The eternal struggle: The guitarist whose amp doesn't sound good unless it's turned up loud vs. the sound guy who wants him to turn the amp down so he can run it through the monitors

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Let's settle this once and for all.

n/a (Nick A.), Monday, 7 August 2006 20:01 (fourteen years ago) link

and by monitors, I mean the PA speakers.

n/a (Nick A.), Monday, 7 August 2006 20:05 (fourteen years ago) link

and by sound guy I mean sound person, and by him I mean him/her

n/a (Nick A.), Monday, 7 August 2006 20:05 (fourteen years ago) link

and by him/her, I mean me

n/a (Nick A.), Monday, 7 August 2006 20:06 (fourteen years ago) link

This is why I only play stadium shows.

Casuistry (Chris P), Monday, 7 August 2006 20:09 (fourteen years ago) link

This is why I have contented myself to be a mirror star.

Ruud Haarvest (Ken L), Monday, 7 August 2006 20:39 (fourteen years ago) link

Hold on. Are the drums mic'ed?

Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 7 August 2006 20:50 (fourteen years ago) link

i really hate seeing bands that aren't absurdly loud. what's the point of seeing shows at home stereo volume?

reverend rock, Tuesday, 8 August 2006 01:34 (fourteen years ago) link

Seriously. If I can hear myself think, then I can hear myself think about the music. And that can't possibly be good.

Casuistry (Chris P), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 01:40 (fourteen years ago) link

do you make laptop music?

reverend rock, Tuesday, 8 August 2006 03:12 (fourteen years ago) link

You people are insane.

Jordan (Jordan), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 03:19 (fourteen years ago) link

fuck the soundman, fuck pa speakers, and fuck any drummer who doesn't play loud enough to get picked up CLEAR AS DAY by the vocal mics.

reverend rock, Tuesday, 8 August 2006 03:30 (fourteen years ago) link

i don't want to fuck the soundman :(

electric sound of jim [and why not] (electricsound), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 03:52 (fourteen years ago) link

The guitarist is wrong.
That sentence will solve 90% of agruments in general.
And it's universally true.

The GZeus (The GZeus), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 04:04 (fourteen years ago) link

"The guitarist is wrong" OTM.

I've been on both sides of the equation - band member and soundman.

Band member - carrying a 100w keyboard amp, and still getting drowned out by 2 x guitarists, both with marshall stacks, both of whom start blowing off about "weight of sound" when challenged as to why they are repeatedly RUINING THE ONSTAGE AND FOH SOUND OF THE BAND.

Soundman - worst case = having a band refuse to pay b/c I had allegedly "trashed" their sound - in actual fact their guitarist turned up to play in a tiny pub room w/a marshall stack w/extension cab, turned it up so loud it was almost washing out the drummer, then got so stoned he could barely stand up.

Get one smaller amp, bah.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 07:18 (fourteen years ago) link

obv, they're/we're not all the same, but there is a significant subset of guitarists, surely, whose ideal band sound is this mighty guitar tone going BHRHRHRAAAAAAAAAAH with the rest of the instruments a faint pitter-patter-pitter-patter in the background.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 07:23 (fourteen years ago) link

And don't even get me started about the guitarist/bassist volume "arms race". The last band i was in, the original bassist was a watt-freak. the point was reached where he was carrying a pair of bass amps with a totall wattage of 1.6k. This, again, for playing in small pub rooms. worst case with this was playing at a tiny room in bishop aukland where we were all squeezed into a small space - bassist's stack was behing the drummer, I was in front of the drummer, at certain points, I couldn't actually hear the drummer, like, at all. After a couple of numbers, audience members complained that they couldn't hear the guitars, so instead of the bassist turning down, the guitarists fell upon their amps with glee and turned them up even more. Fuckers. Super-glue their fingers together.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 07:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Oh yeah, there was one other gig w/that lineup at a bigger venue, where the "volume creep" thing happened - ppl sneakily turning themselves up during the course of the gig. Later in the week, there was a review of the gig in a local band review site, where the reviewer complained that "the keyboard player kept turning himself down" during the course of the set. Classic, eh.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 07:33 (fourteen years ago) link

OK, I'll stop now.

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 07:33 (fourteen years ago) link

Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp
Get one smaller amp

this can't be stressed enough

electric sound of jim [and why not] (electricsound), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 07:51 (fourteen years ago) link

This is not about volume, it's about tone.

