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How can I hear my bass over the keyboard?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Swingin, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Swingin

    Swingin Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2018
    So the good news is that after a long search, I'm finally in a band again.

    However, I noticed all through rehearsal today that the keyboard player was constantly in my range, playing either the same bass line, or something similar. It was very difficult to hear myself most of the time. I couldn't distinguish my tone from his, and if I turned up it just added muddiness to the room.

    Are there any tricks to getting the bass guitar to be heard better? The band is guitar, keys, bass, and drums. The drummer isn't loud (thankfully.) I'm using my kiloton 5, with the tone all the way up and flats.
  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Talk to the keyboard player. If he's playing what you're supposed to be playing and you're capable of playing it yourself, let him know that the band has a bassist and if he plays bass too, unless the two of you find some kind of lock, it just makes more work for both of you trying to play what the other is playing. It can be restrictive.

    I had an organist who decided to play bass pedals when I was supposed to be playing and wouldn't stop when I asked him to. So I stopped.

    About five minutes later he motioned for me to play and I said no. It wasn't up to him to decide when or what I should play. Never had another problem with it.
    TomB, roogbass, wesonbass and 25 others like this.
  3. JIO

    JIO Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 30, 2010
    Oceana (Pacifica) CA
    musician/artist/owner - Gildaxe
    No trick - you take the kb player aside and calmly explain how he needs to work with you to make the bands overall sound as good as it can be. This means you have dedicated bass-lines and if he augments those bass-lines with his left hand he needs to do so sparingly and at level that is compatible with yours.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  4. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    I played regularly with some chaps. Just for fun sessions. The sax player told the keybd player if you play in his range I’d be out the door. Now I don’t talk like that but perhaps that’s how the keybd player could best hear it.

    He never was down there. He had a lot of notes and sonic space to cover without being in the bassist’s region. He always behaved. :)
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
    Rabidhamster, hrodbert696 and Axstar like this.
  5. Major_Rager_4MF

    Major_Rager_4MF Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2017
    Find a new band. The keyboard player is not unaware that you can play those lines, they are being selfish. This will not magically change. Been there, done that.
  6. It's happened to me before, just tell him nicely you're the bass player and he's stepping on your lines, if that doesn't work buy an SVT:laugh:.
    Oddly, NoSlapForYou, B-Lo and 9 others like this.
  7. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis

    Dec 11, 1999
    I hate keyboard players who play like that. Unfortunately, most of them can't play without playing a bass line with their left hand that's because it's the way they've been taught.

    Although I must say that I've played with a few excellent keyboard players over the years who knew not to play the bass lines unless it was intentional and needed. Those guys and gals were a joy to play with.

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  8. Modler


    Jan 16, 2017
    Selfishness is one possible reason.
    But it could just as well be a bad habbit. Talk with the keyboard guy, see what happens.
    It could also be that he has too much EQ on low end - live keyboards in a band should mostly be mids and treble and very little low end (if any at all).

    Another reason could be that the keyboard player has been used to play with an incompetent bass player who never played anything but root notes, and therefore he is used to fill out all the proper bass lines on the keyboard (been there, done that!)
  9. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    Yes. Ask the keys player to lay off your territory.

    A favourite one I work with still plays all his left handed parts. But his hand is on the side of the keyboard. No keys there. His hand still gets to do its thing and no notes come out.
  10. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Not trying to be rude but does your band really need a keyboard player if he's playing like a bassist?
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  11. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    I've had this, several times. What I do is tell the keyboard player there's only one bass player in this band, so stop playing bass lines.

    So far they've all apologised and have behaved themselves.
  12. dagrev

    dagrev Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2006
    What everyone said....

    Is there a leader in the band you could talk with...being the new kid and all? Or others that you feel comfortable talking with.

    If not, maybe mention that you have a pretty limited range and how you and the KB player can work together to produce the best sound while not playing in the same territory. Starting off accusing is likely not to go anywhere positive--even when right. You can always go there later if need be, but if you start there, there isn't much else place to go but name calling after that.

    If all else fails, there's the "walk out the door" option. Being miserable in a band with dudes that are in ego trips and have the emotional IQ of a 15 yr old isn't worth it. Music ceases to be fun in that setting.
    Swingin likes this.
  13. Spent


    May 15, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Our keyboard players stays out of my range, except the one time he didn’t bring his good keyboard. He typically plays two, a nice Virus (75% of the time he’s using it) and a decent Korg. This particular night he was spending a little too much time playing the Korg with his left hand. I joked that he was stepping on my sound and he backed off. The second time he did it I walked over to the mixer and set his high pass filter somewhere north of 500Hz. Wasn’t a problem after that.
    Stumbo, troy mcclure, City and 3 others like this.
  14. sloppy_phil


    Aug 21, 2011
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Not actually named Phil
    I think a big thing is the EQ on the keyboards, as already mentioned earlier. I play in several projects where a keyboard player or pianist will frequently double my bass parts. But they EQ their instrument so it's not overly heavy on low end frequencies, and I think it can sound pretty damn great if done right. You can try having a respectful conversation with the keyboardist and mention you feel the low end is getting a little muddy with you both occupying the same space, and how it would be awesome if they could bring their bass frequencies down to leave you a little more room

    If, somehow, that doesn't work, there is the option of going for a more mid-focused tone. Turning up lows often just leads to indistinct boominess, but if you bring the lows down a touch, and really aim for a mid-heavy sound, you could carve your own niche out in the mix. But I don't think this is the best option, depending on the music you're playing
  15. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    You have to talk to the keyboardist about this. Part of an accompanist's job is voicing appropriately against the other instruments. He's gotta stay out of your range.
    Pbassmanca, murphy and hintz like this.
  16. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Manitowoc WI
    Ask him to keep his left hand no lower than middle C
    Tie his left hand behind his back
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah, keys players who have spent time doing solo stuff play the WHOLE board.

    You just need to ask him politely to get up out yo range. There is no way playing "similar" lines will sound good at all.

    It's just a habit he needs to break now that they have a bass player. :cool:
  18. I was gonna say that a HPF and a Rumble amp seems to be the solution to every other issue on this forum, why not this one?
  19. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    That is the gentle way of doing it. Alternatively:

    Remind them - it could always be worse...
    levis76, obimark, Gaolee and 7 others like this.
  20. Spill your beer on his keyboard
    *mic drop*

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