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Yeah! WHAT HE SAID!!!

Discussion in 'The Backstage' started by XTRXTR, Aug 4, 2021.

  1. XTRXTR

    XTRXTR Well-Known Member

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    I usually don't speak about other guitarists but I do believe Joe is on the money with this opinion piece.
    https://guitar.com/features/opinion-analysis/joe-bonamassa-playing-loud/

    I've been playing guitar since 1977, gigs since '79 and I've had many clashes with sound re-enforcement engineers over the years. Most recently the guy had a really great sound system for the amphitheater grassy knoll we were playing. Went through sound check everything was fine, the whole band did a song after the usual check check, test, testing, testy two...testies, Check Please! etc. right.

    Then comes time we are on a few hours later and the guy keeps cutting the monitor on me, then the singer, the bass, then the drummer, me again. He's using the mute/solo buttons on his board right? Trying to chase down something he thinks 'jus ain't right' ...and you know what, that just ain't right! So I motion to him that the monitor is cutting out.

    Between songs I find everyone is getting the same treatment. What?! Next song - This time he is cutting me out during my solo...WTF!!! From my perspective I'm going from great sound to hardly anything during a solo when I'm trying to get something brilliant going. I can't find the spot on the stage that gives me the tone I need, that I need consistently. Especially during a solo I should have full rights to my stage sound. After the song I'm a bit fed up already. I have never in my entire stage career had this happen.

    Just in case it was a tech problem I state directly into the mic that we're having some technical issues with monitors. The guy says through a mic he has to the stage that he was chasing down a little problem. So I'm cool now I give him the head nod and thumbs up no problem...thanks.

    He does it again...and not just to me. This guy is a poser. He bought a nice rig and he is using us as...a test subject during our performance. That's it for this guy in my head, "No More Fucks Given!" Hey I've been around y'know and I don't suffer fools well.

    So I walk over to my amp stacks and throw off the mics there, well I moved the boom out of the way, I should have just kicked it over! I crank up my amps to ridiculous. I unhitch the monitor in front me and go.

    The rest of the band is lookin at me like what just happened. I ain't puttin up with this shit-for-a-sound-man any longer. I hit a couple chords and blast into the next song on the playlist. Now everyone can hear me rightly as it should be. I'm the lead here, in a three piece. Maybe what he doesn't know is that I went to music school and you never fuck with the performers. You get the sound check and you move the lead up and down etc as the performance goes on.

    The point of sound re-enforcement is to recreate the sound of the band to a level that the crowd can hear and enjoy the performance. Its not rocket science. You keep plenty of headroom in your setup at sound check so when the crowd is there you don't need to do much. Recording engineers I also know what that is and there is a big difference there is a lot of tech expertise there.

    Hey if you're a great re-enforcement engineer... love ya, just don't fuck with me. You know sound re-enforcement has become a joke because of posers like the one I just described. The good ones are always solid and find trouble with a few lever movements. The next time you hear feedback in a movie scene with the singer or MC using a mic its because of the absolute dickheads that think a sound system makes them a soundman. They have been so prevalent that its an old old joke now.

    The good ones use some pink and white noise to find the trouble before anything else happens. But outside there is no reflections that warrant a monitor cut unless you just don't know what you are doing.

    Anyway I think Joe is on point with his editorial. I worked hard, blisters sweat tears even some blood while performing with an injury. I know my tone that I need and I'm not gonna take it from these wanna bees. You want to be a sound engineer that I respect? Go get a degree in sound engineering/re-enforcement or show me your experience without messing up a performance.
     
  2. Lo-Tek

    Lo-Tek Well-Known Member

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    I don’t get Joe B.
    Not sure why. He’s just kinda boring somehow.
     
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  3. Geeze

    Geeze Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a pro in any alternate reality but I have ears that have been trained by the greatest rock and other musicians the world has ever known. I like big sounding music of all genres. I don't understand the low volume performance wave. I go to a show to be immersed in tone, be inspired to play better and maybe borrow some ideas. I want to see gear and experience a masterful crew in the groove. I want to be sonically enveloped.

