How do i get a good Tone for Worship?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Manu413, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. Manu413


    Jul 8, 2021
    Hi, since like half a year or so im playing in Church in Youth, ive come a long way and gotten better, but at the moment i struggle with some big Tone issues and i feel like thats the bit that is needed for me to improve atm...

    Ive got an Ibanez SR300E, i know, not an Optimal Bass for Worship but its all i can afford atm since im a student, im playing with an Boss Compressor Pedal and an Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Drive DI which i dont generally use, just for the extra kick at the end when dynamically building something. Usually, i boost the bass, cut the mids, and boost the treble even a little bit more than the bass and have the neck pickup more loud than the bridge pickup. I also play on the Neck Pickup.

    Right now my Bass Tone just feels flat, not warm at all, just grumpy and somewhat just old, but not in a nice way (I hope thats understandable) even though i change my strings all 3 months (to ernie ball roundwounds)

    As for Worship Tone im dreaming of a punchy, warm, deep bass tone that is there and just builds to the whole band, not coming through the front or so, just being the bass, which i currently dont have.

    What should i change?

    Thanks for all answers,

  2. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I didn't know there was such a thing as Worship Tone! Regardless of genre, the best tone is one that serves the song as performed by the group.

    It's probably not what you want to hear, but getting the sound you want is mostly in how you play. Also, how your bass sounds in the context of your group is what should drive your choices in attack, sustain, EQ, and effects.

    I generally would take an EQ approach somewhat the opposite of yours ... for me, a lot of the magic is in the midrange. But I'm not there, and I can't hear how it sounds.
    Marko 1, notJaco, Haroldo and 9 others like this.
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    ..think you are going about this the wrong way. Extremes of EQ almost never work out. I personally dislike the SansAmp as to my ear it just muddies things up and robs punch. You may also be compressing too much.

    I would
    .Unplug the pedals
    .Set bass EQ flat
    .get away from the amp when playing with the band and listen, really listen

    How do you hear the kick drum in relation to the bass. Is the kick tuned tight and high ? flabby and low ?
    If the latter, you need less bass, more low mids, upper mids. If the former, cut the low mids a little.

    In other words, make space for the kick. Do the same with keys if there are keys and the player is busy down low.

    Then decide where you want to go from there.
  4. Rev12_11


    Oct 5, 2019
    Tampa Bay, FL
    What kinda strings do you use and when did you last change them?

    I do worship and just use a DI and tuner. I don't really need anything added to the signal. Different Strokes.
    JohnNash, mdjuszyn and Geri O like this.
  5. It sounds like your tone controls are set for woof and twang. Mids, as other have mentioned, offer definition, warmth and power to the tone. It's difficult to get any drive to the bass without mids.
  6. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Bootlegger guitars : S.I.T. Strings Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Florida USA
    The mid frequencies are where the magic is. I don’t think cutting them is the best idea.
    With a bass like yours and you being a relatively new player, I suggest flattening the eq and working on the sound in your hands to get the tone out of the bass.
    I don’t even recommend relying on much, if any, compression until you can get the sound you like without it.
    Not trying to be preachy or talk down to you, but I’m a believer in “less is more” with regards to outboard tone shaping until it can be used to enhance your natural sound, rather than create it.
  7. Manu413


    Jul 8, 2021
    I would
    .Unplug the pedals
    .Set bass EQ flat
    .get away from the amp when playing with the band and listen, really listen

    How do you hear the kick drum in relation to the bass. Is the kick tuned tight and high ? flabby and low ?
    If the latter, you need less bass, more low mids, upper mids. If the former, cut the low mids a little.


    Thanks alot for the advice man! But im not sure if i understood everything, is setting the Bass EQ Flat just dialing down all 3 knobs? Also i dont use a EQ Pedal of some Form and im also going through a PA, not an Amp so i cant dial all these things like you just said, i can only do the things with my bass (mids treble and bass)

    Ive always thought that i shouldnt boost my mids cause then I play in the frequencies the Piano should be?
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Warmer tone:

    -- play near the neck pickup

    -- use more flesh on your fingers

    -- play lightly and turn up the amp

    Flat EQ on most active basses is 12:00...usually there is a detent. Put your "Power Tap" switch in the middle.
  9. Ggaa

    Ggaa Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2018
    Bring up the mids at least to flat, get a set of DR Fatbeams....
  10. TheSeagoats


    May 21, 2015
    There's an EQ frequency graph on the Ibanez website that shows exactly where each knob affects (copied below). Maybe try boosting the bass and the mids and cutting the highs, if you're going for warmth then a lot of high end probably won't get you what you're looking for. I would also try just using the neck pickup tapped so that it's essentially a single coil, similar to a P bass setup.

  11. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    This may sound crazy to some but sell your bass and get a Squier VM p bass.
    I found that using my p bass just has that bit of missing tone to the worship music.
    Just my 1-1/2 cents.
    Or replace the pickups to for a more punchy but clear tone.
    Rocket Queen likes this.
  12. Jaycephas

    Jaycephas Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2003
    Waxhaw, NC
    The sr300e has three-band EQ. As suggested, set those to flat (no boost/cut). I would initially set the coil tap switch to “tap” (single coil), then try slightly rolling the pickup balancer knob towards the neck pickup.

