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Do I need compression for fingerstyle bass?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by benchpress11782, Feb 11, 2020.

  1. benchpress11782

    benchpress11782 Supporting Member

    May 23, 2007
    Just wondering. Thoughts?
    jdh3000 likes this.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You don't need compression for anything, really. Some folks like to use it, and I'm using one again my own self, but I went for years without one playing pro gigs and did just fine. And I don't know how good you are at playing or anything, but if you're in the beginning to intermediate stages of playing, I think it's best to go without it until you reach a certain level of proficiency.
  3. benchpress11782

    benchpress11782 Supporting Member

    May 23, 2007
    Hey thanks. I been playing a long time. I know what compression does for recording aspects but not sure about live playing. I have an Aguilar lying around and was just wondering everyone’s thoughts to help me understand. Thanks
    BrentSimons and JimmyM like this.
  4. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I didn't use one for the first 5 years I had been playing for the same reason JimmyM mentioned above... to learn to control dynamics without.

    Now I always use one, and I like the 'thwump'y authority the Aggie TLC gives my notes.
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It does about the same thing for live work as in the studio. I don't find it totally necessary to my being as a player like some folks do and I run it really low compression, but I am digging this little extra attack I'm getting out of it. Take it to a gig and see what you think. The worst that could happen is you hate it and turn it off.
    eJake, Al Kraft, BrentSimons and 5 others like this.
  6. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    No, I don't need a compressor. But I want a really good amp, maybe something with tubes.
    BrentSimons and benchpress11782 like this.
  7. radiophonic


    May 9, 2013
    I use one habitually but I play into a lot of shared gear and I find it to be a useful safety net with iffy bass heads (low headroom). I also run some synthy effects with heavy filtering and find the comp very useful in stabilising the signal and preventing clipping into some older pedals not designed for high-output basses. It's a tool rather than an 'effect' so I use a BC1X for a super clean signal. It works for me.
  8. benchpress11782

    benchpress11782 Supporting Member

    May 23, 2007
    Sounds good
  9. BLDavis

    BLDavis Master of Snarks. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Ellenboro, NC
    Do you "need" compression? No. I played for years plugged straight into an amp and got along just fine. Is it good to have some extra sauce on your BBQ sometimes? Sure. I look at compression and other effects like extra sauces. A little extra can be good for a change but too much can ruin your meal.
    Fuzzbass, ToS, Jesuguru and 9 others like this.
  10. benchpress11782

    benchpress11782 Supporting Member

    May 23, 2007
    Awesome analogy thanks
    BrentSimons likes this.
  11. iTzPrime


    May 30, 2016
    I use a compressor for live shows. Yes it is easy to play without one, but most pa systems are so good, the dynamic range is just miles more than what I am used to practicing at home with my amp.
    I don't really need compression, but more likely than not the sound engineer is putting compression on your bass anyway. With my own compressor, I can tell him I already have compression - so at least the compression sounds exactly like I want.
    Stevorebob and benchpress11782 like this.
  12. Nice compressor to have just lying around! For fingerstyle I'd say (like most before me) no you don't need it. If you slap or pop the occasional note, then you would benefit with a compressor to tame those peaks.
  13. benchpress11782

    benchpress11782 Supporting Member

    May 23, 2007
    Ok thanks. Doesn’t matter anyway. The thing doesn’t work. Volume is the only thing that works on it
    eriky4003 likes this.
  14. benchpress11782

    benchpress11782 Supporting Member

    May 23, 2007
    Why does the volume only work? I don’t need a battery and a power source for tots right?
  15. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I find these work well
  16. benchpress11782

    benchpress11782 Supporting Member

    May 23, 2007
  17. bass12

    bass12 Say "Ahhh"... Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I haven't had a compressor in about seventeen years. It's possible that I'd enjoy having one again but I can't say I've missed the experience. For larger shows the FOH engineer will typically add a bit of compression but that's as far as it goes for me. I tend towards basses and amps/cabinets that are punchy by nature so perhaps that's why I don't miss having a compressor...
    benchpress11782 and Curtbass like this.
  18. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    I use a compressor on stage for two specific reasons: 1) To even out the volume when I go from fingerstyle to slap, as I often have to do and 2) As an effect to get a particular sound for the song.

    My compressor is basically set as a limiter, and I'll boost the line before it to slam the wall when I want to get that 'click' sound as an effect. I never use it as a dynamics volume manager, although I used to when I first started using one. In my playing, it's important to be able to dig in and pull back as necessary and having a comp set so that it eats up all that dynamic space just doesn't work.
    benchpress11782 likes this.
  19. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I have an always on compressor on my pedal board. I honestly can't say that I notice hug difference, but it just seems like it should be there.

    HPF to help de-mud a room is the real game change though IMO.
    BLDavis, JoePP, bombpop14 and 3 others like this.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York

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