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January 26, 2009

Guitar players - protect your ears

So, we had a gig on Saturday. Now, 2 days later, my ears are still ringing. Sounds like a crappy old amp buzzing in my head. Man, I should have wore ear plugs!

The gig itself was fun. I played with Jaron Rovensky at Boston Pizza here in Camrose, and a big crowd came. I thought we were really rocking the place, and I had a great time. I used my Michael Kelly Patriot Shadow as well as my Suhr Classic. Both delivered good tones.

One thing I noticed with the Michael Kelly guitar is that even if you roll off the volume knob down to 1, it's still plenty of volume and grit coming through. The pot seems way different than what I'm used to from my Strats and Teles, where you can roll down the volume knob and get less grit and also a bit less volume. I messed up on a few spots because of this, since I expected I would get a nice, mellow tone with volume at 4, but uh uh - it was a dirty loud tone coming through still. Oh well, this is how some of us learn (the hard way). Other than that, the MK guitar was fun. My Suhr is my number 1 guitar though - make no mistake.

Back to the topic. Damaging ears. Well, for the last few years, I've played with should I say, mellower bands, where the volume was not much of a problem. This time though, the band hit it hard, and apparently it got really loud by the end of the night. I didn't really notice until after the gig was over. I was wondering what all that noise was, when I realized it was "all in my head"...

So my advice to anyone starting to play in a band. Get some cheapo ear plugs, and have them ready at a gig and/or rehearsal. If the drummer goes nuts or others start cranking up, get those ear plugs out and PROTECT YOUR EARS. Believe me, you will thank yourself later, when you have to yell at all your old buddies you played with, because they have trouble hearing...

I do have some decent ear plugs made for musicians, but I never thought about bringing them. I had forgotten how loud this band can be. I use some cheap ones by Hearos (www.hearos.com)  and they do the job. Any ear plugs will take away a bit of clarity of the sound, and it can take a while to get used to them. Still, I strongly recommend using them when the volume is loud. You can never repair serious damage done to the ears, as far as I know. The only solution to improve upon hearing loss due to exposure to high volume "noise", is to get a hearing aid. How fun is that? They are not exactly cheap either.

As for me, that's probably the road I'm on - getting a hearing aid. I'm not yet 40 years old, but I often have trouble hearing what people around me say, and I have to ask people to repeat what they are saying. Makes me think of guys twice my age.

So, to sum it up - rock'n roll is not worth going deaf for! Get some ear plugs first, and then you can crank it. I'm bringing some ear plugs to the next gig, you can count on that. Huh? Sorry, what did you say?

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on January 26, 2009

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