For those who play at church or not.

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I played drums (we had a number of drummers and take turns) in church of about 1,500 for about 8-10 years. It was an open environment with no plastic blocks and a good size orchestra and large choir. It was a lot of fun and we played all kinds of music-really did some great productions that really turned out super with the mix of novice and some professional musicians. Anyways what I noted , as others have posited, is some drummers tended to play full speed ahead (all their sticks chewed up like a beaver eating on them-gosh I've some stick probably years old), but most importantly not really pay attention to the conductor or other musicians. All the instruments in an orchestra have to constantly adjust their volumes so all the parts can clearly be voiced by all the instruments. You don't want the horns to blow over a critical and beautiful string part-you don't want a drummer doing it either. The problem of volume control was solved by putting the drummer in a plastic "bubble" so they can control the volume. Now I loved playing and interacting with the piano and bass player and following the conductor (watched them like a hawk) who would at his whim change the volume or tempo-you had to really be on your toes and somewhat instinctive what he might do. I have real difficulty hearing and putting me in the bubble just felt like someone pulled my plug and connection with the music and other players-I hated it. I like to choke up on my sticks too for lower volumes-you can play quieter but also fast too so you don't compromise all the dynamics for lower volume. Tried hot rods/rutes but the audio guys said they sounded terrible. When I first started it was like "church music" and really didn't appeal to me (country and church music just never my thing), but they played enough variety to keep it musically interesting to me. It was a really positive experience overall, met some super pro musicians, and I learned to you can learn to play any kind of music so don't be jaded by my own biases.Hey maybe I should join a country band LOL
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I had a bit of trouble reading the article because it obviously attempted to sway my opinion using an empathetic device I simply do not possess.

I've always envisioned church bands are a place where normal people and hobbyists perform music. There's no requirement for them to be musicians or develop above-average proficiency with an instrument. There's only a requirement that they love their god and fellow man. When someone wants to play guitar in the church band, you say yes, irregardless of their skill level. If they sound bad, they still play, and the engineer simply hides them in the mix until they improve. It's because you love him/her, and love god, and it's a church.... If people want a big polished theatrical production with smoke and costumes, they can convert to catholicism ;-)

This is why acoustic drums create a special dilemma in church. Not because they're too loud, but because normal people play them too loud, and you can't hide them, disguise them, or discourage the player. You can only encourage the them to improve.

So the suggestion to promote the use of eKits is on the right track. For me, it would be more productive to promote the use of quieter technique, brushes, and to improve the ability of the drummer. I understand that it's not always an option though.

I'm sure there's a church-musician forum out there that discuses these topics.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
This thread is also for drummers that gig in loud rooms as well, thus the title For Alll those who play at church or not. The article that I posted really rubbed me the wrong way. I'm corious as to how everyone controls there volume. People complain at clubs as well. So to be clear its for everyone. Thanks for chiming in Larry. Andy it's good to be back
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I agree with a lot of the points in the article, and also in the thread.

Yes, electronic drums could be a great way to tame a lot of the issues caused by live rooms and over-exuberant younger/less-experienced drummers. But just as many churches can't afford to spend big wads of money on total isolation booths and hi-end mics, neither can they afford flagship e-kits. And given that the average general amount of drum maintenance knowledge on your average worship team could be written inside a matchbook cover with a crayon, and said drumkit is also going to endure about as much incidental damage as a club's house kit, I shudder to think how a typical budget e-kit will fare. Couple that with the learning curve to get the most out of the instrument with module programming, sound editing, etc. and it appears a daunting prospect.

We do need to practice dynamics based on the room. We do need to watch our stage volume. We do need to address the ability to derive full tone out of our instrument at low volume. And we do need to assess how we select worship team members.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet in the thread or the article is the importance of quality monitoring for the entire worship team, to include the drummer. I swear by my in-ears, I appreciate the fact that I can mix in my drums at an appropriate level so that I'm not bashing away to hear myself over anything else, and have control over the other elements of the team in my mix. Unfortunately, the drums at my church are not in the monitor mix at all, and so what they hear is purely stage volume. When dealing with less confident timekeepers, I have to give it an extra 5 or 8 percent to make sure they stay on-track.

