Thursday, 31 May 2007
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I've learned recently what most of you have probably known for a long time. I've been a hobbyist since I began playing 5 years ago and have only recently formed a fun garage band. The tone I always sought was what I liked best-heard when practicing 5 feet from my rig with no accompaniment. Getting that to project over the drums and guitars never seemed to work. At first I thought it must be my rig, but it was simply the need for different settings on my amp. When I boosted my upper midrange my bandmates immediately smiled and said that's what they wanted. We're also tuning down a half-step. So now I love that I'm clearly heard and punchy, but I prefer my tone when playing all by my lonesome with a less aggressive midrange. This realization has led me full circle (full spiral?) back to trying the 37" scale again. It'll make tuning down less of a drag (esp when I slap the clavinet line to Superstition in low Eb on the B) and I think I've reached a point where switching scale lengths won't be a big deal so I can revert to 32-35" on my fanned CB when I feel the need for speed.
14 years ago
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#6054
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One of the hardest lessons for me to learn has been letting go of the idea of "my tone" and trying to get a tone that works for the band. At home I'd get a pretty sound with lots of articulation, and then live it would vanish. Now I tend to start from a different place--I'm less interested in sparkly highs and wide frequency range and more interested in a tightly focused midrange presence. It's a much less pretty sound but it sits right, with a little tweaking, in the mix. That's one reason why I could never get the stainless steel dingwall strings to work for me. I kept getting too much high and low and not enough midrange It's doubly hard on bass, because your sound, especially on the low notes, doesn't develop till ten-twenty feet out from the amp. Low notes have a wide, slow waveform and next to the amp you just aren't hearing the whole sound
14 years ago
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#6055
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A while ago I wanted to go (and I actually did) enter the world of "big-watt" amps. The guitars were freakin' loud, I tried to keep up with that and everything sounded mushy. Once I acquired my first Dingwall I started listening to all the frequencies coming for the bass (in a balanced way, from string to string, as well as along the fretboard) and my rig (4x10"s+tweeter, 1x15") provided me with all the frequencies needed, both for personal satisfaction, as well as tone for the band and the songs. Once I did not need to be loud, I started playing with less volume and still be heard (minor tweaking is always handy, but nothing major). It was fun when I had 3 guitar players at one band ('80's Gibson Explorer, PRS Custom 22 and an Ibanez Jem 10th Aniversary) along with keybords, 3 singers and a loud drummer, and still I could be heard and felt without being loud :D . IMHO I think that the sound of any band is built from drums-bass upwards. If the drums and bass are not sounding good, just the two together, there is no way the band will sound good
14 years ago
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#6056
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Over 25 years I've tried everything from PA speakers (subs) (bag end, meyers, community, McCauley, etc.) to every manufacturer and amp combination thinking it was this kind of problem. None of it worked. I found that tube distortion fills the sound more than anything. The mid range pops amazing without "boosting"... IMHO modern bass equipment suffers from being too clean. The fundamental bass note itself is very difficult to her in a group. The tube distortion adds all of those harmonic intervals. It works much like the hammond organ effect - you listen to each drawbar themselves and wonder how all of those "other notes" are going to work. But when you play them together it's absolutely PHAT!!!! I dont' mean grunge. You just listen till it gets to the sweet spot.... It's also very expressive. Also, there are very few tube pre-s that do this. The mega silly SVT head works. The alembic starts to get there when pushed all the way -but isn't that great. Also, I've found that what sounds really good in a band or recorded context seems to sound a little too distorted by itself. If you can ever get into a music store try the Universal Audio 610 tube preamp. Keep turning it up till the meter pegs and then you're just starting to get there.... By the way, with the tube filling up the sound, you play actually much "quieter" because you're not trying to push the fundamental (itself) over everything..... It's quieter but easier to hear...!
14 years ago
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#6057
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I find that I need a happy medium between clean and mega-bass. If you have too much bass, there is no note definition and it's hard to hear what you are doing. If it's too clean, it can sound too nasally and sterile.
