I'm too loud...aparently

jimb

Member
Band I'm with are used to rehearsing with edrums or a drum machine. The studio has a well looked after Tama Star kit and mighty fine it sounds too with its empty bass drum and my New Beat hats etc.....trouble is they are saying Im to loud and the question is what to do?
Ive tried playing super gently and quietly but its hugely frustrating so any ideas will be most appreciated.
Suffice to say the band which are six piece aren't exactly quiet either in my estimation....its all a bit weird. And just to say Ive asked outright if they'd rather have another drummer and they want me to stay...which is something I suppose.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Assuming the rest of the band is electrified, ask them, nicely, to turn up their volume a little. Since they don't want another drummer, your request shouldn't be considered unreasonable.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
If they are constantly fighting with each other about the other's volume then you don't need to be with them.
I remember my friend's band goal (and this is rare) was to sound as close to CD quality as possible which meant that everyone's levels had to be well controlled... I say they got pretty damn close. My band on the other hand had the bassist and keyboardist always fighting to outdo each other's volume levels while the guitarist and me just looked at them... we ended up firing the keyboardist and that tamed things a little but the bass player was very diva like so he was next...
I guess the band can look into a plexi glass enclosure for the drums (that can be beneficial for the studio as well but they might not want to have that expense...
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
If they are constantly fighting with each other about the other's volume then you don't need to be with them.
This.
My standard rule is "If I'm not mic'd, then your volume doesn't go past my acoustic volume".
Most rehearsal spaces don't mic the drums, so volume should never be an issue. If they're turning it up past your acoustic level, it's on them, not you.
You keep on keeping on and let us know how it goes.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
It could be the hats and/or cymbals. New Beats are bright IIRC. I've been loving the Sabian 14" Artisans. Picked them on an impulse after feeling guilty playing the floor kits at GC for an hour. That was over a year ago and I'm still loving 'm.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
A drummers volume could be the single most complained about thing.

You have to somehow not hit as hard. It's not as daunting as it sounds. If I can lift 100 pounds, 50 should be easier right? Lol not.

I was forced to learn how to do that. Onstage. Surprise! Play soft for a dinner crowd. With songs normally played louder. This was 2011. Nothing but hard surfaces in this room too. It was the first of many gigs there for me and I had to either play soft or get replaced. It felt strange at first. My recorder didn't reflect the inner turmoil I was going through. It sounded much better than I expected. I thought it would lack in intensity. It didn't. Volume control is a serious skill. Take it seriously. Trust the others when they say you're too loud. Even if you aren't. Volume control is a super appreciated skill by the others, including bar owners. Especially bar owners.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My standard rule is "If I'm not mic'd, then your volume doesn't go past my acoustic volume".
Yes and no from me there. The no part...Generally speaking and disregarding heavy music...I always thought that the drums should not be the loudest instrument on stage. In my mind, the drums sit best under the vocals and lead guitar, pretty much matched with the bass, piano and rhythm guitar volume-wise. There's always exceptions.

I generally am the 3rd loudest guy onstage in a 3 piece band. It's very appreciated because they tell me. It's the only positive comment I hear from the other guys in the band. And I do notice their new stuff and comment on it. The first gig with my Gurus...no comments were made. How is that even possible?
I am envious of guys here who say that their band "noticed the new snare" or whatever new piece of gear they got, from the first hit. Ha ha ha.

I'm gonna go cry now
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Vic Firth AJ5 sticks (smaller than a 7A).
Hot Rods
Brushes


Also, check out the Big Fat Snare Drum or some of those SnareWeight M80's.

In addition, what I've found is that sometimes when band members think there is a volume problem, it's actually a pitch problem. The lower the pitch my drums and cymbals, the happier everyone else seems to be. Tune the kit down a little.

Room treatment (or lack thereof) may be an issue as well.

Has this band had a history of running through drummers?
 

River19

Senior Member
Not much to add other than what was said....but, in a similar situation years ago and I tried the lighter stick thing but then I played so damn timidly that I hated myself. My solution was the bundled sticks......I could at least lay into them a bit and actually snap my wrist and not cringe every time I made an "athletic" move on the drum kit. If an electrified band feels that a solid drummer with bundled sticks is "too loud" they might be dealing with a gaping head wound or something.......clearly they are in the wrong business.

I mean in a rehearsal do I smash a crash cymbal as hard as I would on stage? No. But if they ask me to play something like "Sweet Child O Mine" quietly I would just agree to disagree and move on. Songs with attitude and energy can only be pulled back so far on an acoustic kit before they flip to the "elevator music" version of the tune. Sure we all as professionals should and can control our volume but there is a range of reasonable expectations.

