Getting THE tone with my Elrick

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Twistad, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. I'm not so sure if this is the right forum but since my questions touch many different subjects, i thought i should post it here.

    So, i just got a new bass which is a Elrick Gold Standard 5 and i'm having problems getting the tone i want. My knowledge is quite simplistic when it comes to setting up my amp and now i think its time that i clear some things up.

    First of all, i have noticed that many people play their bass with their settings flat. I've tried doing this but as stupid as it may sound, is this about setting the controls on my bass OR on my amp on zero? I've noticed that when passive, turning off the controls on my amp will lower the volume and when active, putting the controls on my bass to zero will lower the volume.

    When people say that they use a certain amount of bass, mids or treble, are they talking about the amount they put on their bass or on their amp? Or should i put the same amount of everything on both my bass and amp?

    I'm looking for the clearest woody tone possible, something very organic that sounds the closest to a piano.

    Another problem i have is that whenever my bass is plugged, unless i touch the strings, there's this annoying buzz sound coming from my amp. The preamp in my bass is an Aguilar OBP-3, does this have anything to do with it? How can i fix this?

    Finally, my amp is a Yorkville Xs400T, the controls on it are Bass, Low-Mid, Parametric Mid, Hi-Mid and Treble.

    I hope this post makes a bit of sense but i've been trying to get the tone i'm looking for without much success.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I'm guessing the pickups on your bass are Jazz-style single coils, correct? That buzzing you hear from your amp when you're not touching the strings sounds like it's 60-cycle hum, which is a byproduct of using single coil pickups. I'm not sure if there's a way to eliminate it without changing your pickups, but it is very common and most people I know just get used to it. When playing in a band setting, you really don't hear it anyways.

    The noise could also be an issue with your bass' groundinig or the grounding of the circuit your amp is plugged into, but the whole "stops when I touch the strings" thing makes it sound like standard 60-cycle hum.

    Well for starters, the EQ on your Elrick is boost/cut. That means when you want to set your bass "flat," you will need to set your bass' EQ so there is no boost or cut. You can do this easily by putting EQ knobs to the center dentet. People mean all sorts of things when they talk about recording with flat EQ, but when you hear "recording with the bass set flat," it usually means just the bass, not the amp. When looking for an ideal EQ, always start with the bass and the amp set flat (i.e. no boost or cut). Start adjusting slowly, usually with the amp, one control at a time. It's preferable to get the majority of your sound out of your amp, using your bass for smaller alterations. Otherwise you'll be running back and forth to your amp a lot...not to mention that using the bass' EQ excessively will drain the battery quicker.

    Elricks aren't super-woody sounding basses, but they can definitely sound clear and organic. The OBP-3 has a lot of bass boost, so you'll probably only need to adjust it a small amount at a time. You may wish to keep the mids flat, or cut them a little, as most Elricks are naturally strong in the mids, so boosting them give more of an aggressive rock tone than a clear piano tone. I don't have experience with your brand of amp though, which is a big part of getting a specific sound. But basically adjust things in small amounts, and make a written record of what sounds you like.

    Can you tell us what type of sound you feel your bass has now (it could help in guiding us to what you want it to sound like, if it can be done)?
  3. Thanks a lot for the reply!

    I had never looked at my bass this way, it actually solves most of my problems. I feel pretty stupid now that i know all this.

    Also, I've just realized that the knobs on my bass will only work in active mode, this is because my pick-ups are passive single-coil.

    So as i see it, i'll pretty much be forced to play active if i plan to use the knobs on my bass.

    Yeah, i guess you're right about the sound from the strings, it's actually not that bad since my fingers are usually touching the strings when playing, i only wanted to make sure there was no problems to my bass.

    Also, besides the active|passive switch, i also have have a 2-way mid select switch, i've tried switching it many times but i don't notice any differences in sound. What does it do exactly?
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    The midrange selection switch switches the mids from 250hz to 800hz, IIRC. It just boosts either the lower mids or the upper mids. It's genrerally a pretty subtle switch (you'll probably be the only one who notices it in a band situation)...boosting the mids helps you hear it more.

    Actually, it doesn't have anything to do with your pickups. The active/passive switch is basically an on/off switch for your preamp. Passive means you are bypassing your preamp, and your pickups are basically going straight to the jack. This is why only the volume and pickup balance knobs function when in passive. Active means the preamp is activated (i.e. on and using power), so the active EQ knobs can function.

    No need to feel stupid about anything...I wouldn't know anything about this stuff if it hadn't have been for TalkBass. I played bass for about six years before coming across this site, and when I got here I realized how little I knew.