14 years ago
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#6062
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You know, this really all depends upon the setting you're playing in...what type of music and what kind of instrumentation and stage setting. I actually disagree with some of what's been posted. As a guy who's played in a bunch of reggae and Jamaican music bands, I don't want a lot of mids. The instrumentation is arranged in such a way that each instrument covers a sonic neighborhood and when people cross into each other's sonic territory it gets bad fast. Fer instance, its my job to cover the lows, and I roll off most of everything above mid/low. If I don't have some boost in the 40-200hz range it sounds wrong. Now, for most of the mid-range, the keyboards will cover that. I don't need to be there and only get in his way...the same way a keyboard gets in my way if he's wanging on the keys with his left hand in the octave or two I play in. The guitars cover the mid high neighborhood and keep it there. If you notice reggae players, you could get rid of their bottom two strings and they'd never have a problem...they're not playing full 6 string strum chords. The drums do several things...the kick reinforces the low lows, the snare is in the mid/mid-high region, and the hi-hat covers the very top, above the guitars. If you add all this into the syncopation that is the heart of the sound it all works out. Now, for rock, funk, jazz, etc. it's a different story...but there's a fine line between being in the mix and being out front of the mix. Most of your highs will get swallowed by a band (often if playing funk/rock I flatten out my high end and any fret/finger noise is lost in the mix anyway. But if you pull too far back on your lows, you end up with an anemic mix. Don't need any distortion in my signal at all. I want warm tone, but not at the expense of clarity. In a band setting, I've always felt that whatever effect that everyone tried in their livingroom needs to be turned down by about half...reverb, overdrive, phase, whatever it is, once you get in a band, the 'solo' setting is way too much.
14 years ago
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#6063
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Reggae is probably the music that requires the biggest and fattest bass tone. I agree, it really depends on the situation. I have found in louder rock settings that the mid sound cuts well. The smiley face EQ sounds great solo but doesn't seem to work well for me in a band setting. Talking about every instrument having its own sonic space; one of the problems with many guitarists is that they are trying to have too big a sound and boosting too much lows. This just makes everything sound muddy.
14 years ago
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#6064
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[quote="Smallmouth_Bass":d5fle9w5] Talking about every instrument having its own sonic space; one of the problems with many guitarists is that they are trying to have too big a sound and boosting too much lows. This just makes everything sound muddy.[/quote:d5fle9w5] Indeed. The lead player in my current band goes for that big and full Les Paul sound, which just gets me longing for the time he picks up his Strat. Wow, what a difference it makes to the sound of the whole mix. I also find "ringy" toms to be an issue. The thuddier the drums the better for clarity in the mix, IMHO.
14 years ago
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#6067
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[quote="TwoPort":1jrbz0h4]Over 25 years I've tried everything from PA speakers (subs) (bag end, meyers, community, McCauley, etc.) to every manufacturer and amp combination thinking it was this kind of problem. None of it worked. I found that tube distortion fills the sound more than anything. The mid range pops amazing without "boosting"... IMHO modern bass equipment suffers from being too clean. The fundamental bass note itself is very difficult to her in a group. The tube distortion adds all of those harmonic intervals. It works much like the hammond organ effect - you listen to each drawbar themselves and wonder how all of those "other notes" are going to work. But when you play them together it's absolutely PHAT!!!! [/quote:1jrbz0h4] I agree with this totally and I think that is why I really dig my Ashdown head. They are the first company I have found that actually makes a hybrid head that does something. I have tried many others: Ampeg SVT pro, SWR SM900, various Trace Elliots that had tube preamps, and none of them had the grit. To me the Ashdown sounds like a cranked all tube SVT at any volume and without the hernias. I notice a big difference in how my bass sits in the mix, so much that I only turn it off when slapping. For you guys looking for that, don't go chunking your heads right away. I have also found that a SansAmp Bass Driver does the job quite well in front of an ultra clean amp.
14 years ago
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#6068
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[quote="lomo":jd0dto4g]I've learned recently what most of you have probably known for a long time. I've been a hobbyist since I began playing 5 years ago and have only recently formed a fun garage band. The tone I always sought was what I liked best-heard when practicing 5 feet from my rig with no accompaniment. Getting that to project over the drums and guitars never seemed to work. At first I thought it must be my rig, but it was simply the need for different settings on my amp. When I boosted my upper midrange my bandmates immediately smiled and said that's what they wanted. We're also tuning down a half-step. So now I love that I'm clearly heard and punchy, but I prefer my tone when playing all by my lonesome with a less aggressive midrange. This realization has led me full circle (full spiral?) back to trying the 37" scale again. It'll make tuning down less of a drag (esp when I slap the clavinet line to Superstition in low Eb on the B) and I think I've reached a point where switching scale lengths won't be a big deal so I can revert to 32-35" on my fanned CB when I feel the need for speed.[/quote:jd0dto4g] Hey Morris, back to your original thread topic. I think you will be fine switching back and fourth. I know a lot of us do it all the time. I regularly switch from a standard scale electric guitar when I get calls to do guitar work, and I have a Jazz bass I play from time to time. To me it just feels like slipping on an old comfortable pair of shoes when I strap on my Dingwall. From what I can tell, the consensus seems to be that the shorter scale fanned basses like the SJ and your custom CB are better for punchy slap stuff and the longer scale are better for the fingerstyle and stuff like that. So, you may have the best of both worlds. I know I am planning to a Super J as a graduation present to myself next year, so I can have the best of both too 8) .
