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  #1  
Old 12-18-2016, 01:38 PM
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Default Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

So the venue at one of my regular gigs have been complaining about the drums being too loud and I'm sort of at my wits end about it. I've always thought of myself as a pretty dynamic drummer, and I've never really had deal with noise complaints quite like this (literally every single night), so I could use some help with this.

Personally, I'm fairly certain the reason they're having issues with the drums is because the room can hold around 150-200 people and is incredibly reflective (there's a metal wall with a giant metal fan behind me, a concrete pillar 2 inches away from my Cymbals on the right, a brick wall on my left and mirrors at the back of the venue, in front of the stage). They're not willing to compromise on the aesthetics of the place for better acoustics, so apart from the obvious, I've been forced to try all sorts of things.

So far, I've tried a few snare drums (got a lot of complaints about the snare being too loud), and tuned them really low. I've tried switching to the lightest sticks I could find, I've switched to maple sticks. I've switched to thinner, darker cymbals, I've tried muffling the kit, and so on. The sound guy has been telling me that the drums sound great, but the owner(s) of the venue hovers around with an SPL meter (well, it's an iPhone app) and telling me to tone it down because I'm too loud. I've even lightly tapped the drums once and got complaints for "looking too bored."

This week I'm going to try hot-rods, which is a bit strange as they've hired us to play heavy, rock music, but at this point, I'm not really sure what else to do. Thought maybe you guys had some cool tricks that I haven't thought of?
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Old 12-18-2016, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

150 - 200 people should be dampening enough. What was the number on his decible app? Other than just learning to play quieter I'm not sure what to tell you. Lighter sticks, playing softer shouldn't wipe the smile off of your face, but if you are playing large arena dynamics in a small venue, then the sound starts with you. I'm not sure what you mean when you say you are quite a dynamic player, buy if that means very animated and very loud, then the answer lies within.
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Old 12-18-2016, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

You could try mesh batter heads with fabric or plastic bag material stretched under the heads.
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Old 12-18-2016, 02:57 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Sacrilege perhaps, but judging by where you are at with the owners...simple enough...

EDRUMS...

Trying to play "hard rock" can be done with rods but you will lose the tone of the drums and cymbals that is "hard rock".

If it were me I would bring my Roland TD8 (ancient but it works...) and let the sound guys worry about volume.
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
150 - 200 people should be dampening enough. What was the number on his decible app? Other than just learning to play quieter I'm not sure what to tell you. Lighter sticks, playing softer shouldn't wipe the smile off of your face, but if you are playing large arena dynamics in a small venue, then the sound starts with you. I'm not sure what you mean when you say you are quite a dynamic player, buy if that means very animated and very loud, then the answer lies within.
150-200 is the max capacity of the venue, it's usually never that packed. I'm really enjoying the lighter sticks, actually, but having to play as quietly as I possibly can without actually tapping the drums has made it a little bit difficult to "look" like the Rock drummer they expect me to play like. It is also becoming an especially difficult gig to enjoy when the owner is constantly pacing around the venue with his iPhone in the air and having the sound guy ask me to tone it down multiple times throughout the night. He won't divulge the number, but has assured us that I am too loud.

I've played big arena shows and quiet church gigs, so dynamically, I've never had any issues adjusting my playing accordingly - except for this gig, it seems...
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
Sacrilege perhaps, but judging by where you are at with the owners...simple enough...

EDRUMS...

Trying to play "hard rock" can be done with rods but you will lose the tone of the drums and cymbals that is "hard rock".

If it were me I would bring my Roland TD8 (ancient but it works...) and let the sound guys worry about volume.
I've suggested this, but they want a real drum kit on there.
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshSaldanha View Post
150-200 is the max capacity of the venue, it's usually never that packed. I'm really enjoying the lighter sticks, actually, but having to play as quietly as I possibly can without actually tapping the drums has made it a little bit difficult to "look" like the Rock drummer they expect me to play like. It is also becoming an especially difficult gig to enjoy when the owner is constantly pacing around the venue with his iPhone in the air and having the sound guy ask me to tone it down multiple times throughout the night. He won't divulge the number, but has assured us that I am too loud.

