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Does a light touch require a loud rig?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BusyFingers, Dec 28, 2016.


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  1. BusyFingers

    BusyFingers

    Nov 26, 2016
    Since adopting the floating thumb technique I've developed a very even attack with my fingers. This is excellent, of course, but I'm getting so comfortable with it I'm finding myself wanting to actually develop a lighter attack to enhance speed. Even when practicing alone I'm noticing there is a considerable volume drop as I lighten my attack.

    Anyone out there successfully managing a very light attack in a band setting? Did you find you needed a metric ton of watts to come across in the mix?

    Or maybe I'm being absurd trying to lighten my attack too much and need to turn the fury up to 11 when playing?
     
  2. jthisdell

    jthisdell Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    My teacher told me 40 years ago to have a light tough and let the amp do the work.
     
  3. Ditto to letting the amp take care of the volume. The sound guy will ultimately take care of this for you when he mixes you in with every one else to get the "house" sound.

    No sound board guy. I'm sure someone stands out front and does a sound check. He/she will let you know if you are too loud. This could fall to the lead vocalist. They will let you know if they can not hear your beat - or if it is too loud.

    Let the amp do the work the guys will let you know if it's too loud.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
  4. Well.. you can turn the treble, hi-mid, mid, bass knobs up to 10 on your amp (11 if you have it) and then drop the amp volume switch and also the bass volume switch...
     
    gebass6 likes this.
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Whatever technique works best. You have watts - put them to work.
     
    five7 likes this.
  6. rufus.K

    rufus.K

    Oct 18, 2015
    SoCal
    Play light, turn up the amp.
     
    bass nitro, gebass6 and bassbully like this.
  7. KJMO

    KJMO

    Feb 6, 2015
    I would think if you can't get as much volume due to the decreased output from your bass that you could add a clean boost pedal or something. Otherwise, I can't see why you would need more watts if your amp is otherwise doing the job.
     
    Groove Doctor and rufus.K like this.
  8. BusyFingers

    BusyFingers

    Nov 26, 2016
    I've got a clean boost on my pedalboard, and I think it's a great idea. Just gave it a try and it definitely seems to help, though I have not put together a real deal rig yet. I'm still only using my little Acoustic B10 practice amp.
     
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  9. BusyFingers

    BusyFingers

    Nov 26, 2016
    I bet that would work well with old school tube amps. Kinda fat and fuddy with this practice amp. I may turn the bass down a bit.
     
  10. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    As I worked on lightening up my touch I found I got the best results by:

    1. Keeping the volume maxed on my bass.

    2. Using the passive input on my amp if that's available.

    3. Keeping my EQ flat until I got to gig volume then tweak as necessary.

    4. Turning up the gain on my amp until I had an ample signal going to the power section.

    5. Turn up Master to gig level.

    I haven't needed more than 400-500w with efficient cabs for any of my gigs. But I use more because I can.
    :D
     
    bass nitro, JPaulGeddy and gebass6 like this.
  11. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't think it requires a loud rig, but it does require turning up a little, and if your rig isn't cutting it when playing light, then yeah, it could require more. But I play fairly light and I can do most of my gigs with as little as 50w, and some I can get away with even less. Sure, most of my gigs have PA :D but there are some gigs I do where I could carry the venue with my amp.
     
    markjazzbassist likes this.
  12. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It's only going to be an issue if you are already running your amp on 10 :laugh:
     
    MrLenny1, jamro217 and JimmyM like this.
  13. 4dog

    4dog

    Aug 18, 2012
    There isnt a singer alive that i would trust to adjust any bass players volume...seriously.
    The word hijacked comes to mind.
     
    RBrownBass likes this.
  14. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I'm the same as jimmy, play with a light touch and 50w or less tube head no problem. I just turn up.
     
  15. Old Blastard

    Old Blastard

    Aug 18, 2013
    Virginia
    I play light but also with low string height. And adjust settings at the amp. Every bass I have is different and so are the amps I use (Rumble 75 and Genz Benz Contour 500) so I adjust in the living room and again at the venue
     
  16. BassUrges

    BassUrges

    Mar 14, 2016
    Denver
    Watts out (and speaker cone area) tells you how loud you can get regardless of input level. Gain tells you the difference between input (your pickups detecting your light touch) and output (the voltage in the speaker wire). Gain is cheap. Op-amps costing pennies have open gain of 1,000,000x. Turn up the gain knob or add a preamp pedal.
     
  17. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    This is why my two SS amps are 500 and 800 watts. I also use them for practice at home.

    I have an Ampeg PF50 (50 tube watts) as well and typically have both the gain and volume dimed when messing around in my basement.

    The strings I use are very heavy, like rods, and that adds to the situation because they don't move much when struck lightly.
     
  18. Boost pedal - yes. Maybe raising pickups a smudge might help too.
     
    gebass6 and Preventer like this.
  19. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    In short yes... more boost of some type OR a more efficient rig.

    That being said playing lighter (with a lower setup) will produce a cleaner sound and open up tons of playing nuances.
     
    pacojas and gebass6 like this.
  20. Compressor pedals help too.
     
    pacojas and Charlzm like this.

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