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help setting my graphic EQ for mid/high notes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by P bass guy, Jul 4, 2014.

  1. Really it's my middle octave on my four string - sounds thin and guitar like.

    Current EQ setting is 40 hz cut just a little, and the rest of the graphic EQ making a "frown".

    I got to this setting on some TB advice and it has nearly solved my tone crisis I've been going through for weeks. For the most part sounds great in the mix.

    I like the way the first E through D sounds, starts getting thin sounding about the second octave E. Played a cover of Suffragette City and heard a recording played back. I played it starting at the 7th fret A using the 9th fret F# and 7th fret E - sounded super thin, like a thin guitar, I went down to B for a note in the verse and that was thick and fat and nice sounding.

    I went further up the neck on some other tunes, all the way up, and I'm fine with how the third octave sounded, kind of clean and piano like, just wasn't digging my middle octave.

    Can that be addressed through EQ? Fatten up the middle of my range without messing up the low end or high end of my range. What specific frequency should I address?
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  2. Bassmec


    May 9, 2008
    Ipswich UK
    Proprietor Springvale Studios
    You might be in need of a little thickness in the sound + just a tinge of distortion like an old Ibanez tube screamer
    just about dirtying it up.
    High Fi and transparent +EQ can only do so much.:)
  3. Vintage P

    Vintage P

    Jun 30, 2014
    Sound is subjective. What someone else likes or what they consider the "sweet" frequencies may not coincide with yours.

    In general, Eq for bass sould be somewhat flat. I find 3K hits the top, 400hz pumps the punch and 80hz hugs the bottom. I cut everything under 60 because that's just hum and rumble.

    But I'm sure the next guy who posts will disagree. ; )
  4. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Sooo many variables in that equation. Start with a flat EQ and work from there. Every room will bounce the sound differently....
  5. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Agreed, the room will paly a big role, but in this specific scenario, try bumping around 200-800hZ. You'll have to experiment with your eq, and find the spot that works, but that range has a lot of booty.
  6. +1 for adding a mild overdrive always on. RedDragon gets my vote.

    Try boosting EQ less and turning up just a little.
  7. Grissle


    May 17, 2009
    Agreed on using just a hair of overdrive, but I'd add a compressor as well. This solution has been pretty standard for many many years.
  8. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Bit of dirt helps. Still sounds much cleaner in a band mix than it does on it's own.

    The fundamentals and first couple of overtones of that octave E and stuff higher is still in the 80-400hz area. Bring that out can help put bottom in higher notes.

    A lot of it also has to do with pickup(s), how you blend them if you have more than one, playing position and style, as well as strings & setup.

    When you get above 100hz, you're then in an area where you don't need "badass LF bass speakers" to play it. Becomes a lot more about tone and feel and less about subwoofing.
  9. I think I was looking for something like this. (Attached) It says cutting at 5 kHz will help "soften a thin guitar" and since my complaint is that my bass sounds thin in the second octave range of my bass, which is the same as guitar range, I think I'll try try cutting at 5 kHz to soften this thin sound.

    Attached Files:

  10. will33


    May 22, 2006
    That is a good general guide. Not Gospel, but a good general guide.

    +1 to removing what you don't want to hear before goosing up more and more of what you do want to hear. Piling good stuff on top of trash may mean you hear more good stuff in comparison to trash, but the trash is still there. Take out the trash first, then worry about spit and polish.

    If after taking out the trash you find yourself sounding buried or "weak", increase volume a bit to bring out more of the good stuff.

    Best done while listening "in the mix", as what works well there doesn't always sound so pretty on its own.
    Flad likes this.
  11. Appreciate all the tips and advise. Just trying to get me EQ to my liking before adding any overdrive or compression but I'll keep those tips in my back pocket for down the road.
  12. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Perhaps your issue is the bass. Could be poor witness point on the strings, bad setup, pickup height too low, possibly too high, bad strings, wrong strings for your bass or for your touch. Perhaps a heavier gauge or a change to nickel from stainless or vice versa. See if it sounds like that acoustically. Next try through a different amp.

