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Help! P-BASS can't compete with Heavy Keyboards

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by GregBass1979, Sep 27, 2009.


  1. GregBass1979

    GregBass1979

    Feb 26, 2008
    Placentia,Ca
    So I dont want to have to go with active circuitry in my 79' Lawsuit P-Bass, because when I don't play with this 60's/70's Rock N' Roll keyboard lead band it sounds fine. I want to sound original by using the P-Bass on certain tunes that require it like Sister Golden Hair by Amerika and Midnight Confessions by the Grassroots. The keys are a lead instrument {with upper keys playing horn parts} and his left hand is so heavy he drowns the passive bass out and I dont want to fry my GK 700-RB or blow my SWR Goliath III 4x10 cab. Any suggestions? His reasoning for playing heavy left hand is because I add alot of fills above or around the octave on the neck and the bass drops out..but that is a cop out. I can blow him off his bench with my SX but it's hard to make the newer electronics sound old school and passive.
     
  2. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    May 26, 2005
    Bremerton, WA
    talk to your soundman, to see if he/she can either roll off some of the keyboards channel's lowend, or give you some mids so you can cut through. Also, is your eq "scooped" - taking out the midrange? That also is a bad thing for trying to cut through...
     
  3. GregBass1979

    GregBass1979

    Feb 26, 2008
    Placentia,Ca
    No soundman, I am talking about for rehearsals and gigs. We are the sound guys and his stupid infinite "wall of sound" idea. So Mids all the way, back off bass and treble?
     
  4. Kitsapbass

    Kitsapbass What key is this?

    May 26, 2005
    Bremerton, WA
    Generally speaking, the nicer the bass sounds soloed, the worse it will cut through a mix. Mids, generally speaking, help you cut through bad mixes.
     
  5. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You dont have to boost the mids to a big level, but you definitely don't want to scoop them all the way out.

    But really, the only real solution is to have the keyboard player back off the low end a little.
     
  6. GregBass1979

    GregBass1979

    Feb 26, 2008
    Placentia,Ca
    scooped means all the way to the right correct? Sorry I dont know the technical sound terms.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Scooped means mids are taken out and low end and treble are up. It's called a scoop because the waveform looks like the mids have been scooped out, like a V or a U shape instead of a straight line. A lot of people like the sound but do too much of it and you can make yourself disappear out of the mix.
     
  8. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    Heavy left hands can be a result of a guy who is great solo but does not know how to scale back in a band situation. Playing with these guys is a trick. You have to find the space that works. Being in church bands I have run into this many times. But the best solution if he is approachable is to talk to him. Or better off, record things and hand him a disc. If you guys are doubling up on bass, it probably does not sound to good. And what if he walks differently than you. Nothing like harmonizing on 2nds.

    Are you using flats on your P bass? IME, an active bass with round wounds works better in the busy mixes. And then there is the layering stuff where you emphasize the bass EQ in a different area than the keyboard EQ. Bascially de-emphasize his low and low mids. And make sure you are at least flat out to 1k.

    And then there is the possibilty that this guy is damaged goods. I have known a few good soloists who develop such an ego that they are compromised in a band situations where they overplay. All they can do is lead. They can't follow or support. If that's the case, you have to figure out if the good out weighs the bad.

    And another thought is to stay in the basement. When I play with a busier mix (keys, organ, guitar, violin), I don't go much past my 10th fret G on the A string. In that situation I am the bottom and I try to stay there. I do place the occasional fill going higher at the end of phrases but the majority of the time I stick to the bottom for the most part. I guess you could say I am scaling back for the band situation. Are you trying to overplay? Maybe you both need to rethink your parts?
     
  9. GregBass1979

    GregBass1979

    Feb 26, 2008
    Placentia,Ca
    He is an elton john style pianist..and yes, ego plays a HUGE part..he wont change. I like the sound of the Roto flats I have on there now, but in that band no way!
     
  10. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    I only pull out the Fender with flats when we are doing a mellow set like at Christmas. For the busier, up beat mixes it is the active Sadowsky with rounds for me. I have tried flats several times on multiple basses. I never got them to work with the heavy keys.

    I have said to these key guys before, there is no point in both of us playing the same line. If you don't need a bass, I will just go home.
     
  11. GregBass1979

    GregBass1979

    Feb 26, 2008
    Placentia,Ca
    lol yeah I agree Dave...the live sound at gigs is scary...we should be doing a Muddy Waters tribute show {cymbal crash} lol
     
  12. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    At the heart of it, this isn't an instrument issue -- it's a player issue. (The keyboardist, not you). Whether he's actually playing your bass lines or even if he's just playing a lot of low, "washy" sounds down where the bass guitar's range is, he needs to get out of your sonic space.

    But it sounds like you're already aware of this and the prospects of this keyboardist changing are small. So then it becomes an EQ issue. Try and get the soundman on your side if he's not already... that's pretty much your only hope of getting any love in the mix at all.

    I can usually tell within about 2 minutes of playing with a keyboardist if this is someone I'll be able to make decent music with or not. IME church keyboardists and/or converted pianists are the worst... seasoned bar-bend veterans OTOH sometimes are really good to play with and other times not so much. The guy you're describing sounds like someone I would be taking a pass on after the first rehearsal. It sounds like you are in a tough spot. Good luck making it work out.
     
  13. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    It sounds like you have a keyboard player problem, not a bass problem. Heavy left handed keys players really irritate me bad, because they garble up the mix so bad it just sounds like mud.

    If the keys player won't change, flats are a good way to put him in his place and find your own space.
     
  14. GregBass1979

    GregBass1979

    Feb 26, 2008
    Placentia,Ca
    Actually the flats I just put on make it worse...the rounds I had on cut through much better. I may be selling the bass because the gig is important for the pocketbook lol
     
  15. I know exactly what ya mean - boost up top for you, cut down below for keys...have some fun with the guy!
     
  16. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    ^Truth. Anything else is a band-aid.
     
  17. RicPlaya

    RicPlaya

    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Tell him to stop playing your basslines or you will..

    1. Cut off his left hand
    2. Chop his keyboard in half
    3. Quit the band and let someone else play in the subsonic mub
     
  18. Trapezius

    Trapezius

    Mar 1, 2009
    Oslo, Norway
    Or get a decent keyboardist who thinks about the music instead of compensating for a small weenie by drowning all other instruments. If that's an option, I'd go with it. Your band would sound a lot better.
    If not, cut everything below 2-300k on the EQ for the keys and scoop the mids a bit. Boost your mids.
     
  19. GregBass1979

    GregBass1979

    Feb 26, 2008
    Placentia,Ca
    Trapezius: Thatt would all work with a soundman, this guy is the leader of the band and will never play a gig with monitors or without the "wall of sound".
     
  20. jaywa

    jaywa

    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Well all things considered I think you're at the point you need to decide whether the check this doofus is paying is worth the pain of playing gigs where you are little more than a visual prop. It really sounds like he could get by just fine without a bass player at all. In fact if you want to get really cheeky with him you could just flat-out ask him, "exactly why am I in this band since you seem to be covering all the low end just fine yourself"? Just be prepared for him to say, "you know, you're right. You're fired."

    Honestly, if none of the other variables in your situation change I think you would be wasting a lot of time and money on gear changes / upgrades that will make minimal to no difference in the final outcome.
     

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