Bass volume level, full or not?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by lildrgn, May 13, 2003.

  1. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    I was reading an article today that said when you play in the studio or live, the volume from the bass should always be on full so that the mixer/amp gets the strongest signal possible from the bass.

    I usually play with the volume up just enough to be loud and let the amp/preamp do all the work. Plus, if I need to go louder, I have control on the bass.

    What are your thoughts on this? Is there a better way to do it? Should the volume be on full or not?

  2. My understanding is that it is best to play at full volume when in a studio to make the engineers job a little easier, but when i'm on stage I have my volume just below full so that I can push it a little higher if I need to in the middle of a song, if i'm not in the middle of a song i'll just boost the amps volume a bit.
  3. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Crank it till ya hear glass and smell @#%^!!!!!!

    Mike;) :D ;)
  4. Ben Mishler

    Ben Mishler

    Jan 22, 2003
    San Jose
    I always leave it a little below full when playing in a band situation, in case I need to be louder at some point.
  5. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Turning yourself up at the bass is a good way to upset the sound guy....

    Both my basses sound best with the volume on full (an old Ibanez and a Stingray 5).
  6. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Petebass is right. IME with Fender and a few others, you get the best tone when the bass output is full. Turn the bass volume up all the way and set your volume with the amp. Adjust (louder, softer) with your fingers. You don't want to have two or three places (i.e. pre, power, guitar) to adjust your volume. You'll find that your volume is a big function of your attack on the strings and you end up finding a comfortable touch that you will use most of the time. Typically this level is not the loudest or softest volume at a given amp setting (assuming your bass is on full) and allows you to adjust while playing. You can lay off a little if you don't know a passage or changes (jam night!!) or you can dig in for soloing or keeping up with power chords from those nasty GP's.:D
  7. Thor

    Thor Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I always took a much different approach to this.

    I played a Gibson Eb3 and left it on the bridge pup with the limited neck input.
    I left the vol on 5 and adjusted the really loud amp I had to keep up with the band, using my playing force to keep up with the mix.

    There were times when the song called for high supports, I would step up to the cab, get in the node, turn off the vol, whack the harmonic, and turn the sucker up to 10 and then control it to bring the feedback root, 5th or 3rd note into a sustained intro, end, or under the guitarist's solo.

    Gitter guy loved it, and so did the crowd. Can't do it with out the boost, but you have to CONTROL it into the mix. Can't drown them out, jusy support and cooze them.

  8. Agreed, I get the best tone out of my Fender with the volume output on full.
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Full volume on the bass.
    ...if I need more volume(i.e. dynamics), I pluck harder.
  10. Bass up full, amp set to a good level, control the dynamics with my fingers.
  11. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    From a noise point of view, you get the highest signal-to-noise ratio down the cable, by turning the bass up full.
  12. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I tend to turn the volume on the bass full up and adjust the amp so that I'm loud enough when playing with an average level of power (for me - still a relatively soft touch).

    If I need to be a bit louder, I can always dig in a bit more or turn up the amp - more frequently, I play lighter to fit the quieter passages. If we do an extended quiet passage, then I've always got the option of turning down the volume on the bass for that section.

    By and large, I try to encourage the band to keep to moderate volume levels - anyone can turn up loud but the skill is in conveying intensity and 'feel' without relying on raw volume. If we just keep pushing the volume up we reach the point at which the voices either get lost or the microphones start feeding back... I'd rather go for lower volume and higher quality.

  13. Even with an active preamp, if you have passive pickups you should still keep your volume dimed at all times. Otherwise, they react differently with the front end of the internal preamp.

    Now, active pickups are a different story, but whatever. If you need to be louder, ask for more monitor.
  14. That's what I do--often, on quieter passages (such as those times when my jazz-funk band would kick into hard bop mode during keyboard solos and I'd be walking), I'd pluck very lightly with my thumb.
  15. I showed a guy how to do that last night while at a show. Volume on full. Always. Only use it to turn down if needed. I treat my bass as a "set it and forget it" affair. Once it sounds good in practice/show....then time to just play. Hands/style can control volume an unbelievable amount.
  16. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    Passive basses: always full except for softer passages.

    I often roll back the volume on my hotter actives. This started because I wanted to keep the same volume without messing with preamp/compressor levels, but a nice side effect is that I have extra volume if I need it for soloing (only a limited amount before getting undesirable side effects).
  17. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    on my passive jazz bass i leave everything dimed. On my active basses I adjust the volume knob as needed. On my DP Custom I have coil tap switches for both pickups, and the different settings have different output levels. So if I switch from single coil to parallel for example I'd need to turn the volume knob down to maintain the same output level to my preamp. Same goes for when I use the onboard EQ. If I boost the bass then I cut volume. I usually use my jazz to set my pre and compressor, and then adjust my active basses to have the same output level as my jazz.