1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Adjusting controls while playing

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Axtman, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    I have seen a few bass players adjust their controls on their instrument and on their amp while playing. The problem comes when they have to pause to do so. This totally loses the groove.

    I admit having to adjust controls, but I try to do it discretely in between songs or at a rest in the song. Sometimes I can make an adjustment while playing open strings.

    Unless something is really far off, I avoid adjusting controls while playing.
  2. --Vissinger --

    --Vissinger --

    Jan 31, 2010
    congratulations on your diligence.
  3. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    You can do it, but it just needs to be done in phases so as not to 'lose the groove'.

    It takes practice, but it can be done even in quick passages...
  4. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I always flip my series/parallel switch on beat
  5. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    use your nose!:)

    but seriously, if you know the music it's not that hard. i'd rather sustain a root note while i make adjustments than sound like crap!
  6. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    If you are going direct into the FOH, messing with the controls on your bass can hose up the mix.
    I leave my bass alone and adjust tone at my amp, which is basically a stage monitor for my own benefit.

    If you have to mess with something in the middle of a song, think it through first and do it during an easy part that you can cover with left hand hammer-ons while your right hand makes a quick tweak.
  7. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    Sorry for preaching to the choir.

    I saw a video of a professional bass player and I swear that person paused 5 times during the song to adjust the bass controls and the amp controls!
  8. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    In small groups, without FOH and soundchecks and whatnot, you kind of have to. This is why I like on boards preamps. Once the gain on the amp is set, tonal tweaks can be done on the bass. Fiddling with an amp looks amateurish.
  9. I assume the audience all got up and left because of this travesty?
  10. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    If you're not making tonal adjustments that the audience will hear, why make adjustments at all?
  11. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
  12. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I do it all the time. Just have to be fast.
  13. I have to agree with the counter-posters: if the groove completely falls apart because the bassist is dialing in his rig than it's not much of a band to begin with, is it?

    That said excessive twiddling throughout the entire show would be annoying. But merely dialing things in during the first couple of songs that night seems desirable.
  14. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    It becomes second nature after a while. I do it on the fly on my RIC 4003 (tone and volume). Some songs need it. Better than stomp boxes IMO, more subtle...
  15. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Stewartsville, NJ
    If you can't turn the tone knob without losing the groove then something's seriously wrong.
  16. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I have to tweak my in ear mix on the aviom's at church sometimes. It usually takes me a few tries. I have to find the channel, push the button, and tweak the dial. That is usually accomplished in three distinct steps.
  17. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    So guitarists change pickups, volumes, etc. going to FOH all the time. Why ever would it be a problem for the bassist to do so as well?

    If the groove falls apart, the bassist doesn't know their gear well enough or the band has other issues. Of course it's possible the groove does not fall apart and this thread is merely someone listening with their eyes...

  18. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I tweak my amp in the middle of a song when I need to. I wait until I can do it without screwing anything up though. I can't remember the last time I tweaked a knob on my bass.