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Fat p-bass tone without boominess

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lonestarwings, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Playing my P-bass all the time It seems like my tone is overly boomy compared to other players I hear. I anchor my thumb to the p pickup and try to use a light touch. I eq mostly flat with a slight bump in the low mids, and use roundwound strings.

    I think my tone is overly boomy though, and have even had bandmates comment negatively about it on occasion. Is this just a characteristic of the P-bass ( I kind of doubt it ) or is there something I should concentrate on playing wise to change the tone (play closer to the bridge, harder attack, etc). I'm looking for a crisper tone without losing my low end.
  2. ChrisPbass


    Jul 18, 2006
    Fairfax, VA
    What are you playing through?
    I use a P w/flats and it's not boomy.
    Where are you playing? is this one room in particular? Is that amp in a corner? on the floor?
  3. I'm playing it through an avatar b212 neo and carvin BX600 head which is putting out 400 watts. The bass itself is a fender MIA standard.

    The amp is on the bare concrete floor of our roughly 20 x 10practice room which is in a storage building with carpet draped over the walls. The cabinet is in the middle of one of the long walls.
  4. I find that one way to reduce boominess is to cut the bass a bit and bring up the mids.

    In at least one case, Ive had to futz with the amp a lot more, simply because each room is unique. That being said, the above piece of advice still stands s a general rule of thumb.
  5. markdavid


    Jun 29, 2007
    It sounds like it may be the boosted low mids that are making the sound boomy , try setting them flat and reduce the bass slightly also try and play a little closer to the bridge
  6. Amp settings my friend.....

    thats why they are there.

    I set my amp up and play to get a tone I like.....during setup, my drummer goes out and listens, comes back and tweaks it to his liking, and then we comprimise. He is usually dead on...I have heard it in playback.

    What you like, and hear at the cab is much different that what you hear it as, in the mix. I play a small room every week with an avatar sb112. It can throw tremendous lows, but in the mix, they can be muffled. this is a situation where you need to be able to be flexible in your perception.
  7. Thanks for the advice. I will try really backing off the bass and low mids on my amp and emphasizing more of the high mids, sort of a reverse smiley face. Maybe that will do it, but I've been hesitant to dial the bass and low mids much below 11 o'clock or so, because, well, I like the low end, but it does sound too thud thud thuddish and lacks punch.
  8. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Yeah, EQ will help. I would start by cutting the bass first, and then low mids. Playing closer to the bridge helps too, and strings can make a big difference. I like Dean Markley Blue Steels on my P-bass, which don't have real heavy, boomy lows but still thump. Also, possibly the lower pickup coil is too close to the strings, but if it's overly boomy in a couple of specific places, that's probably not the case.
  9. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    Like everyone said.
    Amp settings.
    Personally, I'm not a fan of Carvin amps.

    Have you played through other amps?
  10. Yeah, my drummer had a markbass head (can't recall the model but it was pushing 500 watts I think) and he seemed to like the tone out of it a little better. Personally i couldn't hear a huge difference. It was several months ago so i can't remember how the eq on that was set, although it had different kinds of adjustments that I wasn't familiar with.
  11. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Another thing to keep in mind... the louder the volume goes the more increase you'll see in those lows, so often something that seems decent initially can get out of hand as volumes increase.
  12. Another issue may be that our guitar player really cranks up his bass eq and plays thruogh the PA which is right next to my head as well as his guitar amp. When he hammers that low E on his guitar it really puts out a lot of bass. Don't get me wrong he sounds good but I can't help but think this might be messing up the mix somehow, but I'm a novice so I really don't know.
  13. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    I just removed myself from a cover band a couple months ago because of a guitar player like that. He'd insist on using his practice sound live but turned up loud through his marshal 4x12, then would insist it was my bass setting off rumbling of the system, drum heads, etc.

    Could happen even if I wasn't playing and he'd always find a way to make it happen at any gig we played.

    :: shrug ::
  14. that Tone knob on your bass, was it rolled all the way to zero?

    That knob is the firs thing I go to first to reduce the boominess. I used to have it a about 4 (out of 10), and I get boomy without definition in the band, now I have it about 7 or 8 and it's much better.
  15. tone knob is full on, no roll off.
  16. Brought my Pbass to our church practice last night for first time in our new building and it was way too boomy. Reduced my lows a couple notches on my shuttle 6.0 and had heavenly tone.
  17. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    The room you're describing is typical of an environment that's very "lively" and can make the bass sound very boomy.

    Rolling off the lows will probably help, but you might also consider different strings. Good flatwounds on a P-bass can be downright magical...lots of punch and bottom, but nice presence and articulation too with the tone knob and EQ brought up.

    I've had them on mine for years now and they just seem to fit the mix and different rooms much better than rounds ever did.
  18. bickele


    Dec 29, 2003
    Bergen, Norway
    You could also try moving your amp around a bit. Every surface your amp is close to will add bottom end to the sound. Try to move it 1 meter away from the wall and put it on a beer case (drink beer first) or a small table.

    Good luck

  19. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    The room may have a lot to do with it, and carpet on the walls will do NOTHING to absorb low and mid-range frequencies.

    Spend some time messing with not just your eq, but your gee-tard's as well - you're not the only one using the lower-mids. If your gee-tard can trim his low end, it will help open up some sonic space for you to find your own niche.
  20. Fretlessboy


    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    try puttin the cabinet on a milk crate. To me it sounds like the lows are just bouncing around the concrete room. EQ can definately help but it sounds like a lowend travel issue.

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