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Anyone here play in a very quiet band?


Mermph

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Like an acoustic trio or a little jazz group or something?

 

I don't like acoustic music, I like electric rock, but I hate hauling equipment and being told to turn down, and I hate getting my eardrums blasted by loud bandmates, so I want to make a quiet band.

 

I've been playing open mics recently and I'd like to get a drummer who can accompany me at low volume. If that works then maybe I can add someone else. I don't like playing solo, I like having a band. I just want to see how much I can simplify the band thing.

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Yes. I play with a duo/trio. Eric plays acoustic & sings. I sing & play either acoustic, electric or bass. We have a drummer for some gigs. Sometimes he has just a snare & a cymbal, sometimes a full kit.

 

Being able to scale up or down w/r to volume & musical style is a big selling point for us. We played for several thousand people at World Beer Festival last weekend (ok, most of them weren't paying attention to us :) ). This coming weekend, we'll play a couple of low-key restaurant/bars as a duo.

 

Loud, soft, whatever. As long as I get to play.

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Had one quite a few years ago. A stage change which separated the two guitarists stopped the volume wars. Drummer was a jazz technique player. We did Pop, Rock, R&B, Country. I'm sure there was other stuff in that.

 

Results - We could hear the audience talking while we were playing. People who came in, stayed until we were finished for the night. (Always finished to a full house.) We had all the work we could handle. (And half the band were full time college students.) Three part harmony without monitors. (We were able to place the PA in the back line.) And we were able to pack up in 15 minutes total. It was a pretty good thing all around. I'd do it again in a minute given musicians who also felt that way.

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My originals band can do everything from acoustic solo/duo to full acoustic, to full "rock" band. We have a 4-hour coverband set list with all classic to modern rock at "medium-loud" volume, and we also can do low-volume "coffee house" sets.

 

FWIW, i've noticed in every possible genre, that the lower the volume, the better it sounds! Not the PA volume, the BAND volume. Most bands have no clue as to how to use a PA system to boost the band- they all just CRANK it, then use the PA to fill the gaps... end result is someone yelling at the band to turn it down... and sometimes a venue will clear out if the music is cutting through everyone.

 

(edit), in thinking about it, I'd honestly say any band that can't halve their volume on command, probably isn't ready to be playing out.

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I play mostly showcase/original type venues. What we do is use small amps. The lead guitarist uses 2, 5 watt class A amps. 2, 1x12 cabs. I use a 300 watt bass Ashdown turned way down. The singer uses a little 10 watt Marshall. We get our stage volume matched to the live drum kit...

 

...then the house mikes it up. That way the monitors are always loud enough and FOH guy gets to cranks us right where he wants us. It works great. Sounds ballsy and clean. and we sing in key.

 

I can walk over to the guitarist and slightly raise my voice and be heard. the loudest thing onstage is the snare and the lead vocal.

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My originals band can do everything from acoustic solo/duo to full acoustic, to full "rock" band. We have a 4-hour coverband set list with all classic to modern rock at "medium-loud" volume, and we also can do low-volume "coffee house" sets.


FWIW, i've noticed in every possible genre, that the lower the volume, the better it sounds! Not the PA volume, the BAND volume. Most bands have no clue as to how to use a PA system to boost the band- they all just CRANK it, then use the PA to fill the gaps... end result is someone yelling at the band to turn it down... and sometimes a venue will clear out if the music is cutting through everyone.


(edit), in thinking about it, I'd honestly say any band that can't halve their volume on command, probably isn't ready to be playing out.

 

 

These last two weeks our band has been practicing louder then the previous 6 months. My play at practice has drastically gotten worse. What I am playing exceptionally well at home is now full of sour notes.

 

I know the volume is bugging me. So this got me to thinking if the volume could be at a level that is effecting my concentration. Has this happened to anyone else?

 

FYI: our drummer uses a Roland TD20 so there is no dire absolute need to be loud on stage or at practice.

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Results - We could hear the audience talking while we were playing. People who came in, stayed until we were finished for the night. (Always finished to a full house.) We had all the work we could handle. (And half the band were full time college students.) Three part harmony without monitors. (We were able to place the PA in the back line.) And we were able to pack up in 15 minutes total. It was a pretty good thing all around. I'd do it again in a minute given musicians who also felt that way.

 

 

 

 

 

That's what I'd like! I would think that being able to play soft would open up more types of venues to play at. I don't care if I never play another dive bar ever again.

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I know the volume is bugging me. So this got me to thinking if the volume could be at a level that is effecting my concentration. Has this happened to anyone else?


 

 

I think loud noise is simply irritating. The brain shouldn't have to be tasked with dealing with that {censored}. I quit a band because rehearsal was ludicrously loud and it would make me feel physically ill, even with ear plugs. I lasted like 2 practices and said goodbye.

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Just a general observation - it seems the softer you can play the more money you can make. I personally like all kinds of music so aren't "limited" to loud R&R. I've been jammin' bass with a real quiet jazz quintet (drummer plays a dumbeck hand drum or borrows my Cajon) and a metal trio (I use my earplugs to keep up with the Marshall stack). Also jammed some original acoustic cowpunk recently and might get into some cover contemporary country. Might get together with the guitarist from the jazz thing and do a cover/original coffeehouse duet + guests thing as that seems like the best paying thing you can do 'round these parts - I'd maybe play Cajon for that.

