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how does sound effect your bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by shackman, Mar 19, 2002.


  1. I play in a 6 piece fusion band of sorts, influenced by MMW,among others, and i play my DB half of the time with this band. I wonder how much high volumes (coming from organ, rhodes, guitar amps, drums, etc.) of sound effect the instrument. If anyone has any insight on this, please enlighten me.
     
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Playing in loud electric blues bands for years, I have to deal with this on a regular basis.

    The biggest problem is the low end from OTHER instruments driving you into feedback. The bass' body acts like a resonator and vibrates in sympathy with the sound of the other instruments. It can also just muddy up your sound, since the unwanted resonances often clash with the string vibrations.

    In some cases this works to your advantage; if you like to lock with the kick drum you may find a spot on stage where the kick starts resonating the bass. This can be really sweet :cool:

    Your first defense is your location on stage. Feel free to move around to find a "sweet spot" then stay there :D You can also stand so that your body is between the offending sound source and the back of the bass. Try stuffing some foam behind the tailpiece to dampen vibrations being transferred into the strings. If you are going through the PA, ask the soundman to keep the bass out of the monitors (especially the drummer's monitor which tends to get really cranked).

    If stage volumes are still too high your last resort is magnetic pickups like Biesele or String Charger. You end up with a much more electric tone, but they do cut through and are much more feedback resistant than piezo pickups.
     
  3. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    If I understand your question correctly, you would like to know what the effect the other instruments have on your bass.....By subjecting your acoustic instrument to loud volumes such as this, especially with a lot of bass(organ/bass drum), it could quite possibly make your bass sound better. A well played bass usually tends to sound much better than one seldom played, because the wood fibres have opened up. This gives you more volume, and a more mellow tone. By subjecting your bass to the volume of your fusion band, it in affect speeds up the process, and should make your bass sound better.
     
  4. thanks to both of you. i was actually wondering about damage from volume which aj summed up, but the first reply was great as well.. gracias
     
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    From a maker/restorer's POV: Playing in a loud setting will cause your bass to vibrate in ways it really was not built for. Expect more open seams than usual, and be careful that you maintain its humidity level to avoid new cracks. Stages where the music is loud tend to also feature hot lights which dry out the air. To fight feedback, thread an old sock or piece of foam between the strings down below the bridge, otherwise those fixed notes may be set vibrating by other instruments. This technique helps clean up the sound any time you play thru an amp.
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    This last is EXCELLENT advice. I keep a piece of felt wrapped between the strings most of the time these days for just such a reason. I wish someone had told me this years ago - it took me quite a while to figure out where that bizarre sound was coming from...