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compressor vs fingers.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jsa0100, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. jsa0100


    Apr 6, 2005
    I have mostly been using a plectrum, but i want to beef
    up my skills in finger picking.
    One bi effect is that while having total control of volume, and dynamics using a plectrum, i now some times get notes that is a bit higher (in volume) or low.
    When i put the amp (peavey alpha tube amp) up in level just before i get distortion.
    The problems is only slight (tube compression).
    Should i get a compressor or do i need to re-hers more on having a steady pick ?
  2. Well, part of loving bass is having to practice and improve all the time, but yes, a compressor should help even your volume out a bit. What's your pickup height like?
  3. why not both?
  4. jsa0100


    Apr 6, 2005
    It's a Ibanez sr885 5 string.
    And the pickup height is around 1/4" from
    the strings.
    I have the same tendency at other bass guitars also.
    The reason I am asking is that i am worried about
    getting a bad habit if a compressor masks my "mistakes".
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    The key is to use subtle compression: that won't mask your mistakes, it will just make them less obvious.

  6. Hi There:

    Compressors wont mask most of your mistakes, however I recommend you not to depend on compression too much. I use two compressors in my signal (Aphex 661 and Atom Smasher) mildly to balance the natural volume unevenness of some basses as well as raising the sensitivity of the bass to use a softer touch when playing.
  7. Work on your plucking technique to use equal power on each finger. You need to get that under control so you are able to get more expression with hard and light plucks, tapping the strings, and other techniques to vary the tone you get. Using effects to smooth over technical deficiencies will not help develop your technical prowess. Add in effects after mastering technique. Effects should enhance, not mask.
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    +1 Compression is a fantastic tool, but it's best to develop as much finger control as you can rather than relying on compression. I use compression to help my overall tone "sit in the mix" a bit better, and to fatten my sound, and to limit sharp peaks as needed. But I do not use compression when practicing finger technique. So you don't need to wait until you've "mastered" technique before experimenting with effects, but you should always place technique as the top priority.
  9. I seem to personally dislike compression applied by circuits. I do like the natural compression that comes from tubes. I started playing with solid state amps and no FX. That really taught me to use control. Especially during the gospel cantoring at our church. Now that I use a tube pre, it is like having just a little extra security just in case.
    Tubes to me sound "level and gentle"
    compression circuits sound "squashed"
  10. dunamis


    Aug 2, 2004

    To me, compression isn't really useful at all as a means to mask mistakes or make up for some inadequacy in finger technique. AFAIK, there are only three ways to address these problems-- practice, practice, and practice!

    I use compression to make make me "sit in the mix" better. With the proper compression settings, the average loudness of the bass is higher since lower-level sounds are amplified, and louder sounds are leveled off.
  11. I have to agree with my fellow West Virginian 100%.

    Good thread! I've had this on my mind a lot lately. I think compressors can do a lot to wreck the dynamics of music. I think thats one of the reasons why music on the radio sounds the way it does, way too much compression. I'm not saying that compressors are a bad thing, I just think that they are often overused. Bass guitar is a very dynamically even instrument by it's nature (if its played thru a good amp with hands that have control) and there are a lot of techniques you can develop to vary the dynamics and vary your sounds that a compressor will mask.

    I know it's very awkward to use your fingers right now, I remember when I was learning to do it and it was not fun...just keep it up and in a few months it should feel very natural. Now the pick feels totally like a foreign object to me, but I still like to use it when I need to. Sometimes I will take my right hand and make the 'dog paddle' fingerstyle motion on my left hand to see if it feels even at different speeds and intensities...kinda like a drumroll. I know it's a bit different when you transfer it to bass (cause you pull thru the string as opposed to just tapping down on it) but I find it does help me develop sensitivity.

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