Edit: In many cases it is the cymbals ringing right at ear level of the other musicians if they are standing close. That combined with a rim-shot backbeat are usually the culprits. I've never had someone complain about the kick being too loud etc. PorkPie above made a similar point, it is the perceived "loudness" which might really be harshness more than volume. A loud deep tone is "ok" while the cymbals and rim shot from a bell brass snare might be a tad bit jolting.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
It's all about stick control. You can play with dynamics in motion-just not the velocity of hard hitting. Holding your sticks further up towards tip limits the volume too-because the range of motion shortened. I tried hot rods-rutes, plastic sticks, 7A or maple but really it's stick control and I don't like hot rod sounds, brushes on cymbals takes a lot of work to get good sounds. It's just controlling what you have-limit stick height-limit fulcrum so go up on stick-burying the stick can shorten the response. A light touch. Practice just doing rudiments at different volumes-a closed roll is easier to play quiet since you dribble the weaker following notes.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
Band I'm with are used to rehearsing with edrums or a drum machine. The studio has a well looked after Tama Star kit and mighty fine it sounds too with its empty bass drum and my New Beat hats etc.....trouble is they are saying Im to loud and the question is what to do?
Ive tried playing super gently and quietly but its hugely frustrating so any ideas will be most appreciated.
Suffice to say the band which are six piece aren't exactly quiet either in my estimation....its all a bit weird. And just to say Ive asked outright if they'd rather have another drummer and they want me to stay...which is something I suppose.
What kind of music are you guys playing? Just curious as to what music they want you to play at low volume. It's definitely a skill to have, but sometimes the right feel requires laying into them drums a little bit. I've seen more than a few guys pitter around the kit on rock songs and while it may suit someone in the band, it can put the audience to sleep. Nothing more snooze worthy than hearing a drummer pitter pattering around the drums like Charlie Watts on Vicodin when Keith Moon is required.
 
Unless you're just smashing on everything there's not a whole lot you can do. You can try thinner sticks or the little bundle sticks, you can try the Sabian FRX cymbals if you have money to burn. I'd suggest that they get ear plugs and turn their amps up a little bit.
This is a good advice. Sticks with smaller tips is helpful(sd2 bolero if you like a 5b feel). You could also try adding a little tape to the cymbals, moon gels to the drum heads. These are all things that have worked for me when I needed to dial it down without really changing my technique.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
Ok so the way to tackle this is to get a reference recording with relative volumes that you are ALL aiming for. Quite often bands raw on stage sound is widely off of optimal. The aim being to understand this and work toward the shared goal, a balanced on stage sound means less jiggery pokery from the sound desk.

Record your band and really analyse whats going on and where you are at relative to the non moving reference. Adjust one or two instrument at a time. I’ve done this with every gigging band I’ve ever played with and if others are willing to change it improves this problem every time. Want to use a wide open kick, fine use a really soft beater, want lower high end use dull “dry“ cymbals or apply a bit of tape. For snare you just have to work on a lower maximum dynamic and go down from there. it’s a skill that is highly valued, low volume but still driving.

Another slightly underhand trick to getting a band to simmer down is to hide the 1, most guitarists crumble at the loss of this reference and start listening and turn down - it works. However good technique or rather having multiple technical options to deliver lowered dynamics is key. When you see a drummer who is burning at low volume you know they are on form.

Good luck...
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Unless you're just smashing on everything there's not a whole lot you can do.
Ah, interesting point...With all due respect, there really is a lot of valuable skills that can be gained by mindfully practicing whole set volume control. I don't say that I have to drive my car at top speed always because there's not a lot that can be done about that. I wouldn't want to attempt talking myself out of a ticket using that logic. It's the same type of thing

Really great volume control is a joy for me to hear. For too many drummers, IMO, hitting harder and especially playing faster is more revered than controlling volume like a pro. Backwards is my opinion about that.

But I get it. Younger drummers want the flash with the instant gratification and the "boring" exercises are too boring for the "no attention span" generation. But they are deliberately passing on a really valuable skill.

It's my job to precisely control my volume. I'm the responsible one. No one should have to tell me if I'm too loud. It's my duty to know these things before anyone
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
In recent years I've rehearsed with a couple of bands that like to rehearse relatively quietlyAt least What I would consider low volume LOL. I've been using Vic Firth AJ5 sticks and that helps. They are about the dia. of 7A but longer and I can move quickly and quietly around the kit. They're not magic though you have to learn how to play softer but still play with feeling. With some mental focus you'll be able to do it. Hang in there.
 

jimb

Member
What kind of music are you guys playing? Just curious as to what music they want you to play at low volume. It's definitely a skill to have, but sometimes the right feel requires laying into them drums a little bit. I've seen more than a few guys pitter around the kit on rock songs and while it may suit someone in the band, it can put the audience to sleep. Nothing more snooze worthy than hearing a drummer pitter pattering around the drums like Charlie Watts on Vicodin when Keith Moon is required.
Man you have hit the problem on the head....oh and thks all for the constructive replies, appreciate it.

But yes its all, 70's/80's chart dance stuff, the usual suspects and darned if its hard just gently tapping the hats and snare at home. Try just tapping to "Rock With You"...its darn near impossible.
Anyway the first "quiet" rehearsal is next week, I'll report back.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I've covertly recorded many rehearsals over the years. The stick bag or backpack is a great place to stow it. Make sure the gain is set beforehand. Then upload it and let us have a listen.

Zoom Q3 or H5 is what I've used. I leave the black wind shield on. Fresh batteries and turn it on before you walk in the door.
 
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