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 09:23 (fourteen years ago) link

Let me just say this thread was inspired by playing a show on Sunday at a tiny bar. The sound guy kept telling me to turn my amp quieter and quieter until it was at about 1.5 and my guitar sounded like a ukelele (not a positive in this instance). Yet, when we suggested that he just take the guitar out of the PA and let me turn the amp up to match the volume of the other instruments, he refused, I'm guessing because it would have involved relinquishing his masterful control over his domain of sound. (P.S., I was already kind of pissed at the sound guy because we showed up at 7 for a 9:00 show, and he didn't show up until about 8:30, then spent an hour slowly ambling around on stage plugging in mics before we could set up on stage, then proceeded to say "Yeah, you guys need to hurry up and play, this show was supposed to start at 9:00.")

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 09:31 (fourteen years ago) link

And the slighty unwieldy yet still true flip side to "Get one smaller amp" is, "If your club's sound system can't handle guitar amps turned up past three, stick to booking acoustic solo Bob Marley cover artists instead of rock bands."

n/a (Nick A.), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 09:33 (fourteen years ago) link

Why on earth was the guy wanting to put yr guitar through the pa in a tiny bar? Sounds like the guy was super-incompetent.

(sorry for my derailment there, n/a)

Pashmina (Pashmina), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 17:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Get one attenuator.

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Tuesday, 8 August 2006 18:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Why did you not strangle him?

Another related question.

Why do they always D/I the bass instead of miking it? I have a lovely-sounding amp, yet only the band get to hear it. :-(

Ben Dot (1977), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 14:59 (fourteen years ago) link

So, here's the deal in my opinion, as someone who has been on both sides of the fence. The difficulty is vocal intelligability...it's the end-point of all of the nightmare club shows I've done sound for. At a certain point, you hit the limit of the system to boost the volume of the vocals, and then you have to start chopping things out of the mix like, say, extremely loud guitars. Then, the frustration is that you are no longer doing what you should be doing (mixing and blending) but instead compensating for a shit situation, which of course leads to members of the audience BITCHING at you, and a general feeling of self-loathing and "why the fuck do I do this anyway". Then you go upstage and kick the assholes halfstack over and get in a bar fight.

I also own a guitar store, so I can share this other tidbit with you...almost every working guitarist I know has an amp that is TOO LOUD for the rooms they actually play in. People in guitar stores don't correct this error because it's more lucrative to let said guitarist play out their Rawk fantasy (well, I talk them out of it, but that's probably why I don't make any money.)

But yeah, less amp or an attenuator is the only real solution other than getting booked in larger venues.

Oh, and the answer WRT DIing is twofold. First, (and I know I'm going to irritate some of you here) the tone bass players think they should have is not always the tone that they need to cut through the mix. Second, every mic that you can eliminate from the stage gives you 3 dbs more gain before hitting the feedback point. So, a bit of laziness, prompted by the fact that feedback is the definition of soundperson not knowing what the fuck they're doing to most people in the audience.

John Justen, Tiny Fancy Lungdancer. (johnjusten), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 15:14 (fourteen years ago) link

the tone bass players think they should have is not always the tone that they need to cut through the mix
I think we discussed that on another thread- you mean when the guy feels that, as Hurting put, because he plays *bass*, he has to turn up the bass, creating, as Duck Dunn put it, the "roomful of boom"?

Ruud Haarvest (Ken L), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 15:59 (fourteen years ago) link

Some sound guys try to treat the stage like a studio and run everything through the mains and mix with their eyes and/or headphones.
Thus, they suck.

The GZeus (The GZeus), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 17:25 (fourteen years ago) link

Why on earth was the guy wanting to put yr guitar through the pa in a tiny bar? Sounds like the guy was super-incompetent.

This was all I wanted to hear. Lock thread please.

n/a (Nick A.), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 18:25 (fourteen years ago) link

Props to Ruud for that post, though.

I have been able to understand the words at perhaps 30% of the rock shows I've been to in nigh on 25 years of going to rock shows. This bugs me as a lyricist, because while I enjoy playing the drums and guitar, I'd rather my brilliant lyrics get across than I remove the eyebrows of the audience with my searing guitar tone.

Perhaps what the world needs is more 15- and 20-watt tube combos. I dig a Blues Junior, but would love to see more variety on that end of the price/wattage scale.

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 21:04 (fourteen years ago) link

what kind of amp do you need to play small - like, ten to one hundred people tops - bars, next to an unmiked drum kit?

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 21:28 (fourteen years ago) link

I hear a sweet American made Fender TUBE guitar amp, some sort of limited run, basically a Deluxe, but a limited run, with a 12 inch Jensen speaker which just makes strats rage, march and burn the face of the MAN, is a good choice for anything but bass.

rogermexico (rogermexico), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 22:03 (fourteen years ago) link

electric sound of jim & rogermexico so OTM it hurts.

