#1
Hello everyone,

as a guitarplayer I have encountered the problem of not hearing myself or getting heard 9 out of 10 gigs.

In the 8 years I play the electric guitar, I worked and worked around my sound and ways to hear myself much better without blasting my and everyone else's ears off.

As most guitarplayers, as a beginner I too played too loud with too much gain and scooped mids. NOT the way to get a great, cutting through tone in a band situation.

Whenever I get a mic in front of my amp, the soundman always "complains" that I play too loud and asks me to lower the volume. Ok for me, but the sound coming out of the monitors is really SHIT, every single time.

One time I had this on a semi-professional gig and the soundman kept asking to lower the volume.
To visualize how low my volume is at band practice and live gigging (it's the same): If 7 o'clock is 0 and 5 o'clock is 10, between 8-9 o'clock is my usual volume. It's loud, but just enough to keep up with the drummer. So when he asked me to lower the volume down, the master volume dropped between 7-8. I swear to you, I held my head against my speakers and the volume was like a smartphone playing music. It sounded shit. There was no punch, no harmonics and it was impossible to make artificial feedback. The sound I got from the monitors sounded like shit and just doesn't give me the "oomph" I need. Result: I spend the whole gig concentrating on hearing myself and making the best out of the sound I got. All in all, it always sound very thin through monitors...

The problem with this lower volume I can't get artificial feedback, wich I use a lot in our songs (breakdowns, certain riffs, endings, etc.). In normal conditions I get this feedback almost always with reverb and a certain delay on. Lately I try to engage the compressor to help me get the feedback, but live this does not work.

My questions:

1. What are good volume settings for a mic'ed amp gig and a gig without mic's? I know this is entirely subjective and personal for most but having a general idea about your volume settings and your experiences could really help me.

2. Any tips in gear besides an attenuator...? Boost/overdrive pedals?

3. How can I still get controllable feedback without being "too loud"?

4. Is it my settings or am I doing something wrong?

I only use the gain from my amp, not from any pedals.

My settings:

Master: 8-9 o'clock

Clean:
Volume: 1 o'clock

Channel 1 (2 is similar):
Gain: 1 o'clock
Preamp volume: 3 o'clock
Bass: 12 o'clock
Mids: 1-2 o'clock
Treble: 12-1 o'clock
Presence: 11 o'clock
Resonance: 9 o'clock

I DO realize that using reverb, delay and other fx makes me "louder" and/or less audible. Even in songs in wich there is no reverb, delay or fx at all, just crunch for example, I have exactly the same volumeproblems.

At the end of the day I want to please myself, the rest of the band, the crowd and if the gig has it, the soundman.

My gear:
Epiphone Les Paul Standard (2006)
Blackstar Stage HT100
Peavey Valveking 412 (soon to be replaced by a Orange PPC212OB)
Strymon BlueSky (fx Loop)
Boss DD20 (fx Loop)
Boss TR2 (fx Loop)
MXR Dyna Comp
Ernie Ball 6185 Wah
Boss OD-2 (very old, got it for free )

My genres: Indie, post-rock, stadiumrock (shitty term), grunge etc.
Bands in comparison: Foo Fighters, U2, Radiohead, Mogwai, Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol, etc.
Pretty ambient sounds, also in our "pop" sounding songs.
We have a very experienced, loud drummer. I'm the only guitarplayer in the band.
Last edited by humbucky at Feb 23, 2015,
#2
Having your master way up isn't a great idea, I have a 2x12 and keep the master at about 11 o clock and that's perfectly loud, I get what you mean about your sound getting lost, it used to happen to me, and as the speakers are mainly hitting your knees it's way louder than you think, to get a better sound, kill some of the treble and bass, not by much, and boost your mids more, also tell the sound guy to put more of yourself through the monitors, it can help, most gigs I've played the on stage sound is terrible, it's something you might just have to deal with if you do those things and nothing seems to work
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
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Quote by Roc8995
The Hello Kitty Strat is the most metal guitar known to man.
#3
Quote by 'DC fan
Having your master way up isn't a great idea, I have a 2x12 and keep the master at about 11 o clock and that's perfectly loud, I get what you mean about your sound getting lost, it used to happen to me, and as the speakers are mainly hitting your knees it's way louder than you think, to get a better sound, kill some of the treble and bass, not by much, and boost your mids more, also tell the sound guy to put more of yourself through the monitors, it can help, most gigs I've played the on stage sound is terrible, it's something you might just have to deal with if you do those things and nothing seems to work


My master volume is only at 8-9 o'clock, it's the preampchannel volume that's almost completely up. You meant this?

And indeed, I hear myself when I sit on a chair in front of the amp, but that's not an option for live gigging...

Whenever I ask a (any) Sound Guy to put more of myself through the monitors, they get annoyed and the difference is always unnoticeable. It just sounds very, very thin and undefined and disappears into thin air.