I've played big arena shows and quiet church gigs, so dynamically, I've never had any issues adjusting my playing accordingly - except for this gig, it seems...
I'm not sure who "they" are that want you to look like a "rock" drummer but if this doesn't fit then this gig or venue is not for you. I thinking sounding like a drummer is a lot more important than looking like a rock drummer , but that is not my call. but if playing loudly just to look like a rock drummer then this gig is for another band.

And is this the same "they" that want a real drum set out there?
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

This is confusing to me. You can dampen the drums in various ways, all the way to where you can barely hear the drums.

But what really confuses me is; I assume you are playing rock music with a rock band. Is this a very quiet rock band? How well balanced are the other players in the band. How balanced is the sound of the band? How loud are the other instruments?

I'm thinking that as soon as you get your drums to where the club owner is happy he will then start complaining about the guitar being too loud. etc. etc.

.
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by JoshSaldanha View Post
He won't divulge the number, but has assured us that I am too loud.
Why all the secrecy? If he has a specific result in mind, he should tell you the number and let you use his app for the soundcheck. Sounds to me like he's sabotaging the gig so he can have some fun watching you squirm. There's nothing you can do in that situation except play the gig your way.
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

This might be too obvious, but I'm going to ask anyway: Is the sound guy miking up the drums?

I play a lot of smaller venues with loud acoustics and I'm still surprised how often people want to mic up my bass drum or snare when it's completely unnecessary.
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:14 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

I played a venue where the owner would complain about my volume. I got to the point where I mimicked playing, and did not even hit the drums or cymbals. He didn't know I was faking it, but his response after that tune was: You're still too loud!

Sometimes you can't win.
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Just so we're clear....

Are you certain the sound guy isn't turning you up the more you turn yourself down?
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Old 12-18-2016, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by JoshSaldanha View Post
I've suggested this, but they want a real drum kit on there.
Not simple, but an A-E converted kit is your friend. I used to use my electronic kit (but real cymbals) when the room/situation called for it. Quiet-side dynamics can only take you so far -- a lightly tapped drum simply does not sound like a heavily struck drum (not talking dB here, but rather the nature of the attack and decay). Also, as someone else mentioned, Hot Rods aren't going to cut it for hard rock, for the same reasons.

Below is my electronic kit at a gig...arena-sized sounds at comfortable listening levels.

[IMG][/IMG]
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  #14  
Old 12-18-2016, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
I'm not sure who "they" are that want you to look like a "rock" drummer but if this doesn't fit then this gig or venue is not for you. I thinking sounding like a drummer is a lot more important than looking like a rock drummer , but that is not my call. but if playing loudly just to look like a rock drummer then this gig is for another band.

And is this the same "they" that want a real drum set out there?
"They" are the owners. I totally agree with everything said here. It's just confusing to me how adamant the owners are about being a proper live music venue, yet they do very little to accommodate it. The sound guy's been trying to ages to get them to fix things here and there to help with the acoustics of the place and just the over-all sound, but from what he tells me, it sounds like they're more interested in the visual aspect of what they want over the bigger picture. If they didn't pay so well, I would've dropped this gig pretty quickly. I'm really struggling to enjoy it at this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HOLLYWOOD JIM
But what really confuses me is; I assume you are playing rock music with a rock band. Is this a very quiet rock band? How well balanced are the other players in the band. How balanced is the sound of the band? How loud are the other instruments?

I'm thinking that as soon as you get your drums to where the club owner is happy he will then start complaining about the guitar being too loud. etc. etc.

.
It is not a very quiet rock band at all. The guys in the band have complained to me that everything gets drowned out when I'm crashing, so they're forced to turn up a little. Maybe it's my cymbals? At the moment I'm using pretty thin, cymbals. Maybe I should try something a bit drier, just so it doesn't wash as much? I'm not really sure!

They've also complained about the guitars as well, but not as much as the drums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Mile
This might be too obvious, but I'm going to ask anyway: Is the sound guy miking up the drums?
Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by KamaK
Just so we're clear....

