The eyes have already rolled. This is a sore subject.

You’ve been hurt. Wounded, even. Words were said. They can’t be taken back.

He turned his amp up after rehearsal. Nobody said anything to him. People are looking at you.

Because it’s your fault. Because everything is your fault. Because.


Guitar players do this because of tubes.

Tubes are how, well, tube amps are powered. And tube amps have a sweet spot that sound best.

And that sweet spot is always too loud. Trust me. I know.

Now. As a guitar player, I won’t contest the fact that tube amps have a sweet spot where they sound best.

As a human, more specifically an audio enthusiast, I’m aware of the inescapable psychological principle that, notwithstanding levels inducing pain or discomfort, humans subconsciously interpret louder as better.

And this is far more a factor in this case than “tube saturation.” Trust me.

I’ve done my fair share of experimentation in listening to a tube amp IN THE STUDIO, with a controlled environment, removing the excitement caused by “speaker moving air” so to speak and just LISTENING to the difference in amp levels, when actual ampliTUDE levels are completely evened out.

Guys, it is not THAT much of a difference. There is a difference. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s not THAT big of a difference.

And I haven’t even touched on factoring in a guitar player RUINING the experience of every person in the same room with them because their amp is too loud into the equitation.

Which brings me to my next point…


Plan A: You tell them right then and there, calmly and kindly:

“Hey man, so the amp is really loud. I get it. It feels good. The tubes are warm. It’s a thing. But what is also a thing is that your stage volume is so loud that it is basically washing out the PA and ruining the entire mix. I appreciate that you want to sound good, and that is great. But if you lugged all that stuff here at 6am to be a part of this worship team and you completely unintentionally ruin the worship experience for everyone else by being way too loud, its sort of a moot point. You know what I mean?

I am happy to come up here during the week and figure out some way to get your amp better isolated or at least find some kind of happy medium with volume level where you’re happy and everybody else isn’t asking me for ear plugs. But for now, we gotta get that volume down for the sake of the integrity of the service.

Another factor you aren’t maybe able to appreciate from your vantage point is that while that amp may sound and feel good at your feet, blowing air and shaking right by you, no guitar amp speaker can fill a room by itself and actually sound good. The way the ear hears that amp 2 feet away as opposed to 20 or even 200 feet away is vastly different. The further away you get, the worse it sounds. That’s why we need to get a mic on it, so we can let everyone else hear the tone of your amp the way a MICROPHONE hears it, and “amplify” the amp more correctly. I promise you’ll be a lot happier and in the end you wont’ even see this as a trade off or a sacrifice.”

And if that doesn’t work….

Plan B: If he still doesn’t get with the program, you go to the pastor or worship leader and calmly and kindly explain to them the situation. You convey your heart to give the congregation (and the rest of the worship team for that matter) the best worship experience possible, and that this needs to be addressed and has not been resolved in spite of your best efforts.

And if that doesn’t work…

Plan C: Quit. If you really value the church and want to stay plugged into it for other reasons, do that. You don’t have to run sound to do that. That seems cold, but if you contributing in that way isn’t yielding positive results, (and by this point, there’s probably a good bit more going on causing your advice in a matter such as this to be adhered to) you just need to walk away. Let them deal with the problem.

Sound guys are not subservient to the rest of the team. They are members of the team. And in some regards, while I don’t think a sound guy is ever necessarily a coach of the team, they are at the very least the quarterback coach, maybe even the offensive coordinator. You got a job to do that not doing it has consequences, not least of all for you. If conflict arises with a team mate (or defensive coordinator) and you’re not getting results yourself, and the coach is apathetic, go find another team.

Church culture seems to have a hard time accepting that a job is still a job, even if it is at church. Even if you don’t get paid. The job still has to get done. You as the sound guys knowing that and expecting cooperation from your team mate doesn’t make you a bad guy.

The truth is, if you’re the sound guy, you are the gatekeeper of the entire service, and if you’re bad at your job then, well, you’re a bad gatekeeper and you gotta get better. Can’t leave that out for sure. But a gatekeeper, THE gatekeeper nonetheless.

If you don’t believe me, get “sick” one day and see what happens. Lol. I don’t mean that spiteful. And I don’t ACTUALLY think you should do that. I’m just saying that everyone else is aware of that fact, where it is in their head space or not.

But YOU gotta know it, and own it. Not leave your lane. But know what your responsibility is and live up to it. All the rest of this stuff will work itself out.


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