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Bass volume control

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by GRAHAM SG1, Nov 22, 2012.



    May 3, 2010
    How do YOU use your volume control on your bass ?

    I was a guitarist for many years before switching to bass a few years ago and always used the volume control (on the instrument not the amp) fully dialled in the belief that it sends the optimum signal to the amp, (apart from when using the control as a violin type effect) I still use it this way on bass .
    I just wondered what others do with the volume knob ?
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Occasionally I'll do swells with a delay. I don't use that effect often enough to justify having a volume pedal. I'll sometimes turn down on the bass a hair if it's a softer song.
  3. carlis


    Dec 28, 2005
    I always max out the volume. I superglue my volume knobs at the maximum position so that they won't move at all afterwards.

    ...kidding but I am really tempted to do so. You know, Anthony Jackson's basses have no knob at all (and he feeds his instrument into a volume pedal...though)


    and the opposite version is John Myung's bass, on which all but the volume knob are "hammered" in and locked in the middle position.

  4. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    It depends on the song.

    If it is a song that builds in volume at the
    end, I'll start with the volume rolled back
    a little and then turn it up as the song builds
    in intensity. That helps keep me from getting
    completely burried when the guitars max out.
    On most slow songs, or songs that don't get
    so intense at the end, I'll keep the volume full
    on and increase and decrease intensity by
    how hard I play.

    There are other times I'll use volume and
    on board controls for some other desired
    effect. I've never used a volume peddle.
    The bass I'm use to playing has a versatile
    18 volt pre and I don't need a peddle.

  5. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I come from electric guitar, and there been adviced using volume knob just like that
    Especially talkin' about passive electric guitars
    On bass I can, or better, I have to keep volume knob fully up,
    'cause, much like on guitars, I retain a crowded pedalboard, so
    I just need no more than "2" on head volume/gain to literally bury drums and dual active seven strings dowtunin' guitars...

  6. Jwood

    Jwood Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2011
    Richmond, Va
    I keep the volume cranked and roll it back when needed.
  7. I have two volumes. Usually i crank the bridge up to 10 and the neck around 7-ish.
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    If I am playing a ballad, I back the volume off a bit. If I am playing something upbeat or heavy I play with my bass at close to full.
  9. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    I don't play at less than maximum but I do roll off down to zero if I want to fade a sustained note out with less of a dramatic stop than simply muting the string.

    On my VVT P/J the volume controls are effectively used for pickup selection.
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I usually keep it cranked, and turn down on the amp or on an MXR80 preamp. Actually, I keep it around 9 or so just in case I want to bump it up during a song. The main reason is that some of my pedals (like an envelope filter and an octaver) seem to have more trouble tracking if they're not getting a full signal from the bass.
  11. xroads


    Nov 6, 2012
    I play guitar and bass, and use the volume knob extensively on both. If you dial in a good amp to distortion, you can go from clean to overdrive just using the volume knob on the guitar.
    One problem with guitars/basses: often dialing back the vol control eats away treble; this can be solved by a treble bleed circuit.
  12. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I don't use my volume control much. Of course my two main basses are both active and the volume control has no effect on tone. At home I just dial the bass and the amp volume controls to a comfortable level and play. The setting on each varies from night to night at random. My only gig is playing at church and there I plug into a DI box and my signal makes the long journey to the spaceship control panel at the back of the auditorium where a team of Star Fleet cadets does whatever they wish no matter what I do on the bass. I control my volume by how hard I play -- if they let me!! So basically I use the volume control as an on/off switch. It is full up when I play and full down when I am not playing so that I don't inadvertently band a string during a quiet moment and put the fear of God into people with a kW level CLUNK as one of our other bassists did last night at our Thanksgiving service! Putting the fear of God into the congregation is the preacher's job!

    Ken :D
  13. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    On bass, the volume is almost always wide open, and I control dynamics with my hands. Set the amp so it's got the volume needed for the loudest part, and use hands to control.

    On guitar however I use the volume controls a lot! Partly because if you have it wide open all the time, the way it hits the preamp and in turn the way any overdrive sounds is just too much. Also, like EVH, I LIKE how the volume control on most guitars affects the tone.

  14. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    i need to back off on the volume considerably, or my sb-2 is just too much output, but for the fenders and gibsons and voxes i always turned them all of the way up
  15. I always set up my volume knob (or knobs, on a Jazz Bass), to around 3/4 of max, so that I have some leeway to tweak the volume up if I need it during a gig. I set the eq and volume before the gig planning on that. The volume knob on my amp is usually not handy, so it gives me some control.

  16. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    All open, all the time, except:
    -shut between songs, sometimes
    -rolled back to 70% or so, for some exceptionally quiet passages where I want to be able to play a little harder for better note definition, but still maintain lower volume
  17. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I usually leave mine all the way up, except for my G&L L2000 which I have to turn down a little because the pickups are so hot.