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Bass frequency/waterfall plots: what they mean to rigs

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by greenboy, Jan 27, 2009.


  1. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    I've heard a few people say this in the past and it shows how easy it is to mix up "tone" and amplification. The timbre of an instrument is entirely dependent on the balance of harmonics and their change over time and up and down the register of the instrument. There is no such thing as a "hi-fi" or "flat" instrument. That's an even bigger misnomer than claiming some music is right and some music is wrong!

    But 'flat' or maybe more appropriately, accurate, amplification is a perfectly valid thing - though attaining it at reasonable cost and size is more challenging!

    Alex
     
  2. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yep. As a diaphragmatic instrument it depends much upon the size and tuning of its body as a resonant entity that filters the strings' vibrations. As a matter of fact its much like a ported speaker enclosure, a Hemholtz resonator. Want more low content? Better make it bigger and tune it accordingly...
     
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    On the tangent re: string length, think of the Ashbory. I'd love to get an analyzed plot from the lower notes on one of those!
     
  4. joelc1319

    joelc1319

    Sep 12, 2007
    Right, I wasn't saying that there was such an instrument that produced a flat output. I was just pointing out how we're looking to reinforce the timbre of the electric bass as it is; we are not looking to reinforce it to something it is not (unless we get into effects processing, EQ, etc.; then you are looking for a certain tone rather than the inherent tone of your own instrument).
     
  5. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    My guess has always been that the shorter scale reduces the lower harmonic and especially the fundamental content on low notes, just like an acoustic upright bass has insufficient body size to project those frequencies and the high self-damping of the strings replicates the very quick decay of the highest harmonics and any percussive content, just like how the body of a double bass absorbs those.

    Alex
     
  6. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    +1. They generally equal out when the string length is 1/4 wavelength. That's about 100 Hz with a 34" scale, the charts bear that out.
     
  7. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Thing is, any electric string instrument, fundamental-strong or not, can encompass a huge potential range of tonal possibilities indeed, limited only by the tendencies of strings in their ability to generate the natural overtone series. Size, materials and construction of the instrument, the strings, and the pickups - all this functioning as a stockpile of choices and filters. And that's before amplification and player technique/hands.

    So there is no one timbre that represents an electric bass, only a set of potentials.
     
  8. svtb15

    svtb15 Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    Is there much of a difference with the waterfall plot when using a bolt on design bass neck as there is a neck thru design?
     
  9. joelc1319

    joelc1319

    Sep 12, 2007
    Right, but wasn't the beginning of this about how the ~41Hz fundamental of the E is not as strong as the ~82Hz first harmonic? That fact is independent of all those other variables, as per your charts. I think I may be failing at explaining what I meant...:meh:
     
  10. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Charlie and I were talking about this the other day. Unfortunately there is no one conclusive answer, as even the same bass in the same hands can have a different waterfall every time you strike the same note, even when trying to use the same position and technique. Then think of a thousand instruments with different strings, pickups, and players.
     
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Just done with a longer EUB sample, recorded direct for sure this time. Reverse perspective just cause it looks cool. This is an octave up from the earlier ones.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Passinwind - Thanks for posting the charts.
    I know there's a huge call for "show me x", but I would LOVE to see a chart of your fretless electric, recorded on the bridge pickup only. I'm curious to actually SEE how that impacts the "mid-scoop" caused by phase cancellation between the bridge and neck pup.
     
  13. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Here's an interesting FFT I doubt you'd come close to duplicating with any other bass. It's on the Basslab again, and the G string has been detuned 1 and 1/2 octaves to B0. This comparison shows (or would if the graph wasn't so frickin' small) how string gauge almost does not matter on the BassLab composite* - in fact the more flexible string actually is showing very closely in the lower spectrum and because of greater flexibility has even more upper content. It was uncanny how playable these superlight tensions were on this string platform!

    The cyan trace is the .045 string, the magenta plot is the .130 string:

    G2BecomesB0.

    BartmanPDX's Steiny probably is more adept at this "string independence" than most, given my limited time with the XL-2.




    * the earlier F#0 sample I posted was performed on a low B string tuned down a 4th, BTW. Sounds way better than existing F#0 strings.
     
  14. geshel

    geshel

    Oct 2, 2001
    Seattle
    Cool thread!

    It's really great to see this stuff in action.

    From my perspective: I love really low frequencies, a nice pure 20-30 Hz tone is just amazing to hear. But for bass guitar, and other bass instruments, it's all about the harmonics (for me). The character of the sound. I was listening to some subcontrabass saxophone recordings on YouTube - awesome!! The sound from those is so full of harmonics, that the character comes through even without the fundamental.
     
  15. rbonner

    rbonner

    Sep 25, 2008
    OK Bill sorry, yes it does have the deficiencies I was getting in a hurry as my wife was pushing me to leave for our workout. What I was trying to say was due to its size it suffers less from the deficiancies than say a bass guitar.

    Oh yes a pipe organ is a wonderfull instrument. But here's the deal. A pipe organ NEEDS the air moving through the oriface and the length of the tube to create the resonance, the same way a BASS or Bass Guitar's string resonance creates its note.

    ALEX, when I would draw a bow across my E string I guaranty the string is resonating at 41Hz the string was vibrating WIDE and you could almost SEE the note in the string vibration. I can tell you it wasn't vibrating at 82hz or 123hz.

    Lets take a quick look at various pianos, I know I keep going back to this. A Concert grand, Grand, Baby Grand and an upright as examples.

    The difference between these guys is length of strings and the length of the soundboard (makes more volume)

    But all the bottom string is tuned to A0 on each of these pianos. Now something else here, they are playing more than one string per key here. They have the additional harmonics programmed into the system right from the start with a piano, much like a 12 string guitar does.

    OK, well back to our bass. We need some level of fundamental to make the note in the first place. Apparently we can get by with a lot less fundamental than the second harmonic and still survive.

    However what would happen if we were able to use a 32 or 64band EQ that concentrated in a few Hz separation and we were able to boost the Low B itself, not the band from 25-60, but equalize at a per note ability how much better could the signal sound?

    We could do this with DSP technology.

    AT the speaker we know when we make 30Hz the cone goes crazy to big excursion. We need to have low frequency ability along with the higher multiples I think to get a full note.

    I think it is worth looking into further. BOB
     
  16. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Was that some of Jay Easton's stuff? Yeah, he's done concerts in Seattle with ensemble using his compositions and several different sizes of big saxes of which there are maybe one or two of each in the world. HUGE! He's got at least one real cool album out featuring the lowest of the low.

    And you are right. Though for an acoustic instrument they pack an incredible lot of low frequency content, much of the body of their tonal definition/character comes from the balance and interaction of midrange partials.

    Check out this subcontrabass sax and scale it to the tenor on its left! That's 23 FEET of tubing! Think what THAT would have done in Mark Sandman's MORPHINE band.

    Bb_Tubax%20(1).
     
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  17. SUBSCRIBED!! & thanks very much!

    (umm . . . Flats versus Rounds?)
     
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Eh, I'm happy with the current system.
     
  19. greenboy

    greenboy

    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Looks like I picked a bad week to quit drinkin' coffee. :cool: