Intensity level on stage?

SticksEasy

Senior Member
How can I tell if my drums are too quiet, from my perspective?

I'll be playing a gig tonight - an indoor festival. What can I reference to know if my drums can be heard clearly or not?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's virtually impossible to tell from behind the drums how they come across out front, or to your bandmates.

It sounds like you'll have a foh guy tonight, and you'll have to rely on him for the drum sound and mix.

But if you're strictly acoustic, the best you can do is play a good mix on stage, and hope you're heard well out front. You may be a little quiet for your taste, but that's preferrable to being too loud for everyone else's taste. Drummers who can keep their volume in check are in big demand, so don't fight it! With any luck, you'll have someone standing out front who can give you some signals as to how you are in the mix, and you can adjust.

Good luck!

Bermuda
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If you record your gigs, and listen back the next day, all will be revealed. It's the best way to understand where/how you sit in the mix, among many other vital aspects of your playing. Every musician needs to do this. It is the fastest track I know of to improve how you come off live.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Good idea about recording in terms of future gigs. You'll need it to demonstrate to the entire band who needs to come up, or down.

Bermuda
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
Listening to my drums from the audience side is how I realised you could hear my cymbal crashes but not the bass hits that went with it. I removed the pillow from my bass drum and never looked back.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Good idea about recording in terms of future gigs. You'll need it to demonstrate to the entire band who needs to come up, or down.

Bermuda
Thanks for the pro level support. The new avatar is a good one Jon, very professional looking.

Listening to my drums from the audience side is how I realised you could hear my cymbal crashes but not the bass hits that went with it. I removed the pillow from my bass drum and never looked back.
My point exactly about the fast track. One listen and the next gig you have instant noticeable improvement in your overall sound, with not a whole lot of work on your part. It's all in the realization of what's actually happening out there. Where you are not. A recorder is like a teammate on your side, who can accurately determine what's missing and what's working. Invaluable piece of equipment, the recorder.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
Good idea about recording in terms of future gigs. You'll need it to demonstrate to the entire band who needs to come up, or down.

Bermuda
Actually very good info. We are always saying "I can't hear Rick" to each other. He plays rythm guitar. BUT, that doesnt mean the audience cant hear him. Have to try this out, thanks for the idea John.
 

Retrovertigo

Senior Member
+1 on recording shows. it changed my playing a lot. when i listened back all i could hear was CYMBALS that were insanely loud. i had to rethink my whole approach but im glad i did. everything sounds so much more cohesive now.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
The thread title is "Intensity" level on stage. Which I don't equate to volume. I agree that it's better to be too soft (while playing with intensity and deliberation) than too loud. Also, you can lean on the kick much more than the rest of things. If you're mic'd with a soundman, he can turn it down if it's way too much. But that gives a pulse and foundation to the music that works. As opposed to a constant wash of cymbals obliterating everything. Same with the back beat on the snare. Drummers who are Milquetoast on the snare kill me. I know a guy who turns the stick around on the snare "to get a fatter sound" and then taps it gently (and slightly late). Listen to most any record and you'll hear the kick and snare (or handclaps/tambourine/ect) as loud as any other thing. Most often they are the loudest thing going on.

Intensity to me means playing with intent and deliberation. That each stroke is there for a reason and means something to the song. There is no filler or toss in notes/strokes. As Vinnie said "each time you hit a drum, it's a musical event". And by playing each note with conviction, as if it alone was the most important part of the song, not louder, but just as important in it's own way as the note before it and the note after it, you create the intensity. It can be a slow burn, or balls to the wall, but you Mean it, on purpose. No cruising.
 
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