Are you certain the sound guy isn't turning you up the more you turn yourself down?
Yes I'm certain. Both of us get chewed out for the sound, so he tries quite hard to make the owners happy. We talk about it after every show. As I mentioned to "GRUNTERSDAD", the sound guy's been trying his best to make these guys happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreDrummer
Not simple, but an A-E converted kit is your friend. I used to use my electronic kit (but real cymbals) when the room/situation called for it. Quiet-side dynamics can only take you so far -- a lightly tapped drum simply does not sound like a heavily struck drum (not talking dB here, but rather the nature of the attack and decay). Also, as someone else mentioned, Hot Rods aren't going to cut it for hard rock, for the same reasons.
This is precisely what I suggested to them when I was initially met with hesitation. Not happening. I agree on the Hot Rod thing, but quite honestly, I'm a bit fed up with it in general and out of options :(.
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Old 12-18-2016, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Have you made an audio recording of a gig to hear how all the instruments sound?

One band I play in at a particular small club would often get complaints from the bartender to turn the volume down and everyone in the band criticized each-other-- until it was honestly determined the "loud" factor came from the lead guitar and harmonica players. A recording helped to pinpoint the louder instruments.
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Old 12-18-2016, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by newoldie View Post
Have you made an audio recording of a gig to hear how all the instruments sound?

One band I play in at a particular small club would often get complaints from the bartender to turn the volume down and everyone in the band criticized each-other-- until it was honestly determined the "loud" factor came from the lead guitar and harmonica players. A recording helped to pinpoint the louder instruments.
I haven't actually! Perhaps I should do this. It's hard to diagnose the issue when you're on stage!
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Going against the tide here, I contend that rock drums at low volume work just fine and that drummers use the "you can't play rock drums at low volume" as an excuse to avoid learning to hit lightly. Or they actually believe what they are saying and have never been shown otherwise. Low volume rock drums works much better than people give credit for, really.

If anyone is interested in playing in a bar type band, volume is the #1 thing that the owners care about, and rightfully so. It's our job to play at the proper volume so that drink orders can be heard, guys can hit on the women, and people don't have to shout an inch from the other person's earlobe to communicate.

I'm getting a feeling that the guitars in your band are probably offenders too. A guitar's frequency....a lot of a guitars frequencies sit right where humans talk. A bass drum is usually not the offender because the freqs are low enough to not interfere with speech frequencies. Toms, same thing basically. Snares and cymbals are the offenders.

IDK I've learned to play as quiet as possible, out of necessity. Rock songs included. Sink or swim, I had to make this gig work volume-wise or lose it. My recordings....it's hard to tell I'm hitting light. When there is a hard surfaced room, my taps sound like a normal hit. My point is the recording isn't lacking anything because of my light playing.

Drummers simply need to learn how to play quiet. I tire of hearing how it doesn't work for rock. It does work for rock. All the volume proportions remain the same, the whole thing is just miniaturized. Scaled down.

Of course, the rest of the band has to scale down too. This is usually where the wheels fall off. A drummer can't do it by themselves. However, when the drummer comes in with a volume that is controlled really well, the others tend to respond positively to this. They don't feel like they are fighting for recognition. They relax more when the drummer knows how to play in a very controlled manner.

So my suggestion to every drummer is to do away with the volume excuses and just get on with learning how to play at 1/2, 1/3, 1/4th the volume. It's OK really, it works fine if you allow it.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

If the owner, and after all its his call, says its too loud, then it is.

If its too loud why are you mic'd up at all? 90% of the gigs I do we only have the vocals going through the PA, and we are not quiet. You should be able to play anything from a cocktail bar to a 250 seat venue using just your kits dynamics.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Sounds like you need to have a tech meeting with the owners to establish an acceptable volume for the band-- like, you play for them, and make adjustments until they're happy.

I would suggest starting with the drums alone-- first playing as you normally do, then with absolute minimal amplification, then with no amplification, then playing your normal soft volume, then playing with multirods. Once they're happy with the drums, you can bring in the other instruments and set their levels-- they should really turn down their stage volume as much as they can, and let the sound man set the levels in the monitors and the house.

Probably stopping running the drums through the PA will fix it. Maybe you'll have to play a little softer. At least making them listen to the drums alone will educate them that the drums are not always the loudest thing on stage, and they'll get off your back a little bit. You could also try one of those plexiglass screens. Switching to "e" drums is a horrible solution, a last resort only if the owners are truly psychotic.

Oh, and I agree with everything Larry said.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by mikel View Post
If the owner, and after all its his call, says its too loud, then it is.

