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  1. #1

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    Most of the players I see put the amp pretty close to where they sit or stand. Usually on the floor and usually within reach.

    But, I prefer it much further away. It seems to me that if I put it somewhere in the middle of the band, I'll be able to hear my volume level in the context of the group, not louder than everything else because it's close to me.

    Given that the gigs I do rarely have a sound man (the leader brings a Bose type system, but doesn't have an extra input for guitar -- I could bring a mixer, but I don't bother), this helps me get the volume right. I can control everything from my pedal board, so I rarely need to touch the amp.

    How do others handle this?

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    Most of the players I see put the amp pretty close to where they sit or stand. Usually on the floor and usually within reach.

    But, I prefer it much further away. It seems to me that if I put it somewhere in the middle of the band, I'll be able to hear my volume level in the context of the group, not louder than everything else because it's close to me.

    Given that the gigs I do rarely have a sound man (the leader brings a Bose type system, but doesn't have an extra input for guitar -- I could bring a mixer, but I don't bother), this helps me get the volume right. I can control everything from my pedal board, so I rarely need to touch the amp.

    How do others handle this?
    If I were to do what you do, I wouldn't be able to hear it. My Rock and Roll days damaged my ears enough that it can be hard for me to disentangle some sounds. I put my amp on a tilt-back stand that points pretty much right at my head. This makes me sound louder than the band, so I look to the leader for the old finger-in-the-ear-thumbs-up or thumbs-down gesture for the level. But I'm able to hear myself clearly. I try to position myself near the piano (if we have one) or the bass. I don't usually have trouble hearing the horns. They cut through pretty well.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  4. #3

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    It depends on the amp's speaker size, the bigger the speaker the further away the sound develops, which part of the reason I like 8" or 10". I tend to like the amp behind me and to my left (neck side) and drummer to my right. So I have the beat in one ear and my guitar in the other. If amp is small I will probably elevate it some.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    It depends on the amp's speaker size, the bigger the speaker the further away the sound develops, which part of the reason I like 8" or 10". I tend to like the amp behind me and to my left (neck side) and drummer to my right. So I have the beat in one ear and my guitar in the other. If amp is small I will probably elevate it some.
    I hate standing next to the drummer. Nothing but cymbal hiss in my ear all night.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    I hate standing next to the drummer. Nothing but cymbal hiss in my ear all night.

    I find it make hears the bass drum and hi-hat easier.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  7. #6

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    This is the best question ever!

    I also have trouble finding out where to amp up and where to position myself optimally for the rest of the band outfit. I agree, being next to the drums is pretty band. Well, so is right next to the trumpet player (YEOWWWCH!)

    I've always loved setting up next to the bass, but only if he/she is unamplified. If the bass gets too loud, it interrupts the guitar and can even cause feedback.

    Hard question indeed.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    This is the best question ever!

    I also have trouble finding out where to amp up and where to position myself optimally for the rest of the band outfit. I agree, being next to the drums is pretty band. Well, so is right next to the trumpet player (YEOWWWCH!)

    I've always loved setting up next to the bass, but only if he/she is unamplified. If the bass gets too loud, it interrupts the guitar and can even cause feedback.

    Hard question indeed.
    I've been thinking about it because the leader of my octet wondered why I put my amp as far away as I do. He knew that other players don't do that and assumed, I think, that they knew better than me. My wise guy response was that I wanted it as far from me as possible, to make it easier to monitor my volume compared to the rest of the band. And, that others don't do that because they want access to the amp knobs, which I don't need. I'm not sure that's right, but it is what I said (and think).

    We had a way of setting up (too much detail for this post) which worked great, with the amp sort of smack in the middle. Open back cab, so the drummer could hear me from the back of the cab. Then, the brass complained they couldn't hear the reeds, so they wanted to set up in a slight V formation in front.

    The leader wanted me next to the drummer, which I refused, because he's a smasher and I have enough hearing loss as it is.

    I sat next to the pianist, who also likes to play loud. He runs two cabinets, one which has speaker openings in different directions. The band book is in a thick vinyl case which I used to block the opening facing my way.

