0 >

Kustom Quad DFX 100 on the clean channel with the EQ set flat

It looks crazy that I have so little bass and treble, and so much mids, but it's all in the right amounts in the right places in the signal chain, so when I turn my amp up, it's tight, thick, gritty, and fairly clear sounding for how cheap all that stuff is.

It isn't harsh sounding, as some people say it is when you have lots of mids, as it boosts the upper mid and treble frequencies to the point where I want them, and doesn't add any ear-splitting fizz.

The amp itself seems fairly dark sounding to me, and since the EQ set flat is with the knobs all the way up, it actually has some bass in the post-gain department, where you want it.

I play primarily heavy stuff. When I started playing, I used to do completely the opposite of this, and cut the mids and add as much treble, bass and gain as I could. One day I turned it up really loud and tried to play that way for an extended period of time and I realized how utterly crappy it sounds, and I've thought about things quite differently since. I encourage others to try the same, as I've also seen a few other people on the forum come to the same conclusions as myself in setting up this way, so I can't be completely wrong. ;)

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All good points. If people would just forget about "their tone" for a second and think about their frequency "roles" in a rock band its a lot easier.


highs: cymbals
mids: guitars vox and snare
low freqs: bass and kick

and vox get to step all over everything, cause they're the most important. If you don't agree, then you're either playing metal or don't have a clue IMO. A band that isn't too loud will get a much better vocal sound, and if people stick to their "roles" they'll all hear each other fine. But easier said than done of course ;)

For sure too much bass on a guitar sound is going to screw things up. Too much highs is nasty and pointless as the "prettiness" of it will be eaten up by the cymbals, which sound better without guitars fighting them. Some of the best live mixes I've ever heard were from blues/R+B cover bands actually. The guitar players typically use fender combos and next to no bass, and not much gain. Sounds awesome, but obviously not going to work for a lot of rock sounds though.

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Originally posted by OneArmedScissors


gain 5, bass 0, mids 10, treble 0, and presence 0 >

 

 

Thats awesome. On my Superbass, my mids are always on 10 as well. and my treble and presence never get above 5 unless Im playing at low volumes.

 

 

I have to see almost every band at the same crappy place

 

 

Which club? I will be driving from Austin to San Antonio to see Nine Inch Nails this Sunday, and then later Avenged Sevenfold.

 

I noticed most of the harcore/metal bands bypass Austin in favor of San Antonio. The club I see come up the most in SA is the White Rabbit...

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