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Going No-Pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Peck_Time, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. I've been a junior member of the No-Amp-when-possible brigade for a few years now, playing acoustically whenever I deemed it feasible. Feasible normally meant piano and bass duos or trios with a good (ie quiet) drummer.

    The problem was that I used to wear out my right-hand by playing a lot harder to try and compensate for the loss of volume. I had an epiphany recently when I realised that I should just play with a good sound and swing feel and not worry about anything else.

    Now I'm going to ditch the fullcircle and go amp-less full time. If more volume is needed I have an EV RE20 for the PA.

    I'm sick of jazz being played at extreme volumes- it destroys the music.
    MLysh, coldtrain, wathaet and 17 others like this.
  2. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    The Electrovoice RE20 is a very nice microphone as long as you’re good with it’s size
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  3. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Here, here!!!
    Cheez, Zimmy Jazz and MDrost1 like this.
  4. It won't work with an H-clamp, that's for sure!
    Ric Vice and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  5. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    I came into jazz after decades of bluegrass, where NoAmp is more often the rule than the exception. And I pretty much fell into the right jazz crowd -- my mentors agreed with NoAmp as much as possible, so my early exposure to amps in jazz was relatively gentle.

    In the mean time, the bluegrass world that I spend time with has become much more accepting of amplified or specifically mic'ed double basses on stage, although NoAmp is still mostly the rule in the bluegrass jams that I frequent.

    I'll always prefer playing totally acoustic. But if I'm playing my double bass with a group and I can't hear well enough to do proper intonation, I'll at least threaten to amplify.
    kerrycares and Max George like this.
  6. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    If you like the NoAmp, you should definitely try the rig that Ed Fuqua uses - Eschew Amplification... totally MBOMB! I've been using it for years too.
  7. kerrycares

    kerrycares Lover of God, People , Music and Bass Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    I agree totally.
    My favorite regular gig is noamp.
    Earl likes this.
  8. Earl

    Earl Supporting Member

    I have always tried to go acoustic whenever possible, and play many gigs this way, but I have learned to be flexible because there are some gigs where if I don't use an amp I won't be heard and will not be hired again. I have figured out how to get a nice amplified sound as well as a good acoustic sound. I always start acoustic as default and then go from there. The amp is always in the car. I remember playing Dennis Irwin's bass and it had three pickups on it! A Realist, Full Circle and a Cducer. Gotta be prepared for anything.
    Ed Fuqua, dhm, JeffKissell and 2 others like this.
  9. Playing outside with a gypsy group, 2 guitars through a Roland Busker amp, another through a Schertler. They said they could hear me, but I think I damaged my noamp tying to keep up. Anyone know where I can get spares?
    Uncorked and chuck3 like this.
  10. Try an extension finger.
    steve_n_his_urb likes this.
  11. I think the problem is the digital output stage.
  12. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    I have been lucky to play with some tasteful folks lately and when the room is right...no amp. I feel there is a phenomenon where the groove improves when going full acoustic. Anyone else notice that?
    kerrycares and Earl like this.
  13. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Absolutely. But I don't know that it has to do with the amplification; I suspect it's more about the volume in the room.
    Groove Doctor likes this.
  14. Something that helped me a lot for the times I sometimes play no-amp is to not dig in too hard and thereby choke my bass. Through a few lessons with the great Ken Filiano, I came to better understand that digging in can more than often provide the opposite effect that one may think it does and hurt your acoustic volume and yourself in the process. If you provide the right amount of energy either pizz or arco to get the string vibrating, the bass will do all the work for you. I don't know if that was the trick all the bassists during the prime era of no-amp used, but now for using steel strings and no-amp I've found that to be pretty helpful.
  15. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    If you are really able to project and play without an amp, I think you will find a mic less helpful when you really need to volume. A mic is great for pro sound systems in a big hall, as far as mic through the amp and I can just get it done acoustic.

    I suggest working with pick ups that come off the bass easy, like the lifeline, or I use an old Barcus Berry clamp with a volume pedal.
    I don't keep a pick up on the bass and play primarily with no amp. I really only bring the amp out for great drummers and keep it off as much as I can.

    A great bass player, John Lindberg, was playing with master drummer Ed Thigpen when I was taking lesson from him. He told me, "you never need an amp, you just need a better drummer".
    When Thigpen passed he started using Andrew Cyrrile. John decided that even though Andrew was fine with no amp, the music was better if Andrew could really go off.
    Some drummers and situations are well worth it!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2019
    oliebrice likes this.
  16. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

  17. kerrycares

    kerrycares Lover of God, People , Music and Bass Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2006
    My late friend Tassili Bond played noamp with Elvin Jones , one of the loudest jazz drummers ever.
    He would share that he learned to “hear” and “feel” the bass in the midst of the drum volume.
    He also shared that while Elvin did not like amps on stage , occasionally he was afforded a floor monitor.
    Tuffest gig he ever played .........
    StyleOverShow likes this.
  18. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I also played bass acoustically for all four years of high school. I don’t recall having any issues with the Neal Hefti * Count Basie and Fox charts. But the *Batman (1966)theme was an issue.:bassist:
    lrhbass likes this.
  19. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I saw Elvin live once and the bass player had no amp!
  20. I am pretty sure no bassplayer with the John Coltrane Quartet had an amp. But I also reckon that Elvin perhaps was a bit louder in later years.
    Ric Vice and Reiska like this.

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