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Thread: Need Advice

  1. #1

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    Default Need Advice

    Hi All,

    I'm actually a bass player, but I need your help. Our drummer plays way too loud, as well as way too much, a bad combination. We constantly remind him of the volume issue. He has tried the lightest sticks around, and Hot Rods, but doesn't really like either of them. He has a pillow in the kick drum, rings and gels on everything else, and is still too loud. I once mentioned his overplaying, but he got defensive. That's ok, because I shouldn't really be critizising his style anyway. He doesn't think he is too loud, but my ringing ear tells me otherwise. He has suggested earplugs, but since I'm having trouble hearing the other players in the band over the drums, I can't see that as a solution. Plus, we don't want to jeopardize our practice space with complaints from the neighbors.

    He is just a big, strong guy who likes to really pound. If he tries to play quietly, he loses his style and energy, and doesn't play all that good. His set is an older Pearl, with clear heads and bottoms. The toms and the kick are tuned fairly low, so they sound awesome by them selfs, but seem to drown me out. Do they occupy the same sonic range as the bass guitar? We tried stuffing pillow everywhere, which was nice in the practice space, but too much muffled for a gig. I would like to see the stage volume reduced, but still allow the sound to carry off the stage.

    It really seems to be louder in front of the drums, than behind them. That probably why he doesn't think they are too loud. Maybe the rings/gels should be on the bottom, since the bottom kind of faces forward. Would removing the bottoms skins make them louder or softer? How about tighter tuning? He mentioned heads that were designed to be quieter, but I'm not sure he really wants to do that. His dream is to play on a large stage, all miked up, playing as loud as he can. Typically though, we play small rooms and backyard parties, where noise is an issue.

    Sorry for all the questions, but I know very little about the mechanics of the drums, but I think we can apply physics here to get the results we want, while still allow him to play with energy and enthusiasm. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks, Vinny

  2. #2

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    sorry but drums r loud crack up ur amps and it will be fine and you can stuff the toms and is the pillow in the bass drum touchin both heads butn remember dont get ur drummer mad they kinda own you sad but true hope i was of some help
    Oh tell me where your freedom lies
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  3. #3

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    Ok, first off Im assuming you guys are younger as in high school? If so, then Im assuming the drummer has not played drums a long time. It is hard to learn to play with feeling. This I mean is to play for the song not for yourself. It sounds cool to hear yourself jammin and the drummer does hear less sound sitting behind the drums. The truth is, you can only hit the drums and the cymbals so hard to get maximum sound from them. If you go beyond this, it will result in dents in the drum heads and cracked cymbals. I do not know how you can silent the drums without taking there sound away. All you can do is have the drummer learn to play drums for the band not for himself. Try having the drummer step it down a bit during the main verses of the songs so you can hear the singer more ,and then lay into them more during the chorus. Even so, I have a loud drum set and have to have the bass player turned up enough to cut through the mix. He has a 80 watt bass amp at 3/4 volume and anything less is just not enough. I would say you would need at minumum, 30 watt guitar amps to be heard also. No matter what it will be loud. I have seen a product I believe drum bum sells. It is rubber stick tips you apply to your sticks.
    Rock Till Ya Drop

  4. #4

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    I agree with Dave. If you have him tone it down during certain parts of the song, you can probably work with it a lot better. Also, the venue is your biggest culprit. The room can be soo detrimental.
    Romans 8:28

    And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.


  5. #5

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    Actually, we're old farts! No, not over 30, but over 40. I've only been playing 6 years, started kind of late. I tried to play drums, but having all four appendages doing something different at the same time was way beyond me. Bass was easier to learn and the fastest route into a band.

    I do think that he plays TO us, like playing along with a cd, rather than WITH us. He been in other bands(according to him), played for many years, and plays regularly in the worship band, and they say he's too loud too. We do encourage him to be more dynamic, but he always returns to his max volume halfway through the song. That's why we are looking for a mechanical way to limit him. Electronic drums would solve that, but is not an option. He is an asset to the band, brings good energy to his playing, and has booked a handful of gigs already.

    We can easily crank ourselves up(300W bass amp, 90W guitar amp, 50W guitar amp, 500W pa), but then the overall volume becomes offensive instead of inviting. I can recall one gig where our rythum guitar player filled in on drums for the night, and the stage volume was so low, we could hear people talking. The next thing I know, five girls invited themselfs onto the stage to dance for a number of songs. That's right, dancing girls!

    I will mention the rubber tips, it's certainly worth a try.

