Help Finding My Tone....
I have been playing upright a little under a year and a half. I've been studying with a first rate teacher. Busting my booty practicing. Acoustically I think I sound good. My tone & technique are solid.
My problem is when I amplify. Currently I am using a Fishman Full Circle, Fishman Pro Platinum pre-amp, Streamliner 600, and a Wizzy 112.
I don't know all about frequencies. What does what to the tone. I bump this, lower that. Tweak a knob here & there, etc... I just can't seem to get a nice solid tone. It sounds weak. I have to turn the master volume knob almost all the way to 11 to get loud. When I plug my EB in I have loads of volume. I've had the Full Circle replaced once because it was faulty. From what I know that's unusual, so I doubt the second is bad.
Any advice on how to adjust mids, highs, lows, etc... to get a solid, thick tone is greatly appreciated.
You have entered a brave new world. Accurately amplifying the DB is a lifelong quest fraught with peril, frustration and sometimes jubilation. There are a myriad of solutions for said quest, an overwhelming menu at times.
Fortunately, you have also wandered into an incredible community of friendly and knowledgeable bass players to help guide you. There are tomes of testimonials and advice on amplifying the DB here.
Just keep experimenting and reading. Good luck! :hyper:
Call Mike Sharfe in Cincy. He's the man!
Shoot me a pm if you need a number.
What badong said. I'm not a great player, just a small time local gigger, which means that I'm right there alone on the front lines in terms of getting a decent amplified sound. Lots of crappy venues, no help from the sound guy, if there is a sound guy, battling feedback, battling wierd room acoustics. I think i have a really good, fat, strong acoustic tone. But in terms of amped sound, I tend to try to practice not "battling" but "letting go." Most of the time i have zero idea what i sound like twenty feet out-zero. If the people seem to be liking it, it's good.
I've been driven a lot by what I can't stand hearing, and that's piezo artifacts. There's something about the sound of piezo pickups that's just insufferable. I might use "thin" to describe it. I tried
And they just didn't work for me. All through every gig I'd always be trying to dial away the piezo quality. Then I tried various mics. Then for years I used the schertler dyn-b, which had its own problems but didn't sound like a piezo.
Now I'm using the ehrlund pickup, which IS a piezo but doesn't set my teeth on edge. It doesn't capture the specific acoustic sound of my bass, not at all. But it's easy to eq, doesn't feedback, and doesn't have any obvious annoying artifacts. It sounds like a double bass, even if it doesn't sound like my bass, un-amped.
So that's been my own solution--stop trying to reproduce the precise acoustic sound I worked so hard to get, and instead try to produce an effective amped double bass sound I can live with. Does that make any sense? In my case, it's meant a bunch of compromises. If I was a big time pro, working in dedicated venues with sound reinforcement and good sound guys, I'd probably be using a mic and I'd be able to be much more finicky
Been thinking about this more. Should add that for amplification, what I've come to like best is just a powered PA monitor. Something like the QSC K8, or the Mackie DLM 8, which I just bought and will be trying out tomorrow.
I'm suggesting that maybe you have two tones, an amped tone and an acoustic tone, and give up on them being the same. I read somewhere Ron Carter saying that if you are going to play amped, you should always always practice amped. I don't do that, because the pleasure of a pure acoustic tone is the whole reason for hauling the big bass instead of the much more convenient slab. And Ron Carter has not had a consistent tone throughout his career.
bkberwanger-- Given PB+J's answers, he and I could be twin sons of different sonic mothers! :) In other words, "What he said!"
Acknowledging all of the good advice you've gotten, I have a different take. As I read your post, you have two issues:
1) You have an insufficient level from the Full Circle.
2) You don't know how to effectively modify your tone.
You should have no problem getting an adequate signal from the Full Circle. The fact that you have one with your EB points to a problem specific to the DB signal chain, i.e., Full Circle, Pro Platinum, specific input used on the Streamliner. It's difficult to help from afar but I would check a bunch of things that you likely have already. Have you tried:
1) a different input on the Streamliner?
2) leaving the Pro Platinum out of the chain?
3) another source through the chain other than the Full Circle?
4) your Full-Circle through someone else's rig?
Something is just plain amiss if you can't get a hot enough signal with that equipment.
As for shaping your tone, solving the level issue might solve that issue as well, but probably not.
Keeping in mind PB+J's advice, it's good to develop a realistic goal. I think PB+J is dead on target. Shoot for a good amplified tone but understand that there are diminishing returns to incessant tweaking, substitutions, and additions.
I started a thread a while back entitled: Learning to use tone controls, eq, etc. You might find it helpful. Seems rather on-point! :)
Once you solve the level and tone-shaping issues, then you may wish to consider different pickups, etc. Like PB+J, I settled on the Ehrlund. I'm quite happy with it for all of the reasons he gave and more.
You've got fine equipment and assuming it's all working correctly I don't think you should be having this problem. It is possible a couple of bands of parametric eq may help with tone shaping, but that won't cure the weak volume.
Why don't you get a lesson with one of Cincy's better players (and who's tone you like) to help you figure it out? Or see the guys at the Bass Cellar, or Nick Lloyd...
Time To Do A Little Exploring
Well folks, I think we've achieved virtually complete convergence of thought. :)
Bkberwanger, you are also using a Steamliner, which can a challenging eq system to get used to. Its default voicing also has a lot of deep lows and a bit of mid scoop. I don't play upright(yet), but my gut tells me you would have an easier time with a more neutral/flat sounding amp.
Lots of good advice, all I can add is that you may want to try bypassing the streamliner's preamp, if you haven't already. I find it is not really voiced that well for the urb. Just run your fishman pre into the effects in, and see what you think.
Thanks to all for the good advice. I'll start digging in and see what I come up with
The way I've learned (still learning): Play amped with your teacher and have him tweak the controls. Take a photo (or memorize) of the settings and just use that as a basis. ;)
If he can teach you how to get tone acoustically, he sure as hell will probably have a better shot at showing how you to set up your EQ.
Is the Full Circle installed properly?
Nobody has mentioned this, so I shall. Before you start to deal with other equipment in the chain, consider the following: The most important thing with the Full Circle is to ensure that the face of the wheel is absolutely flush with the bridge leg or foot, depending on whether it's threads down or threads up, respectively. If it's not flush, all bets are off.
For a picture, see post #30 in this thread.
Have you found your tone yet? Curious about the cause of its loss.
I bypassed and went through the Pre-Amp in. So far so good. I've played one gig and had plenty of volume & tone.
Still not sure why I lose so much volume going through the amp, but so long as it's working I won't be picky.
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