If its too loud why are you mic'd up at all? 90% of the gigs I do we only have the vocals going through the PA, and we are not quiet. You should be able to play anything from a cocktail bar to a 250 seat venue using just your kits dynamics.
Then "the owner" should book light rock and jazz fusion gigs instead of heavy bands. It sounds to me like he's being pretty unreasonable.

And once and for all, despite what some like to tout, honestly, not all music can be played lightly on the drums and sound good. Certain styles really sound like crap when you're not putting some force behind the notes. Not to mention, it just looks weird energy wise.
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Old 12-18-2016, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Learn to play quiet. Take the first page of Stick Control and play it at 1/2 inch stick height at slow, medium, and fast speeds for 30 minutes a day for 3 months. You'll never need to worry about not being able to play soft after that, believe it. LOL
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:20 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Going against the tide here, I contend that rock drums at low volume work just fine and that drummers use the "you can't play rock drums at low volume" as an excuse to avoid learning to hit lightly. Or they actually believe what they are saying and have never been shown otherwise. Low volume rock drums works much better than people give credit for, really.

If anyone is interested in playing in a bar type band, volume is the #1 thing that the owners care about, and rightfully so. It's our job to play at the proper volume so that drink orders can be heard, guys can hit on the women, and people don't have to shout an inch from the other person's earlobe to communicate.

I'm getting a feeling that the guitars in your band are probably offenders too. A guitar's frequency....a lot of a guitars frequencies sit right where humans talk. A bass drum is usually not the offender because the freqs are low enough to not interfere with speech frequencies. Toms, same thing basically. Snares and cymbals are the offenders.

IDK I've learned to play as quiet as possible, out of necessity. Rock songs included. Sink or swim, I had to make this gig work volume-wise or lose it. My recordings....it's hard to tell I'm hitting light. When there is a hard surfaced room, my taps sound like a normal hit. My point is the recording isn't lacking anything because of my light playing.

Drummers simply need to learn how to play quiet. I tire of hearing how it doesn't work for rock. It does work for rock. All the volume proportions remain the same, the whole thing is just miniaturized. Scaled down.

Of course, the rest of the band has to scale down too. This is usually where the wheels fall off. A drummer can't do it by themselves. However, when the drummer comes in with a volume that is controlled really well, the others tend to respond positively to this. They don't feel like they are fighting for recognition. They relax more when the drummer knows how to play in a very controlled manner.

So my suggestion to every drummer is to do away with the volume excuses and just get on with learning how to play at 1/2, 1/3, 1/4th the volume. It's OK really, it works fine if you allow it.
I agree with everything said here. I'm not opposed to playing rock music quietly at all, in fact it's how I started out as an apartment drummer, so it's very familiar to me.
Hot Rods just sound much different to playing with sticks, however, and a quiet drummer won't necessarily "look" like a rock drummer and it appears that this is also something that the owners would like to see. Personally, I think the drums sound fine, the sound guy thinks they sound fine, but the owners don't, so I feel a bit stuck here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddbishop
Sounds like you need to have a tech meeting with the owners to establish an acceptable volume for the band-- like, you play for them, and make adjustments until they're happy.
We've done this twice now. It's always too loud. I don't know, I might actually do what "newoldie" suggested and record a set just to judge who the offenders are.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Well you have two options. One -somehow get earplugs into the dudes ears. Course he has that blasted gadget so on to option two-you've got to hack into his app and reduce the readings. I wonder how accurate that app is and his use of the app to appropriately measure your loudness. Like a light meter it depends on where you put it. I'd challenge him with the gadget-download it and see for yourself-perhaps he is being mislead by misuse. He may reduce your volume such those in the back of the room can't even hear you without realizing it. Various room acoustics can be challenging though-have you tried moving the kit to other areas.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by JoshSaldanha View Post
I agree with everything said here. I'm not opposed to playing rock music quietly at all, in fact it's how I started out as an apartment drummer, so it's very familiar to me.
Hot Rods just sound much different to playing with sticks, however, and a quiet drummer won't necessarily "look" like a rock drummer and it appears that this is also something that the owners would like to see. Personally, I think the drums sound fine, the sound guy thinks they sound fine, but the owners don't, so I feel a bit stuck here.


