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Hearing yourself during Rehearsal/gigs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Matt Ides, Dec 29, 2004.


  1. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    As of late I have been having a hard time hearing myself during rehearsals lately (duo w/ Piano, trio w/ guitar, drums).

    I know that I am in the worst position to hear myself. I play a 15 years old German laminate bass. It projects well and no complaints with other players or audience.

    I have been using an amp (as a monitor) just loud enough to hear myself in these situations. In small rooms it is the worst.

    Is it just me or do I really need to get my ears checked out?

    Any advice would help.
     
  2. Try getting the other members of the band(s) to play less loud?

    - Wil
     
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I have been recently informed that playing in a duo situation calls for an amp of no less than 300 watts. If you use anything less ( or, Gyawd forfend, play an acoustic instrument acoustically) you are just displaying " pedantic arrogance".
     
  4. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    Try to face a corner....no kidding! Try it.

    Dang Ed...at 300 watts per band member, I guess I'm up to around 1200 watts to fend off the dreaded "pendantic arrogance" stigma.
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Maybe you just divide the watts by the number of strings? Lesse, 88 keys...some have three strings, some have two, some only have 1...divide by 3, that gives ya 29.333 times 2 is
    58.666, and if ya times 3 that's 87.999 so you add those and you get 175.998. Let's call it 176.
    300 divided by 176 is 1.71, so you are required to have (in order to escape PA -pedantic arrogance that is) 1.71 watts per string you're up against.
    banjo = 5
    guitar = 6
    fiddle = 4
    15 x 1.71=25.65 watts of steaming power is necessary to play with a blue grass band.

    Or maybe you have to factor in how many choruses it takes before the mother****er actually shuts up and listens to what you're playing?
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I think you're mixing your responses as well as paraphrasing there:For my part, I made not a single mention of wattage, nor did I say it was "pedantic arrogance" to play unamplified. What I said was that I felt it was arrogant to inflict this ideology (i.e. - nobody should play at a volume higher than what an unamplified bass can produce and still be present in the mix) on those who do not share it, or in situations which make it difficult when it's easy enough to level the playing field when needed with a small amp.


    IDES OF MATT,

    The thing that I do in most amplified situations these days is to consider the amp to first and foremost function as my own personal monitoring system. Two scenarios seem to work best for this. The optimal setup is one where the speaker is mounted on a stand at about the level of your head, so the amplified signal doesn't ever hit the body of the bass, and you can swivel the stand to direct as much or as little of the amplified sound as you need toward your ears. The second best method I've found is to sit the speaker on a chair tilted back at a 45 degree angle, so that it's pointing up in a way that if the speaker were a rifle, it would shoot a hole in the ceiling about 10 or 15 feet in front of the stage. Again, the amplified sounds never corrupts itself by hitting the body of the bass.

    Both of these setups have the advantage that since you are getting the bulk of the amplified sound yourself, you tend to use as little amplification as needed to compete with the other instruments. It's kind of like having your own headphone mix in the studio where you are up higher in the mix than you would want to be in the overall final mix.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Yeah, there's some problems with the formula, cause in the alto/tenor/drums/ and me quartet, there's NO strings to multiply by. And when I suggest that somehow I manage to make myself heard in alla that, everybody gets all weird. And when I start saying stuff like, hey you could prolly be heard in more situations than you think if you play that way, they get REALLY weird.

    So i'll keep working at this til I get the correct wattage to musician formula...hey maybe THAT'S it. 300 watts per other musician. So if you're playing with 3 other musicians (a quartet) you need 900 watts. A big band with 18 other folks, 5400 watts.

    hmmm, more work I guess....
     
  8. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Do you feel like there is a problem with the band's dynamics, or does everyone seem to have it together in that respect?

    Is there a practical joker in the band, the kind of person who would drop packing peanuts or sand down your f-holes when you're not looking? Does the bass feel heavier for some reason?

    Did you fail to buy your drummer some new brushes for Xmas? That's a huge mistake you don't wanna make. Keep that man in good brushes for pete's sake. It's common self-defense.
     
  9. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    Chicago
    I've had limited success putting my amp on a chair or barstool or the like. I feel that while I can hear myself better, the tone sounds thinner. Don't amp manufacturers design amps with the effect that the floor will have on it?

    That said, I've had the most success getting a little distance from my amp. As I understand it bass frequencies take a while to develop. While this isn't always practical I've found even a foot or two help and to stand a bit to the side as not to hit the bass body with the amp sound.
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I think the truth is that we've just become accustomed to the sound of the exaggerated low frequencies that result from coupling with floors, walls, and especially corners. I've dealt with this subject a great deal in researching how to treat my music room for clean acoustic response, and it's a mother of a subject. the problem is that every floor, wall, and corner is different, and has a different bass response. This is accentuated even more if you use downfiring or rear-ported speakers, because then the same amp sounds markedly different in each room. When you elevate your amp and decouple it, you have taken the first step toward gaining a consistency of amplified sound. You still have to deal with the room itself and the crowd, but that's easier to do without rogue booming bass waves from the floor/wall coupling.

