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Getting a better tone out of my Cirrus

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by secretdonkey, May 14, 2003.

  1. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I recently bought a Cirrus 4 - flame maple top, pau ferro neck, and what I presume to be an alder body. This is my new main instrument - in terms of playability it just fits me like a glove like no other bass I've picked up, at any price.

    I'm still trying to get used to the sound, though. For someone who played a Jazz as a main instrument for most of my years of playing, it is definitely different. To me, it is very attack-y, especially on the D and G strings. The sound is all snappy, trebly attack, without a lot of character that develops in a note afterwards.

    Some notes:

    • Using DR Fatbeam strings. Haven't really tried any other strings yet, but that may be a smart first move.

    • Typically run bass and treble knobs flat, with mids cut pretty substantially. This even though the mids are pretty scooped on my SWR amp to begin with. Dialing back in some mids doesn't bring to life any character that I'm looking for. I've contemplated trying to get Peavey to sell me the preamp section for a Tiger Eye Cirrus, which offers a sweepable mid control. Don't know if that would help, or if Peavey would be willing.

    • My playing position for fingerstyle winds up being a bit closer to the bridge than with my Jazz. I know that's going to give more attack, but forcing myself to play closer to the neck feels less natural, helps but a little, and doesn't address the real issue.

    • I've tried backing the pickups away from the string on the higher strings, but have made only small, fairly subtle adjustments thus far. Anyone have any experience / suggestions on making more dramatic pickup adjustments?

    Ideas, anyone?

    Thanks :)
  2. jivetkr


    May 15, 2002
    I just got a cirrus 5 (wenge top, walnut body, walnut/maple neck). I've noticed that the bass is very "alive". With the eq set flat, the treble can be a little rough.

    On the bass, I cut the treble about half way & boost the bass & add a little mids. On my amp (aguilar db659) I cut the highs slightly, boost the bass & add a little mids as well.

    With those settings it sounds fine. But I have not tried it in a band setting yet. Playing in my living room is a lot different & usually not a good judge of tone.
  3. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Well, as I'm wont to do, I think I've perhaps gone into so much detail that the odds are small, of someone being able to offer a suggestion in the face of all of the facts I spewed forth.

    So, to simplify - what are your thoughts about the tone of YOUR Cirrus bass, and what have you done that has changed the tone?

    Thanks for your thoughts, jivetkr, btw. I imagine from your tone knob strategy that we're each going for pretty different sounds :)
  4. jivetkr


    May 15, 2002
    I think my cirrus has a very active very modern tone when set flat. I happen to love that tone. However, I find that the treble was a bit much, so I backed it off.

    Depending on what I am playing I will adjust slightly to fit the song. If I'm slapping, I'll boost the lows & leave everything else flat. The bass has a killer slap tone set flat. If its a song that requires a more vintage sound or just less modern, I'll cut the highs, & boost the lows & the mids & maybe blend toward the neck p/u.

    You should also understand that the cirrus will never sound like your jazz bass. Its like comparing apples & donkeys.

    Also, those DR fatbeams are super bright. I had them on my other bass & they were just too much. I like the DR lowriders. You may want to try a nickel plated string. They tend to be a little duller in my experience.
  5. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA
    Hi. We have nearly the same setup (I'm running an SM-500 into a Goliath III), so I guess I can tell you how I get the sound I like.

    On the bass itself I slightly boost the bass and treble, and back off on the mids just a bit. On the back of my Goliath III I have the tweeter level set at about 9 o'clock. On the SM-500, I have the bass boosted a bit (about 3 o'clock), and mid-mids (200-800 or so hz) more or less flat, 80hz boosted about 5db, and 1.6k boosted about the same.

    Also I play over the neck pickup, which is different than your position... I've found that moving closer to the bridge does give it a bit more attack. And I use Nicklewound strings, which arent as bright as though DRs.

    Hope I helped.
  6. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    There is not a lot of range to the Cirrus tone. You apparently have discovered the little nuances that alter is some. A little bass boost. A little mid boost. Etc. But in the end, you still have boundaries. If you like the sound, great. But if you want more, you have to move on. I found more range in a Lakland, but it lacked the Cirrus honk. The Elrick had warm and mellow jazz tones, but the honk wasn't all there either. The Sadowsky I had briefly definitely was all Fender and no honk. In the Modulus I've got a wide range to select from including the Cirrus sound. I was very happy with the Cirrus sound, but even more happy with the Mod. Totally my ears though.
  7. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thanks both for the input.

    I spent some time this evening trying to figure something out on this. Lowering the bridge pickup on the G string side seems to have done some good. Also, just a very small amount of bias towards the neck pup helps for fingerstyle, though slap seems to like an even balnace better. I think I'm on the right track. :)