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Bass and Guitar interfering with each other on gigs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by pfschim, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    not sure if this is the right section of the forum, so move it if it belongs elsewhere.

    I play in a 4 piece jazz, funk, fusion, world music, originals band. No vocals, so no PA typically unless the venue provides one.
    Lineup is:
    Guitar - High end Ibanez (?) George Benson Sig model hollow body guitar through various amps (Twin Reverb, Mesa express 550 etc.)

    Guitar/Violin - Bennedetto (?) hollow body through a Mesa Express 550) Electric Violin through a Trace of some kind.

    Drummer - Great drummer, good dynamics, can play loud but has wonderful control.

    Bass - Custom Jazz (Lull) or Piezo fretless (Turner) through a Mesa Walkabout with either a PH1x12 or Scout 15" ext when needed.

    We play with a fairly large dynamic range, and can get pretty loud on some parts or passages for this kind of band (i.e. not a metal or hardcore band).

    Problem is that in a number of venues lately, particularly when the volume goes up, I am noticing that there is significant feedback interaction with one or the other of the hollow-bodied guitars .. that low-mid blooming feedback.

    Question; what can we or I do to reduce or eliminate this sound problem ? .. is there a simple fix? or does it take a great deal of gear or adjustments.

    I have played jazz dates and low volume gigs with hollow-body and semi-hollow body guit players for years and have never had this problem before.

    any advice from this knowledgeable crowd ?

  2. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    I have experienced that low-mid boom problem with guitars before. The main thing that solved it was to completely flatten my tone except with a small boost in the 2khz to 5khz area. Sometimes you have to decrease the low-mid section on your bass to compensate for this sound issue. 150hz-300hz is where this problem usually hangs out. Another tactic is to create a tone that is WAY different thatn the guitars to get a good seaparation of tone. On a few songs my cover band does, my bass will get lost completely unless I increase the midrange around the 400-700hz range. Once I do that, the bass sticks out in the mix without interfering with the other guitar tones. The sound may not be too great sounding on its own, but in the mix it sounds great. PM me if you are still having trouble.
  3. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Ask the guitar player(s) to eq out the some of the lows from their amps. That will create less overlap and clash with the lows your bass is putting out. That is what I do do in when I sense that thing going on, it works wonders for opening up sonic space. In a band situation with multible instruments, collectively everyone has to compensate for the overlap.
  4. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Lag, the dude is using a hollowbody with a big body, and rolling off too much bass will kill his sound.

    This is typical of most bands. Good advice in the first reply, though sometimes I'll boost around 750-800hz ever so slightly because it seems to be one of the few freq ranges that nobody else is playing in.

    Basically, what we're saying is that you're probably going to have to let go of the sound that sounds good by itself at home, and EQ your sound for the band. For me, flat ALWAYS works best in any music, save for the slight 800hz boost I might add from time to time and the ultra highs that sometimes irritate me.
  5. SwitchGear

    SwitchGear Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Well said. Like I previously mentioned, in a band situation, changes have to be made to eq to prevent sonic overlap. No other way around it.
  6. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Oops, I wrote something incomplete. I should have said that sometimes I roll off the ultra highs if they irritate me.
  7. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    good advice all around ... considered using the fairly versatile EQ on the Walkabout to cut certain freq's. I am a long time player and understand that good living-room sound does not always equal good band mix. I was mostly looking for advice on some general freq ranges to consider cutting in order to fix this blooming problem.

    I basically run my Mesa close to flat. The Bass is just pushed really slightly, the passive mids are at 10am, Treb is pushed just slightly. On the para EQ, I cut the low's a bit at ~30-40hz, Mids are cut slightly at ~1.8khz, and I push the highs just a tad at ~7khz.

    Given these settings .. other than the obvious advice to truly set everything totally flat, where else would you guys start cutting to avoid this issue ?

  8. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    I would cut 7k and add the 1.8K back in, then I would maybe slightly boost 800. Cut 7k because it's only going to add tin to your sound at a range where everything else is stepping all over you, especially drums. 1.8 added back in because mids are important, and 800 seems to be my magic frequency where if I can't hear myself from being eaten alive by the other isntruments, I can if I boost it.
  9. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    cool, what about the low para cut ? .. I seem to be reading that the low-mid bloom kicks in between 150-300hz
  10. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Now that is something I'd probably experiment around with at your next practice or soundcheck because at that point you're getting into the range that can be easily be stepped on by the guitar and kick drum.
  11. David1234


    Jun 1, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Endorsing Artist: SWR Amplifiers
    Is your cab very close to your guitarist? Perhaps, if the whole band realises this is a problem worth solving, then you might all consider adjusting the stage layout to get more physical separation between bass and guitar, and hence not need so much EQ negotiation? Maybe move a player, or maybe move an amp.