I want to replace my 4x12 cabinet for an Orange PPC 2x12 open back cabinet and put this on either a flight case or on a cabinet/amp stand, pointed at me. Either way, I will do this but still, the difference between volume at a gig all mic'ed up or a gig without any mics is confusing me to the point of frustration at every gig... I never seem to get it right.

Thanks for the tips!
#4
If the sound guy gets annoyed because you want more of your sound in the monitor, they're an ass. Ask nice at first. If that doesn't work, start insisting. You want them to be your friend, but they are basically working for you. The monitors are for you. The house mix, he should be in control of and can mix it any way he wants.
I was in a band for years and our stage volume was always pretty low.
Sorry, I don't know what to tell you about the feedback stuff.
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#5
<WALL OF TEXT WARNING>

High stage volume is traditionally a pain in the posterior, and most of the more professional bands are cutting it way, WAY back. This *includes* taming the sound output of aggressive drummers onstage.

But we'll get to that in a second.

In The Beginning...

...everyone put their amps on the floor, plugged in and wailed, with only vocals through the PA. After a while, someone noticed that the audience had its hands over its ears. It turns out that if you're off-axis from your amp's speakers, you're missing out on the highs, and what you think are great thumpin' sounds are actually thin and irritating (like what you're hearing from the monitors -- it's not the sound guys. It's what you're *really* putting out).

If you have no PA support (they're not miking your amps), you need to get your amp's speaker elevated. I've used an OnStage RS-7000 with combo amps. If you're using a 4x12, put it up on a road case designed to cover a 4x12. This way you'll hear what your amp is actually putting out, your audience won't soak up as much of the sound in the first 10 rows and it'll be easier to work with feedback, etc.

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The issue here is that you also want to keep that sound out of your vocal mikes, and with the amps elevated so that they're closer to your ears (so that you're not hearing muffled off-axis sound), they're also aimed directly at your mikes. The same thing is happening with unabated drummer noise; if it's getting into the vocal mikes, it's also coming out of the PA system. All of this (stage sound output and whatever hits the vocal mikes) is hitting your audience at different times, so you get phase issues and, ultimately, mud.

This is what your sound guys are screaming at you about; what YOU think is great sound onstage is causing your audience to hear crap.

An open back cabinet onstage is a bit of a trap. The guitar player is the ONLY person who hears an open back cabinet sounding all lovely. No One Else Does.

Moving on.

A miked cabinet sounds like a particular section of a speaker. ONE speaker. However full you think a 4x12 sounds to you and no matter how much you perfect "your sound" in the bedroom or in a small practice facility, a miked cabinet is not that. No matter how much acoustic or mechanical coupling you get from walls, floor, etc., that miked speaker carries none of that.

So you need to learn how to make your sound great through that mike. This is a learning process. And one of the first things you realize is that you've been hauling that giant speaker cabinet around as stage decoration. Nonetheless, the time you spend learning how to make your sound great through that one section of one speaker, and that mike is a great time investment.

Eventually, you'll realize that you don't need to have that one speaker pointing toward the audience at all, because you're going to be a LOT more concerned about what's coming out of the PA than what's coming out of that amp, and you'll probably end up like Mike Campbell, who tucks his little Fender amp behind that row of Vox Super Beatle cabinets. I know, I know, we're getting to the feedback thing.

At some point, you'll probably notice that a bunch of pro drummers have big lexan shields around their drum sets (to keep that mess from the vocal mikes) and/or they're sneaking mesh electronic drumheads into their kits so that they can control their drum sounds via their own private mixer. You'll notice that more bass players are running into some gizmo that then runs direct into the mixing board, that the keyboard players have their own mixers that feed...uh...directly into the PA mixing board, and you'll begin to wonder if YOU can do that. The answer, of course, is yes. And pros have been doing it for years.

If you MUST have Your Amp running the world, you can feed it into something like the Two Notes Torpedo or something that says "Palmer" on the side. It's a load box that takes the output of your amp head, simulates a speaker cabinet, and runs directly to the mixer. No speaker or mike necessary any more. In fact, if your drummer has gone completely electronic, you may have no stage volume at all; just some guys standing around mikes, shouting at them.

If you've got the money to invest in IEM's (in ear monitors), and if you've got sound guys good enough to give you your own mix, you might be happy with that.

Except for the feedback thing. And here it gets a little tricky. You still might want to have a speaker cabinet somewhere that will allow you to saunter back to a specific spot to get your guitar strings going.

Or you might want to look into a sustainer. A sustainer is actually nothing more than a feedback loop, recreated electronically. It started with folks like Santana cranking up the volume, finding a sweet spot near his amps, and wandering back to it whenever he wanted to get a note to sustain forever. Feedback loop. A lot of feedback loops will cause a note to transition into a harmonic (often an octave up) of the note you're holding. What's happening is that the sound waves coming off the speaker are causing the string to continue to vibrate at the same frequency. What a sustainer does is to take the sound coming off the bridge pickup and feeds it to some electronics (battery powered) that turns the neck pickup (a "sustainer driver") into an electromagnet. Instead of speaker volume vibrating the string, the electromagnet does. And depending on the setting of the switches for the sustainer, you can get the thing to transition to the octave harmonic and/or sustain the original note as well.

