Why That Spinal Tap Scene (Going To Eleven) Is Not As Stupid As It Seems

Spinal Tap went from being a fake band to making a movie that fans thought was funny and musicians laughed at.
Now This Is Spinal Tap is a cult classic.
One of those films that if you are in a lunch room eating with your co-workers you bring up that they should see.
Sure, they may not actually take your advice and see it.
But at least you tried.
And if someone you know has seen the film then you two probably have a few inside jokes about getting lost backstage or Stonehenge.
And if you are a musician, then forget about it.
This movie is as much of a prophecy as a satire.
The movie’s most famous scene has to so with volume on an amplifier.
The band is made to look stupid since they have an eleventh knob on the piece.
Why have eleven?
Shouldn’t they just have ten be the highest and play at ten?
At all times?
Wouldn’t that make sense?
Believe it or not, there is a pretty sound logic to that incident.

Before that, here is the iconic scene.

Now why do I say that the whole thing is not as stupid as it sounds?
Simple really.
We are assuming the maximum volume of the speaker would be the same at eleven that it would be for ten.
Just imagine there are two guitars.
One that goes to ten and one that goes to eleven.
If you have both tenth knobs be the same volume then, the eleventh would actually make it louder.
The idea is that the guitar with the eleventh knob has more total volume.
Or a higher volume to reach.
The tenth doesn’t.
Does this make any sense?

eleven this blog needs movies
Think of this with a runner.
If your fastest speed is 10 seconds and I can keep up with you at that speed, not going my fastest.
If I go a little faster (or to eleven) I beat you.
That’s how the band views the volume situation.
They get the same volume for the tenth knobs so why not add a little extra volume to increase the total.

The band is clearly seeing the whole thing differently than most would.
As they say, “There is a fine line between being stupid and clever.”

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