    That said, after a short period of time, I've come to appreciate the decoupled sound a lot more, as it is much less prone to muddiness.
     
  11. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks for the responses.

    Yes, both groups have a good handle on dynamics. The drummer is very aware of his volume in relation to the bass and guitar. And I don't even need to buy him brushes. :smug:

    Piano player is really good with dynamics. Playing with him more lately and having to use an amp is what brought me to this in the first place.

    When I feel that I am struggling to hear myself I will always ask the other members if they can hear me ok. 9 out of 10 times they say yes.

    It is ironic b/c when I was playing with drums, alto sax, and trumpet I could always hear myself because of the lack of a chord instrument.

    Yeah, I have been using the amp more lately, but really thought DB and Piano, why would I need an amp?

    Going to get the ears checked out next week as well...too many days a teenager in a rock band might be coming back to haunt me.

    Plus I have a coffee shop gig next week with the Piano player so we will see how it goes.

    Thanks again.
     
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Don't let me stop you from getting your hearing checked, it's always a Good Idea. But it may not get you the answer you're looking for. My best recollection is that you start losing your hearing from the higher frequencies down (the shorter hairs transmit the vibrations of the highest frequencies and are more prone to damage by high volume).

    Of course it may not be that you aren't "hearing" the bass as it is that you aren't hearing enough of the upper harmonics and overtones to hear the edge or fundamental or
    "ping" of the attack, so that the note sounds indifferentiated or muddy and subsequently harder to pick out of the background.

    So who all is the trio?
     
  13. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Eric Johnson-Drums
    Chris Mariner-Guitar

    I just started playing with them recently so we will see how it goes.
     
  14. Klelewon

    Klelewon Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2002
    Los Angeles

    LOL...Good luck! Sorry that made me laugh! I've tried this with one of my groups...OK OK OK one of my drummers and guitarist. They would say "sure thing", if they respond at all...and continue as if they never heard me? Hmmm. :meh: Or, if they turn down the volume slowly creeps up again. Now I have to nag or turn up.

    Seriously, I agree with you, but how is this accomplished without being a nag? But that is another issue.
     
  15. Klelewon

    Klelewon Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I have the same problem. I just started to use Auralex's "GRAMMA Sound Isolation Riser". (http://www.auralex.com/sound_isolation_gramma/sound_isolation_gramma.asp). It works great!

    Ed Friedland swears by it. Says he always uses it. I've had one for about a year and I just started using it about a month ago and it works very well. I can hear myself much better in acoustically wierd rooms.

    I was playing a room with wierd acoustics. (Tin roof and wooden floors). My entire band thought everything sound funny. I tried adding more treble, the chair and bar stool thing. The stool increased sound close up, but the sound tapered off as I moved away. The Chair and floor did the opposite -- gave sounded better at a distence, but not so good close up. I couldn't hear myself at all!! The GRAMMA worked wonders. I could hear myself much better. And I was playing at a reasonable volume. I've used it mostly with my EB and once with my DB. It works great for both. I use it all the time now. Has anyone else tried this? What's your experience?

    PS: I got mine at Guitar Center for $50.00
     
  16. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Man, if they don't or won't turn down, I just usually don't come back.

    Thanks for the info.
     
  17. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I have to say, I don't see a lot of bassists on the subway with Auralex Sound Isolation Risers. It would be just One More Damn Thing to Carry.
     
  18. Klelewon

    Klelewon Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    True. True. Less stuff is good.
     
  19. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Just had a Coffee Shop gig past Friday.

    Nice open room. Put the amp up on the stage(elevated about two feet), titled it back. Volume set at about two. Just needed it to fill out the bottom and for monitor.

    Could hear myself just fine.

    Thanks for the input.
     
  20. Samie

    Samie

    Dec 13, 2000
    Madrid, Spain
    How loud is a DB, can it compete with a sax? a guitar?

    In theory (I have not tried this yet), you should get the best amplified DB sound by using your bass amp as a sub-woofer while using your a much smaller full range speaker facing you as your monitor.

    This way you will feel the lows no matter were your bass amp is, while hearing the details from the smaller speaker.

    Can someone actually try this?

    I got the Idea from watching DB DVD's with 5.1 speakers.

    I have also used my bass amp as my studio subwoofer with the event active monitors. Its amazing how a subwoofer system adds quality to any sound system. It should work with db amplification.

    I dont have a pickup yet, so I can't really try it.