Thing is, you can do this whole feedback loop thing without ever being plugged into an amp. Just you and your guitar in the middle of a room. You can do it while standing in the middle of an audience 100' from your amp, running a wireless. Another learning curve, but it's good to know you can develop feedback techniques on a sound-free stage.
Last edited by dspellman at Feb 19, 2015,
#7
Where the heck is 17 o'Clock? That made me smile for some reason. Here's what I do.
Volume wise, I turn my amp up to wherever makes the speakers pulse... The volume that is the minimum of what it takes to sound good. If it's too loud, consider a different speaker cabinet.

If it's loud, but manageable, you can always have your amp on the side of the stage facing toward the middle, as long as your PA is decent. That way you hear your amp, but it doesnt add much to the overall mix.

Another thing, I would recommend a 'flat' mic, like the Sennheiser e609 (i think) rather than something like an sm57. The sound is personal preference, but with the flat style mics you can get them a lot closer. We've fixed a lot of unintentional feedback problems with these types of mics.
#8
Quote by humbucky
My master volume is only at 8-9 o'clock, it's the preampchannel volume that's almost completely up. You meant this?

And indeed, I hear myself when I sit on a chair in front of the amp, but that's not an option for live gigging...

Whenever I ask a (any) Sound Guy to put more of myself through the monitors, they get annoyed and the difference is always unnoticeable. It just sounds very, very thin and undefined and disappears into thin air.

I want to replace my 4x12 cabinet for an Orange PPC 2x12 open back cabinet and put this on either a flight case or on a cabinet/amp stand, pointed at me. Either way, I will do this but still, the difference between volume at a gig all mic'ed up or a gig without any mics is confusing me to the point of frustration at every gig... I never seem to get it right.

Thanks for the tips!



Balls sorry I misread 8/9 o clock as being 8/9 out of 10, yeah honestly that seems like it's very quiet, try turning the pre amp volume down a touch and compensating with the master

As for the Orange cabs, personally i've never tried one but the ones I have heard have a lot of punch and low end, which would most likely solve your problem, putting it on a flight case would compensate for the low height of the 2x12, go for it man, I'd preferable have the Orange 2x12 than the Peavey VK 4x12
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Dressing my steak with cum is just adding more protein to my steak.


Quote by Roc8995
The Hello Kitty Strat is the most metal guitar known to man.
#9
Some good suggestions so far, I Would get an amp stand that will tilt the amp back so it's pointed at your head, not your knees.

For an amp, I'd go with a low wattage tube amp that can be cranked and still not be too loud. I'm playing in a band that does a lot of gigs at restaurants and such, good chance we'll be at a local wine bar tomorrow night where I can't crank my Fender Champ up to 10, I Have it about 8 most of the time, 10 being wide open. Then I use an A/B switch and my Super Reverb with volume around 3 for cleans, it works well but I don't have to worry about feedback. Neither amp will feedback unless I plug in my hollowbody Cort CL1500 and turn on the Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrive...I've always wondered about the Super Reverb, I can hold my Strat a foot away with the amp cranked to 10 and it won't feedback...never seen a tube amp do that....

I don't know anything about the amps you listed, I have a friend who has a 20 watt Mesa Combo he loves, Subway Rocket. He puts it on a tilt back stand for gigs, I heard it at low volume and it sounds very good. I put my Champ in a tilt back stand I made out of PVC, so it's pointed at my head, the Super Reverb has the standard Fender tilt back legs. That makes a huge difference. Our rhythm guitar player just started using his amp stand for the same reason.

Some other good sounding low wattage amps are available, I liked the Vox Night Train pretty well when I tried it out. I'm a big Fender sand Peavey fan, don't know what Peavey makes in the under 30 watt range, the Fender Princeton is a great amp and 18 watts I think. With a couple of good pedals it will handle almost any style of music you want. I play mostly classic rock and blues, but have played some jam sessions with metal bands with a totally clean Peavey MX and a pedal or two. So any amp will do the job, with a little tweaking of the knobs and some good pedals.

Main thing is get the amp pointed at your ears, not your knees. If you need feedback, get a low wattage tube amp so you can crank it and not get loud.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#10
My current setup is a small Mesa amp tilted at my head about 5 ft away with just enough sound to run with live drums. Larger shows I run a cab-voiced direct out to the board if drums are miked. Sustain and desired feedback are achieved by getting close to the amp and rolling up the guitar volume Santana style. I always leave a little room for this. We have used IEM, small personal stage monitors and powered wedges and all work ok. Currently we are running powered EV/QSC wedges with 80hz HPF and get good clarity for 4 part vocal harmonies (Eagles, Journey & Beach Boys style). We keep our stage volume controlled as our drummer is very in tune with overall blend but it definitely sounds like a rock band. No vocal feedback ever.