    I don't go to talk to my friends - except between songs/sets, text or perform social media masturbation. Nobody tries to talk at the symphony or an organ recital. Nobody tells them to 'turn down' save the score for dynamics.

    Russ
     
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  4. XTRXTR

    XTRXTR Well-Known Member

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    Me too but this is the first thing he's done that actually caught an ear.
     
  5. Phoenician

    Phoenician New Member

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    JB is right.
     
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  6. Matthews Guitars

    Matthews Guitars Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a gigging musician. Nobody would pay to hear me play but they might pay me if I'd agree to STOP playing!

    But, yeah, I get it. Best tones come from good guitars and good amps at a certain volume level. Really that level depends on the amp's characteristics but no amp sounds its best when it's turned way down low.

    I don't understand the "fear of volume" mentality that has taken hold in almost EVERY venue, from the little hole in the wall dive bar down the street to the local auditorium that can seat a few thousand people.

    Turn it up and hand out free earplugs at the door. Use them if you want to. Get your tone.

    And be very quick to slap down a sound man who doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

    I ran sound ONCE. Just once. For a friend, a very fine jazz musician.

    It wasn't what you'd call a loud gig. Wedding party. My mission was to just match up the band's amplified sound with the volume of the drummer, who was running unmiked. And I did that. And EVERYBODY in the band complimented me on the job I did. I got them sounding like a studio recording played through a good stereo system. Because I'm not an idiot. I don't see an EQ and think that the bass and treble ranges HAVE to be turned up. Start flat, adjust for the room.

    Despite the fact that the volume couldn't get any lower, since the drums were the limiting factor, at one point some Karen came up to me and said to me that the band sounds great, can I turn it down? Well, she was just a guest, NOT the one paying the band, so I simply said, "No. I can't do that. If I turn them down all you'll hear is drums. Is that what you want?"

    Amazingly, I think she actually understood me once I made that point. There were no further complaints or requests.
     
  7. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

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    Couple remarks (again, I've been making a living on both sides of the argument for a couple decades now):

    - what you describe is a guy that's bad at his job. No decent soundguy in his right mind would do that. It sucks to be subject to that kind of incompetence. But it doesn't mean all soundguys are like that (THANK GOD). IME the bad ones don't last long in that business (at least at a certain level), especially if they're affecting the talent's performance adversely.
    - JB is right, for the level at which is operating. Which isn't what 99% of gigging guitar players are at. And also, he's the boss of the show he's running, so he has some leverage. Not all of us do.
    - I'm not a fan of IEMs either, and largely prefer wedge monitors for my use. Though they definitely make a massive difference for singers, so I "get" them.
    - don't throw the baby with the bathwater: playing loud (as in, loud enough to hear yourself over the drums without having guitar in your monitor) is one thing, cranking your amp "just because" is another. One is the smart thing to do, the other is (IMHO) borderline moronic in most cases.
    - as I always point out, Hendrix, EC and the likes were cranking their amps because that's the only way they could he heard, as PAs were barely a thing back then. By the 80s, amp walls mostly were here for show.
    - he says that guitar is the Typhoid Mary of modern stages, but drummers have a similar issue (hence the using plexiglass cages, or -God Forbid- Edrums).

    Use the right volume for your gig. I hate "quiet stages" as they're about as un-rock n' roll as can be (music, especially rock, is meant to be felt in a physical way), but you have to be smart and get the best sound for the band as a whole, and just cranking your amp by default often goes against that. And for that matter, I'm pretty certain that's not what JB is advocating either.
     
  8. junk notes

    junk notes Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Joe Bonamassa.:2c:
    BUT
    There might be things that are unbeknownst to the public, and that I really do not hear any of his mentors ever saying that they have had those issues professionally, though.

    YJM gets criticized and misquoted his entire career, but only by the U.S.
     