  6. #6

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    Hey Vinny sorry for the age mistake. I myself will be 40 this Nov. It just sounded like you were descibing someone younger that has not played very long. Boy, you got me on how to quiet him down. Does he use a monitor next to him on stage or practice? If so, he may be trying to play loud enough to hear himself. If not, not sure but I will let you know if I think of something.
    Later, Dave
    Rock Till Ya Drop

  7. #7

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    I have to agree with Dave. A moniter makes quite a difference. Also, record yourselves playing live at what you would consider a "normal" size gig from about 20 feet in front of the band using 1 mic. He will hear firsthand that he is playing too loud. You can't tell from behind the kit.

    I use both electronic and acoustic drums. Electronic for the small venues, acoustic for the large or outdoor gigs. We are always complimented on the fact that we are not too loud for social gatherings.

    Maybe he just does'nt have the "feel" of the songs, so he just beats them out. Some people just don't get that volume is a technique that is vital to playing good music. Half the bands out there never would have made it if the drummer pounded the skins on every single song. The only way to fix that noise issue would be electronics.

    On the opposite end, how do you get a rythem guitarist to turn it up?!?!? I'm ready to crank his amp and pull the volume knob off so he can't turn it down!!! Would that be the wrong thing to do?
    Da' Bum
    Rockin' the beat for fadedblue
    Slappin' the skins for Willow Tree
    Kickin' the bass for Olde Youth
    http://www.facebook.com/fadedbluemusic
    http://www.facebook.com/willowtreebandpdx
    DW Performance 5 pc. in White Marine Pearl
    Pearl ELX 7 pc. in Black Burst
    1972 Pearl Deluxe Custom 5 pc. in blue sparkle
    KAT KT-3

  8. #8

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    Your so right about rythem guitarists. I'm standing right next to his amp, and still can't here him half the time. Would a dynamic or condenser mic be better for recording? We did record once from the mixer, but since the drums weren't miked, we couldn't hear him at all.

    Question about the monitor... Would that be a mix of everybody else, excluding him because we don't mic the drums? If he could hear everything a lot better, I suppose it would be easier for him to play dynamically.

  9. #9

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    I use a monitor just for me of every one else. Vocals and usually the rythem guitar. Without one I am lost in song sometimes. I need to hear the vocals for sure for me to feel comfortable in my playing. It gives me reference to changes and feel. If you do not mic the drums and are playing gigs indoor or out, then all you should need to do is turn up the guitars and vocals to play to his volume. If your micing drums then this is were the dynamics come in to play the most. Then I would send the mix of everyone including the drums to his monitor. For me, I need my guitarist to get into the music in stead of just standing there. Body language from them can let me know when to kick it down and when to lay back. This is the hardest part I find when playing with other musicians. I just hate whatching bands that stand in the same spot and play. Playing live is exactly that, its a show for the audience. Even if your not that great, showing emotion on stage can do wonders for the crowd.
    About the mics, I like recording with condensers the best. They keep a tight pattern to the source of sound being recorded. Less bleed. I also use the sure sm57's alot in the past.
    Rock Till Ya Drop

  10. #10

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    ok...i don't want to piss anyone off but...in my opinion...if ur drummer is infact the way u are describing then he is either 1) a selfish show off or 2)not a good drummer....i would seriously start looking around for a replacement...and if he really is as indespensable as u say he is then u'll just have to learn to live with crappy drums...sorry if this was offensive....just my opinion...

  11. #11

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    I use to use rubber eracers like the one's that go on the end of a pencil they will help out some. you can also try putting tissue paper in the toms.but mainly the drummer needs to learn when to lighten up and when to let it rip.
    that comes from time and exsperance. sorry about my spelling skills but I
    hope this helps just an old drummer Phillip Latimer

  12. #12

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    Or both..... He is kind of a diva too. He will call ahead to make sure the driveway is empty, so he can pull in and unload without waiting, always late to practice, worried about not being heard and seen, and takes up a lot of floor space (7 cymbals, 3 tomtoms, 2 floor toms). He's not indespensable, but this was supposed to be fun band, but it's not so fun anymore.

    Dave, about turning up to match his volume, that's what we want to avoid. When we are that loud, people complain, the cops come, and I go home with my ears ringing. Being loud every once in a while is great, but I don't think our audiance appricieates it.

