Today I wanted to about volume. How loud is too loud? Volume can be a constant battle depending on venue, equipment, sound engineers, and fellow band members. You make sure you are heard and not lost in the mix, but you also don’t want to seem obnoxiously loud. Here is a question that came to me via email from one of our customers:
“One thing is that I’ve always played my guitar with the volume knob on 10 – and I’ve set all my overdrives with this in mind (so rolling back would clean them up). When we do sound check, I tend to play the loudest I’m going to, which is what I’ve been told is the idea. But guess what – I’ve got no room for dynamics! So if the other guys (keys & drums) play louder in a song, I’ve got no headroom at all to work with that. Other than having a better sound guy, how can I approach this from my end without being a jerk? I don’t want to be that guy that thinks guitar should dominate the sound all the time, but there’s not much point playing if I’m inaudible. Any suggestions?”
I had my own ideas on how to help this customer – but sometimes it’s fun to just pick the bosses brain. So for this one – I’ll let the Man behind the tone curtain – Mr. Brian Wampler himself answer it.
From Brian: “If everyone is turning up louder and louder then you will have to as well, or else you will indeed be buried in the mix. I’d start out at sound check by turning up louder than you plan on playing and have the sound guy set the input trim (input level control). Then, when you sound check with the band play at your lower volume and he can ride the slider to fit it in the mix. Then as the other band members turn up, use a clean boost pedal (like our dB+ ) to slowly edge up the overall volume little by little if everyone else gets louder. It doesn’t really make you “the jerk”, but it is indeed a sign that the other people in the band need to get their levels right before hand and then not touch the volume unless absolutely necessary.”
Until next time Tone Chasers!