Getting good stage volume where everyone can hear and the blend is good requires skill, practice and determination. These guys are all pros with major tour experience so everyone cooperates well and work together like a team to get a good mix. Being in a band with others who "get it" is a pleasure. Some shows have a house sound guy and FOH mix quality varies based on his skills. Sometimes it sounds totally awesome and sometimes it ummm doesn't. We always take control of monitor mix and leave FOH to the guy behind the board. If the input gain is set right our stage mon mix is super easy.

I don't think there is any magic pill or piece of gear that makes it all happen. Skill, determination, and cooperation result in a good stage mix and that takes time.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#11
Part of it is just that some soundmen are obnoxious. I remember one gig I was playing the bar provided to big peavey amps, which are very different than what I am used to. We were sound checking for awhile and both the other guitarist and myself couldn't get the Peavey's mids to cut through the mix. When we discussed this with the sound guy, I kid you not, his response was "people come to these shows to hear the singer. Not the guitars."

With that said, could you try upping your amp's mids and lowering the bass and treble a bit? To be honest I have not played all of your gear so I'm not super sure with it's specs. Also, is there anything different about the gigs where you can hear your guitar?

Finally, as others have recommended, a sustainer could really help. You could try a volume pedal too; but, that could just make your sound more obnoxious.
Fender 2012 MIA Standard Telecaster
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Boss PS-6
Boss DD-7
#12
Quote by Thetreystevens
Where the heck is 17 o'Clock? That made me smile for some reason.


Doh! I meant 5 o'clock


Quote by 'DC fan
Balls sorry I misread 8/9 o clock as being 8/9 out of 10, yeah honestly that seems like it's very quiet, try turning the pre amp volume down a touch and compensating with the master


I did this yesterday evening and it seems to be better. Feedback is also working now. But I still have the feeling I play too loud (the volume seems to be the same as always) and I want to avoid the request of the sound guy to take the volume down.

Anyway, it's difficult to determine what is "Loud" and what not. Is keeping up with a loud drummer loud? Is bedroomlevel loud on stage?

Quote by 'DC fan
As for the Orange cabs, personally i've never tried one but the ones I have heard have a lot of punch and low end, which would most likely solve your problem, putting it on a flight case would compensate for the low height of the 2x12, go for it man, I'd preferable have the Orange 2x12 than the Peavey VK 4x12


The Peavey is "ok" but I really miss the definition and "oomph" I had when playing the Orange 2x12 cabinet. The benefit: More room and easier to handle.


Quote by Mem101
With that said, could you try upping your amp's mids and lowering the bass and treble a bit? To be honest I have not played all of your gear so I'm not super sure with it's specs. Also, is there anything different about the gigs where you can hear your guitar?


I already tried upping and lowering mids, bass and treble . Yesterday I set everything at noon and tried again. Bass is now at 10 o'clock, treble at 11 o'clock, mids at 3 o'clock. This seems to be better. But to me it sounds a little bit thin.
I played along with our drummer and bassplayer to hear how it sounds in a band situation.
The gigs I had good-great sound where all done by the same sound guy, a friend who is doing this professionally and he knows our songs. I never had to lower my volume for him, even in shitty sounding rooms/clubs or bigger stages. Unfortunately, we can't hire him because he has his own business, so it would be very expensive

Quote by dspellman
everyone put their amps on the floor, plugged in and wailed, with only vocals through the PA. After a while, someone noticed that the audience had its hands over its ears. It turns out that if you're off-axis from your amp's speakers, you're missing out on the highs, and what you think are great thumpin' sounds are actually thin and irritating (like what you're hearing from the monitors -- it's not the sound guys. It's what you're *really* putting out).

If you have no PA support (they're not miking your amps), you need to get your amp's speaker elevated. I've used an OnStage RS-7000 with combo amps. If you're using a 4x12, put it up on a road case designed to cover a 4x12. This way you'll hear what your amp is actually putting out, your audience won't soak up as much of the sound in the first 10 rows and it'll be easier to work with feedback, etc.


Speaking of a wall of text, Jesus Thanks, this really makes sense! So basically, the great sound (let's just say I have one for this example) I hear in the room when standing just in front of the speakers (like on a very small stage where the band is cramped in a tiny space) can be a very bad sound in the crowd?

This might seem a rethorical question: Would it be a great help for finding some basic good sounding settings if I stand in the crowd or sit on a chair some ft/meters away from the amp to hear how it sounds from the crowd's perspective? I have this possibilty in our practice room, I can stand/sit like 5-8 meters away from my amp.

Thanks all for the fast and informative replies!
#13
Quote by humbucky

Speaking of a wall of text, Jesus Thanks, this really makes sense! So basically, the great sound (let's just say I have one for this example) I hear in the room when standing just in front of the speakers (like on a very small stage where the band is cramped in a tiny space) can be a very bad sound in the crowd?