14 years ago
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#6069
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Yeah, the 32-35 sounds good for slap, but not for the B, at least not on my CB fan-job. I strung it with flats and between them and a pair of Nordstrand passives it has me in tonal bliss. For slapping I'm using a Lakland 5501 (best value in a sub 1000 bass I've seen) or an Elrick Classic with Aguilar OBP-3 and Bart soapbars. Slapping the Eb on the B string when we're tuned down a half step is crap, but our version of Superstition really calls for it and it needs to be heard 'cause it's really the One in that tune-this was the proverbial straw that broke my back with GAS for that 37" B. I broke down and ordered one of those quilt-topped AB1-5s from Ed Roman. He's not my 1st choice in a dealer, but the sageburst quilt-top made me weak at the knees. After I get it next week I'll try it out at practice but I'm sure I can now go back and 4th between the 2 scales. I really need the 32-35 to do stuff like 3 finger picking the blues or rythm changes above the 12th, which I love doing. The ergonomics of that are much easier for me with the shorter scale and the 19mm spacing on the CB-the next question will be : do I to still await the SJ5 or get another long scale DW like a Z. I already have 2 32-35 fan jobs-the CB and a hollowbody custom with a piezo made by my ex- bro-in-law (a local luthier in Montreal).......I dunno.......but I'm really enjoying this conundrum :-)
14 years ago
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#6071
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Ed has a bad rep, but I had a good experience with him before I ever heard all the negatives. The good thing is he suposedly keeps all his instruments in the box, so you get a new instrument, not one that has hung in the store and had everyone's grubby hands all over it. I think a Z2 will be my next bass after I get a SJ, because it has a different pickup config than my AB1. I have played a number of 35" five strings and some of those were pretty nice, but I haven't found many with the definition of the B string like my Dingwall. And the 37" Dingwall B is the only one I have ever liked to slap on. A lot of other guys, including many of my favorite players, make the shorter scales work though, so I don't want to put them down by any means. I saw a guy this weekend playing a Lakland 5 string and it sounded awsome. Man, could that dude play too! He made me want to go home and practice. :cry:
14 years ago
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#6073
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[quote="lomo":1u5c4tey]....the next question will be : do I to still await the SJ5 or get another long scale DW like a Z. I already have 2 32-35 fan jobs-the CB and a hollowbody custom with a piezo made by my ex- bro-in-law (a local luthier in Montreal).......I dunno.......but I'm really enjoying this conundrum :-)[/quote:1u5c4tey] You have to get a SJ5 too so I can see it and try it! :wink:
14 years ago
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#6074
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[quote="Smallmouth_Bass":2fys7ay1][quote="lomo":2fys7ay1]....the next question will be : do I to still await the SJ5 or get another long scale DW like a Z. I already have 2 32-35 fan jobs-the CB and a hollowbody custom with a piezo made by my ex- bro-in-law (a local luthier in Montreal).......I dunno.......but I'm really enjoying this conundrum :-)[/quote:2fys7ay1] You have to get a SJ5 too so I can see it and try it! :wink:[/quote:2fys7ay1] Yeah-we'll have to have another Montreal chapter meeting of the DW club!
14 years ago
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#6080
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[quote="lomo":126g73bu]I broke down and ordered one of those quilt-topped AB1-5s from Ed Roman. He's not my 1st choice in a dealer, but the sageburst quilt-top made me weak at the knees. [/quote:126g73bu] I really loved the look of that sageburst as well! DO take some pics and post em when you get it in!!
14 years ago
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#6116
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It's doubly hard on bass, because your sound, especially on the low notes, doesn't develop till ten-twenty feet out from the amp. Low notes have a wide, slow waveform and next to the amp you just aren't hearing the whole sound[/quote] This is very interesting for me. Last Friday my band gigged in a Rotary Club meeting hall... quite large, high ceiling, wooden beams, large glass windows onto a bay. The echo wasn't as bad as you'd expect. I was playing my AB1 through my Mesa Boogie Walkabout Combo (15" speaker, 300 tube watts into 4 ohms). I was debuting my new X2 wireless (HIGHLY recommended) which alowed my to walk far out into the hall during our sound check. I was amazed at how rapidly the volume DECREASED as I walked further away from the bandstand and into the hall. It was eye opening for me. For some reason, I always sound quite loud to myself (standing directly in front of my amp when we're playing) but I needed to turn my volume waaaay up in order for the balance to be right. (I must say -guilty grin- I really dug being that loud on the bandstand... and my bandmates couldn't tell me to turn down!
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