Ultimately we should be able to control our own volume and not have to rely on anyone else to have to do it for us, in a church or anywhere.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I'm corious as to how everyone controls there volume.
I always thought that as a drummer I was supposed to play at a volume that matched the volume of the band.
In other words I would play at a volume that would mix properly with the singer and the rest of the band.

I play this way. I will always play this way. Seems pretty simple to me.
I play as if I am the sound engineer mixing the levels of the band instruments.

In order to play quietly and with dynamics follow what BillRay and Larryace said.
If you are hitting the drum properly and helping the stick rebound off the drum head, playing softly is easy.


.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I can play soft enough that I could get by with using acoustics in church. But many churches have several drummers. What are the chances that they all can play softly enough?

I think the bottom line in most churches is just what the author of this article said - electrics are a must.

And in my church, it's either electric or nothing. So I play electrics. (Thank goodness the music minister convinced the church to part with a lot of money and buy a top end Roland set. That does make a difference.)

GeeDeeEmm
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I agree with a lot of the points in the article, and also in the thread.

Yes, electronic drums could be a great way to tame a lot of the issues caused by live rooms and over-exuberant younger/less-experienced drummers. But just as many churches can't afford to spend big wads of money on total isolation booths and hi-end mics, neither can they afford flagship e-kits. And given that the average general amount of drum maintenance knowledge on your average worship team could be written inside a matchbook cover with a crayon, and said drumkit is also going to endure about as much incidental damage as a club's house kit, I shudder to think how a typical budget e-kit will fare. Couple that with the learning curve to get the most out of the instrument with module programming, sound editing, etc. and it appears a daunting prospect.

We do need to practice dynamics based on the room. We do need to watch our stage volume. We do need to address the ability to derive full tone out of our instrument at low volume. And we do need to assess how we select worship team members.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet in the thread or the article is the importance of quality monitoring for the entire worship team, to include the drummer. I swear by my in-ears, I appreciate the fact that I can mix in my drums at an appropriate level so that I'm not bashing away to hear myself over anything else, and have control over the other elements of the team in my mix. Unfortunately, the drums at my church are not in the monitor mix at all, and so what they hear is purely stage volume. When dealing with less confident timekeepers, I have to give it an extra 5 or 8 percent to make sure they stay on-track.

Ultimately we should be able to control our own volume and not have to rely on anyone else to have to do it for us, in a church or anywhere.
We have an aviom system at church, I now have a little mixer and in ears for regular gigs. It makes a huge difference. Plus it protects my ears
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I'm glad there are a lot of drummers out there that play responsibly, I work hard at it. We as drummers can make or break a bands sound. I'm already starting to work with the teens at my church teaching them about technique, and pounding g on drums will only get them tendonitus or injured in another way. Drums are a musical instrument not a sport. I like how Tommy Igoe puts it " play with soft hands"
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
I gave up a church gig because they put triggers on the drums and wrapped it in a plexiglas shell. The triggers on acoustic drums were atrocious and I felt that the entire reason I played drums was being upended. I just was not having any fun at all. So I stopped taking the gig and told them why.

Sometimes being an "artist" means staying true to those things you hold dear. My sound is something I care deeply about so much that it costs me money in more ways than one!
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Since when were churches supposed to be the leaders in technology. "The church is supposed to be the leader in technology. God’s glory rather than run and hide from it." Churches in my time have always been about tradition, regardless of the faith. I remember the first time I heard an acoustic guitar at a church service. Wow. What a shock.. I want to hear a nice organ played by an accomplished organist and a choir. The acoustic guitar is OK but a band needing a sound engineer. Really. Hard seats, vaulted ceilings. Echo chambers. I guess with the technology the baptismal font now needs to be a Jacuzzi.
 
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JohnPloughman

Silver Member
I read the first paragraph. Could not continue. Something starting out that stupid can only get worse.

I played in church for about 34 years. I played in churches that would seat 75 and sweaty to 1000 very comfortably. I have been in places where there were still people who honestly believed drums were of the Devil. My drums were never miked up, and I was never in a monkey cage. There really is no good reason to put a person in a cage. Not one. I learned how to play with dynamic, for the song, for the room I was in. . I played with a gospel group that did a lot of gigs in retirement facilities... real small venue with no stage, and at times someone sitting within 5 feet of the set.In those places I used a Rogers 20-12-14 or 16 set with cymbals. I played with brushes a lot. There were some places we played where I only had a snare and brushes And I also played with sticks. My regular set in church was a 77 Rogers with a 24" BD, 13, 14, 15 toms and an 18" Floor tom. You have to learn dynamic playing something that starts out too loud the minute you sit down.

I wont play in a cage. And if it came down to it, if that was the only way I could play in a particular place, I would go somewhere else. or just not go.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The numpty who wrote that article can't manage guitar sounds either:
http://www.churchsoundcheck.com/isolating-the-guitar-amp.html
Back in my touring days, we had a solution for loud rooms. Set up the guitar's half stack with the head on it. Plug the head into a slanted 1x12 greenback cab that was in the floor monitor position facing the me.. The 4x12 was just for show and unplugged. Even had a Sennheiser hanging on it plugged into nothing. Endorsees got their plugs, guitar sounded great without killing anyone.

I also had a power-break that I used a few times, and my Marshall cab was wired so that I could plug into half of it for 2x12. Some bars necessitated that I turned my AC30 around backward. Putting my amp in a different room or isolation chamber was never necessary.

I would have imagined that VST's like Line 6's had done away with much of the cover-band-guitarist issues that we faced 20 years ago, including volume.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
This peson is saying that even places that seat 4,000 the drums are overbearing.
In a small setting, I totally agree with using electric drums. It's cleaner looking, and does not take up a lot of space. The church I play at seats 850, yes we have that ugly shield, but if you use 7a's and minimal mics the drum shield is unessary. The other drummers I've seen play there and the other campusus, just pound the day lights out of the drums, how can you break a ride cymbal. Plus dynamics and playing for the song goes out the window. What I found insulting is the countless years of learning how to play drums, is to have someone say get over it acoustic drums don't work. I could care less about the authors degrees he carries. He has never run sound in the real world it seems. It takes great players to have great sound as well.

You just said it right here " other drummers I have seen pound the daylight out of the drums". That's the main problem right there !!!
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
Since when were churches supposed to be the leaders in technology. "The church is supposed to be the leader in technology. God’s glory rather than run and hide from it." Churches in my time have always been about tradition, regardless of the faith. I remember the first time I heard an acoustic guitar at a church service. Wow. What a shock.. I want to hear a nice organ played by an accomplished organist and a choir. The acoustic guitar is OK but a band needing a sound engineer. Really. Hard seats, vaulted ceilings. Echo chambers. I guess with the technology the baptismal font now needs to be a Jacuzzi.
AMEN and Amen. :)

The biblical principle of being the head, not the tail, is taken to some pretty interesting lengths nowadays.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
Since when were churches supposed to be the leaders in technology. "The church is supposed to be the leader in technology. God’s glory rather than run and hide from it." Churches in my time have always been about tradition, regardless of the faith. I remember the first time I heard an acoustic guitar at a church service. Wow. What a shock.. I want to hear a nice organ played by an accomplished organist and a choir. The acoustic guitar is OK but a band needing a sound engineer. Really. Hard seats, vaulted ceilings. Echo chambers. I guess with the technology the baptismal font now needs to be a Jacuzzi.
A lot of churches today ( non dinominatinal ) are set up more like an autotorium. The music they play is contempory Christian music or CCM for short. That type of music has pop, rock, and current country( if you want to call it that) roots. Which is a loud form of music. I am very fortunate to have some very good musicians to play with. Therefore we can control and pretty much mix ourselfs
This high tech sound gets out of hand, and cost a lot of money. I love classical music and it can get very loud in a controlled fashion. There is a huge difference in loud and dynamicley loud. If churches want to play that style of music it's going to be louder than a church organ. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I understand but these churches must be full of young people. The older folks would cringe to listen to loud music. What we call medium volume they would call stadium volume. And most churhes I have been in have these high vaulted ceilings which would be terrible for sound. I sang in the choir in senior high and we had no mics. We sang at a volume that all could hear even in the back row. So unless you are playing in the Crystal Cathedral, why would you need electric guitars anyway?
 
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