Improve laminated DB resonance

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bajistaman, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Hi! I currently own a laminated DB that I was using amplified using a mix of a Fishman BP 100 and a Krivo Pickup + Radial AC Driver Acoustic Preamp in a band with 2 electroacoustic guitars and a regular drum, everyone using IEMs through a X Air digital mixer.
    Yesterday the drummer brought a Loota (Loota percussion - English) and we decided to go full acoustic and the DB sound was completely lost.
    I was wondering if this is always going to be the case and the DB must always be amplified or if there was something to do to improve the DB resonance, so when is not amplified it still can project enough volume so it doesn't get lost in the room.
    Any tips?
  2. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Many considerations, but one of the biggest is going to be that the drummer sets the volume, and that a hell of a lot of sound can come out of that Loota thing. It wouldn't be inappropriate for you to ask how he can reduce volume without sacrificing the attack. There are many ways to do it, he probably knows them all. Its just not as fun, for the drummer.

    A jazz drummer can work with lower volume than most other styles, and if you're not playing jazz, he's gonna pop that beat out there no matter what the instrument, so playing acoustically may never work for you. Raise the action, pull harder! Your luthier can probably help you get a bit more volume.
  3. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    You might search for a recent thread in the DB forum on "going unamplified" or something like that (I don't recall the exact name of the thread). Some basses are loud and put out lots of volume, others are not. You might try increasing the string height a bit, while it will make it harder to play you'll get more volume when you can pull the string harder with your right hand. Worst case, stick with the amplification but at a lower volume.
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  4. Lance Bunyon

    Lance Bunyon Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2018
    Get gut strings, raise your action. May increase volume.

    I play in an acoustic trio. 5 string Boulder Creek ABG. It will always be amplified. That being said, the percussionist should be using brushes and hands and djembe etc to really meet coffee house level volumes.
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  5. This one?
    Unamplified Volume
  6. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    No, that wasn't it. I looked and cannot find it, was only in the last month or so. Perhaps someone else will chime in and help find it.
  7. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
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  8. Thanks, great advice, will try first asking the drummer to play softer so everyone can be heard, at least I am now conviced that I don't need to play harder in order to be heard.
  9. John Le Guyader

    John Le Guyader Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    DC Metro
    Chuck Traeger suggested to open up and make more resonant laminate basses (specifically Kay): a hardwood sound post with ends rounded like the butt end of a drum stick (but leaving no less than about 16mm (5/8") in diameter and krazy glue treatment on the ends so the sound post ends act like bearings), if you have a metal endpin/endplug, replace with hardwood (I'm using a 1/2" diameter hickory timbale stick as my end pin on my Engelhardt (essentially a Kay) and I think I hear a difference from that alone), if you have a solid metal wire for your tailpiece hanger replace it with 3/32" braided wire, and finally, place .008" Teflon pads under the bridge feet (Ron Carter brought that one to Traeger, but I haven't tried that one yet).
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  10. I don't think laminate basses are necessarily less loud.
    I was at luthier's just today and I am amazed how much they can change with a lot of very simple adjustations. Moving the bridge a bit, setting the soundpost right, etc. If your bass was not set up correctly in the past, I think that there's a good chance that letting a good luthier do the setup will result in more loudness (and more playing comfort, of course).
    Apart from that, you can experiment with where you stand (if you are in the corner, you are probably going to be louder), or on what you stand (endpin stuck in a wooden podium).
    If your stings are old, you'll probably gain some volume with new ones, especially if they are built to be loud.
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  11. I got some essential work and a fresh setup last winter and the luthier made my old Czech ply bass come alive with a dramatic soundpost shift.

    I agree that a wooden endpin will also make a difference.

    Work with the bow will make your pizz project more too. This should not be taken fro granted. My left hand (right handed player) technique has dramatically improved with the bow...well stopped notes ring much clearer and at the least gove the impression of more volume
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  12. The BP 100 is basically a mute, so get that off and you will get a lot more sound. The Underwood is as well. take off all the pick ups, get new strings like Spirocores or gut. Also, practice with all the junk off the bass. The bow will help, also.
  13. We live in a noisy world and the white and midrange noise can mask the lower frequencies. Try going out to the wilderness. Some place that you can't even take your car and you will notice how sound can carry if the environment is truly quite. I heard a guy playing guitar 20 minutes before I got to his spot.

    My point is, do not torture yourself going ampless. Laminated basses can get/areloud but not maybe not from the player's perspective. Bluegrass players can be heard from the audience.
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  14. Setup and technique issue, mostly, but you also have to understand how frequency stacks work. Your acoustic sound will not project if you’re competing with another part of the ensemble in the same set of frequencies. You have to find empty space in the overall sound and fill it. Gut strings can help you understand that. Your bottom end opens up and takes over all this uncontested territory.
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  15. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Type and tension of strings can make a huge difference. So can your soundpost setup.

    In the worst case, bring your amp and threaten to plug in unless the drummer lowers volume. This also works with banjoists (I are one).
  16. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    A metal endpin into a wooden floor in a good corner can do wonders. I was once told I was playing so loud it was hard to hear the banjo.
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  17. martinc

    martinc In Memoriam

    Definitely follow Damon's advice about getting rid of the junk from your bridge. Then use a dynamic mic (Shure, Peavey etc on a stand or attached to the bass facing the top just under the treble side of the bridge) and put your bass through the PA only. No amp. That way you can run the bass at a low level from the board and still get a natural sound from it. Depending on the venue, this is my favourite way of getting the sound of my upright bass out to the audience.
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