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How can I cut through?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Andy419, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. Andy419


    Aug 13, 2007
    Well I played my first gig with my new band last Saturday (We killed it and we have only been playin for 2 1/2 months). While I was mostly happy with the performance, I found that sometimes my bass really didn't cut through. I had to turn it way up to get it noticeable and it was just a hassle.
    I played primarily a MIM fretless J bass but also a Squier p-bass for some slap. My amp is some Crate combo with a 15" speaker, and I had no preamp or effects (aside from a volume pedal for one song). ​
    I'm looking into buying either a preamp or just goin all out and gettin a new amp altogether (I have had the Crate one for about 3 years and I wanna upgrade). I was looking at the Acoustic B200H head with the B115 cab but haven't had the chance to play it yet. I also looked at a BBE Bmax preamp.​
    Basically, I just wanna know a fairly inexpensive way (under $500) to make my sound "cut through". I'd love to know what you guys think so I have an idea where to start.​
  2. I would say that more gear won't necessarily help you "cut through", it depends on how your sound is "shaped." I found the post in the Technique forum on Metal playing to be really helpful in explaining this.

    Basically, you need to find the area in the sound spectrum where it isn't already occupied. Scooping your sound, that is cutting out the midrange and boosting your bass and treble, will only cause you to be more "invisible". You should focus on more of the midrange where the rest of the instruments are either not present, or weaker.

    Concentrate on setting your EQ in a band setting and not solo. This will ensure you sound good with your band, as well as cut through.
  3. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Were you able to get out into the audience to determine what they were hearing, or did you have a sound guy saying that you weren't cutting through? May sound like a silly question but there are times when you may not be hearing yourself on stage, but are cutting through just fine.

    Two different issues.... it would help knowing which one you have.
  4. Rumblee


    Jan 18, 2005
    I'm having a similar problem with my new band. I can hear myself most of the time except when one guitarist plays a power chord in the lower notes. He has the bass knob cranked on his amp and won't turn it down which totally drowns me out. He will eventually have to turn the bass down unless he likes the whole band sounding muddy. Maybe you are experiencing the same thing?
  5. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    You might want to try one of these.


    I purchased an Essesntial Sound Products MusicCord with great skepticism. I figured I can return it in 30 days if I don't notice any difference, which I was prepared for. I substituted the stock cord on my EA Micro 300 amp during first service in church today for the ESP cord. Between the first and second service, I plugged the stock cord back in. WHOOOOOOOOAAA! I COULDN'T PLUG THE ESP CORD BACK IN FAST ENOUGH!!!!! I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW TIGHTER AND CLEANER MY BASS SOUNDED WITHOUT MAKING ANY EQ ADJUSTMENTS!!!!! I have never really had any problems cutting through the mix even while close to big Leslie organ cabinet. The ESP MusicCord has removed a "veil" that I didn't know existed!!! I am no longer a skeptic regarding this cord!!!!!

    A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste! :cool:
  6. Andy419


    Aug 13, 2007
    You know that's a great point. I couldn't hear myself too well on stage, but I didn't get a crowd perspective. If it helps, my playing style on my fretless J is moderatly foreceful fingerstyle on the bridge pup and on my p bass it is the same force and fingerstyle but on the only pickup.
  7. I agree with Rumblee in regards to loud, boomy guitarists occupying the whole mix. I had the same situation a couple of years back, some young kid just LOVED his solo sound and insisted on occupying most of the sonic spectrum. When I recorded him I was able to cut out his bottom end since I was doing the mixdown and it made the whole band sound much better - I could also finally hear myself in the mix :)

    Also, a lone 15" speaker may not be helpful for cutting through. Perhaps a 12" or 10" would be better. I played mostly 15's until about 4 years ago at which point I began to play 10's. I have no problem cutting now. ( and I can still knock over drinks :) )

    - Andrew
  8. Jactap


    Aug 4, 2006
    Bremerton, Wa
    +1 on focusing on eq
    if you need to get a decent eq pedal
    Somebody once told me a long time ago that turning up the 125 hz slider helps you cut through. I'm not sure if that's true or not but it might help
  9. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    Actually it's the 250hz slider you crank up(judiciously) for cutting through. Sounds like poo soloed but it should get you through.

    And get one of those ESP cords as mentioned above and wrap it around the guitarists neck. The sound will improve a bit.
  10. :hyper:


    - Andrew
  11. There's no definitive EQ band that you can just boost a bit and then you can hear yourself properly. My general rule of thumb is to make myself sound good solo, play about a bit, and then adjust for band setting. I know my gear pretty well now so I tend to not really have to do that, but sometimes with different venues I do have to play around a bit. Midrange is generally the way to "cut" through a mix, but you can make yourself heard by cutting through, punching behind, rumbling under, sitting on, flying over, *insert silly adjectives* a mix, can't see how any peak round 125 OR 250Hz would help you cut at all.

    EQ is certainly not the be all and end all though, you could be running out of power causing compression, poweramp distortion or both, all of which limit your instruments dynamics. Also there's stuff like the bass your using, strings, technique, amp, amp placement, ad infinitum.

    What's your bands setup? What kinda instruments and tones are your bandmates using? Bassy guitars can kill your place in a mix, lots of guitarists like a big sound which is fair enough, but to sound big they're better off laying off the bass boost and just cranking their amp a bit more, sounds deep but in a more natural, defined, (and importantly for bass players) guitar like way.

    Oh and with regards to buying gear definitely don't worry about speaker size, the only thing it scientifically effects is how well you can hear your midrange when your not standing infront of your speakers. There are obviously conventions, bigger speakers do tend to be voiced for deeper sounds, but this convention is often broken.
  12. rbonner


    Sep 25, 2008
    A $130 dollar power cord? Oh come on. Sounds like you had the wrong power cord on your amp in the first place. There's a lot of different ga computer looking cords out there and anything smaller than 14 ga is a mistake in the first place, a good 14 ga or 12 ga won't cost more than $12 - 15 bucks from POWER CORDS ARE US. BOB
  13. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    So you were standing out in the audience and couldn't hear yourself? :)

    How you sound on stage can be radically different than what the audience hears. Add a speaker you can point towards your ear on stage. If you don't have a soundman out front, then you better get out front during the sound check to see if you can be heard by the audience. If you have a soundman, just tilt your cabinet so it points at your head. Let the soundman worry about the sound out front.

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