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Going from pick to fingerstyle playing

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Fawkes007, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Hey you guys...I am trying to figure out how to change the EQ on my bass when I go from pick to fingerstyle to slap instantaneously. I play in cover band and needless to say, we cover a lot of ground stylistically (and my advice for those of you who haven't done so, join a cover band. It will do wonders for your playing).

    Anyway, I have my trusty '87 StingRay that I run thru an Ashdown ABM 500. I run the amp flat and boost the mid and bass on the StingRay. The sound I get when I play with a pick is about perfect, but when I switch to fingerstyle and slap I am not getting that ooomph. The only effect I am running is a Punch Factory (though I have a Bass XXL on the way).

    So, would adding another pedal, say an EQ, be a good idea? I don't really have time to fiddle with knobs between songs.

    Thanks for your suggestions!
  2. "oomph"? Can you be more specific?

    Like, the way I read that I don't think any magic box of electronics is gonna give you what you want. After all, going from a hard plastic pick to soft squishy fingers is just always gonna have a different, less "oomphy" sound! Perhaps with technique it will improve - but for now, while your fingers are getting used to it, plucking too hard is just gonna end in tears!

    All I could suggest is more lower mids and bass, a bit of high end treble for a bit of sparkle and string sound... and maybe a good compressor.

    As for changing EQ instantaneously, sounds like you need an EQ pedal like the Boss Bass EQ or similar. Otherwise, pre-amp type pedals might help such as the SansAmp Bass Driver DI, the ToneBone BassBone or the EBS MicroBass II.
  3. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    I'd second the call for a compressor--that's what you need more than anything, from what it sounds like.

    If you think you need it, you could try an EQ pedal later, but a compressor should fir the bill for you.

  4. opivy3056

    opivy3056 stardust in a light beam Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2004
    Annapolis, MD
    The punch factory in his chain is a compressor.

    Just thought i'd clarify that.

    Id think that you'd get less oomph with a pick....
  5. Dash Rantic

    Dash Rantic

    Nov 12, 2005
    Palo Alto, CA
    Oh, whups, I didn't see that Punch factory.

    Hmm, well if you can't get your tone with that, then I'm of no help here. Ah well.

  6. gillento


    Oct 15, 2005
    Luxembourg, Europe
    Nordstrand pickups
    That is my experience, too. I tend to get the most punch using my fingers.

    I am playing in a Alternative Rock /Funk Coverband.
    I am using a Tech21 Prorgrammable BassDriver for this:
    - a Pick sound
    - a Drive sound
    - a Distortion sound

    I tend to cut the mids/treble (when I am using a bass with a 3band preamp) a bit when playing with a pick.
  7. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    IME playing with a pick emphisises treble and mids & fingers emphisises mids & bass. Try lowering your stingray's eq to flat when playing with fingers.

    Also, raise the treble a bit when playing slap to get a brighter sound.
  8. gravaged


    Dec 9, 2005
    the programmable Sansamp BDDI might be worth a try.. 3 different EQ/drive settings on 3 buttons.
  9. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area
    Maybe "ooomph" isn't the right word. I just really like the way pick style playing sounds thru my current rig, and wish I could EQ my bass for fingerstyle with a similar kind of grind. Not exact - I know attack has a lot to do with it - but sometimes it seems the fingerstyle sound is a little flat. I can certainly EQ a sound I like by twiddling the knobs on my StingRay and Ashdown...no problems there...but I don't have the time between tunes to do so. I really want a "set it and forget it" kind of thing. I've checked out the SansAmp and will now research the ToneBone counterpart.

    This pedal thing is kinda new to me...my favorite effect was the chord that went between the bass and the amplifier, but my guitar player played a dirty trick on me and asked me to try out a distortion box. Well, one thing led to another and now I am assembling a pedal board of my own. I have used rack compressors in the past and always thought the comp pedals were crap until I tried a Punch Factory...so that, the XXL, perhaps a Discombobulator and a SansAmp or the ToneBone for tone shaping presets. Of course, then I will want to try Demeter's comp, the Fulltone Bassdrive...a couple of BBE pedals...EH stuff...
  10. idoru


    Dec 18, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    The Nov 98 copy of Bass Player has an excellent article on recording bass, which included an in-depth look at equalisation.

    I'll distill some relevant info for you:

    The bright attack of the pick is around 2kHz, the definition is around 800Hz and there is less of the low end at 100-200Hz when compared to fingerstyle.

    Let's say you get an EQ pedal, to engage when you play fingerstyle. A boost of 2-5 dB @ 800Hz and 2kHz should give you some of your 'oomph' back. If it gets too bassy, you could try cutting some of the lows around 100-200Hz.
  11. Fawkes007


    Sep 13, 2005
    SF Bay Area
  12. dadodetres


    Dec 19, 2004
    try also cutting what you dont like instead of boosting, so you can level up gain in yor amo for same volume but better sound
  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I guess I'll play Devil's Advocate here and say, do you really need to change the tone?

    What is the point of switching to fingerstyle if you just EQ back to the pick style? I would say leave the EQ alone for a while until you get really used to the fingers. You might get used to the tone and decide you do like it. Or at least you will be in a better position to make a good choice.

    That said, I would recommend an EQ pedal over the tonebone. The tonebone is a great product, but you are paying quite a bit for the excellent DI. If you don't need a DI, the EQ pedal will give more control than the simple bass/mid/treble on the tonebone.
  14. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    This has been an issue for me for a long time. I am also in a classic rock cover band, but I switch b/n pick and fingers for a different reason other than tone. I much prefer the tone of finger playing, but alas my fingers are not fast enough for certain songs such as Highway Star.

    The problem with switching b/n the two is that once you adjust the eq settings for a particular technique you also have to adjust the volume and the tone pot. Well, at least I prefer to.

    My solution has been to use a Boss EQ20 as a preamp. Once you have your desired settings programmed you just hit one button and you are done. the eq20 has volume control for each setting so you can program it within the setting. the disadvantage of this unit is that there is no DI so you might want to bring DI along as well.