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Bongo has too hot of an output

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by danfunkrailroad, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Hello everybody,

    My name is Daniel and this is my first post on this forum so I want to thank everybody in advance for helping me out!

    I play a Music Man Bongo Single Humbucker 5 string bass. I've owned and loved the bass for 4 years now. I've been having an interesting problem that started a couple of months ago with my bass creating distortion in virtually everything I play it through.

    In my main project I run the bass both through Logic Mainstage with an Apogee One interface and two analog pedals (Boss Octave and Full Drive II). I am getting a ton of distortion after it goes through the Boss and Full Drive pedal. I know that the Full Drive is a guitar pedal but I didn't used to get distortion. The signal is totally clean going through the computer. The direct out signal of my Mark Bass R500 head is even distorted when I'm plugging straight in. The head is also 4 years old and has been on the road since the day I bought it.

    I sat in with a Texas Country artist last week and plugged straight into the backline rig which was a brand new Eden head and Gallien Kruger cab. With the input signal padded and the input gain so low that I could barely hear the bass I was still getting a distorted tone both through the cab and through the line out. I had the sound man drop me a direct box and I ran through the monitors and my tone was great. Completely clean.

    I'm in the studio everyday of the week right now and my tone is clean, but on some of the heavier songs I am having to turn down my volume because I'm clipping despite having the input gain on the interface turned all the way down.

    Final note: My two 9v batteries are running down fairly often. I play the bass every day and try not to leave the cable plugged in, but even then the 9vs used to last me for months and months. Now it seems I replace both of them once a month.

    It seems that the output of the bass has dramatically increased. Is there any way to check this with a voltmeter or troubleshoot it ? My tone hasn't changed over the last few months though. I called Music Man and they are clueless to what the problem could be. The electronics on the instrument were replaced about a year and a half ago. I'm dependent on this bass for my livelihood and want to do everything I can before I pull the electronics and send them in to Music Man.

    Sorry for the long post. I greatly appreciate the community you guys have built here.
  2. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Going into the Apogee One interface, are you going in the mic input or the line input? Make sure you're going in unbalanced instrument in, otherwise it'll initiate a preamp that'll boost the already line level up, causing it to clip.

    With your head, make sure you're going into the active input if there is a separate input for passive and active. If not, check for a passive/active switch somewhere around the input. It's essentially a pad. Next, turn down the gain at the input and turn up the gain at the output. You may be distorting your amp going in from too hot a signal from the built in pre.

    Also, are you sure your 9V batteries are good? Make sure both have enough charge to power that active circuitry in the bass. I find that I get a lot of crackling if one of my 9Vs go low. Remember, anytime it's plugged in, it closes the circuit that connects those batteries, so unplug the bass when you're done playing and just storing it on the stand/hanger/etc.

    As you turn up the EQ knobs (lows, mids, highs), you are essentially increasing your output.

    If all else fails, open up the backplate and see if you can see any noticeable wiring issues. Maybe something budged loose or came off from where it's supposed to be.
  3. fenderhutz

    fenderhutz Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    Harpers Ferry WV
    As with the poster above, if you are diming your EQ knobs you are doing it wrong. The should be set in the middle and add bass and treble as needed.
  4. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Pretty much what the other guys said. Mind where your setup is and how thick your strings are...thick gauge too close to the pickups can cause that. Use the volume knob, don't dime your EQ, and don't pluck too hard...let the amp do the work. Playing too hard, even with input pads on, can still result in distortion when you dig in too roughly. If you are a rough player, I would suggest raising your action some to give you some breathing room between the strings and pickup.
  5. saxnbass


    Mar 9, 2006
    Nashville, TN
    Or lower your pickups. This is what I did on mine.
  6. Same thing My bongo need a little seting up when i got it (used). I had the pickups both lowered and my action adjusted a little.
  7. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    Owner: BassStringsOnline.com
    Turn down the gain on your amp!
  8. Thanks for the help guys! I have everything set up right between the correct interface input and correct amp gain structure. My tone knobs are usually Treble +90%, Mids 0% and bass +90%. I'll try lowering my pickups a little bit and let you know what happens.
  9. slombovia


    Jul 15, 2003
    I am a determined follower of Jesus Christ and am a Mormon.
    NIX that +90% on bass as bad as anything else. Try a lot less bongo bass boost and more the amp/console/whatever - prolly just sounds blurry anyway. Good luck.
  10. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    +1 to what everyone else says. But one question; does your Bongo have a gain adjustment in the preamp section? If it does, then it should be in the control cavity somewhere.

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