    The amp was behind the trombonist, who was on my end of the row of 4 horns. He complained later that I was too loud part of the time. How could it be otherwise? His head was a few feet from my speaker and this is a big room, maybe 120 x 60.

    Obviously, in this situation, there should be a full PA and a sound guy. No budget for any of that.

    The only other place for my amp was behind me (which would be extreme stage left) and that would have required providing a monitor for the drummer (which I brought, but didn't use). The drummer likes to hear the guitar. Frankly, I don't think the bassist could have heard me either, but he didn't complain about it.

    I'm rambling, but that's what got me thinking about it. It just seemed like there was no setup that worked well for everyone, and no spot for the amp that didn't have significant problems.

  9. #8

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    When I used to play venues with decent but fairly basic sound systems (usually good front of house mix but terrrible monitors), I'd always place the amp on stage left and point it across the stage and that worked really well.

    Nowadays I try to keep a little distance between myself and the amp, but oftentimes there isn't enough space to keep too much distance. Ideally, positioning it in a corner so that it's not directly in front of any single person is mainly what I try to do. I used to put my amp on a chair, but haven't done that in quite some time.

  10. #9
    In one of those summer camp ensembles where everybody gets to play, the teacher solved the volume problem before it began.

    Before the band even played a note, he said, in a stern tone, "If you can't hear anybody else, YOU'RE too loud".

    One of the octet's pianists brings two powered speakers. He puts one on a stick behind the horns facing toward the audience. The leader, a horn, controls the volume on that one.

    He puts the other on the floor behind him and turns it up just loud enough that he can hear himself the way he likes.

    Or, when the leader brings his Bose L1 type, the pianist goes through that and doesn't bring the one on the stick. It sits in back of the horns in about the same place.

    I wondered if the brass guys who couldn't hear the reeds could have played quieter on the brass. The saxophones are pretty damn loud.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by docbop View Post
    I find it make hears the bass drum and hi-hat easier.
    I generally don't have any trouble hearing the drums. Ideally, I'd like to stand between the piano and the bass, and the bass should be next to the drums. That way I get full rhythm on one side, and chords on the other.
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    I generally don't have any trouble hearing the drums. Ideally, I'd like to stand between the piano and the bass, and the bass should be next to the drums. That way I get full rhythm on one side, and chords on the other.
    One bassist I know likes to set up by the hi-hat. He likes to lock in with the hi-hat both sonically and visually. I think that makes sense. The bassist in my octet doesn't do that. He seems to prefer being between the pianist and the drummer. That makes sense to me, because those three are doing the heavy lifting for keeping the time together in this band. The guitar is rarely the main comping instrument, instead, being phrased with the horns playing single notes, or comping, but since the pianist does a full two fisted accompaniment, guitar has to be careful not to make mud.

    My first consideration is protecting my hearing, so I don't like being anywhere near a loud drummer. So, I tend to find a spot far from the drums and near, if possible, either piano or bass. In the bands I play with, it's usually easy to hear everything unless either the pianist or bassist is too loud. Or, in smaller room, the drummer is too heavy on the big cymbal.

  13. #12

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    One of the most important things I carry is a 30 ft. outdoor rated heavy duty extension chord. The placement of the amp is the main acoustic contributor to the tone out front - whether it will sound muffled and blurry, or fat and clear, or tinny and over reflective... Being constrained by the position of the nearest electrical service outlet can cause lots of placement mistakes.

    The way to lock synch with the drum kit is not to stand close to it, but to place your amp close to it - so the sounds of the kit and the amp are coming from the same place, so same distance, so same time. You can test this with one of those old R&B songs where the taps on the high-hat and those little three string horn stabs played on the guitar are played together so that the "chuck" on the guitar is fully inside the drum tap (as in... 6/8... 1 2 3 chuck 5 6 1 2 3 chuck 5 6 kind of thing)... the resulting effect is the lingering ambiance of your "missing/masked" chord chucks sounds like it comes from the kit.

    So, for a quiet gig you push your amp right into the drum kit under the high-hat. You can't get it quite so close if your level is louder because your playing will start making the snare buzz. If the drum kit is on a raised part of the stage floor, putting the amp next to it on the sub-floor will prevent snare buzzing for even moderate levels.

