#1
Hey people .
Is there any solution to controlling volume levels in a live situation?
There are two guitarists in my band, me and my friend, both of us play solos. So its really difficult to set the perfect volume level onstage. Is there any way to 'boost' or 'Amp' the signal when needed? The both of us could set equal volumes and boost the lead guitar just enough to be heard properly when it's SOLO TIME if that were possible.... Anyways Thanks! And please help me out!
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#2
If you have the money, a small control board with a "pad" function should be what you're looking for... if I understand them right... ran one for a few years at a church.
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#3
eq pedal that has an overall volume control or db boost, something along those lines. Used a boss GE-7 when I was in a band just to get that little bit of extra when it was needed.
#4
I assume you're playing without a PA?

The most common solution to this problem is the use of a two-channel amp or a boost pedal.

If you're playing clean, you can often use your guitar's volume knob. Yeah, I know, it's crazy - a lot of people just set those on 10 and forget about them. Instead, set them to five or six, which gives you the ability to role up to 10 for your solos.

(If you're playing distorted, particularly with a high-output pickup such as many modern humbuckers, this doesn't work as easily you end up rolling of the distortion when you turn down.)

This is also why a lot of people call the bridge pickup the "lead" pickup. It's probably a little hotter than your neck pickup, and it's certainly likely to "cut through the mix" better. That's often a better solution than lots of volume knob adjustments, especially for inexperienced musicians, as you invariably get into volume wars if you have two inexperienced guitarists tweaking their volumes live.

If you don't have a lot of experience, make sure you have knobs with numbers on them, and make sure that you and the other guitarist understand that you DO NOT CHANGE IT BASED ON WHAT YOU HEAR during the performance. You figure out your volume settings during the sound check and if you have to change it for a lead, you change it back to the predetermined spot and LEAVE IT THERE afterward. A common inexperienced player mistake is to set it at 6 during the sound check, roll it up to 10 for a solo, and roll it back down ... to 7. Next solo it goes back to 10, then comes back down ... to 8. Even experienced guys underestimate the impact the changes they're making to their sound have on the mix, and having the guitars too loud can quickly ruin a performance. What you are hearing is very different from what the audience is hearing - trust the decisions you made during the sound check, NOT your ears.

Lastly, of course, there's the way you play. Even in metal and hard rock you'll often see some members of the band "lay back" during the solo. This is particularly true for the second guitarist: you're competing for the same tonal space, so sometimes it can be just as simple as the rhythm guitarists playing a part with more space in it (see what happens under the solo of "You Shook Me All Night Long" or "Sweet Child of Mine") playing quieter (which you should be able to do with your hands alone) or not playing at all during the solo ("Hells Bells" does that, I think).

Everybody loves to turn the volume up, and people seem to hate turning it down, but turning it down or playing quieter with just your hands is an important part of being a musician in a band.
#5
Quote by HotspurJr
I assume you're playing without a PA?

The most common solution to this problem is the use of a two-channel amp or a boost pedal.

If you're playing clean, you can often use your guitar's volume knob. Yeah, I know, it's crazy - a lot of people just set those on 10 and forget about them. Instead, set them to five or six, which gives you the ability to role up to 10 for your solos.

(If you're playing distorted, particularly with a high-output pickup such as many modern humbuckers, this doesn't work as easily you end up rolling of the distortion when you turn down.)

This is also why a lot of people call the bridge pickup the "lead" pickup. It's probably a little hotter than your neck pickup, and it's certainly likely to "cut through the mix" better. That's often a better solution than lots of volume knob adjustments, especially for inexperienced musicians, as you invariably get into volume wars if you have two inexperienced guitarists tweaking their volumes live.

If you don't have a lot of experience, make sure you have knobs with numbers on them, and make sure that you and the other guitarist understand that you DO NOT CHANGE IT BASED ON WHAT YOU HEAR during the performance. You figure out your volume settings during the sound check and if you have to change it for a lead, you change it back to the predetermined spot and LEAVE IT THERE afterward. A common inexperienced player mistake is to set it at 6 during the sound check, roll it up to 10 for a solo, and roll it back down ... to 7. Next solo it goes back to 10, then comes back down ... to 8. Even experienced guys underestimate the impact the changes they're making to their sound have on the mix, and having the guitars too loud can quickly ruin a performance. What you are hearing is very different from what the audience is hearing - trust the decisions you made during the sound check, NOT your ears.

Lastly, of course, there's the way you play. Even in metal and hard rock you'll often see some members of the band "lay back" during the solo. This is particularly true for the second guitarist: you're competing for the same tonal space, so sometimes it can be just as simple as the rhythm guitarists playing a part with more space in it (see what happens under the solo of "You Shook Me All Night Long" or "Sweet Child of Mine") playing quieter (which you should be able to do with your hands alone) or not playing at all during the solo ("Hells Bells" does that, I think).

Everybody loves to turn the volume up, and people seem to hate turning it down, but turning it down or playing quieter with just your hands is an important part of being a musician in a band.


