I currently play a Warwick Streamer NT and use a Carvin 500 head w/equalizer. I have a hard time not understanding all the dials on the head, therefore I do not know how to set my bass control knobs and head settings for a good bass sound. Any suggestions?
What type of cabinet and what size? 4-10" 1-15" ect. Also what style jazz, rock ect. Then do you slap, finger style, pick ect. Those are questions needed to be answered first.
Ampeg 810, 95% fingers, and rock (modern, Classic and 90's).
Meaning no disrespect, but there isn't a setting for a 'good bass sound'; if there were, there would be no need for all of those knobs.
I can tell you that Vic Wooten has played my bass through my amp - without changing a single thing - and he didn't sound like me, he sounded like him. And a few years ago, I did a show playing through George Porter's amp (we were opening for the Meters); I didn't change a thing on his amp, but I didn't sound like him; I sounded like me.
Although Dave is correct. There are a few things you can do. First turn off eq. Set all knobs to 12 o clock.Turn off compression ect. till u have a neutral sound. Then adjust your settings one at a time till u get a sound you like. I wouldn't mess with the e.q. till the end. IMO Carvins start out with a lot of midrange to begin with. P.S. Set your bass neutral to start also.
I have also heard that some players leave all their controls on their bass in the middle and then adjust their sound thru the head. Then I heard the opposite, neutral on the head but adjust their guitar's knobs. The second one does not make sense to me, otherwise you would not need all the controls on the head. I would think some type of blend?
On the guitar itself, I generally put the bass all the way up, treble and mid off, and I put the pickup blend right in the middle.
Leave the eq controls on the bass "flat". Then, start with flat on the amp, and make small adjustments. Never boost the lowest bands, as they'll eat your power, and hurt your spkrs. Mids is where it's at.
The general idea however is right. Start with all your controls to generate the most neutral sound possible. So, first RTFM so you know what the knobs on your amp do. Then spend some time playing with them. Change one knob at a time to hear what really happens when you spin that one. And also listen very carefully to how they interact- again the classic Fender tone stack is very interactive and the mid control does not actually affect the midrange frequencies, but controls how much the bass and treble controls work.
But there's a more important starting point- have a good clear conception of what "a good tone" is. There's a million good tones out there, you need to be able to hear what's coming out of YOUR rig, and then determine what's missing AND what there's too much of. My experience is that generally that's where people fall apart with EQing stuff. They confuse "too much treble" with "not enough lows" so instead of trimming the highs, they boost the lows.
The other thing is that in almost every case, that setting that sound perfect when you're playing all by yourself is generally totally useless in a band. The stupid smile EQ is a good example- it takes a lot of the amp's power when you boost the lows, the lows and highs are now competing with the kick drum, cymbals, and harmonic range of the guitar and vocals, and you've cut the important mids that make your bass sound like YOUR bass.
Don't try to "cut through" because if everyone's cutting through the mix, by definition, there ain't no mix now. The point is that EVERYONE on stage has to find a way to fit in with the others.
So, start with a clear concept of a good sound, know your equipment and exactly what happens when you turn each knob, and spend a lot of time listening to what's going on when you play. Start with the controls set neutral, and then build the sound from the top down. Dial in enough highs to have definition to the note and clarity without excessive clank. Shape the mids to give the character that defines YOUR instrument. Dial the bass to have authority without being mushy or overpowering the band.
Step one: Do some research on your amp, find out what the closest to 'flat' setting is. Read your manual, and talk to others who use the amp, read reviews of the amp that might give you some idea of what the most 'neutral' setting is.
Step two: play with it for a bit flat. take each tone control and turn it up and down with the other tone controls set to 'as close to flat as possible' for that amp. You'll learn what each knob does.
Step three: Now that you know what each knob does, start from your 'as close to flat position as possible...and make adjustments to each of them to create a tone you find both enjoyable and useable.
Step four: using the settings you've found, play with your band...and make adjustments to those settings again...because what works at home and alone doesn't usually work in a band setting. You'll need to work it for the band.
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