AaronK (AaronK), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 22:14 (fourteen years ago) link

That's just what I hear though. Personally, I like the new AC30s.

rogermexico (rogermexico), Wednesday, 9 August 2006 23:08 (fourteen years ago) link

AC30s are always lovely but very heavy and large for their wattage.

What about the new AC15s? Would one of those have enough oomph?

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Thursday, 10 August 2006 12:42 (fourteen years ago) link

Yes, it would.

Dr.C (Dr.C), Thursday, 10 August 2006 14:05 (fourteen years ago) link

I switched to AC-15s ages ago. Get the nice "OOMPH!" of sound that you get from a warmed up amp without ever being too loud to hear the vocals over. And in my band, the vocal mix is what it's all about.

Occasionally I get idiot soundmen used to rock bands and drum kits telling me to turn up. Uh, no. That's your job. We can hear me fine onstage.

There is never any point, ever, to have anything onstage ever be louder than an unmiked drumkit.

We Collectively Dream In German (kate), Thursday, 10 August 2006 15:46 (fourteen years ago) link

AC30s are always lovely but very heavy and large for their wattage

They are indeed beasts to wrestle with. I don't quite follow the "for their wattage" bit though, unless you mean the idiosyncratic chassis layout is bulky given the tube complement.

Yes, there are smaller, lighter, higher-powered amps (Rivera comes to mind), but no smaller, lighter 212s that I'm aware of.

Speaking of which, the new Epiphone Blues Custom looks very interesting: all t00b, including the 'verb, two channel, power-switchable, cathode biased 212... $500 street price... hmm... (like the AC30, weighs in at a sumoriffic 75 lbs or so)

But anyhoo, yes, the AC15CC will do the job quite nicely.

rogermexico (rogermexico), Thursday, 10 August 2006 15:56 (fourteen years ago) link

I have had exactly 5 good vocal mixes in my 12+ years of playing, that I didn't do myself. Soundpeople, less bass in vox pls.

the doaple gonger (nickalicious), Thursday, 10 August 2006 15:58 (fourteen years ago) link

i couldn't handle my ac30 at all. wondered for years why i was never happy with my guitar sound. hint: it's probably something to do with the fact i never turned my amp up louder than 1, maybe 2 at a pinch

i have a smaller amp now (deluxe reverb) and i'm much happier

electric sound of jim [and why not] (electricsound), Thursday, 10 August 2006 23:11 (fourteen years ago) link

Perhaps what the world needs is more 15- and 20-watt tube combos.

Better still, what the world might actually need is a bunch of 20- to 30-watt amps in unnecessarily large models that make them look more powerful, cause the truth is that if you show up anywhere with anything smaller than a Fender Twin, people treat you like a ten-year-old girl.

I mean, so far as I can tell, you could scrape together a perfectly workable stage sound putting a mic up on my two-foot 25-watt practice amp, but the amount of giggling and eyerolling and confused/derisive soundmanning that would surely accompany that doesn't yet seem worth it.

nabisco (nabisco), Friday, 11 August 2006 01:24 (fourteen years ago) link

those looking for the lightest cabinets ever made should check out Flite:
http://www.flitesound.com/products/default.asp

their sole product marketed for guitarist is an ultra-weird config, 4x4.5s (four four-and-a-half inch speakers), but they have several 1x12s designed for bass that weigh around 20lbs each.

reverend rock, Friday, 11 August 2006 01:40 (fourteen years ago) link

cause the truth is that if you show up anywhere with anything smaller than a Fender Twin, people treat you like a ten-year-old girl.

Welcome to my life.

Learn to deal - the easiest way is to just knock them offstage with your playing ability, rather than the size of your dick amp.

We Collectively Dream In German (kate), Friday, 11 August 2006 08:28 (fourteen years ago) link

This thread has totally gone wrong.

n/a (Nick A.), Friday, 11 August 2006 09:14 (fourteen years ago) link

Learn to deal - the easiest way is to just knock them offstage with your playing ability, rather than the size of your dick amp.

My playing ability may not be up to this. Is there any way I could use my actual dick to compensate for my lack of amp size?

nabisco (nabisco), Friday, 11 August 2006 19:20 (fourteen years ago) link

Is it tube or solid state?

n/a (Nick A.), Friday, 11 August 2006 20:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Depends on the audience, really.

nabisco (nabisco), Friday, 11 August 2006 20:59 (fourteen years ago) link

I've dealt with this issue A LOT over the past two years. It's frustrating, and there are so many variables. But a lot of truth lies in "Get one a smaller amp"!

I've been struggling to get the sound I want out of a Hot Rod Deluxe (which I lovingly refer to as the "Shitbox"). One show in ten, it sounds like a dream, but most of the time, I can't wind the thing up to 4.5/5 to get it on the verge of break-up. The band I play in plays lots of small rooms. So because I can't get that warm break-up, due to the sizable amount of headroom, my tone suffers.