Really good post. This. +1
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

Current Rig:
2006 PRS CE-24
Mesa/Boogie Mark V
Voltage S212 w/ V30's
Strymon Timeline
CMATMods Signa Drive
TC Electronics Corona & Hall of Fame
#6
Just from personal experience...playing in a loud rock band.

You need to boost.

If people start pulling back during your solo it's going to lose momentum and force. If it's an indie type of band, soft rock, or Jazz then it's a lot easier to manage volume just with group interaction, but with balls-to-the-wall loud stuff...nobody is probably going to be pulling back ,and if they did it'd sound weird.

I wouldn't even recommend pulling back the volume in most cases...again situation dependent...but if you're playing something with just blarring power chords to start off with, you probably want your volume dimed as you will bleed off treble and lose definition if you're rolling down the volume to compensate.

This also means you need to have a consistent amount of headroom all the time, which means you're going to have to be ****ing with a volume knob a lot if you want to get pulled back into "band volume". Not something I like to have to be doing on stage.

So...a cheap option is a boss Ge7 EQ, and just use it as a boost, and maybe boost the higher mids to cut as well.

Or get an amp with a boost channel available via footswitch.
Last edited by chronowarp at Apr 8, 2012,
#7
Quote by chronowarp

If people start pulling back during your solo it's going to lose momentum and force. If it's an indie type of band, soft rock, or Jazz then it's a lot easier to manage volume just with group interaction, but with balls-to-the-wall loud stuff...nobody is probably going to be pulling back ,and if they did it'd sound weird.


Well, I actually cited examples from hard rock bands for a reason, anticipating this objection.

It's not my favorite genre but I've been to hard rock shows with good bands where the guitar solo was muddy as hell because the band didn't understand how to create space for it. Izzy Stradlin absolutely backed off when Slash was taking a signature solo.

The problem is that louder isn't always better. If you're well set up for the room, going louder is likely to be uncomfortable or unpleasant. I mean, if the band is chugging along at the RIGHT volume and you add in a new sound that's louder, the band is no longer at the right volume.

There's a huge subjective aspect to the perception of volume, as well. Any mixer knows you can make something sound louder by changing other things in the mix - not just bringing them down. One thing to bear in mind is that usually, during the solo, all of a sudden you don't have the singer filling up a huge part of the mix - that means the solo is already going to sound louder, even at the same volume - because it's got less competition.

Another example - Even Flow, by Pearl Jam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxKWTzr-k6s&ob=av3e&t=2m55s

That should kick in about 10 seconds before the solo. Notice how stone's rhythm guitar goes away during the solo. Nobody would ever accuse this song of not rocking out.

Another thing, a bit of a pet peeve of mine: any halfway decent musician can rock out pretty damn hard while not hitting the strings as loud as possible.
#8
I definitely understand what you're saying, but it's not always going to work musically. Two guitars in my band. When I'm soling or he's soloing I tend palm mute to "clean up" and open up some space for him to push through. But if I were to drop completely or even change what I'm playing it'd create gigantic rift in the song - because it just doesn't work with the way most stuff is written.

And in the Pearl Jam example...I don't think it's the best example. That entire solo is sort of a separate soft, funky section between the choruses...
#9
Personally, you should be able to give the soloist room by just using your hands. Whether that be lowering you volume, or playing slightly less intense, or by giving the soloist "space" by minimizing your rhythm parts. If you were chugging 8th notes as a riff, maybe play 1, 3, +, instead of 1+2+3+4+ (hope that made sense...)

Hell, you could even change pickups. If you were riffing on the bridge pup, maybe play the same root chord on the bridge. IMHO, you shouldnt have to buy anything to give your soloist space.
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

Current Rig:
2006 PRS CE-24
Mesa/Boogie Mark V
Voltage S212 w/ V30's
Strymon Timeline
CMATMods Signa Drive
TC Electronics Corona & Hall of Fame
#11
I personally like to keep the guitar the same volume the entire way through. If I'm playing a solo, and there's another guitarists, if they do something as simple as palm muting, focussing on the lower strings or just making their part more "sparse", my solo will come through.

Boosts/whatever, they'll just lead to volume wars. As for "hearing yourself", on stage it really isn't that common to get a great mix, and at the very least it won't be the same as front of house.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
Quote by AlanHB
I personally like to keep the guitar the same volume the entire way through. If I'm playing a solo, and there's another guitarists, if they do something as simple as palm muting, focussing on the lower strings or just making their part more "sparse", my solo will come through.


This is exactly what I did. With the way I had my amp EQ'd I cut through anyways and my rhythm had his EQ'd to add bass (we didn't have a bassist), so it all worked out.

Boosts/whatever, they'll just lead to volume wars. As for "hearing yourself", on stage it really isn't that common to get a great mix, and at the very least it won't be the same as front of house.

I've never played a show where I could REALLY hear the band unless the monitors in front of me were extremely loud. Mostly it's myself and the drummer, so I had to know my parts like the back of my hand and just hope/know everyone else did as well.