We've done this twice now. It's always too loud. I don't know, I might actually do what "newoldie" suggested and record a set just to judge who the offenders are.
Seriously, and you've taken the drums out of the PA altogether and they were still too loud? I guess I don't understand how you have a meeting to figure out your volume, and it doesn't get figured out. I take it there is some volume level greater than 0 dB that will be acceptable to them. Why haven't you been able to find it, at least in the tech meeting?

And I think you need to forget about not looking like a rock star until that is the biggest complaint they have about you. When you get to that point you can explain the physics of the situation. Stop trying to read their minds, and stop worrying about your own desires/opinions about the sound until you get the volume level to the club owners satisfaction.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:59 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

After reading all of this, I would suggest not miking the drums, and if your own band mates say you crash too loud then , yes, you are playing too loud. If your, and your bands idea of a rock band is that you have to be loud then you are in the wrong venue or need to re-evaluate your purpose, and then fire the sound guy. Or grow your hair real long take your shirt off and get a bunch of tattoos. Then you will look like a real rock drummer.
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
Seriously, and you've taken the drums out of the PA altogether and they were still too loud? I guess I don't understand how you have a meeting to figure out your volume, and it doesn't get figured out. I take it there is some volume level greater than 0 dB that will be acceptable to them. Why haven't you been able to find it, at least in the tech meeting?

And I think you need to forget about not looking like a rock star until that is the biggest complaint they have about you. When you get to that point you can explain the physics of the situation. Stop trying to read their minds, and stop worrying about your own desires/opinions about the sound until you get the volume level to the club owners satisfaction.
The sound guy concluded that it's the reflective surfaces that's the main culprit, but the owners are refusing to do anything to compromise the aesthetics of their establishment, which I think is fair enough. They've paid quite a bit to make the place look like it does, but IMO, if the aesthetics trumps a better sounding room, then you're going to have to just accept that.

I don't really care about the "rockstar" thing so much. My job is to play the drums, get people to dance and buy booze. I'm happy to do whatever I need to, I just don't know how to keep them satisfied at this point.
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Old 12-18-2016, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

I don't understand-- if you agree that the acoustics are at fault and there's nothing you can do about your volume, why are we having this discussion? Several people have suggested taking the drums out of the PA-- I also don't understand why you haven't commented on that.

It sounds like your attitude might be a part of the problem. It doesn't really sound like you're in problem-solving mode-- I see nothing but a lot of explanations/excuses for why you can't/won't do the things suggested.
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:39 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I don't understand -- if you agree that the acoustics are at fault and there's nothing you can do about your volume, why are we having this discussion?
I lost interest in this thread when the OP said this:
"It is not a very quiet rock band at all.
The guys in the band have complained to me that everything gets drowned out when I'm crashing, so they're forced to turn up a little."

I think it's just a loud rock band and the owner is hoping that if he can get the drummer turned down then the sound level might be more acceptable.

.
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Old 12-19-2016, 04:16 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Low volume technique. Period.
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Old 12-19-2016, 04:40 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

I truly hope this is received as sincerely as intended...

Would any of the posters who are suggesting a change in technique for low volume playing have any video of this technique being demonstrated?

It would be great to hear someone playing a tune like say "Highway to Hell" or "Crazy Train" (or a similar tune) using a quiet technique that conveys a similar energy, tone, and impact of the original.

Respectfully, just would love to see it demonstrated, because I have never witnessed it first-hand myself. And, honestly I could use the help in this area myself....

Thanks...

Last edited by Mongrel; 12-19-2016 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 12-19-2016, 06:00 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
Respectfully, just would love to see it demonstrated, because I have never witnessed it first-hand myself. And, honestly I could use the help in this area myself....
.
Here's an example...

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

Getting used to this particular technique takes a bit of time... But all things come with practice.

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Old 12-19-2016, 08:11 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I don't understand-- if you agree that the acoustics are at fault and there's nothing you can do about your volume, why are we having this discussion? Several people have suggested taking the drums out of the PA-- I also don't understand why you haven't commented on that.

It sounds like your attitude might be a part of the problem. It doesn't really sound like you're in problem-solving mode-- I see nothing but a lot of explanations/excuses for why you can't/won't do the things suggested.
You're right, I've neglected to mention taking the drums out of the PA. I thought I did. We've done that a few times and the sound guy has said that the drums sounded way too quiet when we do that. A few nights ago, he told me that they sounded great (through the PA), but yesterday I get an email from the band leader about toning it down, which has gotten me a very confused and a little bit frustrated, so perhaps you are right about me not being in problem solving mode anymore, but I've been trying to work this out for nearly 2 months now.

