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Old 01-10-2017, 10:17 PM
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liv_rong liv_rong is offline
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Default live sound questions

I recently did my first show, and though it didnt go as well as I had hoped it wasnt terrible either. But I have some sound questions. I know a bit about recording but live sound not so much. My main question has to do with ghost notes and snare work. Does this generally not come through at smaller shows? Im guessing the sound guy at this show used a gate on the snare, which makes sense but it killed all my light accents and ghost work. Ive seen a lot of live footage where that kind of stuff comes through in the mix but it didnt for my first gig. Is this something I need to talk about with the sound guy or just let him do his thing because the audience wont notice anyways? I definitely dont want to upset him or step on his/her shoes, just kind of wondering what the deal is. Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2017, 10:27 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

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Originally Posted by liv_rong View Post
I recently did my first show, and though it didnt go as well as I had hoped it wasnt terrible either. But I have some sound questions. I know a bit about recording but live sound not so much. My main question has to do with ghost notes and snare work. Does this generally not come through at smaller shows? Im guessing the sound guy at this show used a gate on the snare, which makes sense but it killed all my light accents and ghost work. Ive seen a lot of live footage where that kind of stuff comes through in the mix but it didnt for my first gig. Is this something I need to talk about with the sound guy or just let him do his thing because the audience wont notice anyways? I definitely dont want to upset him or step on his/her shoes, just kind of wondering what the deal is. Thanks!
So many things can factor into the answer to your question. I always take it for granted that if the music volume is above normal conversation level, you're not going to convey much subtlety in your performance in any event.

You say "smaller show" but it sounds like you were miked. It will certainly depend on the size of the room, the stage volume, and the amount of natural sound versus reinforced sound your audience heard. And of course, technique plays a role in the audience's perception of your playing as well. If your backbeats are at 100% volume and your ghosts are at 20%, they're going to get swallowed up in the overall band mix. If they're too close in volume - say, 80-90% - they stop being ghost notes and start sounding like rudiments.

You can definitely try to have a conversation with your sound guy about the mix, but your results may vary depending on his level of experience, his actual talent at doing sound, his knowledge of music/drumming, and his general disposition (we all have horror stories about "that sound guy" who treats musicians as if they were plague carriers). I kind of doubt that he intentionally put a gate on the snare, but it *is* possible.

A good quality recording can clear up some of these questions for you. Usually when I play live, if I'm not certain of the sound quality or the overall mix volume is really high, I leave out a lot of the trickier bits of playing and go for a more straight-ahead approach wherever possible.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:27 PM
Wave Deckel Wave Deckel is offline
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Default Re: live sound questions

One or many factors can also be the mics being used, I'd say. If they are not good enough/up to the task, then the Ghostnotes might not get transported to the audience as you'd wish. The mixing and overall sound-engineering of the band is more important though as a factor, I guess. But also, how good you are at ghostnotes. I (being a "soft-hitter") play them at roughly 40 to 50 percent of my backbeat volume live and that works okay so far. You can notice them but they are not yet "in your face".

Quote:
Is this something I need to talk about with the sound guy or just let him do his thing because the audience wont notice anyways?
Well, the latter thing with the audience can happen. I remember my wife hearing Rosanna on radio, which is full of ghostnotes. My wife only heard boom-boom-tak-boom-boomboom-tak. Not boomdididldididlditakititakiti.... well you now. A variation of two and four on the floor more or less. When I told her about the ghostnotes and that this was a shuffle, she looked at me with big questionmarks in her eyes. "What are you talking about? I don't hear it..." :-)
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Thanks for the reply's, guys! I guess Im on the lighter side with the accents, which probably will not come through. The first link is a recording I did, the second is from the show in question.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZCn1vGkIRc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXeZCsu1ar4
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:49 PM
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IDDrummer IDDrummer is offline
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Default Re: live sound questions

I guess the first question that popped into my mind was, "How do you know they didn't come through out front?"

It's worth a conversation with the sound man if you will be playing the same venue with the same sound man in the future. Rather than come across as telling him how to do his job, perhaps you could ask something like "Hey, were you able to hear the ghost notes on my snare? I'm wondering if I need to make some adjustments." Something like that might open a dialogue.

In my experience, sound techs only close mic and gate everything on larger, louder gigs. Alparrott already made great comments as regards louder gigs, I think.

EDIT - just saw your other thread with YouTube vids, so I see how you know what it sounded like out front, lol. I can't watch the vids at work, but I'll try to check back later.

Last edited by IDDrummer; 01-11-2017 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:42 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: live sound questions

Liv_rong:

In your first video your ghost notes a very soft.

In your second video; with that band that you are in, the audience will never hear your ghost notes.
Any notes (drum hits) that you play beside the typical 2 & 4 back beat will have to be almost as loud as the back beat in order for the audience to hear those notes.

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Old 01-11-2017, 12:54 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Thanks fellas! Kind of figured haha. Besides the video, I also asked my drummer buddy who was in the audience how the drum mix was. The gnew was ill have to train myself to have t a little louder on those accents and hope it works out.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:05 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: live sound questions

Ghosts notes should imply a feel rather than be audibly discernible anyway.

The Porcaro example is a good one. I recall Ringo's All Stars shuffling their way through Rosanna without ghosting the in-between notes. It still sounds like Rosanna, but the feel has been noticeably changed. Untrained ears wouldn't have a clue what the difference was because the ghosts Jeff played aren't obvious.....nor are they meant to be. They are colour and texture that merely add to the overall sound as opposed to trying 'stand out' and actually define it.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:23 AM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: live sound questions

Usually that stuff gets lost in the mix at a live show. If your sound guy is gating or leveling you to a point where you're not hearing stuff you're intending to be heard, then tell him to back off. Isolation of the different kits parts is still important, but less important than if you're recording and mixing later. It's okay to have things bleed a bit because it's more the overall live sounds you're going for and not isolated perfection.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:44 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Pocket-full-of-gold makes a good point.

I hope I did not make you think you should not play ghost notes. By all means play those ghost notes. Sometimes they will be heard.
And they will become useful in a band that plays a different kind of music. And ghost notes can help you feel and play in the groove.

.
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:39 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

The same principle applies to muted notes on guitar, and slaps/pops on bass. They're part of the background. On a silent recording you'll be able to gear these details. In a noisy venue with people talking and dancing, you won't.
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:50 AM
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ineedaclutch ineedaclutch is offline
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Default Re: live sound questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Ghosts notes should imply a feel rather than be audibly discernible anyway.

The Porcaro example is a good one. I recall Ringo's All Stars shuffling their way through Rosanna without ghosting the in-between notes. It still sounds like Rosanna, but the feel has been noticeably changed. Untrained ears wouldn't have a clue what the difference was because the ghosts Jeff played aren't obvious.....nor are they meant to be. They are colour and texture that merely add to the overall sound as opposed to trying 'stand out' and actually define it.
Well explained. Those ghost notes, while possibly not heard by the audience, may be audible to the other players on stage. That's important to the overall sound and groove.
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:29 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Pocket-full-of-gold makes a good point.

I hope I did not make you think you should not play ghost notes. By all means play those ghost notes. Sometimes they will be heard.
And they will become useful in a band that plays a different kind of music. And ghost notes can help you feel and play in the groove.

.
Agreed. This all comes down to the appropriate music category. If the music absolutely needs what you play, then by all means play it.

