Bass in the mix in a live setting with other novices

So, in my School of Rock bands, we are all just learning for the most part. And one thing I’ve noticed is that the guitar players really like to crank themselves up. Drum kits sort of have a minimum volume as well, though it varies from drummer to drummer and their confidence/power that the bring. And the singer often can’t hear themselves, so they crank up volume as well.

It really seems like a race to be loudest and I think I’ve been nervous about my abilities so I don’t race…but now, with some newer guitar players coming in, I feel like if they’re going to be playing some off notes so loudly, I shouldn’t be so shy.

My goal at last weekend’s show was to just be so loud that the sound engineer (who’s not that on top of things, cause all the instruments change each song, so levels are always different, so why bother mixing…) would be forced to come change something. But I don’t think I reached that level. In past shows, I could feel the bass cause it was through an amp on the stage and then mic’d out to the PAs. This time, I just went into a box (DI?) and straight to the mixer.

I would play loud enough that I could hear the bass off the PA speakers that were facing the audience (no monitors). But still feel like I could have gone louder. What’s the common courtesy for too loud? Or is that not really possible? (I’m guessing it’s not…and that I should just do it…just want the encouragement…)


The best way to self monitor your sound in the mix is to record yourself during the sound check or rehearsal. You can use your phone to do that ask your friend to video you when you rehearse. You’d get the idea.

If you have a capable engineer and still feel lost in the mix then it’s time to work on your tone. The simplest way is to open up your tone a bit you’d find that it would stand out more in the mix. Unlike studio situation, brightness is your friend.


figure out the loudest amp you can afford then sell your wedding band, and any other stuff you don’t need and then try and meet the minimum requirement which is to add a zero to what (watt) you thought you could afford It is simple a matter of Moores law
If a little bit is good, more must better, and ,too much is almost enough. and then just to mess with the ones that play those little six string things head …take a trip to the local graphics store and match match font and size to the numbers on your controls and carefully install an “11” and after that a “?” Then pick a song that has a powerful bass intro crank it and while they all look like they 've just been tazzed act all innocent and ask meekly " Oh was that too loud?" If you can do it in an Erkel voice so much the better


Now, it is your turn to teach them the error of their ways!

:metal: :smiling_imp: :metal:

You’re loud enough when the guitarist is bleeding (or crying, crying’s good too).


All this talk about getting louder and getting a bigger amp but no mention of ear protection. Drummers and guitarists always like things off the deep end in the loudness department.

If you don’t already have them get a decent pair of ear plugs, and use them. And I don’t mean those useless foam ear plugs construction workers use. Hearing loss is permanent and tinnitus is no laughing matter. Hopefully some musicians here on the forum that suffer from these maladies can verify what I am saying. Good hearing protection can be had for reasonable prices. Don’t cheap out. :+1:


True dat. I just assumed everyone is using IEMs.

Does IEM refer to In-Ear-Monitors?

I use mine all the time at jam sessions and usually less than 1 in 10 people there use ear protection. Hell I’ve even been to acoustic jams and been amazed at how many people don’t use straps so you can’t really assume anything IMHO


Well that’s true. I’ve down a few sessions where people wear the over the ear headphones.

I agree ear protection is a must in almost every situation. In general bass should match the drum’s volume and guitars and keys usually just right under.


It is not necessarily always about getting louder (although those guitar players can be annoying :grin:).

There is really two different things that might be important: a) can the rest of the band hear you? and b) can you hear yourself? And there can be different strategies to tackle these two issues.

Everybody getting louder usually also means everything is getting muddier, so one thing you could investigate is how you EQ yourself (and perhaps talk to the others about EQ as well), such that not everyone sits in the same frequency band. In order to stand out in a band/be heard (aka “cut through the mix”), you may find your settings to be annoying sounding when you hear yourself alone/isolated, but making sense when heard within the context of the entire band. This requires some experimentation, but don’t be afraid to test out some settings you might find “extreme” (for EQ, not for volume!!).


Thanks for all the feedback…wedding band included.

Folks do wear earplugs - my wife (on drums) and I have Earacers and they are great. But some folks do have the foam bits and that makes them just play louder.

We’ve talked recently about in ear monitors, but not everything goes through the mixer in the practice room, but maybe that’s something to be discussed with folks, like the EQ.

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