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Has anybody found themselves in a session surrounded by loud instruments, and consequently unable to hear themselves play? (I shall not specify the instruments for fear of giving offence.)

 

I wondered if it's possible to attach a small pickup to a concertina and lead the output to a personal earphone.

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Dont get me going on over amplified music; because I live near a City full of loud, amplified street performers...  ( Buskers they were once called).. and I have no objections to them playing, only they are ALL using amplifiers! Very very loud.. to the point where as a citizen of the city, one has to avoid certain streets altogether, for sake of not going deaf! 

So, I assume they likewise have a problem hearing hearing their own affect on others too?

Maybe they do becone immune to the loudness themselves, and do not realise?

So, in a way this is another side of you own query, and concerns, in not being able to hear over others?

I would say let us encourage more acoustic performance; and less amplified ( where possible).. then there may be less trying to compete in an already noisy setting, to make your own musical voice heard.

Edited by SIMON GABRIELOW
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I had a similar problem in a big, loud session.  Everyone was playing acoustically, but lots of instruments, including a loud piano accordion.  I tried an inexpensive VOX guitar headphone amp.  It's a tiny unit-about the size of a small match box.  I used it with my Microvox  mikes and a single earbud.  It really wasn't very helpful, and all the wires, Microvox power supply unit, etc. were cumbersome.  I've seen very expensive wireless in-ear monitor systems that might work, but I didn't try that route.

 

What worked better was getting to the session early enough to stake out a spot with my back against the wall (preferably in the angle of a corner).  Also, at some outdoor Covid sessions I wore a broad brimmed hat, which really helped. (I'm too polite to wear a hat in the pub).

 

I occasionally use the Vox unit when I'm on my own just for fun, as you can listen to your own playing with special effects e.g. reverb.  No one else can hear the effects though!

Edited by Bill N
clarification
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 I was at a session and the fiddle player looked at me oddly when I kept cocking my ear down towards my concertina.  I shrugged and told him I just couldn't hear myself playing.  Well, he looked at me a bit incredulously before assuring me everyone else could hear me just fine 😁

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12 hours ago, Jolly Hamster said:

Has anybody found themselves in a session surrounded by loud instruments, and consequently unable to hear themselves play? (I shall not specify the instruments for fear of giving offence.)

 

I wondered if it's possible to attach a small pickup to a concertina and lead the output to a personal earphone.

 

This is a common problem.  Sound projects out the ends of a concertina; in a crowded session, often the players on either side of me can hear my playing much better than I can.  Bill's answer is probably the best: position yourself so you get some reflected sound.  The problem diminishes when playing in a band with good monitors - and a sound engineer who knows the peculiarities of concertinas.

 

Simon - acoustic is great, but there are many situations in which if you're not amplified, you're not heard. A big dance band in a big, noisy hall - absolutely essential..

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How about this?

Its a noisy session and you cannot hear your own playing; two options..

1: attach an old style gramophone horn to instrument to improve volume..

OR

(2); Simply raise your own voice with a shout and request "Silence please; let me hear myself playing... Please"!

😁😁

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Some excellent suggestions. I shall certainly give the hat a go.

 

Really embarrassing to start a tune on the wrong row and discover halfway through that everyone else is playing through gritted teeth because they can hear what you cannot.

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3 hours ago, Jolly Hamster said:

Some excellent suggestions. I shall certainly give the hat a go.

 

Really embarrassing to start a tune on the wrong row and discover halfway through that everyone else is playing through gritted teeth because they can hear what you cannot.

Reminds me when the dance band I was in was asked to lead a session at a minor festival.

Played all through the first tune  (Hand Me Down My Walking Cane) playing in G on the right hand, with the chords for D on the left hand (on melodeon). - or it may have been the other way round.

 

It was bad enough that I still remember it almost 40 years later!

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I have been in this kind of situation many times. Not w/ concertina.

 

I do one of a few things. 
1. if I am not 100% confident in my playing. I stop playing. If they ask. I tell them. I can’t hear myself. So, I’d rather not just play a bunch of wrong notes.

 

More often than not at least one other will say the same thing and stop playing. And more often than not. The person playing the most wrong notes tends to be the loudest person drowning out everybody else. 
 

2 if I am confident in my playing.. I will continue to play. But either as the loudest offender to “come down a bit”. Or, ask somebody else, near the loudest person to turn up.

 

if in an amplified situation. And somebody is chronically too loud (always the guitar player). I ask the sound man to continually turn UP the guitar in their monitors. They will get to the point where even they realize they are too loud and turn down. This has been 100% effective and the best solution.

 

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As an add on to the above. A good experiment and reality check.

 

take a song that you know, Really know. 
 

now get a recording of it. Put on headphones. Turn it up loud enough that you can not hear yourself. 
 

and now, play along with it and record yourself. And then listen back.

 

remember. This is what you sound like in a session. Or, when you can not hear yourself on a song that you Really Know..

 

it is almost always better to play no notes, than the wrong notes.

 

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On 7/20/2022 at 7:41 AM, Jolly Hamster said:

Some excellent suggestions. I shall certainly give the hat a go.

 

Really embarrassing to start a tune on the wrong row and discover halfway through that everyone else is playing through gritted teeth because they can hear what you cannot.


 

the result in this kind of situation tends to be that some , many, or ALL are going to “turn up” to drown you out.

 

the message in one away or another is the same. If you can’t hear yourself don’t play.

 

this is their way of “politely” telling you that.

 

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