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  9. WellBurnTheSky

    WellBurnTheSky Well-Known Member

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    Ah, also: this is a very good reason for getting YOUR own soundguy with whom you work towards achieving the best band sound and for everyone to be happy. If you're halfway serious about it, don't depend on an unknown quantity.
     
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  10. trax1139

    trax1139 Well-Known Member

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    He most likely had the Aux Sends for the monitors switched to “post fade”. Then, whenever he would pull down a fader, looking for the feedback problem, he would also be pulling down that channel in the monitors. Doing monitor duties from the FOH position is a bitch. That’s why I never show up without a dedicated monitor mixer and someone to run it on the stage.
     
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  11. XTRXTR

    XTRXTR Well-Known Member

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    In my case the sound man is chosen by the venue, or we bring in our own guy.

    We had another incident of the many where the sound man decided he was going to sing along with our backup vocals. Major problem, the sound at the board has expanded and therefore due to doppler effect is not at the same pitch as the the stage. So we were looking at each other like who is flat. Unreal! Who does that? We found out after a break. This led to a major verbal fight with the venue who fired the guy on the spot. The next half went fine.

    edit: I realize that last short story is a bit off topic. I'm not trying to find ways to slam sound men. I have many different stories about this topic of finding your tone on the stage and soundmen not allowing the volume and tone I want. For the most part I allow it and wait for the sound check etc to proceed how they want it. The vast majority of sound guys are good, its just when you have played for decades you see a lot over time. Some of this experience and time is lost in translation when trying to post about it in a thread.

    As I stated before the good ones are solid and we are thankful for them, drinks and usually a nice bonus is provided.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2021
  12. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    I have been gigging(working professionally) for 30+years and running sound for 20. If you aren't doing big outdoor events, are a National touring act, or opening for one in a big venue then you will be expected to keep the volumes down per the venue owners requests. Some places let you crank up but those are rarer than hens teeth now.

    For the typical weekend warrior gigs, it's a fact of life I have struggled with but have accepted. The choices are below..

    Play loud and get told by staff to turn down
    Get told to turn down between every song until you actually do
    Don't turn down and get shut down and/or never invited back
    Have a sound person who can make you sound good at around 90-92db (most venues sweet spot)
    Don't play places that require you to turn down (good luck finding one if you are a weekend warrior band)
    Learn how to sound good and have fun at lower volumes
    Quit doing it because you feel you absolutely must turn way up to sound good.

    Trust me I don't like it either, but it's just how it is now in most places now. I have played and/or run sound all over the USA and it's the same in most places. We have been reduced to background music.

    The good news is typically if you are a good band and can draw a crowd and a dance floor you can turn up after the 2nd set. That 3rd set is when the magic happens usually. Music is crankin, drunk people acting like drunk people and having a good time and the band rippin it up!

    Oh the times they are..err umm have changed.

    I know it's slightly OT but every time I read sound person related posts I am reminded of this fact of life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
  13. dro

    dro Well-Known Member

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    I remember walking into a venue. That was a telemarket sale show. No local advertisement what so ever.
    Sound system was already in place. And it was an old, antiquated foldback system.
    As far as sound systems go, this one was probably from the late 70's- early 80's.
    BUT The guy knew how to use what he had.
    Show was in a boomey echo ladened memorial building/basketball gym
    Show was a sellout. Sound was impeccable. On stage, out front, Never so much as a squeak of feedback.
    Have done other shows with the big line array systems. Heritage Desk out front as well as on stage for monitors. And sound sucked.
    So just because you've got a shiny new toy. Don't mean you know what it's for.
     
  14. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer ✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴ ✴- - - - - TEH - - - - -✴ ✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴ Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    ^ All of this plus in-ear monitors, "silent" stages and horrible band mates. I finally packed it all in around 2010, sold my stage rigs and bought small combo amps for home use. Even long before I gave up, gigging wasn't worth the effort anymore. Yet still, at a friend's request I gave it one more shot around 2016-17, but it wasn't long before there were differences in musical taste. After 8 months it wasn't getting out of the garage, and the endless emails and text messages abounded. Same old, same old, same old. Screw it. I've played more places in my lifetime than I could remember if you showed me pics, and in more band iterations than I could shake a stick at. Usually great sound & lighting engineers, mature people, mostly fans of art & performance, but of all of those bands there was only one that didn't have dysfunctional baggage. Band differences are so exhausting. By the time they begin to rear their ugly heads, usually something's already been stewing around in somebody.