Last edited by JoshSaldanha; 12-19-2016 at 08:18 AM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Had this issue only once, and it was only in probably the worst room for a gig ever.

Think of a school assembly hall with polished hard floor, then add no curtains or soft furnishings, then add a hollow wooden stage.

The "sound guy" professed that it was me with the issue because I was hitting rim shots. I said no your room is shite, I play how I play and your room should be able to accommodate me.

We argued for a while and in the end I agreed to play "a little softer" which of course I didn't and was hitting backbeat rimshots as hard as I could from the very top of my reach, just to p155 him off.

I will never sacrifice my playing style just because some numpty doesn't know how to manage the sound in a room, especially when my style is very indicative of the style of music
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

As the saying goes, its not the drums that are too loud, its the drummer.

Your drums are sitting there, not loud at all, they actually don't make a sound unless somebody plays them.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:20 AM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

I've been there,
one good solution, appart from hitting lightly, is the drum shield (the plexiglass walls) : very very efficient, and you don't need to cover you drum with blanckets and all. It doesn't kill the sound nor the touch, it just flattens the agressivity of the drums and cymbals, easy to carry around.
Not cheap though.

http://www.sweetwater.com/c1000--Drum_Shields

You can also do it yourself, a friend of mine has done one himself, less efficient because the plexy isn't thick enough, but it cuts the projection and quieten the snare and the cymbals.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
Respectfully, just would love to see it demonstrated, because I have never witnessed it first-hand myself. And, honestly I could use the help in this area myself....
I can't find a demo with the songs you cited, but, I can point you at: Steve Gadd. Watch him play. He is a great model of what some of us are talking about.

Reducing stick height, adopting a loose grip, and - practice, lots of it - can yield a far different approaching to drumming then the sledge hammer approach found too often today.

A few exercises to build lower volume technique:

1. Simply practice your double strokes at a very low height and volume. No muscling it, no tension in your forearms and hands. Loose grip. Now bring That up to speed slowly. Keep re-rechecking yourself: no tension.

2. When crashing, keep the grip very loose and think in terms of the stick absorbing some of the energy of the stroke. Don't think in terms of cracking through the crash transferring all the energy to it.

3. Practice without blasting tons of volume through headphones or a speaker. Force yourself to play along to something that is low volume.

4. Work on a little jazz play.

Over time, this will shift from undesirable - to super enjoyable.
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Old 12-19-2016, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I can't find a demo with the songs you cited, but, I can point you at: Steve Gadd. Watch him play. He is a great model of what some of us are talking about.

Reducing stick height, adopting a loose grip, and - practice, lots of it - can yield a far different approaching to drumming then the sledge hammer approach found too often today.

A few exercises to build lower volume technique:

1. Simply practice your double strokes at a very low height and volume. No muscling it, no tension in your forearms and hands. Loose grip. Now bring That up to speed slowly. Keep re-rechecking yourself: no tension.

2. When crashing, keep the grip very loose and think in terms of the stick absorbing some of the energy of the stroke. Don't think in terms of cracking through the crash transferring all the energy to it.

3. Practice without blasting tons of volume through headphones or a speaker. Force yourself to play along to something that is low volume.

4. Work on a little jazz play.

Over time, this will shift from undesirable - to super enjoyable.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply! I use some of those techniques now, but will add the others going forward.

Not trying to be a smart azz at all but...

The only issue I see is that Gadd does not feally fit the "hard rock" context that is at the heart of the discussion, nor does jazz, fusion, or even praise music (which is what I am involved in most of the time).

That is what triggered my request for a video example of a "hard rock" song-preferably an example in the context of a live performance, using the aforementioned "quiet technique".

I know what it takes to keep a praise tune under control....but a hard rock tune? Without losing the energy of the song and tone of the drums? I haven't seen that demonstrated successfully LIVE with a full band yet. (Of course we need to find what would be an agreed upon level of "quiet" which would be debatable I guess). But there is a difference between "Aja" or "Peg" and Van Halen's "You Really Got Me", yes? I have heard, and even used, the "quiet drummer" card... But what I haven't seen is someone show a video tape of a slammin' version of a Van Halen tune played at a "light jazz" volume (at least not without sounding like muzak). That is what I am asking to see. It is one thing to say " you lack the skills and technique". It is something else to say "THIS is how you do it."