    Also I'd be looking to cut some lows from the guitar sound at high volumes. The "that's his sound" argument is cool but possibly overlooks the massive mid range boost that the human ear gives whenever volumes are low. At high volume, it's everybody's tone (or perception of tone) that changes, not only the bass!
  12. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Well certainly everyone in the band has to work toward the goal of making sure you can hear everything. But a lot of the reason jazz guitarists use hollowbodies is because they love the low end full-bodied sound they get. Many of them use flats just to get an even deeper tone. Otherwise you might as well play a Strat.

    Probably what's going to need to happen is everyone's going to have to re-evaluate their sound a little, but from PF's description it sounds like he and his bandmates know what they're doing and will work to the common good. If not, he should buy two SVT rigs and turn them up to 10 ;)
  13. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I'm going to weigh in on the side of compromises in tone for the individual instruments must be made when playing live and loud to avoid feedback. When the bass, guitar, acoustic guitar and other instruments ALL want to sound big and full at the same time, they compete with each other in the 100-300 Hz range and this causes feedback. The guitarists et al are going to have to cut their tone below 200 Hz and the bass needs to cut tone from somewhere around 300-1000 Hz. This doesn't need to be much (and it shouldn't be) but just a little experimenting with the EQ (if you can get a good standalone narrow band or parametric or semi-parametric that's even better) will solve your problems.

    Doing this will make each instrument stand out more to the audience and will result in a more pleasing overall tone.
  14. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    ok, thanks to all who responded. I will go into our next rehearsal armed with these ideas and see what I can make happen.

    We do set our amps close together generally, but even when we don't, this problem has been happening. Particularly with the Ibanez George Benson sig guitar. I'm thinking it's more the guitar and not the amp.

    In the past I have played with plenty of cats who favored ES 335's or 175's, and a range of other hollow body and arch top jazz guitars, but have never had this low-end bloom problem before. I suspect it is a low-mid frequency crossover thing that we'll just have to work out together.

    Everyone in the band is very cool and I'm guessing we'll be able to work it out without any hassle.

  15. Another recommendation i'ave heard is to plug the holes on the guitar to reduce feedback issues.

    there are lots of plugs for round soundholes, and doug's plugs offers custom-made f-hole plugs.

    he mentions using tape as an alternative. you could try some tape over the holes to see if it helps before buying his plugs...
  16. BartmanPDX

    BartmanPDX Supporting Member

    I can't add all that much to this other than to say that this is really important, and its importance is underestimated by too many bands.

    Everyone has to make compromises for a band to work. When you're not playing by yourself, you by necessity have to factor in the other players when considering one's tone. Sounds fairly simple, but it's all too easy to ignore. I've seen a number of guitarists who were willing to destroy a band's sound through their insistence on having "their" tone, all the while never even considering the bigger picture of the mix which is what people actually hear.
  17. One thing I think nobody mentioned yet is, since you have a parametric EQ, you could try (at rehearsal, after telling the band what you're doing so they don't think you've lost your mind :-/ ) is to *boost* the para EQ by a large amount, then rotate the frequency control until you get the *worst* possible sound. Once you've determined the "bad" frequency, you can cut that frequency.
  18. BassBuzzRS


    Oct 18, 2005
    Problem solved.
  19. Hollow body + high volume = trouble. You MAY be able to zero in on some of those problem freq's with a parametric eq plugged into to the guitar amp but it's no guarantee. Try a semi hollow guitar instead. That SHOULD fix it.
  20. I got myself fired from a band because of this exact same problem. Rhythm guitar player, and leader of the band, bought himself a hollow body and started having feedback problems immediately. Of course he blamed me. Eventually I had turned down so much my bass was off but it was still happening. He just got madder and madder until he fired me. I tried to tell him it was his own guitar causing the problem but he wouldn't listen. I wonder how he faired at the next gig!


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