OTOH - I've been on a "less notes, more pay" kind of kick in the recent years, where I'll play even less - trying to get a better ratio between pay and notes played. And shockingly, I got more compliments when I just laid down a backbeat for the bands and the dancers. This led me to listening to more Levon Helm and trying to find places where I could eliminate even more notes. You should try it. It works!
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:56 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

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Originally Posted by Matt Bo Eder View Post
OTOH - I've been on a "less notes, more pay" kind of kick in the recent years, where I'll play even less - trying to get a better ratio between pay and notes played. And shockingly, I got more compliments when I just laid down a backbeat for the bands and the dancers. This led me to listening to more Levon Helm and trying to find places where I could eliminate even more notes. You should try it. It works!
This is so true !!

I'm a graduate from the Keith Moon School of Drumming.
About two years ago I tried just laying down a good back beat with a few fills. Since then I have been much more in demand.


.
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Last edited by Hollywood Jim; 01-11-2017 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:04 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
This is so true !!

I'm a graduate from the Keith Moon School of Drumming. I have listened to my old recordings from back in 1964. Man I was fast but way too many fills.
About two years ago I tried just laying down a good back beat with a few fills. Since then I have been much more in demand. I'm now in four bands.


.
Well, apparently it's taking me a bit. I'm not in any kind of demand as of yet ;)
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:09 AM
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  #16  
Old 01-11-2017, 09:19 AM
JohnoWorld
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Default Re: live sound questions

what everyone else said.... plus

Live gigs very rarely use underside snare mics, unless a proper touring band

You are never going to realistically get a good ghost note sound without a snare side mic
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:19 PM
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mikyok mikyok is offline
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Default Re: live sound questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Ghosts notes should imply a feel rather than be audibly discernible anyway.

The Porcaro example is a good one. I recall Ringo's All Stars shuffling their way through Rosanna without ghosting the in-between notes. It still sounds like Rosanna, but the feel has been noticeably changed. Untrained ears wouldn't have a clue what the difference was because the ghosts Jeff played aren't obvious.....nor are they meant to be. They are colour and texture that merely add to the overall sound as opposed to trying 'stand out' and actually define it.
Agree, ghost notes should be felt rather than heard.

Rosanna is a funny one, the studio version starts fairly straight and after the 1st chorus goes into the groove with all the ghosts in.
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Play however you want to play whether or not you think every note is heard. It's up to the sound guy to make sure the band sounds good. If you really want ghost notes to come through, tell the sound guy. That should be about a 30 second conversation (IMO).

Whenever you play live, it's always going to sound differently than your rehearsal space. Some things will be louder and some will be softer. Some things you are used to hearing in great clarity when rehearsing can be either be muffled or non-existent when playing live. It's just different, you know?


BTW: While we are on the subject of Rosanna, if you've not listened to this yet, it's really good. Throw on some decent headphones and take a listen:

https://audioboom.com/posts/4173536-...toto-s-rosanna
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Sorry guys. I play drums but my actual knowledge of drums is pretty limited.

Can you explain, as if to a small child, what a ghost note actually is?

I THINK it's a little tap on the snare after the main snare tap. But I see the phrase used often and I have no idea what it is
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:03 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

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Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
Sorry guys. I play drums but my actual knowledge of drums is pretty limited.

Can you explain, as if to a small child, what a ghost note actually is?

I THINK it's a little tap on the snare after the main snare tap. But I see the phrase used often and I have no idea what it is
Listen to Bonham's snare in this isolated track. He's filling most of the space between kick and snare hits with ghost notes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qq65EJEfk4

Toto/Jeff Porcaro - Rosanna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qq65EJEfk4

Led Zeppelin - Fool In the Rain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8cSe7RvqSM
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

What you are dealing with is dynamic range. Your loud hits are loud and your ghost notes are soft. The problem in actually hearing them is the distance between the two. You hear them differently while you are sitting behind your drums then you would through the house mix because in the house mix there is more competition from the other instruments. That competition exists live on stage but because you are so close to your snare it's not really apples to apples.

When you hear ghost notes in a recording they are most likely enhanced by using a compressor. A compressor will bring the louder and softer sounds closer together and smooth out all the notes a bit. You can ask the soundman to compress your snare (or compress it more). But like someone said earlier, it's really only drummers that ever hear ghost notes anyway.
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Old 01-11-2017, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

You tend to get what you pay for...that applies to your sound in a 'large amplitude' setting.