    See if this warms up the tone a bit, then slightly boost the EQ to add a little change as needed. Also try the “power tap” to see if this adds what you need. I’m not a fan of series, but give it a try.

    The compressor should be set to just compress your input so it sounds more even. Start with a little first.

    The Sansamp DI is a staple for many bass players. Again, a little goes a long way. Use your ears to EQ. If you get your bass sounding the way you like, set the Sansamp EQ flat so it doesn’t counteract what you did at the bass.

    Cutting the mids will generally put your sound in the mud with little to no definition. You are trying to blend with the rest of the praise team - find your sweet spot, where you hear yourself in the mix, stay there and only minimally tweak as needed. Your band mates will appreciate the tone and your efforts.
  13. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010

    Okay- first off that bass is more than fine, so check that worry off your list.

    your main problem is probably your EQ.. scooping the mids like that is a pretty classic ‘bad idea that seems like a good idea’ mistake. In that setting, I’m more likely to cut some lows than anything else. Mids are the meat of your sound, and when you cut them all you’re left with is Weird sizzling high end and muffled boomy undefined lows. I would go so far as to say that it’s an utter myth that the lows contribute strongly to good bass tone, especially if you’re going into a PA.

    start over with your EQ on flat, try that for a session. Next time try a TINY boost to the mids. After that try a TINY boost to the mids and lows. After that try everything flat but with a TINY amount of lows taken out. Adjust your highs as needed to taste.

    I would do all of these experiments without pedals on. Compressors can be subtle and tricky to use well, and if you’re struggling with tone like you are then the last thing you need is a compressor.

    I play 99% of worship gigs, from Hillsong to Chandler Moore to Fred Hammond to the Clarke sisters, with my bass EQ flat. When I use an amp (instead of in ears) it will also be mostly flat, and I will adjust it slightly to meet the room- if I get a big resonant woof I’ll try to lower the mids around that freq, if it’s a very dry room I may boost around 150hz.. that’s about it. Most of my tone fiddling will be dialing the highs in or out on the bass, based on how aggressive or string noisy (slap) I want to be .
    Fun Size Nick, Haroldo and Jhengsman like this.
  14. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    Flatten everything. You have way too much mid scoop going on. My experience with Ibanez active electronics, boost highs and low mids.
  15. Not crazy at all. I have 2 Squier VM Precisions. A well built work horse. Once set up properly and strung with quality strings, you have a versatile instrument that will deliver sweetness, punch, and assertiveness when needed (I did not say aggressiveness).
  16. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    This is why I changed out the active electronics on the two Ibby basses I own. It is voiced for the bass tone on airplay. Nothing to help with warmth or presence or support of the ensemble.
  17. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    I agree that you should flatten your bass's tone controls, Put that mid back in (tone is in the mids) you don't need the sans amp, and the compressor should be very mild with a slow attack so you can hear your attack.

    But don't know what you sound like unless you are out in the sanctuary (hall, whatever) out to where the PA speakers project... if the PA speakers are in front of you or to the side, that will muffle what you hear. (I've never played without a monitor/amp) Talk to the person running the PA about how you are hearing yourself. (I assume you can speak to this person without being looked down on...) It might not matter that much because you are playing a supporting role and they might like how you sound. It's Always a bit of a struggle live because what you hear is always compromised some, and you have to learn how to hear yourself in less than ideal conditions.
    Jhengsman likes this.
  18. furym

    furym Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2014
    Carthage, NC
    Which Sansamp v1 or v2? The v2 has a mid control knob, the v1 does not. To boost mids on the v1 you actually cut the bass and treble. Also check the manual (available online) for the stock recommended settings. Try some of those and see how they sound with the bass set flat as suggested earlier. I have learned that with the Sansamp, it much prefers flat settings on the active bass and all eq done on the pedal. Once you find a stock setting you sort of like then make small adjustments on the pedal to fine tune it for your bass. I play exclusively in a worship setting on a silent stage. I have used the v1 and now v2 for over 10 years with various basses. It can get you what you want but it takes time.
  19. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I play almost exclusively worship music, which, to me, means my basses should be good None of my basses have any mid cut controls on them, and they fit in the mix very well. I don't think there's anything wrong with your bass for the music you're playing. About the only gear purchase I'd recommend is a fresh set of strings (if you need them). Set the tone controls on your bass to mid rotation (that may or note actually be "flat") and start from there. Work first on your technique and where you pluck the strings - that'll get you 90 percent of the way there most times - sometimes even all the way.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
    Chewy_B_i_T_s likes this.
  20. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Sounds like you may be fighting what the sound person is trying to do to make you fit in nicely. The sound person hears you in the mix out front, you don't. You could probably just go flat on everything and let let them do their job.
    Jhengsman likes this.