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How do I control an amp that is way too loud?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Chuck McCalip, Apr 8, 2020.

  1. Chuck McCalip

    Chuck McCalip

    May 20, 2007
    Bemidji, MN
    Question: I've been a long-time Fender J player through a Fender 250-210 combo for a lot of years. A couple years ago I bought a Fender Rumble 500 head and 210 bottom and an Ibanez active 5 string. (Would probably still be playing through an Ampeg B300 if they made a durable cabinet but that's another story). Playing in a 5 piece honky tonk country band I have to have the volume and gain down so low that I can't really use the controls. Put the Rumble head aside and bought a MarkBass 200 head. Improvement, but still way too loud. Clubs we're playing usually average 100-150 people... Eagles, VFWs and the like where it's real easy to get too loud. Is there a solution other than abandoning the active 5 string?
  2. tom-g


    Oct 2, 2007
    How about turning down?
    jbrew73, daveman50, crguti and 48 others like this.
  3. I'm confused - I've got an 8 x 10" cab and the amp can be VERY loud, or if I turn the master down, I can play very quietly with it - I'm obviously missing something here?
    bobyoung53, Larchi, Sixgunn and 14 others like this.
  4. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Open or have a guitar tech open the active bass. Many have an extra trim knob to adjust the output.
    Any good tech would know how to lower the level of the bass to match standard amp inputs.
  5. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    aside from the advice already given ... turn down the master volume (which is fairly obvious I would think) ... if the issue is how hot the signal is from your active 5er, most modern amps have an active/passive option at the input, either separate inputs or a switch that will pad down the input level. Many feel that this can negatively impact the tone of your bass, but you should look for that on your amp and give it a try.

    I'd add that your problem is probably easier to address than the opposite one ... not loud enough.

    good luck OP
  6. dbase

    dbase Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2008
    South Jersey, USA..
    Why would want to do that? ;)
    bobyoung53, Low Crow, Bahjark and 2 others like this.
  7. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Randall, sprag, jazzbass_5 and 50 others like this.
  8. msb


    Jul 3, 2002
    Halifax,N,S. Canada
    Slammer !
    daveman50 likes this.
  9. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    When you say “loud” do you mean that you’re out of balance with the band or that you’re blooming out in the room? Sometimes the resonant frequency of the room can make the bass get out of control. Eq or hpf can help that.
    bobyoung53, jamro217, Lava and 5 others like this.
  10. Chuck McCalip

    Chuck McCalip

    May 20, 2007
    Bemidji, MN
    To balance with the band i'm barely cracking gain and volume on the fender, and barely turning up the volume on the instrument. I'll have to look at the active bass to see if there are signal adjustments on it.
  11. Chuck McCalip

    Chuck McCalip

    May 20, 2007
    Bemidji, MN
    Nope. The Ampeg that sit's in the music room has an active input jack, but neither the fender or markbass has one, nor a pad switch that I can find.
  12. Kendescending


    Feb 27, 2020
    A trick I learned is to use an EQ pedal (like a Boss GE-7), and bring down the volume going to the amp using the level control. You also have some tone control as well. I tried the Electro Hamonix signal pad to bring down the level, but it also rolled off on the high end. I didn't care for it.
  13. pfschim

    pfschim Just a Skeleton with a Jazz bass

    Apr 26, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    oh well. guess you'll have to revert to dialing down the gain/master v
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  14. 93A1653C-8B69-464B-8060-1F6A6B72BA79.png Maybe I’m not understanding what exactly your looking for, but I have a late 60’s Marshall Major 200 watt that is EXTREMELY LOUD and was made for playing arenas. But, I just turn it down and use it for rehearsals all the time. Do you know just how loud in decibels your amp is running? Or how quiet (in decibels) you want it to be? Does it just come on full blast at 1, and stay at that volume no matter where you turn the knob? Or, is it a tone thing? Because, yes, my MarshallMajor sounds better loud. But it sound good enough quiet.
    mikewalker, MDBass and TN WOODMAN like this.
  15. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    Might there be something wrong with the amp?
    The Fender Blues DeLuxe that I use for skinny string guitar takes spells where the volume jumps WAY UP to where I can't get it tamed down.
    TN WOODMAN likes this.
  16. Doner Designs

    Doner Designs Steve Doner Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2012
    Metro Chicago Area
    Doner Designs is an alias for Steve Doner
    Strange. I use an 800 watt rig to practice at home
    Liam Wald, Bahjark, Jackcrow and 10 others like this.
  17. 2F/2F


    May 26, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    I am having a very hard time understanding why this is an issue.

    I play an 800 watt Ampeg. Before I got my Rumble 40, I could easily play the Ampeg quietly enough to play with acoustic guitars. Lugging it was the problem, not getting it quiet enough. I'd rather not heft more amp than is necessary.

    It sounds like perhaps you don't have a firm grasp of how the amp controls work.

    Start with your gain all the way down. Use your master volume only. See what happens. I run my Rumble 40 like this all the time, to get true living room volumes: gain on 0, master used as the only volume control.

    Some amps require you to crack the gain at least a little bit, but on those amps, that's what you do: run it at the minimum setting that allow the amp to create sound. Do everything else with the master.

    Having to run your volumes low should not affect your ability to "really use the controls." I don't understand that statement at all.
    MCF, dkelley, Bassdirty and 3 others like this.
  18. Leo Smith

    Leo Smith

    Oct 21, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    two questions -

    1- if the bass has EQ, how do you have it set? Is everything all the way up?

    2- what are your EQ settings on the amp? again, is everything up? or set nominally flat?

    ....and I'll second the previous idea of finding a "boost control"inside the instrument's control cavity and turning it down.
    Element Zero and Gearhead17 like this.
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'm really not sure what to tell you, Chuck. I gig with gear like yours all the time and have no volume issues. Most of the bands I play with try to keep stage levels low. When I'm playing DB, I can only get so loud before feedback anyway.

    I start with the volume on the bass between 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up so I can adjust at the bass if needed during the gig. I run the master on the amp wide open, gain usually around 9-10:00 to start, in a really large room I might dial it up to about 12:00.
    dbase likes this.
  20. MCF


    Sep 1, 2014
    I suggest you read through this thread. Also post over in the Rumble Club. Plenty of nice folks there who can give advice.
    Fender Rumble 500 With Active Bass
    Haroldo, Kipp Harrington and Stumbo like this.

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