Honestly, I think it is a fair question....

(I also think the OP may have some issues he needs to work out judging by some of the responses).

Thanks again for the tips....

Last edited by Mongrel; 12-19-2016 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 12-19-2016, 01:35 PM
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

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Originally Posted by JohnoWorld View Post
Had this issue only once, and it was only in probably the worst room for a gig ever.

Think of a school assembly hall with polished hard floor, then add no curtains or soft furnishings, then add a hollow wooden stage.

The "sound guy" professed that it was me with the issue because I was hitting rim shots. I said no your room is shite, I play how I play and your room should be able to accommodate me.

We argued for a while and in the end I agreed to play "a little softer" which of course I didn't and was hitting backbeat rimshots as hard as I could from the very top of my reach, just to p155 him off.

I will never sacrifice my playing style just because some numpty doesn't know how to manage the sound in a room, especially when my style is very indicative of the style of music
I agree with most of what's being said if I didn't get paid well to play then I'd take this approach every time!

I go to the opposite extreme, play as quietly as I can, I am more than capable of doing pppppppppp with dynamics. It kills the feel but keeps the jobsworths off your back. Usually the audience likes a bit of volume though.

My advice would be get a better gig. Life is way too short to put up with someone who won't compromise at their end and expect you bend over backwards. You're miked up as well. A 150-200 venue is going to sound boomy when it's empty.

Sounds to me like this venue owner is an utter tw@t. What's the point in booking a rock band when you don't want the volume that accompanies it.
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:22 PM
WallyY WallyY is offline
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Your band leader says you're too loud. PA guy says not loud enough without the drums mic'ed.

""It is not a very quiet rock band at all. The guys in the band have complained to me that everything gets drowned out when I'm crashing, so they're forced to turn up a little. Maybe it's my cymbals? At the moment I'm using pretty thin, cymbals. Maybe I should try something a bit drier, just so it doesn't wash as much? I'm not really sure!""



It sounds like you need your drums much louder in the stage monitors because then you won't bash your cymbals so much that the band turns way up on stage, which they shouldn't do on stage anyway, but you bashing the cymbals is the problem.

Get some Gen 16s and embrace the suck.

Especially if you're doing the boy's thing of riding the crash.
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:52 PM
Captain Bash Captain Bash is offline
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Default Re: Tips to stop "The drums are too loud" complaints?

Lower volume with high intensity requires a particular adjustment of technique coupled with some equipment modifications and a shift in the players mindset - concentrate on precision and space.

These don't necessarily mean a worse drum sound or performance. One of the best pieces of advice I was given when doing my first studio recordings was to only play at about 70% of a live gig, I think the same goes for small gigs.

So if we take the fact that you can't control the room acoustics and it takes time to develop low volume high intensity technique just try to reduce the actual volume of the kit / equipment:

1) Use a small stick, for small acoustic gigs I use the Peter Erskine model (barrel tip), tip shape, I found this makes a huge difference to cymbal volume which can be one of the major factors in drummers being considered too loud.

2) tune your snare lower than you normally would, a really high pitched crack will always be perceived as louder than a lower tuned thud (even if this isn't what hard science supports).

3) dry designated cymbals deliver the initial sound without all the wash

4) don't rim shot the snare, don't ride on crashes, leave your 22 China at home.

5) I advocate using a shallower snare tuned low for small gigs, for example I use a pearl Omar hakim tensioned pretty slack (for a 13") for small gigs.

6) Sound guys are your friend not the enemy. If they say the drums are too loud/open/flat/dry then help them-out. A bands sound is a team effort that requires collaboration/tolerance/ precise explanations/ communication. You are just part of that chain.

7) Remember the kit will spill through the vocal mikes, often you only need to mike up the bass drum even in a good size room.

8) Removing dampening from your bass drum actually enables the player to mute and control every note and play with enhanced dynamic. This technique isn't popular with many modern drummers (as everyone seems to like a kick that sounds like a one dimensional sample). As others have said the bass drum doesn't interfere as much as snare and cymbals so you can substitute the former for the latter. Use a soft beater.

So there is a lot you can do
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