    Are you plucking really hard because that will make for a thin sound in some cases. Is your hand position changing during those middle passes?

    If it's a P, a bad witness point makes a great bass sound just blah.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  13. Vintage P

    Vintage P

    Jun 30, 2014
    It's been my experience that you cannot compensate for the sound of a room with EQ. An EQ setting should be where the bass sounds best and the sound of the room is the sound of the room.
  14. Thanks for the wide and varried responses. I do appreciate all. For the record - my set up is great, my strings are great, my bridge is great, I dont want overdrive, and I can't go out and buy a compressor right now. I also know that I could play the tunes that sound thin closer to the neck to fatten it up, because my right hand position is pretty close to the bridge.... But none of that has to do with what I'm asking.

    This thread was supposed to be about how to set a graphic EQ.

    I honestly don't know how to set a graphic EQ and I know my tone suffers from it. I'm trying to learn how to set my EQ. That's all.

    I have let this kid that plays with my son use it, he sets the EQ some way I'd never think of, and sounds great. (No I dont know how to get ahold of him and ask him) I see other people's EQ settings and have no idea how they got there. I only understand flat, smile, and frown.

    I'll post some visual examples...
  15. Top is my EQ, my complaint described in OP.

    Next two are pics of three different EQ settings I found while searching the web, same amp (old TB sale threads) the second setting looks more like how that kid that played with my son would set it and sound great. I'm suspecting, after reading up, that maybe the first two types of settings are what I'm looking for? (Based on my OP - happy with my lower register but not so much in the next octave up - the difference seem to be on the higher bands...) 20140705_101435. Screenshot_2014-07-05-10-06-31. Screenshot_2014-07-05-10-06-41.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  16. Final thought. Before anybody says it - yes I will try the EQ curves I just posted and see if I like them.

    With all of that said, I'm still interested in suggestions and advice on how to set a graphic EQ for good rock tone in a thick heavy mix.

    Thanks everybody!
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I see you use a PJ bass. Do you use both pickups on? Maybe try just the P pickup if you haven't. What kind of pickups are in it?
  18. Monster amp! Mine is smx with two preshape flavours, smiley scoop and moar scoop. #1 is the trad one which I boost back mids to varying degree depending on instrument and mood, sometimes turning it off.

    There's some hinky steep cutting of 1k / 2k region in your pics, not helpful ime.

    Your cab might be at fault. Any 4x10 is impossible to hear properly when standing close by on a cramped stage. Raise it up to get an earful of tone.

    I stand by the mild overdrive suggestion. If I dig in my RedDragon compresses and overdrives nicely. Otherwise it's basically clean, more like a tube amp loafing. The Trace has a very clean, some would call sterile, punch you in the face with my bass tone thing. The pedal colour goes on top sweet as.
  19. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Boosting lots of low bass (the far left couple of sliders) is stressful on speakers, so do this at a moderate volume.

    Start with the EQ flat (all sliders in the middle), then move each one all the way down and all the way up, then back to the middle to hear what each band does to your tone. Do that with all of them, then go through again moving two sliders together as if they were one control, to see how it affects tone by adding and removing a wider "slice" of bandwidth.

    Do that a few times, as well as trying various different shot-In-the-dark settings. Then close your eyes and just move stuff around once to get the best sound you can and once to get the worst sound you can. Only after the tone is set, open your eyes and take note of what it looks like.

    It'll help train your ear and give you an idea of what sort of "sound shapes" you like and don't like. Can then use that information to help shape tones.
    dmrogers likes this.
  20. Good advice.

    What controls on the P/J? Some are J bass with a P pickup, others use a balance control for pickups, some active EQ....

    Generally, a bias towards the neck pickup gets a bit of chewy girth into the mids.

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