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Our drummer is too loud. Crazy right?

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  • #31
    If you have him parallel with a wall that is going to amplify the sound especially if he is in a cage, try angling the set. Also it is not unusual for drummers to need headphones to hear, particularly in a cage, I have never played with one who didn't need ears from the board to hear. Another thing you could do is talk with him before or after rehearsals and stress dynamics, telling him exactly what you want will help, then debrief what he did well and what he can improve on, if you know what you want and can communicate it to him that will make a world of difference. This, however, require that you have a basic understanding and vocabulary of drumming from the kit perspective. Best of luck!


    • #32
      I would address it head-on, kindly explain to the drummer that 100% volume isn't always musical etc. If he can't take that kind of constructive criticism maybe it's not time for him to serve, or maybe needs more practice & understanding of songs, & learn to be sensitive to what's happening in the worship time.
      As a hard-hitting (loud) drummer myself, I would also recommend smaller, lighter sticks or brushes as others mentioned. There's a time & place for loud/quiet percussion. Everyone should play at appropriate levels.
      Praise God.


      • #33
        As a drummer I experienced this one and yes it is really difficult to control especially you are in the climax of worship or a song while thinking about Psalm 150:5 yeah it is really difficult. But being then i realized that i'm the only one playing and i need to play with the team. Playing with a worship team also is not like playing in mainstream wherein you need to showcase your talent. The low profile you play the better, and it is the softer while hitting every note and giving a good beat to the rest of the team that is what we need to do.

        So I practice and reconsider everything starting from discipline, and playing along with the worship team under a good volume.

        now about the set up.. if you have freedom with your e quipment the better. You can use light stick such as 7a. Use darker cymbals such as Zildjian's K series or Sabian HHX series. With your drumhead you can use dark skin such as Emperor X remo (coated).
        Official Website


        • #34
          As both a drummer and a sound guy, I have this quirky theory that most audio problems in a small-to-medium church are caused by using too much audio technology. The moment you put the drummer in a cage and put headphones on him, you prevent him from ever learning how to adjust his own dynamics to the group. Besides church, I play drums in a local concert band where 30 people manage to play together and balance their sound with absolutely no amplification, no monitors, no headphones, no cages. Sadly, inexperienced drummers play too loud, so irritated elders cage them up and by the time an experienced drummer comes around the battle lines have already been drawn. Leave the back of the cage open, take the drummer's headphones off and tell him to play quietly. Give him a monitor if absolutely necessary, but it's better if he balances his volume to what he can hear leaking into his cage. If he can't hear them he's too loud. My 2 cents.


          • #35
            This was touched on a little bit already - is it true that the drummer is actually too loud decibel-wise, or is he just too loud compared to the rest of the band? If you have decibel room to work with, I would turn UP everyone else to match the noise floor of the drums and go from there. We did that at our church and it worked wonders. By turning everything else up, we got the drums to a place where they fit well in the mix, and we still aren't even barely hitting 90dB. It's great!


            • #36
              There are a number of good ideas coming across here. But experience is a key ingredient here. I have a tendency to be heavy handed at times--holdover from drum corps days--but as I teach our new drummers you are part of a team, a ministry. The focus must be on His Spirit flowing through you, not the pounding of your drums. We are big on dynamics, which usually comes as a culture shock to most drums we audition.

              As part of the orientation period for new drummers we emphasize the teamwork aspect--listen to each other, feel where the singer is going, know when less is more. Also, dynamics, dynamics, dynamics. Finally, realize you are NOT a living jukebox, but a member of a worship team an essential part of the Sunday service--and no less important than the worship teams David identified in 2 Chronicles.


              • #37
                I also agree that it's a major element of learning for the drummer to be able to play and adapt to the setting. This is a common theme for drummers across all types of settings. It is fair to say that technology and headphones can get in the way, but the drummer still needs to be able to adapt to the tools they are using, otherwise the technology is making them lowering the quality of their drumming.


                • #38

                  As a drummer, this is a very complicated issue. Many times it's not the fault of the drummer itself.

