Volume Nazi

arbshredderarbshredder Posts: 244
edited December 1969 in Off topic/NON-DINO Music Area
So I joined this pop cover band (don't ask why - I was just bored, I guess).  Anyway, the bassist runs the band and he is constantly asking me to turn down, to the point where I can barely hear myself, even though I am right in front of my amp.

Someone recorded us at a rehearsal, and emperically, I am too low - You only hear bass and drums (and weak vocals) in the mix. 

I don't want to turn this into a pissing contest, but I am getting irritated, and IMO we sound better when I am on an equal volume with everyone else instead of quashed down. 



  • pprovostpprovost Posts: 2,636
    Record the track with the volume they want it at, and then ask to record the same track with the volume that you want. Then let everyone listen to both versions. If they like it better with the guitar volume higher, then great. If they like it better with the volume turned down, then maybe it's time for you to leave.

    There is no point in playing in environment where you hate it. Bands are like relationships. Sometimes you hookup with people and you find that you have different interests and the relationship turns toxic. Best thing to do is to pull the plug and find a band that suits your style and you enjoy being there.
    I think sometimes if you try to play too technically, you lose something in the music - like you're playing for another guitar player. I like to play for people. The more sophisticated and mature guitarists become, the more they go with the feel.

    - Ritchie Blackmore

  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    Without hearing the other side of the story, my advice echoes pprovost's.
    Play at a volume you feel comfortable at. Compromise may be necessary to some extent, obviously.
    If the rest of the band can't live with that (has anyone else made any remarks, or is the bassist the band dictator?) move on. Life's too short.

    The other side of the story : my predecessor in Crusader played a rack system with a Soldano preamp and VHT (I think) power amp. He had everything turned up to earsplitting levels because "that's my sound". When asked to turn down he'd say he didn't have a volume control... Don't be that guy!
  • This is a CLASSIC dino problem.
    As such, I am going to ask is it possible that due to what is likely your Dino guitar TONE, you may SOUND too loud even though you are not? Especially in the context of a "pop" band.  To find out if this idea has any merit, keep your volume up and roll back your gain and see what happens.  If he doesn't complain, it tells you it's not actually the volume he's objecting to, but your sound. I used to have this trouble at jams all the time, cause there were never any other Dino guys at them.  I had this big, brown, T-Rex-driving-a-steam-roller sound, sometimes in stereo, so even at low volumes, it sounded bigger  than everything else in the room even thought it was actually NOT louder.

    Either way, situations like that are usually doomed unless the gig is providing income for all.
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
  • The funny thing is, my tone is largely clean.  I use a Tube Screamer for a little breakup when I need it and a Boss DF-1 for solos.  I have a Marshall JTM 60 and a JC-120.  People seem to like the JC-120 better.  My tone definitely fits in with what the group wants to do.  I just wish I could hear myself better.  I hear bass (in my face loud), drums, faintish vocals, and very faint me. 

    But you guys are right - the music I am playing is nothing I would listen to otherwise. 
  • you are obviously dealing with a bassist who thinks he's Blackmore busting out the modded Majors. You say you can hear drums (you can ALWAYS hear drums), bass is too loud and guitar and vocals (which should be de most audiable things) are too low. Bass dude needs to turn down, and you and the vocals should turn up.
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,650
    There is no way a JC-120 is over powering a bass guitarist's contribution to the mix unless the bass player is using a silly small bass amp or he plucks his strings like a pussy.
  • AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,928
    In my experience, this sounds like a bunch of people who aren´t that musically experienced.
    Have you ever seen a Jazz ensemble or a classic orchestra where one instrument was too loud ?
    You got to be able to hear each other to play off each other.

    But the levels between all the instruments  are part and parcel of any bands SOUND and every member in the band should be aware of that, excactly how loud should the cymbals be, the bass, the guitar and so forth.

    And to get to that awareness, you need to talk, discuss and ultimately find some consensus about YOUR sound.

    But really, This is why I enjoy not having a band right now.

    I often told my band mates, think like you´re in a Jazz band, we´ve got to be aware of what each other are doing musically, and everybody says, yeah of course, and I try to fit in with my sound, and everybody plays just a bit louder, so I stop playing, and just mime playing, and no one notices.

    Then I give up, why bother ?
    If anybody in a band is overpowering anybody else in that band it is because he/she doesn´t want to play WITH other people, and he should be made aware that maybe he should stay at home, and play alone, because this is a BAND practice.

    But first and last, maybe you have different ideas about levels, and should talk about it at length.
    Or simply, leave.
  • First gig with this band tonight.  Everyone in the audience was complaining they couldn't hear the vocals or the guitar.  Basically he heard it from a lot of people during the break.  Second set he was much lower and people seemed to hear us better.  So maybe he gets it now.
  • M11M11 Posts: 840
    Every bassist I have ever encountered has always complained that the bass should sound louder than it is already.
  • StiltzkinStiltzkin Posts: 851
    now I'm tempted to dust off the ol' 5stringer  :evillaugh:
  • SanchoSancho Posts: 18,678
    [quote author=M11 link=topic=12606.msg196626#msg196626 date=1319644263]
    Every bassist I have ever encountered has always complained that the bass should sound louder than it is already.
    Yep. Our current bass player has the earth shaking already and still feels he's not right in the mix :doh:
  • otcconanotcconan Posts: 5,677
    I was in a prog band, and the bassist and drummer were influenced hugely by Primus, I knew going in, so I knew I was going to have to deal with being low in the mix.  Then, they ask me to take a solo and now because of their mix I couldn't be heard.  It was all good, though for me in the end because I wrote this ska thing that totally needed the bass to ride on top and he put this thing that could have come from Paul Simon's "Graceland" on it.  So sometimes it works out.  I mean, I guess if you're Alex Lifeson and playing with the greatest drummer and (agueably) greatest bass player in the world, you have to make some concessions.

    That said, I spoke up when some mixes revealed me to be practically inaudible.  But then, they did want to be able to hear me because it was the first band I was possibly the weakest member, and they wanted to kind of make sure I was keeping up.  But still, I really had no problem having the sound dominated by the bass (apart from solos, of course).  I kind of like Rush and Primus, and come to think of it, Yes.  And I don't think Steve Howe had any problem with their sound being dominated by the bass (which it certainly was on for example, "Roundabout."

    I'm not saying your complaint is wrong, but sometimes musicians make compromises and sometimes that leads to a band having a particular sound.  Ours was bass heavy but there was still plenty of guitar and you could hear it.  And it was glorious.  Take that for what it's worth.  Of course, all bets are off if it's a cover band, because there you need to match the mix of the song you are covering unless you're a very adventurous cover band.
  • otcconanotcconan Posts: 5,677
    Kind of have to add this too:  In Elephant! I had my Rat pedal set at a lower volume so that my clean sound was actually louder than the distorted sound.  It sounds wrong, but most of my solos in that band were clean, and in the verses I was there to fill up the sound.  So there you have a Dino-influenced guitar player using a louder clean than distorted.  The amp did distort a little bit in the clean bits just from natural distortion but not much.

    In the end, if you're actually playing live, you need someone with knowledge running your board.  At practice, turn it up until you can hear it and if he complains, he's an asshole.
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