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live sound + upright = feedback?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by jimmyjames, Dec 25, 2012.


  1. jimmyjames

    jimmyjames

    Mar 30, 2011
    Queens
    i have some concerns pertaining to feedback

    upright bass player in front of a floor wedge monitor... is that a formula for disaster? gotta figure, if the upright is going DI, and the monitors are in front of the sound holes, you gotta figure something bad is brewing, right?


    anybody have experience with this?

    (extra info, this is a bluegrass smokehouse with live bands. its only a 5 week old place and the stage monitors are on the fritz, but I'm concerned that when they get fixed, i'm gonna have a mess on my hands lol right now the monitors hang from the ceiling (pointed at all microphones - so needless to say when i get the go ahead, they are all going on the floor... but i'm still worried about the feedback loop)
     
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    First, why are uprights "going DI"? I don't play bluegrass, but I do play with other acoustic instruments (including drums) and, if I'm not playing absolutely acoustically, I put a mic into the house system. The sound I prefer is the mic, wrapped in foam to hold it, up between the bridge feet. It's more focused and less "airy", to my ear anyway. If you're using a mic on the fiddles, banjos and guitars, you should use one on the bass as well.
    As far as monitors, generally I/we try to get an acoustic level that all of us can hear each other and then use the house system to get that out front. I generally don't have any bass in the monitors, but I've never played in a situation where the sound on the stand has been overwhelmed by the PA sound. If the band gets a little "stretched out" because of the stage set up (usually if I'm too far from the piano) I get a little of that in the monitor.
     
  3. For live i prefer to go thru an amp and then DI the amp. I never had good results on the rare occasion where i tried out straight DI from bass
     
    JMacBass65 likes this.
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    If I do use an amp (and you're talking about upright, right ShowKing?), I still like to put the mic on the instrument through the house system, that gets more of the "wood" sound to the house.
     
  5. It depends a lot on the stage volume. What works for a jazz gig may not work for a psychobilly gig and vice versa. At reasonable stage volume it should be no problem to be feedback-free.

    Things to think about:
    - Stand beside the wedge instead of in front of it.
    - Get your body between the bass and the speaker.
    - Mute the strings with your hands when you're not playing, including rests between notes.
    - Have a way to kill the signal when you put down the bass. I use an A/B box with nothing (or an electric bass with the volume turned off) on the B side.

    If somebody pushes the monitor volume to 'psychobilly', you may need to think about covering the f-holes, stuffing something under the tailpiece, using parametric EQ to cut problem frequencies, etc. but that is probably overkill for bluegrass.
     
  6. Red Planet

    Red Planet

    May 29, 2005
    Talking Rock GA
    OEM Manufacturing Supplier
    It depends on the type music, type of venue, amount of volume, size of room etc...

    A Mic sounds fantastic if you can make it work. If the whole band is using a nice IE system and your on a huge stage with lots of real estate between you and FOH. Or if your playing in a quite jazz gig at a coffee house a Mic will work great.

    If your playing in a Rockabilly band and and the rest your gang is electrified you better get a pickup fast. A Mic will not cut it in a situation like that.

    There can be many types of situations and this will dictate what you can do.

    I recommend the ROH to one side or the other pointed at your ear. Directly in front of your bass is not a good idea. It is best if the monitor cab is at about a 45 degree angle from your right ear behind you that way your body is blocking the waves from hitting you bass somewhat. This is not possible sometimes. Some situations like a hollow stage can be a nightmare and the best control for that is an Fdeck Preamp with it's HPF it can assist in cutting the boom out but it still can be a fight.

    Good luck.
     
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    +1 to aiming the monitor or amp at your ears but not at the bass if possible, to definitely having at least one band of parametric to find and kill the primary feedback frequency without killing too much of the surrounding sound, and to blocking the F-holes if necessary.

    the other key is for the player to have some "juice"; not necessarily to pound the thing, but you do need to drive the strings a bit to get decent gain before feedback.
     