I tried my ancient Gibson amp from the 40s, and it didn't have the presence I needed. And the inverse occured, of course. Too much break up at the volume I needed to run it at.

I tried the Vox AC-15s, both of the reissue models, and they sounded TERRIBLE! Did I run into some lemons, or do these things just sound like ass? The last Vox I played was a mid-90s AC-30. It sounded great.

I eventually settled on one of the tweed Blues Jr's with the Jensen speaker. Great sounding amp, but a smidge boxy for the sound I'm after. I guess I should really be looking at an A/B situation. The Hot Rod Deluxe for clean tone, and the Blues Jr. for leads.

I've only run into one instance where a soundperson complained about small amps, but I kindly pointed out that Neil Young uses vintage 50s Deluxes on stage, and listen to that sound.

More often than not, egos and ignorance cause these amp issues. Mostly on the part of others. Thankfully, I play with a bunch of guys that relish low stage volume.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Friday, 11 August 2006 21:08 (fourteen years ago) link

If i was flush, I would buy a 50s tweed Tremolux, and all my issues would be solved. What a brilliant, perfect amplifier!

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Friday, 11 August 2006 21:10 (fourteen years ago) link

My playing ability may not be up to this. Is there any way I could use my actual dick to compensate for my lack of amp size?

-- nabisco (--...), August 11th, 2006 1:20 PM.
________

Is it tube or solid state?
-- n/a (nu...), August 11th, 2006 2:01 PM.
_________

Depends on the audience, really.
-- nabisco (--...), August 11th, 2006 2:59 PM.

This thread has gone totally right.

rogermexico (rogermexico), Friday, 11 August 2006 22:20 (fourteen years ago) link

I tried the Vox AC-15s, both of the reissue models, and they sounded TERRIBLE! Did I run into some lemons, or do these things just sound like ass?

I think it depends on the rest of your rig. Don't know about the old reissue, but the new AC15CC is effectively an AC30CC's Top Boost channel minus the AC30CC's valuable, treble-slaying cut control. An EQ pedal, a dark GTR, or a really really long cable (curly Vox style?) might help to smooth things out, but who wants to fight their own amp?

I eventually settled on one of the tweed Blues Jr's with the Jensen speaker. Great sounding amp, but a smidge boxy for the sound I'm after.

Great looking amp too - 15 watts of sex0r! There are those who say that the legendary billm Blues Junior Tone Stack Mod helps with the boxiness, but I've never heard a billm-modded Tweed BJ to say yea or nay.

rogermexico (rogermexico), Friday, 11 August 2006 22:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Thanks for the Billm tip! I just read through his website and I'm thinking this dude has the ticket!

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Friday, 11 August 2006 23:50 (fourteen years ago) link

Right on. If you decide to pull the trigger please post an update. The mod seems to equalize response across low/mid/high to compensate for the BJ's "bass pinch," trading more bass in the mix for a little less headroom and "sparkle."

You could probably come up with something similar just by tweaking the EQ (scoop, scoop, scoop!), but it would be a unique sweet spot rather than a base tone, just as sparkly cleans become more of a sweet spot you need to chase post-mod.

rogermexico (rogermexico), Saturday, 12 August 2006 01:02 (fourteen years ago) link

fourteen years pass...

i have a dumb stoned question about guitarists that play live with like 9 stacks of amps behind them.. is this a super pain in the ass to deal with from a soundtech's perspective? are most of the cabs and heads empty (just for show)?

for the musician, it must be an insanely intense psychedelic experience to be playing directly in front of like 8 cranked marshall stacks every night..

how does shit work

brimstead, Sunday, 21 February 2021 19:28 (one month ago) link

I saw Dino Jr do a small venue show a few years back and J had three cranked Twin Reverbs stacked atop each other FACING HIM as his guitar monitor.

assert (MatthewK), Sunday, 21 February 2021 21:16 (one month ago) link

Sounds like workplace related hearing loss to me. I SAID SOUNDS LIKE... you get the idea.

I'm Going to Bring a Watermelon to Mark Grout Tonight (Tom D.), Sunday, 21 February 2021 21:35 (one month ago) link

sometimes guys would have you "sidewash", point the amp sideways across the stage instead of pointing it at the audience

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 28 February 2021 18:30 (one month ago) link

Just don't put the amp through the PA if it's too loud

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Sunday, 28 February 2021 18:33 (one month ago) link

I'm always on the side of the guitarists with this, but then I would be

Mr. Cacciatore (Moodles), Sunday, 28 February 2021 18:37 (one month ago) link


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