Multi-guitar band, cant hear self, turn down or up?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by watelessness, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    shboom brings up a good point about making sure the overall sound is balanced for the audience. That can be hard to do from the stage. I have a wireless system, and I'm kind-of the default sound-guy for our band, so I wander out into the audience during sound checks (which sometimes is just our first song due to time pressure) and listen to the overall balance - and out there I can also stop playing my guitar for a bar or two (ostensibly for dramatic effect), then jump back in, to see where I'm sitting in the mix.

    Anyway, I think it just takes a bit of patience. And I think the best advice so far has been for everyone to turn it down...way down...and then tweak from there, slowly upping everyone's volume until you are comfortable (and no further). If everyone is already nearing max, the wall of noise is hard to tweak.
     
  2. tolm

    tolm New Member

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    I'd recommend Less Gain / More Volume (I used to find myself always cranking the amount of overdrive and you can just disappear with that approach ...) and also think about EQ - try and position yourself differently in the mix. Also - the guitar / settings. Other guy on a Les Paul or similar tone? Break out a Tele (or equivalent coil-split settings) to stand out.
     
  3. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    Crank the volume up and everyone else will too. You then have louder mush, but mush all the same.

    Different eq's. Relax the bass and treble Freq's and boost the mids a bit. Use a boost for solo's. Use different amps and not next to each other. Different guitars and play different parts. No need to both be playing the exact same thing so if one is strumming open or barre chords then learn the CAGED system to figure out other chord positions and use some imagination. Say, one strums an open chord and the other plays the same chord in a different position but using arpeggios. Sweet Child O Mine is a good example of this.

    Also make sure your lead singer is eq'd right. Had this issue a few times. Make sure your bass player isn't swamping everything.

    Use good monitoring and rehearse as if you're playing to an audience and set the gear up as such. Any player that doesn't do his / her best to tailor the sound to be as good as possible ditch. You're only as good as your weakest link, so if a member just keeps turning up and killing the clarity then ditch them.

    And, FFS, don't use huge frickin 100W stacks for small / medium gigs. It's overkill.

    Don't gig till you've got your sound right and the songs nailed down. The audience will forgive a few things but having their hearing destroyed by a band that has no shape? No.
     
  4. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    Bloody auto correct!!!
     
  5. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    Oh, and don't swamp your sound in effects. Less is more. Less gain, less fx, less crushing volume.
     
  6. NomadMike

    NomadMike New Member

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    I've found Tolm's approach often works. I'd also buy an EQ pedal to help get better separation.
     
  7. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    Way back when we just used to put a second cab on each side of the stage so it was easier to match levels and better balanced ( monitors do this also )
    another thing to remember is that many guitarist sounds are often far to dark to work live don't be afraid to roll off the bass and add Treble and mids
     
    #27 Rider1260, Jan 29, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  8. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc “Evil” Sergio. You can tell by the goatee

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    That's actually a really smart idea, Tag.
     
  9. Egads

    Egads One, Two, THIRTEEN!

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    Serg, you seemed surprised Tag had a good idea. :vroam:
     
  10. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc “Evil” Sergio. You can tell by the goatee

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    C'mon! I just never thought of Tag's idea before.
     
  11. Egads

    Egads One, Two, THIRTEEN!

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    Tee hee.
     
  12. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc “Evil” Sergio. You can tell by the goatee

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    Troublemaker.
     
  13. dergit

    dergit ze German

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    Some very good advice in this thread, especially the posts that aim less at the technical more at the musical possibilities.

    I've had trouble with this in previous bands but in my current one, everyone's so sensible with what they play and don't play that we're not fighting for sonic space at all (well, most of the time ;)). It's down to arrangement and the notes you don't play. Everyone has to get this. Everyone has to understand you're a band of X people, not just a platform for themselves to show off their amazing skills. No one cares. Play together or play alone in your bedroom.

    WRT the technical side... everyone should dial in their individual sounds as fat as they *need* to be. Not as fat as they *can* be. If you have a bass player, leave some room in the bottom end and ask him to focus his sounds down there as well. Two guitarists can often battle when their setup and style of playing is too similar. But even then - if you dial back the distortion to what the song *needs* rather than what your amp *can* deliver, it'll all clear up nicely. If everyone keeps turning themselves up, all you end up with is loud mud.
     
  14. watelessness

    watelessness Member

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    I LOVE YOU GUYS!

    <bro hug>

    This is some insightful, thought-provoking feedback, and I thank you all for putting in the time to share your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.