Yup. A lot of factors there. Beyond the obvious, you need to understand that the first 10 rows of an audience will suck up most of the treble that your band puts out, particularly if you're on a low stage and particularly if you have your amps on the floor. That's where the PA comes in. Without it, you'll hear bass and drums and a mush of whatever else is going on. Guitarists usually bump their mids up and their bass down in a band situation. It may not sound right compared to what you hear yourself doing in the bedroom, but it makes sense in a mixed situation.

Quote by humbucky
This might seem a rethorical question: Would it be a great help for finding some basic good sounding settings if I stand in the crowd or sit on a chair some ft/meters away from the amp to hear how it sounds from the crowd's perspective? I have this possibilty in our practice room, I can stand/sit like 5-8 meters away from my amp.


Again, simply standing in front of the band in an empty room isn't the same as hearing how things change in a crowded venue. It really wasn't until I was able to walk back to where the sound guys were during a packed house that I could hear what was really coming across.
#14
dspellman has a very good point, once you get a good bunch of people on front of you the overall sound loses a lot of treble. Also standing really close to the amp does not get you a good sound, in general you get the best sound at one foot for each inch of speaker diameter. So with a 12" speaker, 12 feet away is where the sound opens up and you actually hear what's going on.

I usually try to do our sound check standing as far in front of the band as my guitar cables will let me, or plug in my wireless and got out front wherever I want. The only thing I can't check is my own vocal level...

When I was in a band with a sound man he was one of the best and we worked out hand signals so I could let him know what I wanted. Mostly for vocal monitor levels, if I stuck my finger to my ear he knew I couldn't hear my vocals, or whatever I then pointed to.

Main thing is though, a good sound man should be able to communicate and cooperate. As far as your guitar sound, get that amp set up so you can hear it. Either on a chair or a tilt back stand, it makes a difference.

I just got confirmation we'll be playing in a very low volume wine bar tonight, I'll be using the Champ on this stand I built using PVC.

IMGP27118 by Paleo Pete, on Flickr

IMGP27115 by Paleo Pete, on Flickr

It works great, standing 8 feet in front of it points it right at my ears and I can hear it well. Same thing should work for most combo amps, PVC can hold up to a lot of weight. I'd probably go with bigger PVC for something the size of a Twin Reverb, but for most smaller amps the same 1/2" would work fine. I was amazed how much difference it made first time I used the tilt back legs on my Super Reverb, and the sound bounces off the ceiling so the audience still hears it. I also usually set the treble a little higher than I actually need it to make up for what it loses once the place fills up, or push it a little higher after some people come in. Having it tilted also puts the sound out into the audience, but does not put it straight out front so it's ice pick to the ears territory, it's bouncing off the ceiling and has a chance to open up a lot more.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
#15
Smaller amp or smaller cab and an amp stand. I use an On-Stage amp stand that has an adjustable tilt so It can aim right at the back of my head. It's a rather cheap and great investment and you will hear yourself fine. Dspellman laid it out very well not much more to add.

Just a separate note about sound guys: If your soundman can't give you a better mix in the monitors he might be limited by the mixer itself. Maybe he only has one monitor send and he is trying to give each person a little more of what they want personally which means each band member is saying "more of me". If that's not the case and he can do it but just won't, consider a better soundman. The monitor mix is for you not him.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#16
I could comment for ages about the relationship between the sound engineer and the band, but the only real way to understand it is to learn to do the job yourself.

As for controllable feedback on stage, I would suggest one of two set-ups. 1. Use a full stack, but only use the to top 4 x 12 (the bottom one can be empty even). 4x12s are very directional. Turn it down, the turn it up so that you get feedback only when directly in front of it. The idea is that when you want to play in feedback you only have to go and stand in the right place. This only works on stages large enough that there are no vocal mics in front of your stack, and only in medium size venues. 2. Buy yourself a wedge monitor, preferably a 2x12, disconnect the horn. Plug this into your amp as well as your back line speaker, but have it at the front of the stage. You then should be able to get the feedback you want and to here yourself without drowning out the vocalist.

Apart from these technical solutions also make sure you actually play quietly in the verses while the singer is singing, you can use two channels on you amp to help you do this (switch from quiet to loud for solos and chorus), but its actually better to learn to so this with your strumming technique.
#17
Quote by PSimonR
I could comment for ages about the relationship between the sound engineer and the band, but the only real way to understand it is to learn to do the job yourself.

As for controllable feedback on stage, I would suggest one of two set-ups.


All excellent ^^^

Several bands I know have eliminated the whole business of having amps on stage pointed at the audience, and instead have their instrument amps running into wedge monitors at the front of the stage. This allows them to hear themselves but keeps most of the sound out of the vocal mikes, keeps the up-front audience from getting blasted.

One other comment; some sound systems run front fills, but most don't. In a traditional setting, with instrument amps pointed at the audience, an audience member hears whatever amp is pointed directly at him (say, the rhythm guitarist) but can't hear the guitarist on the other side of the stage. He can hear drums and bass, but with all the vocals going through the big PA systems on either side of the stage, he'll miss out on those as well.

