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Old 11-12-2013, 09:36 PM
mikey_29872 mikey_29872 is offline
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Default Tame Loudness of My Acoustic - Soundhole Plug?

Hey guys,

First time poster yaaaaaaaaay!

So anyway ... I have a problem when I'm performing songs live. Basically I'll start off playing nice and quiet, and my voice sounds great and everything... but then somehow, I either get excited or nervous, or my ears get tired, or whatever, but I start playing my guitar louder and louder. Very quickly I reach a point where I'm having to belt my voice in order to overpower my guitar, which makes me pitchy and just not have a great tone when I'm singing, in addition to more vocal wear and tear.

Aside from just practicing more and learning to be a better performer... I was wondering if any of you have had this issue and found a way to solve it?

I was thinking about possibly taking a soundhole plug and modifying it somehow, in order to only partially block the sound coming from my acoustic, so its a much quieter instrument, but not totally muted for unamplified playing. But would that be a mistake? Would I get too used to playing guitars like that, and ruin my performance on normal guitars? Would the guitar never sound that great or have other problems? I'm not even sure how to do this, other than using a soldering iron to burn a small hole inside the soundhole plug, effectively leaving me with a slightly reduced-in-size soundhole for the guitar.

Any other advice/tips regarding curbing the volume of my acoustic are welcomed. I use a pretty thick pick but light strings if that helps. I also know I should probably just practice more lol.

EDIT: I should add that this is a problem both for amplified gigs, and non-amplified practice/youtubes. I'm thinking of using the soundhole plug for live performances, so that the "real" acoustic sound doesn't go up into my ears and overpower the monitor mix... but also my problem is playing unamplified in my bedroom, or on camera for youtube videos and stuff.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:56 PM
JohnW63 JohnW63 is offline
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If there was such a thin, for stage work, it sounds like what you need is a volume meter. In some school cafeterias they have a gren light, yellow light, read light par that changes as the kids get louder. You get into the red light and the lunch monitors come out and give the kids a "reminder" to not get so noisy.

Park one of those in front of you so you can see it and don't let the lunch ladies come down on you !
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:01 PM
Long Jon Long Jon is offline
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Welcome to the forum !


Congratulations on posting one of the most baffling problems I have ever read here!

No idea my friend,,,, but someone else prolly will. Good Luck.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:33 PM
Tony Done Tony Done is offline
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I don't know it this will help you, but I was recently trying to mellow down the tone of my overly-bright kona. I bought a cheap (Oz$6) plastic version of the lute hole, which had a piece of black sponge backing, so it acted pretty much like a solid soundhole plug. I gradually cut pieces out of the centre of the backing until I got the degree of muting/mellowing that suited me. I similar approach might work for you.

I bought mine at the local music store, and can't find it with Google, but it looks something like this, in cheap faux wood with a black foam backing:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/acces...edback-control
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:20 PM
mikey_29872 mikey_29872 is offline
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Okay first - thanks for replying so quick you guys. Love how huge this forum is.

Second - WOW! I didn't think of a lute hole. I had only purchased and used those solid rubber pieces of S that totally mute the guitar's natural acoustic sound.

I'm thinking .... maybe I just get a lute hole, perhaps one with minimum feedback reduction, and see if it curbs my guitar's volume just enough.

The idea of some sort of volume meter sounds great as well. I bet I can find one that inserts on the guitar's output, or maybe clips onto it like one of those Snark tuners.

Great ideas to help me start figuring things out! Thanks dudes!

Also Sigourney Weaver is hot. Sorry, ghostbusters is on right now.
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:31 PM
picassov7 picassov7 is offline
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I think something like this would definitely mute some of the sound without muting it all.

http://www.lutehole.com/lutehole.php

However, the issue in my mind is the lack of consistency. If you add a cover then the playing at the beginning of your song, at least in an acoustic setting, may not be audible until you get excited and start digging in

Oh and welcome to the forum!
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Old 11-12-2013, 11:34 PM
mikey_29872 mikey_29872 is offline
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I agree that the final-final solution should probably be more along the lines of me learning to just play lighter for an entire set. However I overused+hurt my voice a couple years ago, so I can no longer belt for an hour without getting worn out quickly... so in the absence of skill I'd rather have lower max volume haha.

Thanks for the link - I'm bookmarking it now and will be shopping for one soon. Maybe I'll ask in a new thread about the volume reduction for a light VS medium VS heavy feedback-reduction lute hole first.
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Old 11-13-2013, 05:14 AM
Goodallboy Goodallboy is offline
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Please don't mess with your guitar! As you recognize it isn't your guitar that has a problem it's you. But you can fix it by working on it. Practice controlling your volume. Anything else is a band-aid and a tone sucking band=aid at that.
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:17 AM
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jgmaute jgmaute is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodallboy View Post
Please don't mess with your guitar! As you recognize it isn't your guitar that has a problem it's you. But you can fix it by working on it. Practice controlling your volume. Anything else is a band-aid and a tone sucking band=aid at that.
I agree with this. I'm wondering if there is a sound decibel app you can get and use that as you practice. You really need to work on the volume and dynamics of your voice and playing and that takes practice both alone and in front of audiences. Try to be more conscious of how it feels as you're singing and playing. Usually I'm fine with volume and dynamics, it's the rhythm that increases when I'm on stage. I've been performing since the 60s and still have to pay attention to that. There is a wonderful energy that comes from an audience and you just need to learn how to channel it in the right way. You'll get there.

Welcome to the forum. You're going to love it here.
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Old 11-13-2013, 06:44 AM
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fazool fazool is online now
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I might suggest another idea as well.

One thing our ears & brain do is sort of "get used to" volume. So when things are very quiet, we can perceive a whisper. But when things are loud, like a rock concert the next song isn't a shock.

So, after a while, something loud doesn't seem as loud. It's like climbing into a hot tub or a cold pool. Its a shock at first, but then your brain and nerves get "used to it".

So one contributing factor might be that, at the beginning of your set, you are noticing your volume, but as the set goes on, your ears and brain get used to that volume and ratchet up, THINKING its quieter.

It's like being in a hot tub. When you first get in it feels scorching, but after a little bit it doesn't feel that way anymore, so you think its getting cooler and you turn up the heat.

That's only one more contributing factor - not the primary cause.

But one way you might consider addressing this is to wear earplugs or in-ear monitors, it might give a more consistent feedback to your ears.

I suppose that's only true if the volume is high to begin with.

Just thinking out loud here.......
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:30 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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Welcome to the fourm.

OK, you say you have a problem, but rather than fixing the problem you want to compensate. I mean this respectfully and as someone who has performed since the 60's.

That fact that you start off OK is the answer, you can balance in the beginning, but kind of get carried away. The fix is not things to compensate when you get too loud, but seriously to control yourself and not get too loud.

It is about being a more controlled performer, not doing things that support the bad habit and then it will never go away.

You mentioned it in your post, "practicing and becoming a better performer" is the right solution. What you describe typically is nerves, and two bad habits that nervousness can generate is getting excited and louder, and the other common one is speeding up.

Don't feed the bad habit, knowing is half the battle, work on relaxing, staying in a pocket and practice it away..............
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Old 11-13-2013, 07:53 AM
williejohnson williejohnson is offline
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I agree with Rich. The only way to truly control your volume is to control your attack.
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Old 11-13-2013, 08:08 AM
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patticake patticake is offline
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maybe you could use a volume pedal, either between your guitar and the PA or your vocal mic and the PA. that way, you could easily control either your guitar or turn up your vocal mic when you play louder if you want to keep the dynamics.
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