Re: [Harp-L] Re: Hearing yourself
Or as was pointed out hearing at all at the age of 56. Clearly
escalation in terms of volume is not a viable long term strategy.
Coming to grips with this has been an arm wrestle for me. I currently
play in a 3 piece, harmonica, bass, guitar. Sometimes we'll add drums.
I'm using a 5 watt amplifier. I can hear myself in the mix quite well.
I used to play in a 6 piece band, electric bass, drums 2 guitars and a
sax along with me on harmonica. In that band I used various amps, Twin
Reverb, Bassman RI, Concert, Blonde Basman head into a 3X10 bottom.
Hearing myself was always somewhat of a struggle and an arms race.
Using hearing protection helped but it becomes difficult to gauge your
relative volume and you lose the sound of the amp tone. Ultimately I
opted out of the blues band club scene. I migrated into a Country and
Western pick up band which was a 4 piece and a lot quieter but it was
still too much volume for me.
Exposing your ears to high spl (sound pressure levels) causes hearing
damage. period. It's a health issue. If you're lucky you'll just get
the ensuing tinnitus and hearing loss. If you're unlucky you'll end up
dizzy and unable to play music because of an acquired sensitivity to
loud noises. As a generation grows up headsets plugged into I-pods car
stereos booming the health issue of significant hearing loss will only
become more widespread. Little Walter didn't grow up playing music in
the same environment as we have. Amps were smaller and a lot less
powerful. Electric bass was new to the scene and stand up was the norm
well into the 50's. I really never thought I'd live to see the day
where cigarette smoking in bars was banned in several states. It was
just something I put up with to play music. The reality is the choice
is ours. Playing loudly is a choice and you can choose to not do it.
Sure it's a lot of work to find like minded people and put together a
quieter more dynamic group but in the long run you'll have more fun and
live to hear into your 60's instead of starting to lose the middle
frequencies in your 30's. People rave about the Jason Ricci shows but
the reality is he plays too damn loud too. Exposing yourself to high
spl is flat out risky behaviour and a health risk and it's a matter of
when not if it'll come back to bite you. I have yet to meet a 50
something railroader that doesn't say what every second word if he/she
is in a noisy environment. fjm
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