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Concert Band with a pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by mcnaire2004, May 5, 2006.


  1. I have a concerto with my schools concert band (more of a marching band then concert). Do to my gay ply bass (i'm working on getting a new good one) I don't produce a whole lot of volume especialy when 90% of the band (especialy the percusion) has no Idea what dinamics are. Every time I (or the conducter who is really good) tells them what they are doing then they always go "ghetto" say that the don't give a F_-_ and that music isn't made to be played as written (this is concert band BTW). There is like 6 or 7 of us that play and play right. My schools band conductor said he is going to pick up a friends bass who has a pickup. I have no experiance playing with a pickup ever (arco or pizz). Is there any ideas to making a mic respond to arco well? Help please:confused:
     
  2. No two brands of pickups respond the same way. Find out what kind of pickup and Amp setup you will be using and the advice you get will be more specific.
     
  3. Thanks I should know monday evening.
     
  4. Kam

    Kam

    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    Playing bass in a concert band...I know your pain all too well.
     
  5. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    The first thing I'd do is remove the use of the adjective "gay" as a general derogatory term from your vocabulary when communicating on a public forum. You never know who's listening, and there's no reason to offend a significant percentage of the population just because you can't think of a better word to describe your crappy plywood bass.

    The second thing I'd do is to not worry about competing with a whole line of raucous percussionists when you're just one bass player. Sure, you could amplify the bass; microphones work fine for amplifying arco playing, and even a Shure SM57 on a stand in front of the bass (pointed as close to the top of the bass, between and maybe slightly north of the bridge feet) going through a generic amp will give you OK results. But no composer in their right mind wrote a piece expecting to hear one bass loud and clear in the middle of the loud parts of a concert band piece. As a bassist in large ensembles (whether orchestras or concert bands or big bands doing shout choruses), you'll have to spend at least some of your time just looking good and not being heard...
     
  6. The thing is that I am the tuba and bass section. I double both parts. Were one has a rest I do the other. It's not that I am trying to be heard above every one it's just that since on 50% of the works we are playing I am on the tuba part up an octave. I am completely being drowend out by people who always play as loud as possible even if the see 'pp' for dynamics. The conducter was the one that sugested a pickup for it and he'll have one for me to work with for the next couple of days (well monday concert is tuesday).
     
  7. Kam

    Kam

    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    +1, that's good advice.

    In regards to amplification in this situation, I've played a realist into a fishman preamp into an old Peavy TNT amp when competing with the dynamics of a concert band. Doesn't work all that well, the inherent problem is that you're going to start feeding back when you approach the volume you're going to need. Having a smaller cone size (12 or 10" speakers instead of the 15" that was in the TNT) would help, but you're still just one bass. Short of going through an elaborate PA system, you're not going to have much luck. That is my experience, anyway, I stopped playing in concert bands as soon as I could.

    I have had some good experience with the Eminence though, I think that can get more volume than a real bass and will still sound pretty close...it has worked for me in musicals and such.

    Oh, and another thing, when you're reading the tuba parts an octave up, your notes are sounding exactly where the tuba's notes would be. Bass music is transcribed an octave up so we're not constantly reading ledger lines like the tubas do, so playing an octave above at all times (or when comfortable) would help you cut through the "mix" since that is where the note is supposed to be in the first place. I hope that makes sense..
     
  8. Yea it does. I found that out the other day. So, really Cello's are the only realy bass cleff strings to play at proper pich.
     
  9. appler

    appler Guest

    How many other stringed instruments read in bass clef? :D Piano and trombone don't transpose in bass clef either.

    I've played bass in concert band on a few occasions and micing the bass never worked for me. Unless you have a high quality microphone, you'll probably have problems with feedback and bleeding. Have you considered adding more basses? I think that bringing an amp onstage will only worsen the messed up dynamics you mentioned. Good luck, man. It's a trcky situation, for sure.
     
  10. Can't really add more basses when I'm my schools only bass. I honestly don't really have that many options.
     
  11. appler

    appler Guest

    Your options seem to be either amplifying your bass via a pickup or being drowned out. If you choose the first option, there's plenty of material available on this website on the subject. It is difficult to make arco playing sound good through a pickup, though, so be careful. You may find yourself turning down the treble on the amp quite a bit to cut down on scratchiness.

    For what it's worth, I never used an amp when I played with a concert band and I just got by. I wasn't playing for a tuba section, though.
     
  12. Kam

    Kam

    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    There are good pickups on *allhail*Bob Gollihur's site. I would suggest a Realist or K&K bass max for the best reproduction of an arco sound. I would advise against anything that clips to the front of the bridge like the Fishman 100 pickup, however, because you'll get too much scratch. I would get your music director to purchase it for the school if you have no future plans of playing amplified, though it's never a bad idea to have a pickup available.

    Edit-Oh, and the only thing worse than being asked to be the tuba section for a concert band is playing in a concert band with 1 tuba who can't play in tune! :crying:
     
  13. LOL The tuba we have was cut out completely. There were pickup problems so I had to use a regular mic. The mic worked when I put it in my quiver but it sucks if I put it on a pole thing (don't know what its called) to hold it in front of the F wholes.
     
  14. appler

    appler Guest

    That's probably a microphone stand. Are you running the mic into an amplifier? I'm curious because I've never had good results with that type of setup, especially in loud siuations such as a concert band.
     

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