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These last two weeks our band has been practicing louder then the previous 6 months. My play at practice has drastically gotten worse. What I am playing exceptionally well at home is now full of sour notes.


I know the volume is bugging me. So this got me to thinking if the volume could be at a level that is effecting my concentration. Has this happened to anyone else?


FYI: our drummer uses a Roland TD20 so there is no dire absolute need to be loud on stage or at practice.

 

 

Well..

I don't know if it affects concentration directly, but your steaming over it most certainly would affect concentration.

 

What I've found most affected by high volume is the vocals / mics. If you have a feedback problem, well... turn it down. It's really that simple. Sure there are tons of other things you can (and should) do to control feedback issues, but at some point in volume, the feedback can and will become uncontrollable.

 

The other point on vocals is that the louder the band, the harder it is for the singer to stay in key. I don't know why, but It's obvious to me - I've seen it happen time and time again.

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I know the volume is bugging me. So this got me to thinking if the volume could be at a level that is effecting my concentration. Has this happened to anyone else?

 

We split a bill three years ago where the sound guy had the stage volume so loud that it was an assault on our senses. Throw that in with blinding flashing lights and it can get pretty disorienting.

 

The best part: when we said something to the sound guy about it, he said "I've run sound in stadiums, I know what I'm doing". Well... we were in a VFW. :facepalm:

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(edit), in thinking about it, I'd honestly say any band that can't halve their volume on command, probably isn't ready to be playing out.

 

 

I agree completely, but try telling that to the 17 year-old with a pointy guitar and a crate half-stack.

 

My band uses PODs and V-drums, and we can be anywhere from just above ambient room noise to wide open. In my 5 years with this band, we've never been told to turn down. On the contrary, we occasionally have people asking us to turn it up!

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Good quality sound doesn't sound as loud as bad quality sound as it doesn't damage your ears as much.

 

Good quality cymbals often aren't as loud as low end ones aimed at younger players. They also have a purer and generally nicer sound.

 

Compression makes your ears work a lot harder.

 

I've also played in churches where the low volume levels they were aiming for (and turning my 15W 1x10" combo down from 3 - 1.5 to achieve) were completely unrealistic for the monitoring setup they had available and was never going to be heard over crowd noise (I know, as I couldn't hear myself as soon as the congregation sing and can hardly heard the singers, which were also turned down).

 

Jazz is basically amplified acoustic music. You are re-creating a sound in the room and good arrangement and musicianship is the key to having things not step on each other. For, some types of rock music this type of approach might work but other styles rely on a more dense sound.

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That's what I'd like! I would think that being able to play soft would open up more types of venues to play at. I don't care if I never play another dive bar ever again.

 

 

We were playing dives, but 5 nights a week steady. We rehearsed new material on the 6th day and I didn't touch my instruments on the 7th. it all happened in a 9 mile radius of Morgantown W.Va. I developed a singer's talking voice. (Like someone who had chain smoked for years.) I think my bass playing was probably at the top of my game, even though I only played it half the time. We also had Bing Crosby playing drums. (Not the famous one, but a good musician to play with and work with.)

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I know the volume is bugging me. So this got me to thinking if the volume could be at a level that is effecting my concentration. Has this happened to anyone else?

 

 

As a motorcyclist and musician, I can safely attest to loud volumes levels as very fatiguing. (Cross country, I use ear plugs under my helmet.) I'd rather wear myself out doing a great show than tolerating excessive stage volume. (I keep a pair of custom ear plugs on my keyboard.)

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On the contrary, we occasionally have people asking us to turn it up!

 

 

In a bar the only people telling you to turn up are likely to be drunk. In a previous band, every time the owner told us to turn up the sound quality suffered. (And it wasn't a quiet band in my mind.) We finally decided to agree to turn up and not really change anything. Always go for quality over quantity.

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In a bar the only people telling you to turn up are likely to be drunk. In a previous band, every time the owner told us to turn up the sound quality suffered. (And it wasn't a quiet band in my mind.) We finally decided to agree to turn up and not really change anything. Always go for quality over quantity.

 

 

Not a completely true statement (though often true) - we had a recent gig where we sound checked in an empty bar and by the time 350 people were in there (including as many as 15 on stage), I had been asked by our soundman to turn up my guitar on 4 different occassions to the point where I believe it's the loudest I've ever had the thing (I think the master made it all the way to 4 - I'm usually just over 1).

 

Also, it depends on your crowd - we play to drunk people who want to party, sing (scream) along, etc. Our volume is going to be significantly louder than a band playing in a restaurant or quieter bar.

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I think loud noise is simply irritating. The brain shouldn't have to be tasked with dealing with that {censored}. I quit a band because rehearsal was ludicrously loud and it would make me feel physically ill, even with ear plugs. I lasted like 2 practices and said goodbye.

 

 

I used to fix steam (and other) leaks in the Steel Mills, Refineries and Power Stations while the lines were still under pressure. Ever hear what 2500 PSI of super saturated steam leaking out of valve packing sounds like? Well to give you a hint, you can hear it when you get in the elevator on the ground floor of the power station to go up the four stories to the level where the leak is.

 

A couple of hours in that environment even with ear plugs in and you can still hear that hiss/whistle for hours & hours after you get home. And I got news for you....it doesn't just effect your concentration, it makes you down-right surly. Irritated/agitated to the point of aggression. Yes, that's right, it can play on your nerves so bad that you feel like throttling someone!!! It's no joke.

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