    Long ago, when I was a gigging bass player I didn’t have any sonic competition as long as I locked with the kick. Almost as long ago, when I was a gigging drummer, I played with a great deal of dynamics, and liked to think that I had the maturity to play sparsely or complexly as required, to leave spaces and not fill every gap, etc. But this transition to guitar has proven more difficult than my previous instrumental adaptations, and is really testing my ability to claim the title of “musician”.

    My struggles now are hearing myself in the rehearsal space and when playing live. I can hear myself on some songs while on others I feel as if I should just not play because I can’t hear my clams, which makes me anxious and I screw up more. When we rehearse with one string player missing, I do not have these issues, so I’m inclined to believe that we are all stepping on each other’s sonic space.

    The problem appears to be my own for the most part, as the other guys don’t really complain about what they can’t hear, at least at practices, so maybe it’s just how my ears work. I did have my hearing tested last summer and surprisingly I have less than normal loss for guys with as many laps around the sun.

    We practice in a 17x22x9 rectangle space that may be eating some frequencies based on how I insulated it (double walls, theater blanket between the walls, insulation in the ceiling, 1 pound rubber and resilient channel in the ceiling). We’ve tried playing in a circle but that didn’t work so now we’re lined up like we’re facing the audience. For practice, the drummer uses an electronic kit. The lead guitar player uses a Singlecut through a Line 6 Pod HD 500 into a Boogie Mark III, while I use a 513 through a few occasional effect pedals into an Archon. The guitar amps are on opposite sides of room. Moving bass rig to other side of room has helped me without majorly disturbing the other guitar player, but I struggle even to hear the other guitar, especially live. I just have to assume that we’re playing the same song. On the 513, I use a mix of single-coil and humbuckers, but perhaps this is some of my undoing and I need to mature to the point of developing better taste for the overall musical product.

    I have tried a variety of amps and cabinets, both open and closed. I found the closed-back cabs were just too nodal, and it was too hard to find the sweet spot. As far as getting closer to the speaker, I can’t tolerate the sound pressure, and I miss out on the amp “blooming”. Regarding floor monitors, I tried that too and it was just too much sound pressure for the spaces we play, and ironically, other guys in the band seemed to hear me better than I heard myself. I did just acquire an Audio-Technica M2M In-ear system and have begun that journey. This past week I noticed that I could get enough of my guitar but was losing out on the rest of the band so that approach continues to evolve.

    I’ve tried messing with the EQ and have had some success, especially when cutting out the lows and bringing up the mids. Regardless of how the guitar sounds on its own, it has to sound good within the context of the band. I usually play with the guitar volume rolled back to 7, especially when the vocals have the melody.

    The boost volume sink is a wild idea but probably not much value to me as I have nothing to say melodically and subsequently don’t do solos.

    This past week we turned everything down, and brought up the bass to match the kick, then added guitars so that we could hear each other. We exerted the discipline to keep our levels throughout the night and it made a great difference. The concept of turning down gain and upping the volume is very intriguing and I’m eager to try it this week.

    The notion of using inversions, arpeggios, and two-and-three-string parts instead of doubling is a huge “DUH” moment for me. That’s how we do originals but for some reason I think we’ve been grossly caught up trying to sound like the record for our covers instead of playing musically. It’s time for me to step up and modify all my parts.

    The band have all been friends for years and don’t have any ego issues, but I think we’re all a little reluctant to aggravate each other but we must embark and more clear and honest communication so that we can dial in the tone stack to a more musical place.

    Thanks again, guys; I truly appreciate it!
     
  15. cyclops

    cyclops New Member

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    One thing I didn't see mentioned... try a GOOD compressor between your guitar and amp. You will get a fuller sound without needing to turn the volume up. Try the Wampler Ego compressor or any compressor that has a 'blend' knob to get the original attack back into the signal.
     
  16. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    One of my defining musical moments was playing in a horn band. My (then) teacher explained the concept that others have stated...........less is more. Depending on what the bass player is playing, use fewer well chosen notes (3rd & 7th, blues double stops), or just drop a note out of the chord ( no root, no 3rd or no 7th). If the other chord player is playing longer rhythms, play shorter rhythms, and vice versa. High versus low, it's always a question of contrast in space and pitch level. Then there's clean versus distorted, or pedaled, or whatever. Hearing yourself is usually a question of listening to what the others play, and not duplicating it. And then there's playing an octave higher or lower than your band mates (doubling the bass or other guitar, keys, horns........) Damn, I even bore myself.......
     

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