Saturday, September 20, 2014

Turn it Down

So, at the most recent electric blues jam, we did an amp check. Dial 'em down, the guy running it said. We got complaints.

Great, I thought. 

I led the first song. I could hear my uke and my voice just fine, and so could most of the other players

But then, as if by magic, it started getting louder. 

Electric guitar guys seem to have two settings on their amps, which need eighteen wheelers to haul into wherever they're playing, and the settings are: "Off," and "Eleven ..."

I wouldn't be surprised of the ghosts of Jimi and Stevie, wherever they are, had to cover their ears. 

By the end of the session, I was resolved that I wasn't gonna go back, because, deaf as I am, they are apparently more deafer, and it was TOO DAMNED LOUD!

When you start finding your dental fillings on the floor? When turning off your hearing aids and using them as earplugs doesn't help?

As we wound down, a bass player approached me. Said, he had a group of mostly-retired guys who got together once a week to jam for a couple hours, and was I interested in sitting in? They were amplified, he said, but not that loud. 

Sure, I said, sounds great.

He sent the location info and their set list, which had a lot of music I liked. Better and better.

So I went.

I figured it would be a good chance to learn stuff with a group, intros and outros, timing, like that.

Good guys, good players, had a drummer with a full kit, a harmonica guy, bass, three guitars. The horn guy didn't make it, nor the keyboardist, nor the banjo player.

I managed to keep up most of the time, flubbed a couple of songs, mostly because they were songs I play, but not quite how they play 'em. So far, so good, except ...


My little thirty watt amp couldn't keep up. Couldn't hear myself. I could get a bigger amp, of course, but that would only add to the volume, which I don't want to do, because, did I mention? it was TOO DAMNED LOUD!?

My realization solidified: I am at heart a guy who is going to be happier in small, quieter venues. Either playing among acoustic instruments, or those with a little amplification. No arena rock for me. What hearing I have left, I want to keep.

So, the acoustic jam? Yep.

The electric blues jam? Nope ...

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