live sound + upright = feedback?
i have some concerns pertaining to feedback
upright bass player in front of a floor wedge monitor... is that a formula for disaster? gotta figure, if the upright is going DI, and the monitors are in front of the sound holes, you gotta figure something bad is brewing, right?
anybody have experience with this?
(extra info, this is a bluegrass smokehouse with live bands. its only a 5 week old place and the stage monitors are on the fritz, but I'm concerned that when they get fixed, i'm gonna have a mess on my hands lol right now the monitors hang from the ceiling (pointed at all microphones - so needless to say when i get the go ahead, they are all going on the floor... but i'm still worried about the feedback loop)
First, why are uprights "going DI"? I don't play bluegrass, but I do play with other acoustic instruments (including drums) and, if I'm not playing absolutely acoustically, I put a mic into the house system. The sound I prefer is the mic, wrapped in foam to hold it, up between the bridge feet. It's more focused and less "airy", to my ear anyway. If you're using a mic on the fiddles, banjos and guitars, you should use one on the bass as well.
As far as monitors, generally I/we try to get an acoustic level that all of us can hear each other and then use the house system to get that out front. I generally don't have any bass in the monitors, but I've never played in a situation where the sound on the stand has been overwhelmed by the PA sound. If the band gets a little "stretched out" because of the stage set up (usually if I'm too far from the piano) I get a little of that in the monitor.
For live i prefer to go thru an amp and then DI the amp. I never had good results on the rare occasion where i tried out straight DI from bass
If I do use an amp (and you're talking about upright, right ShowKing?), I still like to put the mic on the instrument through the house system, that gets more of the "wood" sound to the house.
It depends a lot on the stage volume. What works for a jazz gig may not work for a psychobilly gig and vice versa. At reasonable stage volume it should be no problem to be feedback-free.
Things to think about:
- Stand beside the wedge instead of in front of it.
- Get your body between the bass and the speaker.
- Mute the strings with your hands when you're not playing, including rests between notes.
- Have a way to kill the signal when you put down the bass. I use an A/B box with nothing (or an electric bass with the volume turned off) on the B side.
If somebody pushes the monitor volume to 'psychobilly', you may need to think about covering the f-holes, stuffing something under the tailpiece, using parametric EQ to cut problem frequencies, etc. but that is probably overkill for bluegrass.
It depends on the type music, type of venue, amount of volume, size of room etc...
A Mic sounds fantastic if you can make it work. If the whole band is using a nice IE system and your on a huge stage with lots of real estate between you and FOH. Or if your playing in a quite jazz gig at a coffee house a Mic will work great.
If your playing in a Rockabilly band and and the rest your gang is electrified you better get a pickup fast. A Mic will not cut it in a situation like that.
There can be many types of situations and this will dictate what you can do.
I recommend the ROH to one side or the other pointed at your ear. Directly in front of your bass is not a good idea. It is best if the monitor cab is at about a 45 degree angle from your right ear behind you that way your body is blocking the waves from hitting you bass somewhat. This is not possible sometimes. Some situations like a hollow stage can be a nightmare and the best control for that is an Fdeck Preamp with it's HPF it can assist in cutting the boom out but it still can be a fight.
+1 to aiming the monitor or amp at your ears but not at the bass if possible, to definitely having at least one band of parametric to find and kill the primary feedback frequency without killing too much of the surrounding sound, and to blocking the F-holes if necessary.
the other key is for the player to have some "juice"; not necessarily to pound the thing, but you do need to drive the strings a bit to get decent gain before feedback.
hey guys, a lot of great stuff so far, but i don't think i gave enough detail in my original post...
I'm not the performer, i'm the sound guy for this particular gig.
The venue is a beer garden/smoke house where the music is NOT the main focus, so volume isn't an issue... I have however gotten feedback a couple times before (mirrors right behind and to the side of the stage)
I have the performer plug his/her upright into an amp and then take the DI from there.. like i said earlier, the stage monitors are on the fritz so i try to get them all comfortable with stage sound before i push up the faders.
we don't use a drummer (too loud for the room)
most times its acoustic gtr, mandolin, fiddle/violin, banjo, rare occasions call for a lap steel or elec guitar, but there is never more than 4 people on stage..
The location of the monitors now (Even though they don't work scares me for when they do work) are hanging off the ceiling pointed directly at the microphones (vocal) and i wanna get them on the floor pointed at the performers. was just worried that a loop may end up happening...
Ah, OK, more "bluegrass" volume level.
Any upright player with half a clue should be able to get a pickup signal plenty loud enough without feedback for this.
Parametric and smart wedge placement will help from your end, but the player needs to have his s**t together too!
If drums are too loud for the room then I would imagine the monitor level isn't going to be enough to cause feedback problems from the bass.
Chances are the bassist won't want any bass in the monitor (nor will the band) if he's got backline, and he's probably got an appropriate pickup/mic/preamp setup to manage the gigs he does feedback-free, and will know what kinds of setups cause problems (positioning of other peoples' backline, etc.).
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