  8. jimmyjames

    jimmyjames

    Mar 30, 2011
    Queens
    hey guys, a lot of great stuff so far, but i don't think i gave enough detail in my original post...


    I'm not the performer, i'm the sound guy for this particular gig.

    The venue is a beer garden/smoke house where the music is NOT the main focus, so volume isn't an issue... I have however gotten feedback a couple times before (mirrors right behind and to the side of the stage)

    I have the performer plug his/her upright into an amp and then take the DI from there.. like i said earlier, the stage monitors are on the fritz so i try to get them all comfortable with stage sound before i push up the faders.


    we don't use a drummer (too loud for the room)
    most times its acoustic gtr, mandolin, fiddle/violin, banjo, rare occasions call for a lap steel or elec guitar, but there is never more than 4 people on stage..

    The location of the monitors now (Even though they don't work scares me for when they do work) are hanging off the ceiling pointed directly at the microphones (vocal) and i wanna get them on the floor pointed at the performers. was just worried that a loop may end up happening...
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    Ah, OK, more "bluegrass" volume level.

    Any upright player with half a clue should be able to get a pickup signal plenty loud enough without feedback for this.

    Parametric and smart wedge placement will help from your end, but the player needs to have his s**t together too!
     
  10. kevteop

    kevteop

    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    If drums are too loud for the room then I would imagine the monitor level isn't going to be enough to cause feedback problems from the bass.

    Chances are the bassist won't want any bass in the monitor (nor will the band) if he's got backline, and he's probably got an appropriate pickup/mic/preamp setup to manage the gigs he does feedback-free, and will know what kinds of setups cause problems (positioning of other peoples' backline, etc.).
     
  11. Pad189

    Pad189

    May 28, 2017
    Hi guys, this is my 1st post on talkbass :) anyway I have just experienced a similar issue to jimmyjames with my upright. I was playing in a small folk band, now moved to a rock n roll band. No feedback issues with the folk band, but iv'e got some now with the rock n roll band. Generally they are small pub gigs, my upright has a pick up on it and i'm hooked up to an amp via a pre amp with a basic equalizer incorporated. I have plugged up my f holes with dense sponge, using the equalizer I have stifled a lot of the feedback issues, but the drummer and I struggle to her the bass because if I turn up volume/ gain too high I get feedback. The amp is within a few meters facing away and obviously if I bring it closer or face towards us its feedback time.
    I was thinking of moving the amp further away from our vicinity and turning up but not sure if that would lead me back to square one. Any thoughts anyone?
     
  12. RustyAxe

    RustyAxe

    Jul 8, 2008
    Connecticut
    I quit playing upright a year ago (arthritis) but when I did I was always conscious of amp/monitor placement, with the aim of keeping my body between me and sound source. So amp behind me, and no bass in any floor monitor (I was able once or twice to have some bass in a side fill, though). When the going got really tough (small stage, lively room, whatever) I'd just bring one of my acoustic bass guitars (Tacoma Thunderchief or Guild B-50). I use those exclusively these days when playing acoustic-y gigs.
     
    Pad189 likes this.
  13. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    IME, the upright works when the other instruments are acoustic, and the amplification is there to provide reinforcement. Because the upright has such a huge resonant chamber, it is the first instrument to cross the feed back threshold.

    I've stopped trying to use the upright with electric guitars. That's why Leo went to the electric bass guitar.
     
    Pad189 likes this.
  14. Pad189

    Pad189

    May 28, 2017
     
  15. Pad189

    Pad189

    May 28, 2017
    Thanks guys I agree with all and yeah I could use my bass guitar, but the upright holds such a better visual aspect. Bass guitarists are becoming quite common but upright players are still few and far between. Which I'm finding is an edge against the competition. I will keep experimenting with the feedback issue though.
     
  16. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    No, keep playing upright. If possible, do some orchestral work. It is a completely awesome instrument. It's just a matter of choosing when to not fight physics.