                  First of all, we should understand the instrument, to then be able to work around and be able to fix this issue.

                  It's a loud, ok VERY loud instrument.
                  It ranges (depending on the dynamics of the drummer, drum shells, cymbal types, drum heads, etc) between 90db and 120db. (Yea, that's enough to cause hearing loss). But here is the bigger problem: On the kit itself, there is not really much we can do to really reduce this loud noise. We can tweak pitch, sustain, etc. but we can't really significantly affect the volume. Many try to "dampen" cymbals, which is a very bad habit as the cymbal can't vibrate freely, by the construction of metals, it will break sooner or late. It also sounds very harsh and pretty much like a trash bin, so the complains won't stop.

                  What we normally do is to put the famous "screen" or acrylic wall around us. The problem is that this might very efficiently help and reduce noise in the front, but noise it's a wave and propagates everywhere, so where it goes, it goes. So technically, an acrylic screen only helps to the front rows, helps to control it a bit better from the sound engineer's perspective, but not around the kit. Those sound waves will still be "leaking" around.

                  That's why it's very important that (if the budget allows), completely isolate the drumkit. Nowadays they build 360 cages, there are also very nice models available on the market and this allows to have full control on the sound. Especially at the point where the average db of a small (let's say 250 people) worship service is around 95db, the kit will with no doubt dominate and override the other instruments. The only way to control this (taking in count you want your drummer to stay with an acoustic kit) is an enclosed cage.
                  There are also ways to do this kind of projects as DIY. It might save you money or have more freedom to adapt to your space.

                  Another thing which is very important, is to teach the drummer the proper sticking technique for great dynamics. This can help reduce volume too! Mostly help the drummer being confortable, it's not easy to perform in the same way with different dynamics, and that's what requires work. Most of the times when we receive a complain is due to a missunderstanding of the instrument itself. Ok, there are also drummers that don't care how they play, etc. But let's assume your drummer knows what he does, the best way to help him out is to help him search videos and resources that will help him develop that skill. One thing that helps on dynamics for example, is the choice of thinner (especially lighter) drumsticks. I'm currently using the CooperGrooves 7A for worship most of the time together with the ProMark Rebound Balance 7A.

                  When I play in a very small enviroment, I make sure my dynamics are good and place the kit into a corner of the auditorium so that I can place the acrylic screen enclosing myself with it. Sound leaks on the top, but it will make a huge difference and will help out on controlling the sound. (See picture below) If the venue is smaller than 150 seats, I normally select dry/dark cymbals, take all crashes away (only hihat and a big ride), take all toms away and leave just raw basics: snare, kick, floor tom. Might as well use brushes or other types of drumsticks.

                  I have seen many drummers apply these techniques, and many others not really caring about it. I think a part of being a good drummer is to be able to adapt to any situation in the best of our abilities.


                  I hope it helps,
                  Entrepeneur | Vlogger | Drummer | Loves Jesus


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by jduncan53818 View Post
                    I know, its nothing too crazy that the drummer is causing problems by being too loud. But its a problem that can really cause difficulties with the worship when the drums are drowning out the rest of the sound. He is behind a cage with a top, but it is not closed off in the back because we don't have enough room. It gets very loud in there so he wears noise cancelling AUVIO headphones which plugs into the sound system so he can hear everything. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where he can cut down on his sound and also hear how loud he is being as well?
                    This most likely won't be a popular solution (at least to the drummer), but if they can use Hot Rods (bundled dowel sticks), they will play significantly quieter.


                    • #40
                      Firstly, I can only recommend custom made earplugs. Even drums with reasonable volume can do damage to your ears if you're on a small stage.
                      There are different filters available. I use the standard with a reduction of 15 dB, but there are filters with more and less reduction.
                      Now for the drummer: in my opinion, drummer creates problem. So it's the drummer who needs to figure out how to fix problem. It may sound cruel, but as been already said - I played live and studio with a lot of drummer and the one I consider professional always play with a lot of dynamic.