    Personally, I can always hear everyone including myself to the point of usually being asked to turn up. I end up trying to stand as far away from my amp as possible, or on a small stage I put it up front and stand well behind it.

  14. #13

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    RPJAZZ,

    1. Get some noise reduction ear plugs. I use them when I sit next to the trumpet player in the band I play in these days.

    2. Tell everyone else to quiet down and stop being JAMF's. I hate bands that play loud from the get go. Music is interesting only when you have room to move around. That is said for density, dynamics, all that. If you can hear the parts, then it becomes high art. That's why that band camp director had it right all along...

    3. Don't play. Observe what the band sounds like without you. Report back to the leader what you notice. If you're all too loud in practice mode, then how is that gonna sound in front of an audience. Even lively dancers need a band who understands dynamics.

    I am also obsessed with my ears. With the amount of heavy duty ear training that I do, if anything happened to my ears... I wouldn't want to be the guy that squacked too loud in front of me... I've still got that NYC scrap and fight

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by pauln View Post
    One of the most important things I carry is a 30 ft. outdoor rated heavy duty extension chord.
    My gig kit includes one of these, plus a power strip, which adds another maybe three feet, plus the amp's cord, which is probably another five feet, too.

    That'd be an interesting thread: What's in your gig kit?
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    The guitar is rarely the main comping instrument, instead, being phrased with the horns playing single notes, or comping, but since the pianist does a full two fisted accompaniment, guitar has to be careful not to make mud.
    It can be either way for me. Our pianist is a semi-retired neurosurgeon, so he's always off to conferences and stuff. On any given gig, I may or may not be the main comping instrument. (I like comping by myself, but I like having the piano when I'm soloing.)
    "I'm opposed to picketing, but I don't know to show it." --Mitch Hedberg

  17. #16

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    To my left, behind me, and on a chair if possible. If it's an open-back amp it's always a fine line between "how far behind me" and how far the back of the amp is from a wall (which can make it kind of wooly sounding I find).

  18. #17
    I use Etymotic musicians custom-fitted earplugs. I use a 9 and a 15 db insert -- I put the 15 on the side facing the loudest sounds.

    I don't know of better quality earplugs, but they aren't that great. Sound is quieter, but is somehow muffled. And, the seal varies a good deal -- which makes the bass sound really loud at times -- and, while it simply sounds like the bassist should turn down, in fact, it's the earplugs.

    Not using earplugs is not an option.

    Last night's gig was a wine bar and we had to set up against a wall. My amp, which has an open back (and was maybe 6 inches from the wall) sounded bad to me all night. But, at the end, I got compliments on my guitar sound. Go figure. My wife said it sounded good -- and she is perfectly willing to tell me when it doesn't sound good.

  19. #18

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    On the new Wes Montgomery reissue, there's a big picture of the quartet on stage. Wes' amp isn't across the stage from him, but it's far enough away from him that I noticed. I'd love to try this myself, but I so rarely play at places where it's even possible to get my amp far enough away from me.

    Probably the single biggest aural change for me when I started playing upright bass is how differently the sound projects. It's very possible for the bass to be loud as hell, but very hard for me to hear myself if I'm standing next to the drummer and my amp is nearby. Whereas once you get 20 feet back, the bass is easily heard.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    My gig kit includes one of these, plus a power strip, which adds another maybe three feet, plus the amp's cord, which is probably another five feet, too.

    That'd be an interesting thread: What's in your gig kit?
    I carry something like this. Power strip and wind-up extension in one compact piece.

    Where to put the amp?-cord-jpg

  21. #20

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    Conventional amps are very directional, and it's incredibly difficult to get good coverage of the stage and the audience with one. I have used only the Bose L1 systems since their introduction, for the simple reason that they are line arrays, and throw the sound in a 180 degree semi-circle, without hot spots. They also throw more efficiently than single-speaker point-source amps, thus the volume can be lower and still fill the room. The Compact model works in almost any normal situation, and has a 1/4" line out to go into the house system if necessary. The problem most guitarists find is the lack of effects and EQ controls; I use Digitech, Boss and Zoom multi-effects pedals, depending on which guitar and style of music, and they offer an amazing array of effects and EQs. The Compact also has a "mic" channel, so a singer or horn player can be put through one as well. It's also light and easy to carry and set up. Well over ten years later, I still have no conventional amps around except small battery-powered ones for sailboat or garden gigs.

