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P.A. guys - bad room - any advice?


mstreck

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IMO, drums, at least in a pop/rock setting, sound better when hit with force. That doesn't mean HARD (I don't hit my gear hard out of choice and lack of desire to do so), but that means more than just a light tappity-tap. SOME level of energy. Generally speaking, this does not happen when playing soft or with those multi-rods, etc. Or at least not easily.


Lightly playing drums sounds like...you don't mean it. I'm playing stuff that's at 140, 160, 180...up to 230 BPMs. It's meant to impart some energy and get people to MOVE. That doesn't happen when your overall sound could be described as 'fey', as far as I'm concerned.


But again, I'm not talking about this being a one extreme or the other scenario. I've clearly explained I agree there are numerous volume levels one can choose to play at that may or may not be appropriate to the situation.


Where I, and I suspect many drummers have issues (and again, the reason it's usually the drummer with an issue on this topic is because unlike the gear played by verticals, drums don't come with a volume knob) is when asked to play at a volume that IS at the extreme end of quiet, which is almost always, IME, because the space itself really has no business having a band with drums in it in the first place.


Rock/pop band playing on a concrete floor, with cinderblock and/or glass walls, low ceiling and you want to be able to hold a conversation at normal speaking voice while sitting at the table 5-6 feet away?

That's NOT my/the drummer's/the band's issue to be blunt. That's a case of expecting something that by definition really isn't realistic in the first place.

If that was my only option to gig as a drummer, I'd be fine with sitting at home on Saturday night OR I'd choose another band/genre/style to play in where I was required to (and WANTED to) play with brushes all the time.

 

 

I understand- I actually agree with both you and BS. On one hand, you gotta play the places that are available if you want to play out (and make $$), and on the other hand, you gotta book the places that can handle what YOU do. Quite the conundrum. And I do get what you say about how hard a drummer hits.. with many instruments, the "flick of the wrist" counts for most of the emphasis and quite a lot of tone- I'm sure drums are at the top of that list.

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That is in fact pretty much how I meant it. In my day work I never turn down a job unless it has something to do with compromising my ethics, or is so far away from my skill set that I couldn't handle it (in which case I refer it out). But I would never turn work down just because there is some annoyance about it that I wouldn't want to deal with, which is sort of how I equate stuff like having to turn amps down or hit drums lighter in a band context. Whether it be work or band I see that as what separates a non-serious/hobby situation vs professional employment.

 

 

Well, you and I have very different ideas of what professional means then. To me, being pro includes knowing when to turn a customer away/down as well.

 

In MY day gig, working for a multi-billion tech provider, at our core is an understanding that there are customer/opportunities s we simply don't want. And to put it simply, we don't want those customers because it's not worth the effort/hassle.

We're ok with that.

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If you want to play out, you've got to do what the venue wants.

 

 

I play out relatively regularly and by and large, I do what I want. I just play at venues where what they want aligns with what I want.

 

I'm not looking to be Marty and Elayne at the Dresden, but I understand that some here are in order to pay the bills.

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Well, you and I have very different ideas of what professional means then. To me, being pro includes knowing when to turn a customer away/down as well.


In MY day gig, working for a multi-billion tech provider, at our core is an understanding that there are customer/opportunities s we simply don't want. And to put it simply, we don't want those customers because it's not worth the effort/hassle.

We're ok with that.

 

 

Yep, and I'm a one man shop. No safety net. All a matter of perspective.

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Hmm...just think...if mstreck would have followed kmart's advice and turned down the venue because it's not suited for live music, he would have missed out on additional bookings at the venue, a private booking, and an apparently successful gig.

 

As for me, I'll play just about anywhere once, because as mstreck's experience suggests: it might turn out better than you think, and you never know what opportunities may arise as a result. If it doesn't work out then oh well, I won't be back.

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From my perspective the way I see it, is the OP has put the drummer on the spot because they use amp sims and go direct so there's no stage wash except for the drums which will stick out like a sore thumb if the drummer plays to loud. I suggest putting together a A to E kit.

First pick up a TD-12 module any thing below blows chunks. Pearl e-drum heads triggers for kick and toms, Roalnd 12" PD snare, Smart cymbals to keep the atestics of real drums.

 

That way your drummer still has his kit but you have control of the volume and just matter of swapping heads, cymbals, and snare.

Since the TD-12 gives the durum full HH and snare positioning for dynamics which is a must for a drummer.

