Wednesday, July 8, 2009

6 Surefire Signs That You're Playing Too Loud

This is something every gigging guitar player has done at some time or another.

Sometimes we're aware of having ramped it up too much -- picture Jimi Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival gesturing to the audience to cover their ears during his feedback prelude to 'Wild Thing'. Or Steve Vai playing at a small Hard Rock Cafe, personally handing out wads of cotton wool for earplugs to audience members standing at the front.

Sometimes, for various reasons (not excluding sensory-numbing consumption of alcoholic beverages), we have no idea that we're playing too loud. In these cases, the following are 'canary-in-a-coalmine' indicators that we are kinda pushing it:

  • The Moses Phenomenon -- The audience directly in front of your amp stack has parted like the Red Sea

  • The Hastily Prepared Petition -- A waitress gives you a request slip that says 'Turn it down!' And its signed by every staff member in the club

  • The Lars Ulrich Syndrome -- Your drummer breaks two snare skins in the same night, each time during one of your extended solos

  • The Snake Pit -- The hiss coming from your guitar amp between songs is louder than the applause of the 3 or 4 people who actually clapped

  • The Haunted Set List -- The set list you've strategically taped to the floor in front of you mysteriously flaps in rhythm to your power chords

  • The Disgruntled Soundman -- The soundman has symbolically shrouded the mixing board with a large piece of black cloth and is standing back, arms folded, glaring at you

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