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How can I hear my bass over the keyboard?

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

  1. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Seriously, work it out with the keyboard player. Playing with a keys player that knows how to do it properly with a bassist in the mix is actually quite a lot of fun. And if you interleave right, you have someone to keep the groove going if you want to go up high and let it sing for a bit...
    lermgalieu likes this.
  2. Dr_Benway


    Aug 22, 2018
    Tell him to back off. I played keys long before I picked up the bass. I also did hundreds of recording sessions on keys in great studios (Suma, Sound Emporium, etc.). When I started I would play in the mid-range with a lot of low octaves with the left hand. Every engineer I encountered, would politely suggest that I back off the left hand and concentrate on comping the chords or playing counterpoint lines far above the bass guitars range.

    Later on, I scored I hired gun gig with the southern rock outfit, Marshall Tucker Band. I recorded three albums with them and only used my left hand to play bass once. To double a bass line for the intro of a song. That's a pretty normal way to do things on the pro level. Keyboards can do so many things to make the sound bigger. But playing too much in the bass range is just going to muck things up.

    If he keeps this nonsense up, you might want to just ask the BL if they want a bassist or not.

    The last thing you should do is start a volume war with the keyboardist. At the least you should make sure the rest of the band is aware of your problem.
  3. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Had this issue just once many years ago with a keyboard player. He had not really played much in an ensemble setting and his very busy left hand was just all over my area. Had a nice friendly talk with him about it and the problem just went away instantly.
    JC Nelson likes this.
  4. BOOG

    BOOG Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    brighter strings?
    bump mids and add grit?
    suspend cab with block & tackle above keyboard?
    Omega Monkey likes this.
  5. 1st, I am a bass player. For about 5 years I played keys for a church, most of the time we had a bass player. When he was there, I played right hand only or never past a point on keyboard. I would practice both hands to know the bass part. But for performance, he had the lows. Maybe he is the same way, or he don't know to back off lows.
  6. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    My suggested fix:

    Learn to play left handed. Stand to the left of the keyboard player, with your neck hanging over the low end of the keyboard. when he plays a low note, mash down with your headstock onto the offending hand.

    How I really handle it:

    Talk with the keys player. Explain that 2 people playing in the low frequency region makes mud. As all you have to work with is low notes, suggest he focus on some higher ones.
    BOOG likes this.
  7. Ask him to sit in on bass for a few songs while you play his keys. See how that works out.
    hintz likes this.
  8. BOOG

    BOOG Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I always endorse alternative methods AND violence:D
  9. 11Capture.PNG
    Rilence likes this.
  10. brocket


    Sep 12, 2017
    Coastal NC
    Use a ladder? I'm not sure it would sound much different up there though.
    BOOG likes this.
  11. BOOG

    BOOG Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
  12. Jimtoonz

    Jimtoonz Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    This is really a communication/cooperation effort - nothing more. Many keyboard players have never been part of the conversation about what happens in the "low end", and simply don't understand the equation. Make the case that he needs to occupy the "middle" of the sonic space, and that any incursion into your frequency range is likely to produce "mud". Most players want the final product to sound good, and cooperation is the best path to get there. In the band I'm currently working with, the KB guy will often ask me what he should be doing with his left hand in a particular passage of a song. Sometimes, we arrive at a unison solution, sometimes we take different directions, and sometimes he will drop out the left hand entirely.

    With the Kiloton, you will not have a problem being heard, but it's far better to have a "unified solution".
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  13. Runlikegregg


    Dec 31, 2011
    the conversation with the keyboard player is a must. but it will most likely be more of a process than a quick solution, especially if he/she has been already with this band for a while.
    does bumping your mids up help any?
  14. Ron Aguiar

    Ron Aguiar

    May 31, 2016
    I don't understand this, as musicians we are in the business of communicating, so why not talk to the keyboardist and see what you can work out, if that doesn't work talk to the band leader, having someone double a part is an effective tool but it is really easy to over use it.
  15. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Did he stop playing pedals?
  16. Not only should he get out of your range, he should be focusing on inversions and/or rootless chords. A keyboard player who knows how to play in a band is a special breed and it takes cultivated skills. Don't talk down to him about it, just explain the issue and he should understand and work on it.
    Stumbo and Dr_Benway like this.
  17. Tell the keyboard player to turn down and edit his range or he'll be standing towards the back of the stage holding and playing the triangle before gig's end...:mad:

    ( :D )
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    This mindset is popular. It takes the last step in conflict resolution and puts it first. How does that make sense?

    Where did the assumptions about the keyboard player come from? Are there any other possibilities? Could the bassist be the issue?

    Granted, it doesn't have to take much effort to quit (say "I quit") and you may find yourself in a long string of bands because you quit at the first sign of trouble. Which will likely leave opportunities for others so I guess it all works out. Minus the potential regret in hindsight.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    Runlikegregg likes this.
  19. Swingin

    Swingin Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2018
    Doing a general reply to everyone here:

    The keyboardist has been doing this for about 30 years or more, and he’s a really good player. I’ll keep my ears open next rehearsal to see how we’re jelling over some more playing time together. If he’s still in my space I’ll bring it up to him. I’m also thinking of switching to rounds to be better heard anyhow.
    Runlikegregg likes this.
  20. DigitalMan

    DigitalMan Wikipedia often mistakes my opinions for fact Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2011
    Perhaps recommend a split with the left hand mapped to a pad sound without any attack, and volume turned way down. Might be able to fit in some subsonic stuff down there and allow the bass to own the groove and be slotted above the lower keys. That way the keys can play the parts without stepping on the bass.

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