This is would be great for those play at whisper type of gigs and the drummer doesn't have to play with rods and towels and

doesn't have to love tap them. e-drums are different animal and most drummers don't care for them but some times it the best tool for the job.

http://www.smartrigger.com/

http://www.pearldrum.com/news/drumset-news.aspx

http://www.roland.com/products/en/TD-12/

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As for me, I'll play just about anywhere once, because as mstreck's experience suggests: it might turn out better than you think, and you never know what opportunities may arise as a result. If it doesn't work out then oh well, I won't be back.

 

 

In general, I agree with this philosophy, but in actual practice, I've also been there/done that enough to know that pleasant surprises of the type you're talking about are VERY few and VERY far between. I play the odds in most cases, and am ok with occasionally staying at home instead of likely barely abiding the gig and getting home at 2:00-3:00 AM with $40-60 in my pocket.

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In general, I agree with this philosophy, but in actual practice, I've also been there/done that enough to know that pleasant surprises of the type you're talking about are VERY few and VERY far between. I play the odds in most cases, and am ok with occasionally staying at home instead of likely barely abiding the gig and getting home at 2:00-3:00 AM with $40-60 in my pocket.

 

 

Some guys can play the venue, some guys have to find a venue to fit them.

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And some guys WANT to find a venue to fit them.


Like you and your backyard.

 

 

 

I think what Tim said there is the truth. There are venues that have been offered to me that I won't play because my band isn't right for them- not because of volume, but because they almost always have classic rock bands. Just like you won't play venues you know your volume won't work for and enjoy doing it, I'm the same regarding venues that don't fit my genre. I have to play venues that fit me- like you, I won't play the same stuff every other band does. I know guys who can play anywhere, but that ain't me. Nor do I want to.

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In general, I agree with this philosophy, but in actual practice, I've also been there/done that enough to know that pleasant surprises of the type you're talking about are VERY few and VERY far between. I play the odds in most cases, and am ok with occasionally staying at home instead of likely barely abiding the gig and getting home at 2:00-3:00 AM with $40-60 in my pocket.

 

 

Some guys are in bands that actually get paid more than $40.00-$60.00.

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There are venues that have been offered to me that I won't play because my band isn't right for them- not because of volume, but because they almost always have classic rock bands. Just like you won't play venues you know your volume won't work for and enjoy doing it, I'm the same regarding venues that don't fit my genre. I have to play venues that fit me- like you, I won't play the same stuff every other band does. I know guys who can play anywhere, but that ain't me. Nor do I want to.

 

 

Volume isn't ever THE deciding factor. Like you, it's got to make sense genre-wise to me as well. And at some level it's got to make sense that we'd appeal to whatever built-in audience demo the place has, and on and on. A number of factors come into play in making any kind of decision like that.

 

 

 

I know guys who
can
play anywhere, but that ain't me. Nor do I want to.

 

Ah, but that's the thing: I CAN play anywhere, and I'd bet you can too. But we CHOOSE not to, for whatever reasons.

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Some guys are in bands that actually get paid more than $40.00-$60.00.

 

 

Yeah: like me, in ones that don't play those little hole in the wall places which shouldn't have bands in the first place.

 

IME, it's all hand-in-glove: shouldn't have a live band because the room is inappropriate for it AND cheap payout are invariably intertwined.

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Volume isn't ever THE deciding factor. Like you, it's got to make sense genre-wise to me as well. And at some level it's got to make sense that we'd appeal to whatever built-in audience demo the place has, and on and on. A number of factors come into play in making any kind of decision like that.


Ah, but that's the thing: I
CAN
play anywhere, and I'd bet you can too. But we CHOOSE not to, for whatever reasons.

 

 

Well Sir, as a fellow hobby player, I applaud your efforts at maintaining the highest of ethical standards when it comes to cherry picking for venues with optimum acoustic qualities. We should get together and exchange notes. I have some interesting theories about how the tone is affected by plastic chairs, beer kegs, dart boards, and video poker machines.

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Well Sir, as a fellow hobby player, I applaud your efforts at maintaining the highest of ethical standards when it comes to cherry picking for venues with optimum acoustic qualities. We should get together and exchange notes. I have some interesting theories about how the my tone is affected by plastic chairs, beer kegs, dart boards, and video poker machines.

 

 

And terrycloth...how could you forget the terrycloth?

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