Getting good tone from dropped a
Hey everybody. I am playing in a hard rock band along the lines of Stained or Sevendust. I'm having trouble dialing in a tone that makes my low A sound nice. When I'm digging in on the low A I have a hard time getting a tight response out of the speakers.
It's not a huge problem at low volumes, but when the band is practicing at full volume I can't seem to get the sound to be loud enough to hear and have impact in the low end and be defined.
It sounds wonderful on the top four strings, but down on the A string it seems to fall apart.
2013 music man stingray 5 (3 band eq & 3 way selector)
SVT II non pro: has graphic eq and ultra low/ high buttons
Ernie ball slinky bass strings (green pack)
I dont have any special pedals or compressors
Would a compressor do the trick?
Thicker strings? Eq suggestions?
get your bass setup for dropped tuning...will make everything better...
You're probably fighting room acoustics. So first, try moving your cabinet. If you're 10 feet off the wall you'll be getting a 1/4 wave cancelation on a low A.
Like you I play a 5-string tuned down a whole step, so that the low string is tuned to A0. I recently switched to Circle K strings - they are designed to have more balanced tension across the neck, and they offer some very large gauge strings designed for lower tunings. You may want to try a set of those, along with a professional setup. I noticed a huge difference with my live sound - the low string is much more clearly defined.
Try this set (gauges .142 to .043). The top 4 strings are basically the same gauge as typical strings, but the low string is .142, which for a 34" scale bass will provide ideal tension for tuning to A0. You may need to file out the nut for the lowest string to make it fit, but once you get your bass set up properly for that tuning, I think it will make a big difference.
One thing about these strings... right out of the package, they are very bright, but not in a harsh or unpleasant way - they still have enough low end, especially when amplified. They will mellow out a bit after a few practices/shows. To me, they sound great.
Thanks for the replies. I'll probably try a revamping of eq and a thicker low string.
You have an EBMM going through an Ampeg fridge... you are going to be fighting an uphill battle to get a clear, defined low A to come through that rig. What gauge is your string set? I would want a .130 at least for a low A personally, that is what EB recommends for a "tight" B so going bigger won't hurt. I have personally found the EBMM B string less than stellar but many disagree with me. I currently have a Carvin LB76 which has a great B so I run a .125. I find a .125 gives much better sustain and tone. I can downtune to A and still get a clear defined tone with ease.
It also wouldn't hurt to get a better cab that can reproduce the low frequencies better. There are so many other fantastic options I won't even bother making a suggestion since our tastes will probably differ.
Most bass cabinets start to drop off about A (55Hz) at best. You are trying to get half that frequency, which ain't gonna happen. And if your cabinet is ported, eventually the cones will fold from being pushed farther by the voice coil than the suspension will allow them to move. (I replace a lot of bass speakers of various brands, and far more have collapsed cones than have burnt coils.)
My band likes to tune half a step down because the singer thinks it will be easier to sing. I HATE tuning down, makes the bass sound like a turd. I'm not about to set up my bass for dropped tuning though, because 95% of the time with other people I play with I'm in standard. I dial in a bit more high end, try to compensate as I can, but I flat out HATE it.
Singer says its easier to sing, and that half a step isn't THAT big a deal, so I say "well sing half a step up & lets cut the crap"... So, if anyone is looking for a bassist with a 'tude.... LOL, Kidding, we get along, but I HATE tuning down.. I do it.. but .. ah skip it!
+1, "clear and defined" are all about the upper harmonics anyway.
MMs have some of the better-sounding 34" scale B strings out there, but they're still only 34" scale; for my money, that's too short for a good-sounding B, let alone dropping it down from that.
there's a "diminishing returns" point where lower pitches on a given scale just don't sound good no matter how fat you make the string; you end up with nothing but out-of-tune upper harmonics and string noise.
I don't know, it just feels "floppy", and it does affect my tone somewhat, nothing crucial, but I notice a difference
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