Back in The Day, we had a set of old Shure VocalMaster columns and laid those down across the stage pointed at the audience to provide vocals (and whatever else was coming through the PA) to the down-fronters.
#18
I always play wireless. So I get to hear what I sound like in the band context by standing a few meters from the stage during sound check. After all, the first priority is to sound good to the audience. My stage sound is secondary and since our singer always wants guitar on his monitor I can always stand near him whenever I want to hear more of myself.

As to the sound guys. I play a Framus Dragon head that has 2 switchable master volumes. I always have one set only slightly higher than the other. I´ll let the sound guy do his thing with my lower volume. Then, when we hit the stage I switch to the higher volume. Works every time.
#19
Quote by dspellman

Several bands I know have eliminated the whole business of having amps on stage pointed at the audience, and instead have their instrument amps running into wedge monitors at the front of the stage. This allows them to hear themselves but keeps most of the sound out of the vocal mikes, keeps the up-front audience from getting blasted.


Yes, you can do this as well.

Many big bands you stacks for show and have a small amp mic'd up behind them for the actual signal. In fact RUSH don't even used 4x12s, they use washing machines:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhcM_hx0zxw

Good point about the front fills dspellman, I've never worked out why people don't do that more often, its such an obvious improvement.
Last edited by PSimonR at Feb 21, 2015,
#20
Quote by PSimonR

2. Buy yourself a wedge monitor, preferably a 2x12, disconnect the horn. Plug this into your amp as well as your back line speaker, but have it at the front of the stage. You then should be able to get the feedback you want and to here yourself without drowning out the vocalist.

Apart from these technical solutions also make sure you actually play quietly in the verses while the singer is singing, you can use two channels on you amp to help you do this (switch from quiet to loud for solos and chorus), but its actually better to learn to so this with your strumming technique.


I failed to mention my volumepedal in my gear so... I use this a lot between verses/choruses/breaks/etc. and I strum/pick much softer when it is musically necessary. It's the overall volume in songs, not while switching between clean and crunch or verse and chorus.

About the monitors: We have the luxury to have monitors (1x12) in our band practice room, but we only send keyboard and vocals through them. Do they need to be powered? Does this work like connecting a 2nd cabinet to my amp? Or do I need to plug it in somewhere else? Forgive me the ignorance, it's the first time I heard about this.

Does anyone have experience with the Quik Lok BS-625 amp stand? Is it sturdy enough as advertised to hold a head and a 2x12 cabinet?

Quik Lok BS-625

Maybe it would be more advisable to use an amp stand instead of a flightcase? The Quik Lok is the only one I found wich could hold both my Blackstar head and the Orange PPC212 cabinet I'm going to buy.

It would look like this, maybe a little bit silly?

#21
you can also turn your amp around and point it at the back of the stage
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#22
Quote by humbucky
Hello everyone,

as a guitarplayer I have encountered the problem of not hearing myself or getting heard 9 out of 10 gigs.

In the 8 years I play the electric guitar, I worked and worked around my sound and ways to hear myself much better without blasting my and everyone else's ears off.

As most guitarplayers, as a beginner I too played too loud with too much gain and scooped mids. NOT the way to get a great, cutting through tone in a band situation.

Whenever I get a mic in front of my amp, the soundman always "complains" that I play too loud and asks me to lower the volume. Ok for me, but the sound coming out of the monitors is really SHIT, every single time.

One time I had this on a semi-professional gig and the soundman kept asking to lower the volume.
To visualize how low my volume is at band practice and live gigging (it's the same): If 7 o'clock is 0 and 17 o'clock is 10, between 8-9 o'clock is my usual volume. It's loud, but just enough to keep up with the drummer. So when he asked me to lower the volume down, the master volume dropped between 7-8. I swear to you, I held my head against my speakers and the volume was like a smartphone playing music. It sounded shit. There was no punch, no harmonics and it was impossible to make artificial feedback. The sound I got from the monitors sounded like shit and just doesn't give me the "oomph" I need. Result: I spend the whole gig concentrating on hearing myself and making the best out of the sound I got. All in all, it always sound very thin through monitors...

The problem with this lower volume I can't get artificial feedback, wich I use a lot in our songs (breakdowns, certain riffs, endings, etc.). In normal conditions I get this feedback almost always with reverb and a certain delay on. Lately I try to engage the compressor to help me get the feedback, but live this does not work.

My questions:

1. What are good volume settings for a mic'ed amp gig and a gig without mic's? I know this is entirely subjective and personal for most but having a general idea about your volume settings and your experiences could really help me.

2. Any tips in gear besides an attenuator...? Boost/overdrive pedals?

3. How can I still get controllable feedback without being "too loud"?

4. Is it my settings or am I doing something wrong?

I only use the gain from my amp, not from any pedals.

