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Keyboardist/sound man wants me to pick one bass to play. Jealousy or does he have a point?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Greg_S, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    I don't think that your wealth is his issue. By now, you should know which basses work with your band. If you don't have a dedicated soundman, then i'd suggest only using one bass. If the guy is making comments to you and to the other bandmates, I'd take that seriously. If he has to set up his own gear, and run sound, then he's got a lot of work to do before each show. It's more important to have all members cool headed at the beginning of the show than it is to have a new flavor of the week bass. Do what it takes to make the band work as a whole.
  2. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Yes i think it becomes an issue of being a team player. Again, trying out new basses all the time does nothing but hinder the group as a whole. While the damage is likely minimal, it does seem to be important to the keys/sound guy. That should be enough to put your ego aside and just settle on one bass, if for no other reason than to avoid unneeded drama.
  3. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    I have a Sadowsky NYC PJ5 that does it for me. It feels just right in my hand and is the bass I grab for every gig - most of the time. Every now and then I find a gem that I want to use instead.

    As for what hasn't worked, hmmm . . . there have been quite a few. Most notably, I've come to the realization that I can't play 4 string basses any longer, so those had to go. I also have become quite particular to nut width and string spacing (1.8 - 2" at the nut and 19mm at the bridge), so those basses that didn't "measure up" had to go.

    As for sound not being up to snuff, anything passive only doesn't usually cut it because we have such a big sound that they don't cut through the mix. But there have been some active basses that were too hot, in particular a G&L L2500 I acquired which roared no matter what I did to it. Tried a Lightwave and that was too clean - it just didn't sit well in the mix. Quite frankly, I quickly forget about the basses I didn't like so I'm having trouble coming up with examples and I don't want to disparage a bass just because I didn't like it. That will get some angry posts for sure!
  4. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    Thanks for your comments. I will take that to heart. One thing you might want to know though is this - I, along with him and the BM do ALL of the set up for every gig. We are the 3 roadies that have our stage set up dialed in, so it's not all on him. His primary responsibility is the FOH sound and monitor mix. We each have to also set up our own gear/rig. The point I'm making is that we're all in this together. I'm not a prima donna.
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    That right there.
    OP should make sure he's sending the same signal level and the same ballpark tone to the sound person regardless of which instrument he's using.
    If he's doing that, the sound guy should keep his mouth shut.
    If he's not doing it, he needs to start today.
    mcnach, Max Blasto and Greg_S like this.
  6. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    No ego here! I get it. If you'll read further my responses, you'll find that most of this drama is contained to practice only. I usually use the same bass for our gigs. That's why I think this is a jealousy issue, not a legitimate sound problem for him.
    Seanto likes this.
  7. Well, if you're using the same bass the majority of the time, it sounds like you understand the importance of a consistent tone, and your sound guy/keys player is being a bit huffy.

    It seems your choices are clear: Go with your instinct to be consistent and minimize whatever extra burden it may place on your sound person, or mix it up with your collection and deal with his huffiness.

    Obviously, a dedicated sound tech outside the band would be ideal, but not all bands want to fork over the equivalent of another musician's pay for that. I run our sound from stage so we can all get paid better, but it is a challenge. I count on my band to flex a little sometimes and not make my job any more difficult.

    Maybe you can limit your rotation of main players to a finite number, and it would be a big help if they all had very similar tone and output. Sometimes my bass player shows up with a bass that is way different from the last one, and I have to start from scratch with it.

    BTW, regarding mixer scenes, we're using a QSC Touchmix, and I only have three scenes saved (large room, small room, outdoors), and they make an excellent starting point at a wide variety of venues and stages. I don't mind minor tweaks here and there, but I wouldn't want to have to create an entirely new scene for every stage we play, or different sets of instruments. That would be excessive.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    Greg_S likes this.
  8. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    Whoops, where did I give the impression I change basses every song?! I don't. I bring two to every gig, one for backup as I learned that lesson the hard way, but almost ALWAY's play one bass for the entire gig and it's usually the same bass!
    RustyAxe likes this.
  9. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    We just bought the same mixer and so far, it seems pretty impressive! We're going with IEMs this year and that's what prompted this. BTW, he grouched about that too!
    electracoyote likes this.
  10. Well, I understand how it could be an issue if you bring say two basses to the show that drastically alter your tone and you bounce between them all night. I use one with flats and the other has rounds I set up the set list so the one with flats see all of it's action during the first set. The one with round wound sees all the rest of the night. My soundman appreciates the effort put forth to get this done.
    Greg_S likes this.
  11. Greg_S

    Greg_S Supporting Member

    That is always done. Amp/Speaker rig and tone never changes.
  12. When you go with your IEM's, he'll have to re-calibrate all the aux (monitor) sends. But it should be one and done. Hardly worth bitching about. Maybe running sound isn't really in his wheel house and he feels trapped or stuck with a crap duty? Maybe he's just unhappy with life in general? If that's the case, you have to tread lightly and let stuff roll off your back.
  13. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Is he being required to mix at rehearsal as well?
  14. iamprowla


    Nov 28, 2016
    Tell him you're an artist and he's getting in your space.
    John B jr likes this.
  15. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    How many independent IEM mixed is he now require to provide? 8?
    Imaginary Pony likes this.
  16. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If you're sure you're sending him the same level and tone regardless of the instrument you're using then he's lying about having to change things on his end every time you switch basses.
    What are you using to normalize the signal level you're sending him among the instruments?
  17. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    Ask him which of your basses is his favorite in the mix, and bring that one to work. Done. Bring the spare bass that is most like the main.

    I'll bet money he picks a P bass. With flats. And tort.

    Play the crap out of it.
    petey293, John B jr and Mvilmany like this.
  18. I don't think your soundman would get along with me well.
    I always bring two basses, both to have a backup and
    to have different sounds.
    I like to plan the set list so that I can change once or
    maybe twice in a set to keep from having the exact same sound all the time.
    Some basses just sound better for some songs than others.
    I do try to make sure that the level is close.

    Try talking this out with him.
    Explain that you need to bring a backup anyway, so you may as well
    give it some playing time.
    Ask if there is anything he needs you to do to make life easier for him.
    Maybe help set up the PA to take some load off of him.
    ctmullins likes this.
  19. Um, yeah, what he asked.

    Because that changes things in my mind. I often experiment with different guitars at rehearsal, and we don't apply nearly the same standard for sound in our rehearsal space as we do on our stages. I realize every band is different, but for us, rehearsals are mainly for reference. In other words, are we playing to the same chosen arrangement? are we executing properly? are we tight? are there rough spots that need to be ironed out? etc. We don't get too hung up about tonal or mix issues unless something flies off the charts and simply becomes too distracting.

    If you can't experiment a little in rehearsal with your band to see how things feel and where you sit in the overall mix and output, where else can you do it? I sometimes even make an announcement, "Hey guys, I'm trying something different over here today to see if it can work for us, don't freak out."

    Still, I think keeping your rotation of stage basses finite and very similar in output would be doing both yourself and your chosen sound tech a big favor.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
    John B jr and Mystic Michael like this.
  20. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    am i misunderstanding, or is he complaining about changing settings from show to show or rehearsal to rehearsal, not within the same show or rehearsal?