Learning to play at all dynamic levels = more opportunities

alparrott

Platinum Member
My classic rock covers band is well known in our area for being able to morph into anything the customer needs. Weddings, memorials, birthday parties, disco dance parties, and of course bar and winery gigs, we've hit the mark on all of the above. A LOT of this success, I chalk up to us knowing how to control our volume and play well at any volume. Something about a combined 130 years of music experience between the three of us probably...

Case in point: A local brewpub has solo artists in all the time but has preferred not to hire full bands because of their close proximity to homes and apartments close by, and the general tendency of bands to be too darned loud. They've actually had the cops stop by because of complaints in the past. But our guitar player, who had been playing there solo, convinced them to take a flyer on us. So we showed up and did three hours of music on Labor Day, with our sound levels dialed down to 2.

The staff couldn't believe it! People were able to hold conversations and order drinks without having to yell. We took requests and got people dancing on the lawn even at the low volume. Two days later we got a message from the manager: Come back every Friday night until the weather changes (mid-November) and take a flat rate plus a percentage of sales (which is a rare offer in any market). They were so relieved to have a band that could play with full instrumentation but softly enough for the situation.

Learn this skill. It will DEFINITELY come in handy! (and this is not just directed at drummers)
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
Good for you! Are you using acoustic drum? Sticks or brushes? I assume you’re not micing the drums?
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Good for you! Are you using acoustic drum? Sticks or brushes? I assume you’re not micing the drums?
My Ludwig 3-plys, they do quiet very well with good tone. I started out using brushes and rods but I've also got some very tiny Vic Firth jazz sticks (AJ5s). They are a big help in playing softly.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Right on Al. I think it's completely rude to blow people out with volume when they are not at a concert.

The right volume for the venue and especially the people there...is the first priority

I was in a band that didn't get the volume thing. Good band too, but oblivious to the volume. How inconsiderate is that? Like the audience was there for the band instead of the band being there for the audience.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I have a friend that specializes in low volume gigs. He has all the business that he wants. It's not the big rock shows though.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Right on Al. I think it's completely rude to blow people out with volume when they are not at a concert.

The right volume for the venue and especially the people there...is the first priority

I was in a band that didn't get the volume thing. Good band too, but oblivious to the volume. How inconsiderate is that? Like the audience was there for the band instead of the band being there for the audience.
See, that's the whole point right there. People at eating and drinking places (that aren't music focused) are usually there to eat, socialize, and relax. There's precious little of that which can occur when the band is rolling along at 107dB thirty feet away.
 

pocket player

Junior Member
My classic rock covers band is well known in our area for being able to morph into anything the customer needs. Weddings, memorials, birthday parties, disco dance parties, and of course bar and winery gigs, we've hit the mark on all of the above. A LOT of this success, I chalk up to us knowing how to control our volume and play well at any volume. Something about a combined 130 years of music experience between the three of us probably...

Case in point: A local brewpub has solo artists in all the time but has preferred not to hire full bands because of their close proximity to homes and apartments close by, and the general tendency of bands to be too darned loud. They've actually had the cops stop by because of complaints in the past. But our guitar player, who had been playing there solo, convinced them to take a flyer on us. So we showed up and did three hours of music on Labor Day, with our sound levels dialed down to 2.

The staff couldn't believe it! People were able to hold conversations and order drinks without having to yell. We took requests and got people dancing on the lawn even at the low volume. Two days later we got a message from the manager: Come back every Friday night until the weather changes (mid-November) and take a flat rate plus a percentage of sales (which is a rare offer in any market). They were so relieved to have a band that could play with full instrumentation but softly enough for the situation.

Learn this skill. It will DEFINITELY come in handy! (and this is not just directed at drummers)
I get it al and i preach this,but the other musicians in the band dont get it or dont want to get it
 

alparrott

Platinum Member

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I so agree. Unfortunately I am also in a band with only one dynamic- fff.
I go back and forth between playing to balance well, and playing at an appropriate volume for the space. It is frustrating. I can't really complain too loudly though, we do get shows and I am just a drum newb. One day though, and hopefully soon, I will just have to lay down the law or leave.
 

Suburbankidz

Well-known member
When you keep eye blinders on a horse ,he can only see one direction to follow
I get the metaphor ;) :)

(Actually, putting blinkers on a thoroughbred race horse generally makes it go faster. And the standardbreds (trotters and pacers) have a wide variety of head gear for specific purposes--from Murphy blinds, to open bridles, to can't see backs etc....I groomed race horses for many years). Apologies if I've hijacked the thread
 

pocket player

Junior Member
I get the metaphor ;) :)

(Actually, putting blinkers on a thoroughbred race horse generally makes it go faster. And the standardbreds (trotters and pacers) have a wide variety of head gear for specific purposes--from Murphy blinds, to open bridles, to can't see backs etc....I groomed race horses for many years). Apologies if I've hijacked the thread
Not at all , just using horse sense LOL
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Kinda thought so, but I'm still hopeful. We have some evolved folks here that might have figured out how to communicate it
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
My band sucks at this. Granted we're only a couple of months into it. Just a 3-piece blues/rock band. I'm trying to narrow down where the volume and muddiness is coming from. The bass player is using a pre-amp IR module that may be the culprit. Just too boomy and swamps out everyone else on stage and in the venue. If I can't hear myself play, then I play less than what I'm capable of. I worry after a while if it will permanently affect my playing.

I've asked him to turn down or solve the issue and everyone's having a heart attack like I'm being unreasonable. He says he doesn't want to play the same venue again. How do we get enough gigs if half of them are in similar venues?
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
See, that's the whole point right there. People at eating and drinking places (that aren't music focused) are usually there to eat, socialize, and relax. There's precious little of that which can occur when the band is rolling along at 107dB thirty feet away.
I brought my SPL meter to our last two gigs. I can look down and see on stage volume hitting 117 db frequently. The next step we are looking into is IEMs. Should that be necessary for a 3-piece blues/rock band?

(If I set the SPL meter to record for 3 minutes, for a live gig, I get a continuous level of 110 db, and a max instantaneous level of 126 db.)

EDIT: Change "max level" to "max instantaneous level"
 
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