My settings:

Master: 8-9 o'clock

Clean:
Volume: 13 o'clock

Channel 1 (2 is similar):
Gain: 13 o'clock
Preamp volume: 15 o'clock
Bass: 12 o'clock
Mids: 13-14 o'clock
Treble: 12-13 o'clock
Presence: 11 o'clock
Resonance: 9 o'clock

I DO realize that using reverb, delay and other fx makes me "louder" and/or less audible. Even in songs in wich there is no reverb, delay or fx at all, just crunch for example, I have exactly the same volumeproblems.

At the end of the day I want to please myself, the rest of the band, the crowd and if the gig has it, the soundman.

My gear:
Epiphone Les Paul Standard (2006)
Blackstar Stage HT100
Peavey Valveking 412 (soon to be replaced by a Orange PPC212OB)
Strymon BlueSky (fx Loop)
Boss DD20 (fx Loop)
Boss TR2 (fx Loop)
MXR Dyna Comp
Ernie Ball 6185 Wah
Boss OD-2 (very old, got it for free )

My genres: Indie, post-rock, stadiumrock (shitty term), grunge etc.
Bands in comparison: Foo Fighters, U2, Radiohead, Mogwai, Pearl Jam, Snow Patrol, etc.
Pretty ambient sounds, also in our "pop" sounding songs.
We have a very experienced, loud drummer. I'm the only guitarplayer in the band.


1) You're tone will always suck coming through monitors - you may as well just learn to live with it. That's why it's important to position your amp near you so that you can use it as a direct monitor. I've played everything from large festivals to concert halls and the sound coming from the monitor is always shit when it comes to guitar - it won't compare to your amp ( this is why Steve Vai uses actual guitar cab speakers to monitor his guitar rather than monitors) . For small shows ( bars etc. ) I find it better to simply not even run my guitar through the monitors.

2) Just because your tone sucks coming from the monitors doesn't mean the audience is hearing that shitty tone. The audience is hearing a full mix which sounds much better than any stage sound and what they are hearing is much different than what you're hearing on stage.

3) Volume - if soundmen are telling you to turn down you're too loud. Find a way to bring your volume down as much as possible while still keeping a decent tone. The key is to be just loud enough to hear yourself when jamming with a drum kit, but no louder than that. Asking people what amp settings you should have is the wrong question to ask - I've played show's with my 30 watt amp's master on 2 - it depends on the amp and on the room.

4) A low stage volume is really important for sound quality at a show. That's why engineer's are so fussy about it. If the stage volume is too high they can't properly mix the show for the audience and the singer will not cut through and be able to hear himself properly - leading to terrible sound. I would wager that nearly every terrible sounding show I've attended had a band that didn't understand how to properly set their stage volume.
#23
When considering a stand, bear in mind that it's never necessary to have your amp head sitting on top of your speaker cabinet. Many arena guitarists, in fact, have their amp heads offstage altogether. So think about your speaker cabinet as a separate entity from the head, and get *it* positioned where you need it without consideration of whether or not your head would fall off the top of it <G>. Then locate your head nearby (if you need it onstage) separately.
#24
Quote by dspellman
When considering a stand, bear in mind that it's never necessary to have your amp head sitting on top of your speaker cabinet. Many arena guitarists, in fact, have their amp heads offstage altogether. So think about your speaker cabinet as a separate entity from the head, and get *it* positioned where you need it without consideration of whether or not your head would fall off the top of it <G>. Then locate your head nearby (if you need it onstage) separately.


To me it is "important" to have my head nearby because of the available space (hence the smaller cabinet) on some stages.

I got a reply from someone on facebook (through our local gearbook page for selling gear). He is backline engineer from a nationally famous band and doest this for over 25 years. He suggested getting a Palmer PDI-09 to get my signal straight to the PA while keeping my cabinet close as a personal monitor. It costs like 85 euros (I think 100 dollars) and what I could hear on several youtube videos, it sounds great.
Another great thing is that I can also use it for my recordings.

I read that The Black Keys also use these.

What do you guys think? Any experience? I don't quite understand how this works with the volumes. I mean, I saw a video where the guitarplayer turned the mastervolume (it could've been be the preampvolume, I've never seen the amp before and couldn't see) about 3/4 open. The volume kept the same but he was also using his cabinet at the same time. Should this kind of volume not be incredibly loud? Or has this something to do with te attenuator inside the DI-box?

The only times I used a DI was for recording/playing acoustic guitars or keyboards. I have NO experience with this kind of DI and setup.

Palmer PDI-09
Last edited by humbucky at Feb 24, 2015,
#25
I think reverb66 offers one of the most overlooked things and that is a bands stage volume. Though I am a player I have also done quite a lot of live sound engineering for other bands so I understand the issue from both sides. There have been many times when I had to keep telling the band to turn it down because if there is too much overall stage volume and leakage so there is nothing to mix. Nothing is distinct and nobody can hear individual instruments clearly because everyone on stage is already playing too loud. The bands answer is always turn up the monitors but often the problem and overall sound could be easily remedied if the band learned to play at a lower volume so the sound engineer can actually mix the sound properly. Let the sound engineer paint the picture.

