How to hear yourself better on stageContrary to popular opinion (and action), turning up your amp more and more will not make you hear yourself better.

Sure, you’ll hear yourself MORE, but better? Hardly.

Oh, I know, I know, I know! Your guitar sound is soooo cool and that new distortion pedal is reaaaal juicy.

But unless you’re playing one man Shoegaze, that wall of fuzz guitar won’t do your band members any favors.

Playing with a band is a team effort and your fans want to hear the whole composition, not just the rock guitar parts. So let’s look at the two things you can do immediately that will help you hear yourself better on stage.

Amp placement

Where you place your amp is crucial to hearing it. Makes sense but it also matters where the other amps are.

Your amp – Place your amp so that it points to your ears. If it’s sitting on the floor blasting your legs it’s not helping you hear. Unless your ears are on your shins like some weird X-man that got a shitty superpower. Amp stands are expensive but they work well. Using a random chair in the venue can sometimes work just as well.

Other amps – If I hear my other guitar player too much my own guitar playing gets thrown off. You want to be secure in your own playing without another musician drowning you out. Work with your other band members to place the amps strategically so you all hear yourselves really well while still keeping a good blend of the instruments on stage.

Monitor placement

The amp placement tips are the first things you should do to get a good stage sound where everyone feels comfortable. Some shows don’t even have monitors so that’s really the only thing you can do. However, when you’re dealing with monitors the same rules apply.

Placement – Again, your feet don’t have ears so place yourself far enough away from the monitors so that the sound is actually being cast to your ears.

Don’t overload the monitors – I’m all for letting the bass player shine but for smaller gigs he shouldn’t be dominating the monitors. The bass will crowd out anything else you’re putting in the monitors and everyone will have a harder time hearing themselves. Get the bass player comfortable with amp placement, not monitor levels.

Start making the singers comfortable, then add anything else you think you need. But don’t add stuff in the monitors you can get from proper amp placement. Do it that way and you’ll get a clearer stage sound. And as an added bonus you’ll get an impressed sound engineer that’s less stressed because he’s already maxed out the monitors before you even start playing.

In Short,…

… being comfortable on stage is one of the most important things to a good show, so I hope these tips help you really shine on your next gig.

Author bio: Björgvin Benediktsson is a musician, audio engineer and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Crowd Audio, a unique new startup connecting musicians that need professionally music production services with audio engineers all over the world. Check it out at and sign up to their blog for more tips on becoming a better musician. He also runs that provides practical audio production tips for musicians and engineers.

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[Picture of guitar and amp from Shutterstock.]