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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    Saw Gary Clarke Jr.--I might be getting old

    A friend of mine and I saw Gary Clarke Jr last night at a small concert hall in Omaha. It was a pretty good show, but my main complaint is that it was TOO LOUD. I mean, painfully loud. He even bragged on a couple of songs "It's about to get loud guys..."

    I brought some hearing protectors marketed for musicians, and they did cut out the extreme loudness but also made the sound muddy. I took them out for a couple of quieter songs.

    I don't really understand the point of playing so loud that one can't make out the music. His recorded stuff is quite good--great guitar tone, nice interplay with the backing instruments, but live in that setting one couldn't distinguish a thing. There was theoretically a keyboard guy there but I swear I couldn't hear a note of his music.

    Anyway, one of the louder concerts I have ever been to, and I've been to quite a few even back in the punk days. Sometimes I think such artists bring the soundsystem for an outdoors festival to a small venue like a theater with disastrous results.

    Punk I understand--louder, faster, rawer. But the blues and RnB? Need to back off a bit and let the notes ring out.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 11-09-2018 at 06:41 PM.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  2. #2
    I'm with you.

    Too loud is no good.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,104
    I really don't understand how many musicians have any hearing left after years of touring. The human ear must be extremely resilient. I worked around loud equipment for years and lost some of my hearing, but I am sure I don't even come close to the amount of exposure these guys have had.

    I know that many have tinnitus but I think I have only heard of one musician that was considered legally deaf.

    I found this list on the web. Note that none of these folks are completely deaf. They have hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in ears), but they are not completely deaf. This has to be a testament to the resiliency of human hearing.

    10 Musicians You Didn't Know Were Hearing Impaired | Beltone Blog

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    1,403
    I know who Gary Clarke Jr. is. I have seen him play too loud. Seems to be his signature sound. Who is Gary Davis Jr.?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    3,270
    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200 View Post
    I know who Gary Clarke Jr. is. I have seen him play too loud. Seems to be his signature sound. Who is Gary Davis Jr.?
    Oops. I corrected that. I mixed him up with the Reverend Gary Davis. I used to fingerpick some of his songs.

    I have been listening to GCJ's recordings the last couple of days and like them quite a bit. He uses the distortion and overdrive to great effect, but not overpowering the overall sound. He also has a world-class falsetto voice, literally on par with Prince or Smoky. His last album was a little more retro RnBish and sounds great--along the lines of the Alabama Shakes.

    I would see him again in an outdoor setting--Red Rocks for instance--but not indoors. My poor ears couldn't take it.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

  6. #6
    I used to stand right up front next to the giant speakers blasting during rock concerts (when you could just walk down on the floor and they let you do it).

    My hearing is good decades later. If i had done it often I'd have suffered permanant loss most likely.

    Duration of exposure is an key factor in hearing damage.

    I like Gary Clarke, Jr. No reason for him to use such high volumes.
    "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." - Socrates

  7. #7
    Somebody said, "If It's too loud, you're too old".

    I'm too old.

  8. #8
    I have often gone to big shows and small shows where the volume was so high as to make it impossible to enjoy the music.

    The loudest show I ever heard was Nick Lowe at Winterland. I couldn't be in the room. I didn't carry earplugs back then. It all sounded like a dull roar, hard to even perceive the beat. Later, KSAN broadcast a recording of the concert, which sounded fine.

    So, why did the PA guy blast it so loud?

    Loudest small show I ever saw was at a bar in Fairfax Ca. Jose Neto band. This is a great band. Jose is a terrific guitarist, composer and bandleader. The sidemen are terrific players, together for a long time and totally tight. Apparently, the PA guy thought the sound needed to be deafening. The bartender handed me a pair of earplugs. I ended up listening to the show from the sidewalk outside.

    In other shows, I have the impression that the PA guy may crank it up until it feeds back, then back it down as little as possible until the feedback goes away, and then leave it there. Max volume -- thinking about the equipment, not the audience.

    I have tinnitus and hearing loss, partly from playing in classes where the teacher liked the music at ridiculous levels with loud drumming. I usually stood as far from the drums as possible, but I got stuck near the crash cymbal once without ear protection, and I think that single event gave me tinnitus in one ear for the rest of my life. I might be wrong about that causation, but I carry musicians earplugs with me now -- and I recommend that everybody else does too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    3,270
    I could tell a lot of stories about loud concerts...

    Did I mention being in the front row for the Clash in 1980?

    One that was surprising was the Brian Setzer Big Band Christmas concert a few years back. In the Orpheum coincidentally, where the GCJ concert was held. The horns were mic'ed and were extremely loud. Ironically Brian's guitar was not too loud at all. My fiancee and I both wished we had brought ear protection for that one.
    “Without music, life would be a mistake”--Friedrich Nietzsche

    Current lineup: Gibson ES-135 ('02), Peerless Sunset, Harmony Brilliant Cutaway ('64), Godin 5th Avenue, Alvarez AC60 A/E classical, Kay K37 ('56), Fender Squier VM Jazz bass, several ukes. Amps: Fishman Artist, Fender SCXD, Pignose 7-100.

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