A few weeks back I went to see the Alan Parsons Live Project at a mid sized theater. The volume was absolutely amazing. There were eight players on stage and you could hear each instrument clearly and the vocals were sitting perfectly over the instruments. I go to a lot of shows and have seen at least a dozen shows at this theater over the past few years but no other band played that room so well. The stage volume was low and they all used smaller amps and let the sound engineer balance and project them correctly. What a pleasure. (I also think Alan's own background as a world class sound engineer has a lot to do with how he wants his band to sound.)
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Feb 24, 2015,
#26
Quote by humbucky
He suggested getting a Palmer PDI-09 to get my signal straight to the PA while keeping my cabinet close as a personal monitor. It costs like 85 euros (I think 100 dollars) and what I could hear on several youtube videos, it sounds great.
Another great thing is that I can also use it for my recordings. The volume kept the same but he was also using his cabinet at the same time. Should this kind of volume not be incredibly loud? Or has this something to do with te attenuator inside the DI-box?


There's no attenuator inside that Palmer and it's not a load box.

You MUST have a speaker connected to a tube amp; the sound is simply passed through to the speaker (and also passed to the mixer).

It's a speaker simulator (cabinet sim), however, so it's not the same as miking your amp.

If you're recording at home, you'll still have to have a load or speaker on the amp.
#27
Quote by dspellman
There's no attenuator inside that Palmer and it's not a load box.

You MUST have a speaker connected to a tube amp; the sound is simply passed through to the speaker (and also passed to the mixer).

It's a speaker simulator (cabinet sim), however, so it's not the same as miking your amp.

If you're recording at home, you'll still have to have a load or speaker on the amp.


Yes, I understand about the speaker being connected, that's not the problem for me. What I don't understand is how the difference in volume is being processed by a DI like the Palmer. Can I crank my preamp almost all the way up with the master low enough to not being too loud and without the signal going to the PA being too strong? That's why I don't understand the "attenuator" knob on the Palmer DI and how the guy on youtube (I can't seem to find the vid anymore...) could crank his amp almost completely with having the same volume (Shure SM57 VS. DI).

It could be I misinterpret the video and the way this thing actually works.


Quote by Rickholly74
I think reverb66 offers one of the most overlooked things and that is a bands stage volume. Though I am a player I have also done quite a lot of live sound engineering for other bands so I understand the issue from both sides. There have been many times when I had to keep telling the band to turn it down because if there is too much overall stage volume and leakage so there is nothing to mix. Nothing is distinct and nobody can hear individual instruments clearly because everyone on stage is already playing too loud. The bands answer is always turn up the monitors but often the problem and overall sound could be easily remedied if the band learned to play at a lower volume so the sound engineer can actually mix the sound properly. Let the sound engineer paint the picture.


I do realise this, I really do. But what is "loud"? I swear to you, on a semi-professional festival (big tent, crowd of 500, separate monitormixers, international acts, etc.) I played last year I could put my ears to the grill and it was as loud as a "loud" tv. Even our drummer and bassplayer (both have +30 years of musical experience) said it was silly of how low the volume was. For the rest of my band it sounded like music coming from a mobile phone, a few meters away.

We played on that festival 3 times now. The first 2 times we had the sound-guy mentioned in one of my first replies who gave us a superb sound every time we worked with him. I think he did our sound in total 7 times. The best shows we did, also according to our fans. He never asked me to turn my volume down, never! I always played live with this same volume, no change at all!
In the crowd the sound was smooth (even in harsh room conditions) without being too loud.

The last time (with the other sound guy) we weren't so lucky. In the crowd, the other bands sounded harsh and had too much bass and kickdrum wich masked everything else. That was until the main act (very professional, international act) climbed on stage. They had obviously their own sound guy. During soundcheck, the guitarplayer strummed some chords, wich at that point were only being beamed by his amp (it was on the side of the stage, pointing to the middle). There came no sound out of the PA-system, only the amp. I stood like 40m (at the level of the sound guy) before the amp that was 90° off-axis (the one on the side of the stage). He played LOUDER than what I play on a normal practice, and I stood 40m's away from it, off-axis (I mean, the volume I heard that far away was louder than when I play alone in our practice room).

Btw: It was not a hardrock/metalband.
They did not turn knobs or anything. Then their show started. Damn, it was a blast. One of the best overall gig sounds I've ever heard, without being too loud, too beamy, or whatever.

You guys tell me, am I the one being wrong and too loud here? Maybe I'm missing out on something here, I don't know.

I really understand the overall band volume has to be moderate to give a nice and clear sounding mix but given what I said before, it is very frustrating.

Thank you all btw! I can't say this enough. It's great to get suggestions and answers!
Last edited by humbucky at Feb 25, 2015,
#28
Sounds like your sound engineer is a problem. That's tough since he is part of the gig and not yours to fire. Good luck.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.