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How do you even out amplified pizz/arco levels?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by winston, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. winston


    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    With my setup (laminated New Standard Cleveland, Pirastro Jazzers, Schertler Stat-B or K&K BassMax pickups into various amps) there's a really large difference between the amplified pizz/arco tone and volume.

    I'm taking lessons again with a good teacher so I feel like my German bow technique is becoming more refined. Still there's a huge difference, because I feel like my pizz technique produces a lot of fundamental while bow+steel strings=lots of high end harmonics. Sometimes I kick in my SansAmp Bass Driver DI to even out pizz/arco tone/volume or (gasp!) use the compressor on my Fishman Platinum Bass DI.

    These devices work well (and affect the sound going to both my amp and the PA, which is good) but I kinda feel like I'm cheating. I've considered a volume pedal, but that probably wouldn't work well with the piezo, and wouldn't take care of the XLR signal. I've tried Innovation Honey and Obligato strings but I felt like both pizz and arco were a bit of a compromise--pizz tone was not even close, and I actually like the gruff sound of the bow on steel strings. :bag:

    Do other folks use electronics or technique (or both) to address this?
  2. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    I found that a cheap Glasser fiberglass bow helps get rid of the nasty sounding overtones coming through the amp. That type of bow doesn't have much focus which mellows things out quite a bit. Go easy on the rosin also.
  3. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    If you are use any kind of bridge-mounted pickup, you're going to get excessively loud arco. The best I can think of would be to use a volume control. Playing out at the tip more or using a lighter bow may help somewhat.
  4. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    This is one of those situations where you have to think that someone
    would address this problem with a channel switching amp for
    Double Bass. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any amplifier that
    offers this option.

  5. How about running a Realist along with your other pickup into an A/B footswitch? When I first put my Realist on, I was blown away by the amplified arco tone. You might even like it for pizz!
  6. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Realist arco tone kicks ass. That's the one thing I miss....

    You will never get that from a bridge pickup
  7. Funny you should ask! I just got a Stat-b and i like it alot but I have the same deal as you - and the same bass. i ordered a guyatone bass eq (should be in tomorrow) so that it can kick it in when i bow. -that's my idea anyway... i'll post what happens-i should be able to use it on the gig tomorrow night.
  8. winston


    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    The bass came with a Realist, which I traded for the Stat-B. Realist arco was nice, but pizz tone was very dark. At this point I like the arco/pizz sound of both the Stat-B and the BassMax, just need to even out the volume and cut some upper mids. I would much rather use a little box to doctor the arco tone than deal with mixing 2 pickups.

    Just curious--how do you mount the Stat-B? On my bass the holes in the bridge under the E and G strings are egg-shaped rather than round so the pickup sits at about a 45-degree angle. On the Schertler site they suggest gluing a piece of wood to the top part of the bridge foot so the pickup is parallel to the top of the bass. The Stat-B sounds quite good mounted as-is but I wonder if it would sound even better that way.

    jallenbass--I have a Glasser bow that came with my EUB. It actually seems a bit more nasal (and has much less low end) than my heavy $200 German stick, but the lighter weight lets me play a little more gingerly.
  9. The "amplified arco-pizz volume problem" has bugged me since the first time I plugged in my Kay. For quick-and-dirty practice sessions, I run a preamp into a Zoom multi-effects pedal. The pedal is programmed with a lesser volume for arco (plus I add a bit of compression for both arco and pizz to hold back the feedback a tad). So when I grab the bow, I kick the pedal to a different setting. For gigs, I have a preamp on my belt and I simply turn down the volume before using the bow.

    I know these aren't perfect solutions, but they work well enough, for now. I have a K&K Dual-Channel preamp and an A/B box - one day I'll experiment with hooking that up (should work).
  10. anonymous8547j7d7b

    anonymous8547j7d7b Guest

    Jul 1, 2005
    I've used the stat-b for a number of years now & have got to the stage of requiring replacement cork. Mine has always been fitted parallel with the body (like the pics of the "old" system) & has sounded great. When I initially bought mine there were no hints on wooden shims in the wing-hole etc from Schertler. HOWEVER, I reckon now that fitting the unit other than as per instructions only lets it operate at nearly optimum levels. While you are playing, get someone to press gently on the outside of the bridge wing - you'll probably notice a general "darkening" & "fulling out" of the sound :crying: . It's probably fairly obvious to a lot of folk, but in fitting the stat-b my way (& poss yours) you defeat the purpose ie fitting tight but not too tight :meh: by actually pushing the wing outward! Through time I have always noticed a sudden loss of "body" & an increase in harsher high mids/highs :mad: which have required revarnishing the cork or sticking a(nother) cardboard shim in the winghole (like in the instructions). When I get my new bass & transfer the unit I'm gonna make damn sure I do it properly to avoid the hassle! Hope this helps.

  11. Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting you mix them. Rather, use one for pizz and the other for arco. A simple stomp to switch between the two. I figured that would be easier than mucking with volume and tone controls on the fly.
  12. basster


    Aug 14, 2003
    i´m using two different pickups: bassmax for pizz, akg c411 for arco, running into a 2-channel combo with switchable channels. works fine!!
  13. Since I got my Full Circle, the pizz/arco thing isn't really an issue.
  14. mine is mounted paralell-so the cork points at the g string. i have a cork wedge on the left side to hold it in place.
    i used the eq pedal tonight and i liked it-i rolled back the harsh stuff it sounded great! pretty darn natural sounding. just a first impression of course. i'll keep it for a while.