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Help: fat, even-tone needed for live sound.

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Touching Bass, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. Touching Bass

    Touching Bass

    Oct 2, 2010
    Issue is, when playing live, if I set the tone on my bass and my amp, so all the notes played on the "D" and "G" strings are fat and punchy, the tones on the the "E" and "A" strings are too bass-ey/muddy.

    Conversely, when setting the tone "just right" for the "E" and "A" strings, the "D" and "G" strings sound too wimpy.
    What ends up happening at live gigs is I end up playing everything on the "E" and "A" strings. I don't like this compromise at all.
    Can anyone tell me how to get an EVEN , fat & punchy tone and volume throughout the fretboard?

    ~note: I own a G&L SB1. It has almost no pick-up adjust-ability. I'm not married to the bass and am willing to go to almost any length to get an even-tone and volume throughout the fret board. Thanks for feedback... [/FONT][/FONT]
  2. rob7


    Jun 14, 2010
    does sound like the pickups need ajusting,but if thers no ajustment,then im not sure
  3. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    have you tried flats?

    or... a P bass with flats!

    so in summation, FLATS!
  4. These are definitely not unfamiliar issues to me! Which amps and cabinets do you use? What I decided upon as a subtle correction method was invested in a high quality compressor, but an especially subtle non-squashy style one! I really liked the Rothwell Love Squeeze and that's what I've got, but the T-Rex Comp-Nova is also a similar style compressor but instead offers some higher ratios. Strings could also be of issue too.
  5. Right cabinet and cabinet placement.

    IF a gadget guy.. stainless rounds and a compressor.
  6. Touching Bass

    Touching Bass

    Oct 2, 2010
    Thanks for your quick reply folks. The pickups are really not adjustable. My rig is an Ampeg SVT-HF 4-10 cab with a Little Mark III amp.

    The suggestion of adding a higher-end compressor sounds like it might be a fix...

    thanks everyone!
  7. Opinion..

    If this is just a test.. there are some multi effect boxes that allow you to test EQ/Compressor/Delay etc.

    Korg Pandora and Zoom B2 come to mind.
  8. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    Try boosting the 150-300 Hz region a bit and slightly cutting the lows (anything below 100Hz). IME, that gives your E and A strings some girth, but keeps them from being too boomy and undefined.
  9. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Spot on. This is a situation where a parametric EQ comes in handy...even a single band will work. You can either dial out the offending frequency (narrow notch) or boost (wide notch) at ~250 hz for a cleaner, well-defined low end presence. Extensive mid-scoop will suck the life right out of the D & G strings.

  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    it has the P-bass pickup with the hex-screw polepieces, right? that makes it very adjustable.

    you can raise/lower each half and angle them so each string has the same output.

    you can also play around with its response by lowering a coil but raising the polepieces, or the reverse, which might change the high vs. low EQ a little.

    try the G-D coil up close with the polepieces flush, and the E-A further away with the poles raised up a little.

  11. +1 t.gif

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly

  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i'd look at getting the output balanced from the bass itself via pickup adjustment before "fixing" it afterwords with extra processing.
  13. atk305


    Jun 15, 2010
    San Antonio TX
    Hello All -

    Great advice here, thanks. I have a similar/related issue; I'd like to get some more meat, some more filler in my sound to fill out my three-piece sound, especially during guitar solos. We're playing a real mix of blues, top 40, modern rock, and classic rock cover tunes.

    Gear: my amp is a Carvin R1000 with an Ampeg 15" speaker. This speaker used to be a kickback combo amp but someone yanked the head out of it and I use it as a speaker only. This little rig puts out a huge amount of volume with room to spare. I've been recently thinking that I'm deficient in the speaker department though... this might be okay for rehearsals and small gigs but isn't necessarily a good match.

    My main bass is an Ibanez ATK305 which I've been using for about ten years. I also use a a Spector Core with flatwounds, and a Fender Squire Bronco Bass (yes I know its cheap as hell but I'm amazed at the sound that this thing puts out, and so is the band, and it is also super comfortable).

    My sound is generally okay, sometimes a bit muddy, and I'm willing to bet that's an EQ issue that I just haven't spent enough time on to get right.

    Back to the issue: lately I've been thinking about getting some kind of effects to help fill out the sound at certain times. The Pandora was suggested in this thread, and I've considered the Zoom as well. But before I get into effects I know I need to deal with the basics.

    All suggestions are welcome. Thanks -

  14. Touching Bass

    Touching Bass

    Oct 2, 2010
    Walterw... You are correct about the pick-up adjustments.
    Originally, I tried turning the hex screws without success (the heads were starting to strip). Repositioned the bass flat on the workbench and was able to get the pick-up closer to the D & G strings.

    This adjustment and the suggested EQ changes have already made a world of difference. ~thanks !
  15. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Does it sound even when played through an Headphone amp=>headphones ?

    Don't forget that if you EQ your signal for a bad sounding amp , cab or room , your general sound out to the FOH will suffer.
    That is of course unless you are pre DI'ed ;)
  16. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    i knew it! :cool:

    those G&L polepiece hex screws do indeed tend to freeze up over time. the trick is to hold a hot soldering iron on one for a couple seconds to melt the layer of potting wax that's locking it in place. it should turn easily after that.
  17. + 1 to the suggested EQ settings and pickup adjustement too.

    Also, those Ampeg HLF cabs are VERY "bass-ey", I own one and have always been amazed at how it responds strongly to the lower frequencies.

    I've been in the same situation not so long ago, and found that changing string gauge would also make a difference. Back then I was using an tension-unbalanced string set (tension way too low on the E string, and growing higher up to the G). Because my plucking strength was the same on every string, the output was unbalanced -even after messing with pickup height- and made everyone feel like my E string was way too fat. Putting on a tension-balanced set helped a lot.

    Slight compression also helps in some situations.

    Also, make sure your ears are at cab level when listening to yourself. If you can afford it, a cab stand (that lets you tilt the cab back so the speakers move towards your head, not your knees) would be a good investment IMO.
  18. StuartV

    StuartV Finally figuring out what I really like Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Manassas, VA
    If it's a tone problem, a compressor probably won't help. That just affects volume.

    If you don't end up getting what you want with pickup adjustments, you might consider a bass that has a preamp with a sweepable mid-frequency. Anything with an Aguilar OBP-3 preamp, or any Peavey that has a Millennium preamp (e.g. Millennium or Custom Shop Cirrus), or a Peavey TL-Five. I felt like I was having the same problem you described with several of my basses. Adjusting the mid-frequency and mid boost/cut let me "fix" it quite nicely.
  19. What exact kickback cabinet are you using..

    This may be as simple as porting... or setup.
  20. "Q"


    Feb 9, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    I run into the same problem on almost every bass I've ever had. Strings seem to be the key element for me. A fair amount of sets have pretty dinky D and G's.

    Sure you may be able to fix it at the EQ level but if you fix it at the string level then that's one less thing you have to mess with as long as you can tolerate the difference in feel or the brands etc. I just find it to be a simpler solution to find a string set that has a thicker D and G esp. on a P-bass.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Mar 5, 2021

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