1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Defining Tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by shenager, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. shenager


    Apr 23, 2011
    ImageUploadedByTalkBass1388699580.180258. ImageUploadedByTalkBass1388699605.981330.


    I am on a quest to understand how to achieve a consistent tone from venue to venue. I've done 5 shows with my new Schroeder 12pl stack. (I was using the GK MBE 115 before) First show was amazing. Tone punch and clarity were all there. I was in heaven. Really pleased. Next gig different venue same settings nothing is the same and I'm totally lost in the mix, for the next 3 shows, then when I went back to venue 1 I fought all night to find that sweet spot. Turned out I had some technical issues with a speaker that helps me feel better but, I don't know how long that issue was around. Jorg is there to help me and that's awesome, but the quest remains. How do I get that warm clarity.

    So I'm thinking its time to ditch the gk1001 and convert to the mb800 fusion for the tube preamp (Should I?)

    Naturally changing stuff up doesn't make defining your tone easier. Every component is a factor.

    Could I ask my counterparts here to share their amp and bass settings that achieve their tones?

    I also understand that my attack plays every role in tone. I have a heavy right hand. I've been focusing on plucking techniques as well to keep noise down. Click clacks and fret noise drives me nuts. Will compression help that?

    Anyways let's talk tonal techniques.
  2. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    Generally I crank the bass wide open, I have the treble@8 and the mids@7. As much "warm clarity" as I could ever want;).
    And yes, I do think compressor would help fret buzz/string clack.
  3. shenager


    Apr 23, 2011
    Thanks brother
  4. shenager


    Apr 23, 2011

    This setup was awesome. Beastly growls. Just too heavy for a working bassist tired of lugging gear.
  5. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    In my experience, you will need to adjust your amp settings for each venue.
    The ambience is different for every size room and stage. What sounds great here may not there. You have a nice rig and should be able to dial in a great tone wherever you play.
  6. shenager


    Apr 23, 2011
    I agree with that. Amp placement matters. Electrical matters. I was playing big bear last week and talk about crappy electrical outlets. Space aliens were
    Communicating all night through my rig!
  7. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    TBH though I prefer the "Jamerson technique" plugging into the house PA and boosting the bass so as to get SLIGHT overdrive.:bassist:
  8. A lot of people seem too attached to "their settings". How you set the knobs is only a small piece of the equation. The room, stage, cab placement and the rest of the band play a huge role in how you will sound and how you hear yourself. Focus on really understanding what each knob does and how it affects your sound. You need to learn how to adjust the controls to meet your needs. Don't be afraid to turn knobs. But try to only change one thing at a time, playing and checking between each change. It will take some time but pretty soon you'll learn to understand what is "wrong" with the sound and how to correct it.
  9. shenager


    Apr 23, 2011
    Great advise thank you!
  10. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Don't throw good money after bad. With bass, the room you're in, and your position within that room affects your sound as much as anything else does. There is no completely consistant tone from venue to venue while using the exact same settings, that's what the eq knobs are for....to "equalize" your sound.

    Sorry, it's just the way it is.
  11. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
    Not really the best idea. But if it works for ya...
  12. shenager


    Apr 23, 2011
    I try not to. I was forced when my MBE cabs gave up the ghost, but I was still in the market.

    Generally speaking I can set everything to flat or mid setting and start there. I get the eq for each room is needed, but should that not be a subtle change to compensate?

    Anyone here use a 1001rb?

    Do you think I would be happier with tubes?
  13. SilGarzaJr

    SilGarzaJr SilGarzaJr Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2012
    North Texas
    +1 totally agree

    I know that about every 4th or 5th gig my tone is not what I'm used to.

    Keep patient and good luck!

  14. I agree. I have four "main" venues I play and my starting point is different for each on the EQ. None of them will do anyone else any good unless they have my exact setup, playing style and they are playing the same room with my "taste" for tone.
    BTW new G-K cabs have a "break-in" period there their voicing changes.
  15. R Baer

    R Baer Commercial User

    Jun 5, 2008
    President, Baer Amplification
    Keep in mind that every room is going to sound different. Even the same room can sound different, depending on how many people are in the room. There are just so many variables that getting a consistent tone, night to night can be difficult. As BASSBOYSAM pointed out, the key to dialing in your sound in any room, is a really good understanding of room acoustics and your amps EQ. With enough experience and a trained ear, it becomes fairly easy to analyze the situation and make corrections. Maybe the low end blurry due to a raised platform stage and you need to dial out some 40HZ to get rid of some boominess? Maybe your mids are getting lost in the guitars and you need to boost some upper mids around 1k?

    Using an EQ will never be easy until you have trained your ear to pick out certain frequency bands. Once you really know what 50Hz, 100Hz, 250Hz, 400Hz, 600Hz, 800Hz, 1k, 3k and 5k sound like, then it becomes much easier to dial in your sound onstage. And don't forget the importance of right hand placement! I always stress the need for bassist to spend as much time in a recording studio as possible. There's no better way to learn how to manipulate your sound than spending time with an engineer recording and mixing. The final mix only works because these guys have learned to place every instrument in it's proper place.
  16. The single biggest influence on tone is your distance to boundaries. For instance 4ft from a wall or worse, corner, sucks out gobs of low end which refuses to come back with EQ. This can.be useful playing upright, but for electric, not so often.
  17. Sid Fang

    Sid Fang Reformed Fusion Player Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Others have, I think, put forth some good comments on tone management in the real world, so I'll forgo that part. Except maybe to ask: When you say that you weren't happy with the tone, is that based on what you heard on stage, or a recording from the audience? What you hear on stage isn't necessarily what anyone else hears, for better or for worse.

    But in response to your other question, depending on how you have it set up, a compressor may tend to make small parasitic noises (frets, clacks, whatever) MORE noticeable, not less.
  18. yeah, you gotta get a really long cable to accurately listen to what your sound is throughout the venue. Also depends on PA support.
    Get a good sound on stage, then go stand on the other side of the stage, then next to the drummer. Then have someone else play your bass while you go around the room to listen. tweak as needed.
  19. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sorry, but no it doesn't. All it'll do is even out your fret buzz and string clank a little. And sometimes it'll make it more pronounced. The only way to eliminate fret buzz and string clank is to set your bass up in a way that doesn't buzz the frets and play in a way where the strings won't clank.
  20. I like a warm, punchy and deep sound. For most of the stuff I play, I attack the strings between the pickups with a swift follow through motion. I have treble and bass both barely boosted on my bass, and pan ever slightly toward the neck pickup. Amp EQ wise I keep bass flat or turn it up or down as necessary to get the feel i want, I have low mids boosted, high mids typically turned down a little (sometimes up depending on pedal use), and as you get towards 3K i have it turned up a little to get some sparkle on top. Past that treble is slowly getting rolled off.

    Of course that's just a general clean tone; you have to make adjustments as necessary depending on where you are or if you wanna go for a different tone. Where the knobs are don't matter so much as whether the sound coming out is the sound in your head. Knowing how your amp's EQ affects your sound definitely helps with needing to make changes. The GK growl, punchiness of a Mesa cab and warmth of a Darkglass will probably do it for me. Working on getting all that together right now after experimenting around.