  22. #21

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    I like to put mine on a stand, about 3 inches off the floor, slightly behind me and depending where I'm sitting at in the group, to the left or right, of the group. One ear hears the group, the other hears the amp. I rely on the rest of the group to tell me if I'm too loud or too quiet; as long as I can hear everything, then I know I'm not too loud.

  23. #22

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    My old tweed Fender Pro has a big ol' 15" field-coil speaker that fills a stage nicely. I can set it pretty much anywhere within a few feet and can still hear it. The sound tends to get lost the further you get from it though. So, for medium to large venues it gets a mic put on it. It's really my do-all amp these days. Very versatile, simple, and has that vintage tweed tone that I love.

  24. #23

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    I’m struggling with that issue these days. The band I play with is stupid crazy loud. I’m playing through a maxed-out Polytone or JMUL and I can’t hear myself. But a trombone player says I am all she can hear. I’ve thought about a new amp but the only answer seems to be a Twin. Not going there.

    Tonight, I ‘m getting my amp off the floor, and I’m going to sit next to the trombone section with my amp several feet behind me.

    You know, I played horn in a big band with a guy going through a Fender Princeton. Sounded fine. I don’t know how he did it.

  25. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Bach5G View Post
    I’m struggling with that issue these days. The band I play with is stupid crazy loud. I’m playing through a maxed-out Polytone or JMUL and I can’t hear myself. But a trombone player says I am all she can hear. I’ve thought about a new amp but the only answer seems to be a Twin. Not going there.

    Tonight, I ‘m getting my amp off the floor, and I’m going to sit next to the trombone section with my amp several feet behind me.

    You know, I played horn in a big band with a guy going through a Fender Princeton. Sounded fine. I don’t know how he did it.
    I play in an octet (4 horns) with a trombone player who complains almost every gig and rehearsal. He can't hear it. Or, it's too loud. Once, he complained about both in the same night. Sounds like I'm joking, but it's true. I tried putting the amp everywhere I possibly could -- somebody always complained and somebody else always said it was fine.

    I also play in a band with 15 horns. In that band, I've played rehearsals with a 12 watt solid state Crate practice amp -- and nobody complained. I use a JC55 for gigs. The leader has asked me to turn up -- which I find uncomfortable because I'm already playing at a level which seems appropriate, at least, where I'm sitting. I'd like to get further from the amp (so that I could hear it more in the context of the group as a whole), but there's no easy way to do that.

    In fact, the point about how far to sit from the amp is significant. I don't need to be near the amp's controls. I can control everything from my pedalboard, or I can bring a head and separate speaker. I confess that I am surprised that most guitarists like to be close to the amp. If there's a PA, sure, but if you need your amp project to the back of the audience, isn't it going to be too loud where you're sitting?

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar View Post
    I confess that I am surprised that most guitarists like to be close to the amp. If there's a PA, sure, but if you need your amp project to the back of the audience, isn't it going to be too loud where you're sitting?
    No, because my amp projects to the front in a controlled pattern and I am to the side of it, where it's much quieter. Besides, I'm wearing earplugs.

    Danny W.

  27. #26

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    I do prefer to have the amp further away. With a wireless system that's easy. If you need the controls handy, that can be done with a head and a long speaker cable. Of course, the distance can be dictated by the available space, and I don't know of anything that can be done about that.

  28. #27

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    Maybe a different view here. I play gigs regularly at clubs for say 30 to 50 people. I never have a concern about hearing myself but I am concerned about blending with the group. If I have the amp beaming me (say beside my head) I cannot blend with the band but I also do not want to beam the audience. Nothing worse that hitting a high note and seeing someone wince because it is hitting hard 3 or 4 metres off the stage. To remedy I set up my chair with my dress jacket over the back and my amp goes right behind me. My jacket/body acts like a beam blocker, I hear everything and I seem to blend better with the trio or quartets. No audience wincng either.
    Last edited by Roberoo; 06-19-2018 at 11:18 PM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Joe View Post
    Nothing but cymbal hiss in my ear all night.
    You wanna talk about something that'll kill your hearing, get near a rock drummer going full-tilt -- those cymbals will wreck some ears.