    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  15. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer ✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴ ✴- - - - - TEH - - - - -✴ ✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴ Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    Here. Watch this. When you're done, check and see if you actually like Rock n Roll:

     
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  16. MarshallDog

    MarshallDog Well-Known Member

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    Joey B sounds spot on to me and I think hes amazing, seen him twice, makes that guitar cry out in passion!
     
  17. Vinsanitizer

    Vinsanitizer ✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴ ✴- - - - - TEH - - - - -✴ ✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴✴ Double Platinum Supporting Member VIP Member

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    I get why people crack on the Bonameister. I didn't care much for him myself for a long time. He isn't exactly the same thing that SRV was to rhythm & blues; he doesn't have a completely unique style, didn't break new ground or anything. But he's not a copycat either - he's carrying the torch and he's the downright genuine article, the real deal, the whole package from the music to the gear. I don't see anyone else doing it the whole time he's been popular. Not defending the guy, just trying to add perspective.

    .
     
  18. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah you really nailed it about the band drama crap. Still perplexes me to this day too. One guy up and quit the band when he found out what my political leaning was! We always got along before that. My wife has been in several bands with me (in one with me right now) and she is far less patient than I am. She's a firecracker that speaks her mind I will leave it at that. I just don't get it. I have even vetted the living hell out of people to make sure we are on the same page and still...something always ruins it.

    Like I said though, I push on. I may reach the end of my rope tomorrow or 20 years from now who knows.
     
  19. trax1139

    trax1139 Well-Known Member

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    1. The arrival of the “SportsBar” in the early 80’s ruined live music. bobpick68 nailed it when he said we have been reduced to background music! These places don’t care about, want or even need live music. They’re too brightly lit with neon signs everywhere- over the pool tables, on the dart game walls and the Macho Punching Machine. 35 TV screens showing everything from World Cup Soccer, NHL hockey MLB, NBA playoffs, Ninja Warriors, NASCAR racing, Olympic Skeet Shooting AND Stupid Japanese Games! The band’s in the corner being shouted at by some Rugby dude...”turn that shit down-the game’s on!”
    2. I won’t and don’t play them any more. I find the major problem with most bands as being perceived as too loud is because they don’t sound good. Not a problem of sloppy playing, but weak, thin, offensive sounding guitars with way too much distortion and a pussy bass player. All with their little fizzy ass 1x10 combos with a pedal board powerful enough to launch a space shuttle.
    3. Couple all that with a sound man who’s afraid of the bar manager, and “poof” the band’s too loud, everybody hates it and the owner is thinking “Man, I gotta just let the DJ have the whole night”.
    4. He”ll be crankin at 113-115db all night long and no one says a word. Why? BECAUSE IT SOUNDS GOOD!! That’s why! I’ve proved it to myself and many others time and time and time again. Watch this: when they gripe it’s a little too loud, I just say OK, I’ll work on it a little. Then release the elephants. Turn it up to the sweet spot, compression and limiting (depending on material of course) get way over the stage volume and the guitar players little rig, and the band responds and so will the folks.
    5. If there’s no big PA, that’s when you need the big rig Marshall’s and Fender Pro or Ampeg SVTs. Even in a small club. You can do the same thing with that. A tight band that sounds big, fat, powerful and dynamic will always demand attention and fair better than a squeaker trying to just keep from getting yelled at.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  20. bobpick68

    bobpick68 Well-Known Member

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    Yep you hit that one good. Part of the reason a lot of bands sound terrible is also because most bands either can't/won't pay a good sound person and/or are using a crap PA system and figure it sounds good enough if there's no feedback. What they don't realize is just because those powered mains are loud enough, doesn't mean they sound good.
     
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