I saw TOTO in the 80's ...Jeff's ghost notes came through nicely without flattening the soundscape...because they PAID (and worked) to make that happen.

I don't think you can replace a skilled and reasonably paid sound person with access to reasonable quality gear and still get a wide dynamic envelope that can be discerned when amplitude gets up there.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

And another thought......

Your drum mix is wrong.

I always used to play lots of gigs without a drum monitor, then sometimes when I did, I could barely hear even the rim shots.

This meant I always laid into the drums far too much and injured myself.

The first time i got it right was at the Charlotte in leicester (sadly now closed). I spoke with the engineer and he said I could have anything I wanted in my mix, even kick and snare.

So thereafter, I always asked for kick and snare in my monitor with a little overheads and the sound was amazing. The engineer then remembered my settings and set it up immediately every time we played there, what a guy, haven't met many like that.

Now I use Shure In ear monitors and I hear everything I want and nothing I don't. Granted they're expensive, but way way better than a great big cab next to you
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
Listen to Bonham's snare in this isolated track. He's filling most of the space between kick and snare hits with ghost notes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qq65EJEfk4

Toto/Jeff Porcaro - Rosanna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qq65EJEfk4

Led Zeppelin - Fool In the Rain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8cSe7RvqSM
Thanks for that. Clear now.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Thanks guys!

As far as in ears go, how does that work? I have to imagine even most small places have sends back up to the stage right? Am I thinking of this the right way?
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:35 AM
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Default Re: live sound questions

It's kind of a fact of life playing in bars that the subtleties are going to get buried. I would just focus on figuring out how to perform effectively in that setting, within that limitation-- you're going to be dealing with it a lot.

I'd also be thinking, are the ghost notes really the most important thing you should be worried about? How about the fortissimo notes that everyone can hear-- is what you're choosing to play effective, and are you playing it as well as it can be played?
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Old 01-15-2017, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

Your technique looks good - but a bit too light on the ghosting.. even on the recorded bit I could barely hear it. Just need to articulate it a bit more. A responsive snare and head (try an Evans coated G1 or Remo) can help out as well. I use a fiberglass snare and the volume on that is amazing - from quiet to loud. Micing plays a part as well.. and hearing your volume level so you can judge how it fits in the mix. If the mix gets too loud or overpowering, sometimes I'll got to rim shots to punch out the backbeat with regular snare hits for the ghosting.. but usually I just think of the dynamic range between the two and playing for the room (to set the volume levels).
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Old 01-15-2017, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: live sound questions

It's always going to be a challenge at gigs unless you're playing an A room with a great system and sound man. 85% of the time the sound and mix are going to be less than great, especially when it comes to drums. Just accept it because that's the unfortunate reality.

The best way to make up for this is to play with energy and lay into the tubs good and solid. You can hit hard and stay relaxed all at the same time, just like a good golf swing. Relaxed, efficient power. Bigger sticks help for this too. Also, for rock shows- you gotta get your game face on, get in the zone, and KILL it like you're fighting for your chance to ever play a gig again. Get a focused intensity going on, like a hit man getting ready for a job. The killer instinct. If you do this every time then eventually it becomes automatic like flicking on a switch. Stone face killer time!

I once played a show at a club in Vancouver opening up for a well known band here in Canada. After the first song a buddy of mine came to the side of the stage and yelled out to me that the singer and bass player from the headlining band went up to the sound man and told him to take my kit out of the P A. As soon as I heard that I got so angry that I went into full on berserker mode and started hitting the drums as hard as I possibly could and played with every ounce of energy I had. I had to simplify my playing to play at that dynamic, but the trade off was more than worth it. The rest of the band immediately fed off my energy, and in turn, the crowd went crazy. It ended up being one of the best shows we ever played.
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