  30. #29

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    I got my amp into a table behind me. Worked fine.

    Talked with a fellow about Henriksen. They aren’t going to be significantly louder than what I’ve already got. That being said, I found someone who is interested in trading his Twin for a Deluxe. I just happen to have one.

    Any suggestions for an amp stand?

  31. #30
    I use a $25 rolling file box. It's great. My amp fits inside on one end. The rest of my gear fits around it or on it. My guitar goes on my back.

    On the gig, I put my bags and jacket in the box and then the amp on top of it.

    Works great.

    But, my amp is 26 lbs. I don't think I'd put a Twin Reverb on it.

  32. #31

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    When I use to be in a band my amp was near me on a stand and I'd angle it towards or away from me to adjust the amount I would hear it. That way I could use the amp as a monitor in concert with the amount the rest of the band would hear it.

    I once set up next to the high hat and the bass player stamped her foot and said she wouldn't play unless I moved. Apparently that is where the bass player is suppose to set up.

    If I was playing a hollow body the amp would go to my left, the neck side of the guitar, to reduce feedback.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bach5G View Post
    I got my amp into a table behind me. Worked fine.

    Talked with a fellow about Henriksen. They aren’t going to be significantly louder than what I’ve already got. That being said, I found someone who is interested in trading his Twin for a Deluxe. I just happen to have one.

    Any suggestions for an amp stand?
    For a Deluxe or a Twin, I really like Fender’ Tilt-back legs. One less thing to carry and does not add much to the weight.

    For my DV Mark Little Jazz, my pair of bamboo yoga blocks does a very nice job of getting the amp just far enough off of ground. The LJ, blocks, all my chords and my sole pedal fit in a faux leather duffle I got at a marathon years ago. Ultra portable. I set up the amp a couple feet behind me and to my left at small venues.

    Where to put the amp?-752b2a5a-8e5c-46cf-a041-7b8e9096455d-jpg
    Check out my tracks at www.soundcloud.com/billmcmannis

  34. #33

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    I got my amp up off the floor and aimed at my head. Much better.

    I toyed with a new amp but decided instead to put tilt back legs on my DRRI, replace the Jensen speaker with a more efficient (93 spl to 103 spl) Eminence hempdawg, and the Eurotube clean headroom re-tube kit.

    Fingers crossed.

  35. #34

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    There's so many variables that it's hard to really say how I set up.

    - Venue (room size, stage)
    - Crowd size
    - Sound system
    - Band size
    - Type of band
    - Amp

    My old tweed Fender Pro does most everything I need. Usually it's near the drummer somewhere and pointed forward towards the crowd. The 15" speaker fills the stage fairly well but can get lost the further away a listener gets. So I mic it whenever I play larger venues. And if I'm micing it, I'm free to move it around as long as the others can hear it okay.

    And if it's an outdoor gig? Throw everything I just said out the window.

  36. #35

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    I think the eazy thing to do is use 2 speaker cabs

  37. #36

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    The few times I saw Gilad Heskselnan he was almost sitting in his Twin Reverb:



    And they don’t play loud at all, with lots if dynamics.

    I like being close to the amp myself, but not with my ears in the ‘beam’:



    Or like this:

    From the audience it sounded like this:



    Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group | Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! | Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva La Voix

  38. #37

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    Related to placement is the powering up of a tube amp. There is a scenario to avoid...

    You show up dutifully early, place your amp, plug it into a service outlet, and turn it on... As the others needing power (bass, keys, P.A., etc...) start plugging in their stuff they start rearranging - they pull your plug out, stick it into a power strip, and plug that in, in order to share the strip... various other ways this happens, but the point is that your powered up amp is quickly unplugged and plugged back in.
    The way to avoid this is to wait until everyone else has satisfied themselves with their plugging topology and won't be making any more changes... you plug in last, power up last.

    Tube amps can be damaged if powered off and then back on too quickly; especially if your amp uses a tube rectifier.
    Last edited by pauln; 09-11-2018 at 07:04 PM.
    "Bent my ear to hear the tune and closed my eyes to see."