I'm sure this has been covered numerous times. Because it's unique to me for these reasons, I thought I'd ask this specific question here;
I've played guitar professionally for three decades now and have been playing Bass in a Latin/Portuguese band for about a year and I'm having a BLAST! I need help though.....
I play a Peavey Cirrus USA 5 string, an Ibanez 4005 prestige, and a Markbass CMD102P + 151HR.
On smaller stages, I often have trouble hearing lower registers, more accurately, determining what "key" I'm in...especially when playing in very low registers. I've dialed out most of the low mids, played with the Bass's EQ, adjusted the amps VLF/VHF settings and still find myself struggling with hearing the lower notes.
If I dial in too much high mids or highs (especially above 2k), I get too much clack for that fat Latin type Bass sound I want to achieve.
I played through another Bass player's rig last night, an Ampeg rig with a workingman's 115 and it seemed a little tighter (small stage) but still a little unclear on low register notes.
I often play with where the pickup sweep is set on the Cirrus too and that doesn't seem to make a big difference.
I may be asking a question that doesn't have a clear answer based on too many variables....but figured I'd ask anyway as there are so many that have years more experience than me on Bass.
I "do" need volume though....and volume for the 5th string, so some of the really small rigs I've tried haven't been enough for me.
Have you tried tilting the speaker up towards your ears, or pole mounting the cab? You may lose some low frequency response due to lack of coupling with the floor while pole mounted, but getting the sound up to your ears will help you know where you are on the low notes.
Is it only specific to small stages and a smaller rig, or is it one rig for all stages and the problem is more pronounced on a small stage?
Did you wear earplugs over the last 30 years?
Try dialing in more mids. This frequencies are heard much better by the human ear. Just mess around until it works for you. You don't nbeed to boost a lot of low end to make a low B articulate. A little less will help more. And I know the Markbass stuff well, I still have my good old LM II for backup. Must be 8 - 10 years old now.
Don't forget that the VPF-knob takes away lots of mids. This knob boosts bass and treble and cuts mids to give you a "scooped" sound. This may sound nice for playing alone, but is useless in a band situation.
Rise your cabs to the level of your ears. A simple chair or a stand will do it. Or tilt back your cabinets. Take a rubber mat and roll it up, fix the roll with some duct tape. Lift up the cab in the front and stuff the roll under it. Try to make the speaker point to your ears.
With this done you should hear yourself in any situation.
Aye, heed the Kong.
Also mind guitar player's eq. Bass boost on guitar = death to bass tone.
Great suggestions, thank you.
I do tilt the CMD back (as it has the tilted back position available) as it sits on the 15 cab.
I think perhaps I'm trying to get the tone I would want out of the PA up on stage and by doing that, I probably tend to run too much low end out of the amp itself.
I think given some of this feedback I'm going to dial up more mids on stage and let the PA do more work out front on the beef. See if that clears up some of the low register mud I tend to experience on smaller stages.
Dial your low mids back up a little, and roll off some bass.
I've had so many sound techs tell me to roll my low mids almost off, then I compensate by rolling the bass up a tad. That's probably making the 5th string even more difficult to distinguish.
Small stage means playing to how many people?
Get the low-mids back in and dail out some of the rumble.
The low mids are where the notes live - the first harmonic (octave) of the fundamental. Too much fundamental with nothing above it, and you won't be able to distinguish the note.
Perfect. Thank you, I am going to totally try playing with the low mids, it'll be like forbidden fruit. ;)
"Small stages"; venues here that would fit that for me are clubs that hold 100-300 folks. Stage itself varies from an area about 150 sq ft up to 300 sq ft.
A stage where I have to stand within 3-5 ft of my Bass amp and not move much.
Typically, I move around a lot if the stage is bigger (like playing at the knitting factory here) especially if there are side fills as that lends itself to providing really nice overall coverage.
My struggles come when I'm standing within close proximity of my amp.
Rig that size can fill those rooms all by itself. If I was you I'd drop down to using only the 15 on a stand and give over to the PA. Your sound guys are probably getting you to kill your low mids to save muddying up theirs.
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