  13. #13

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    Unfortunately, I have to agree with Utopiah. I think you might want to start looking for another drummer.
    Da' Bum
    Rockin' the beat for fadedblue
    Slappin' the skins for Willow Tree
    Kickin' the bass for Olde Youth
    http://www.facebook.com/fadedbluemusic
    http://www.facebook.com/willowtreebandpdx
    DW Performance 5 pc. in White Marine Pearl
    Pearl ELX 7 pc. in Black Burst
    1972 Pearl Deluxe Custom 5 pc. in blue sparkle
    KAT KT-3

  14. #14

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    turn up ur amps
    -Leslie (aka Lezzle..)

    If in any way I show signs of stupidity or lack of intellegence, this is why:

    Blond + Drummer =

  15. #15

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    Hey, Vinny! Over 40--old? Makes me feel ancient at 54, bro'!

    Couple of thoughts about your drummer--if he's been playing with several bands, he's probably lost a bit of his hearing (between my day job in radio and my drumming, I know that's happened to me!). I'm not sure how you can compensate for his level, other than keeping his level in balance with the rest of your bands. Unfortunately, too many drummers believe in the philosophy that "you can never play too loud."

    I don't know how this would work for your gigs, but I know there are plexiglass panels that go around the drums--something like an isolation booth on a game show--and (I think) may help minimize the noise the rest of your band has to endure...

    But if he's doing it just to show off, I'd agree with Utopia and 1drumbum... start lookin' for a new drummer. Anyone can beat hell out of a drumkit--a real drummer knows when to tear 'em up and when to keep 'em quiet...
    keep the beat goin' ... Don't keep it to yourself!

    Charlie

    "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." --Henry David Thoreau, "Walden," 1854

    "There's a lot to be said for Time Honored tradition and value." --In memory of Frank "fiacovaz" Iacovazzi

    "Maybe your drums can be beat, but you can't."--Jack Keck

  16. #16

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    drummers are loud, and theres nothing we can do bout it but if he is too loud, i guess utopias right.. u should start looking for another drummer.
    -Leslie (aka Lezzle..)

    If in any way I show signs of stupidity or lack of intellegence, this is why:

    Blond + Drummer =

  17. #17

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    Drums don't have to be loud. Listen to how wisper quiet jazz drummers can be when the mood of the song calls for it.

    This problem is why church drummers often get stuck behind plexi glass. The idea is to close off the stage sound and let the sound guy adjust everything through the house. Unfortuneately, the guy running the sound board usually has even less musicality that the maniac at the drum kit. In the end, drum haters win because the drums are poorly mixed and the only thing you can really hear is the snare. There's just no substitute for musicians who have more feeling in their repertoire than just raw anger.

    As far as bass/guitars/keys cutting through, often that has as much to do with tone as volume. Ever notice how well a jazz organ cuts through and fills up all the little spaces that would otherwise be dead? Ever wonder why the piano sound turns to mud as soon as the base and electric quitar come in? Sounds that sound great at home may get totally lost on stage unless overpowering volume is used. Tones that are awesome by themselves don't always work in a group.

    When keys were in vouge in the 80's there was a reason they used all those weird voicings: you can hear them. That's also one reason Strats were prefered over LP's.

  18. #18

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    I've been following these threads and maybe you should throw some of the responsibilities to the sound man.

    I do some sound production when we rent our system to other bands and do some shows, and running sound is like playing an instrument.

    Most churches are built like an upside down boat and acoustics can be very challenging.

    Keep the stage sound to the lowest levels as possible, try adding gates, compression and a good eq.

    Another quick fix would be to use electronic drums or stuff the acoustic drums with foam and add triggers.

    Hope this helps and let us know how you make out.

    Rich

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by bongobro
    Hey, Vinny! Over 40--old? Makes me feel ancient at 54, bro'!

    Couple of thoughts about your drummer--if he's been playing with several bands, he's probably lost a bit of his hearing (between my day job in radio and my drumming, I know that's happened to me!). I'm not sure how you can compensate for his level, other than keeping his level in balance with the rest of your bands. Unfortunately, too many drummers believe in the philosophy that "you can never play too loud."

    I don't know how this would work for your gigs, but I know there are plexiglass panels that go around the drums--something like an isolation booth on a game show--and (I think) may help minimize the noise the rest of your band has to endure...

    But if he's doing it just to show off, I'd agree with Utopia and 1drumbum... start lookin' for a new drummer. Anyone can beat hell out of a drumkit--a real drummer knows when to tear 'em up and when to keep 'em quiet...
    OMG!!!! i don't mean to be mean. because thats not what i intend. but i'm way surprised that theres old people on this forum! thats awesome. i'm in awe! how exciting!

    but to be on topic i wouldn't know what to do. but finding a new drummer sounds good. but wouldn't that hurt his feelings?
    I'm Cassandra
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