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Looking to tighten up my bass tone, pedal help!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GeneralElectric, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Hey everyone,

    It's been awhile since I've been on TB and thankfully my GAS has mostly subsided. I'm playing in a 3 piece rock band that blends surf and 90s alt rock and I'm trying to have my sound fit better in the mix before we start to play out.

    My set up is a P-Bass with a P retro preamp and some seasoned DR lo riders through a markbass little mark ii and aguilar gs210 cab. I use a green rhinos distortion pedal on some songs.

    Guitarist uses a telecaster through a fender reverb amp.

    After listening to some live recordings the bass is all over the mix. I lose a lot of articulation and punch. I'm thinking a good compressor and maybe a hi pass filter would do the trick.

    Looking for tips and suggestions. My budget is about $$200 for both pedals, probably used. I don't mind spending more money on a good compressor now before investing in a hi pass filter later.
  2. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Are you using a finger or pick? Does the bass need a setup? A comp is a useful tool, but I don't generally recommend it to fix something. It is better suited for making a great sound better.

    If you want to investigate comps I suggest reviewing the site http://www.ovnilab.com.
  3. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    I play fingerstyle with a medium to heavy attack. Bass is set up as close to perfect as possible and playd smoothly and evenly all across the neck.

    Normally I play through a tube amp or direct to the board. Unfortunately I sold off or traded away a large portion of my gear between moves.

    When I practice at home it's not really an issue, nor has it been with other bands I've played with. However, I usually play with much larger groups. Now I'm playing in a three piece with a guitarist who doesn't play that much.

    I'm try to reduce some of the woolly qualities in the low end and mid range that comes from playing a precision bass in a small group. I generally boost the mids on my bass for a sorta burpy tone. Ideally I would like a much more pronounced attack for all the notes I play, which is basically what I define as punchy.
  4. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    If by woolly qualities, you mean a billowy bottom, then I think a comp will help tighten it up. However, if you mean too thick, or undefined, I think EQ should help with that.
  5. Where are you plucking the strings at? Try plucking at them just behind the pickup.
  6. JonDark


    May 21, 2013
    Detroit MI
    Could always take advantage of that brick-n-mortar store return policy and test out a couple things during rehearsals etc see what does the trick. Try an Eq as mentioned, or see if maybe a bass pre/di helps
  7. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA!
    Any given PBass with a wool issue can generally benefit from an EQ cut around 133hz - check and see if the C note at the third fret on your A string is particularly loud, which will give you a good idea. The C fundamental is around 65 hz, the ~133 hz being a harmonic of this frequency, which is often exaggerated by a P pickup. Most graphic EQs will give you a band to cut at 125 hz, or a parametric can zero right in. It seems to me like that's what you're describing. Cut maybe 4db @ 133hz, and cut a little less (2db) at 60hz and it should clear things up. An MXR M108 10-band is around $100 new.
  8. BFunk

    BFunk Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Excellent recommendation.
  9. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    Thanks for the recommendations guys!

    This was originally why I was thinking of getting a high pass filter to cut some of the stuff around 100hz. Do you think a filter or an EQ pedal would be of more benefit?

    EDIT: I think part of the reason why I never had this problem before was because my last bass amp wasn't particularly bassy, it was an Ampeg B25B and the only controls were Bass, Treble, and Volume. I would cut the bass and boost the treble and the tubes helped to squish everything together where it sounded nice. :p
  10. JonDark


    May 21, 2013
    Detroit MI
    I would try with an Eq/ LowBrow's recommendation of the MXR M108 if it were me, personally
  11. I'd say get a comp and make sure your string mutting technique is good.
  12. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
  13. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA!
    Bear in mind that the freq. imbalance can also be attributed to an unwanted resonant peak created by your amp, a given room, your amp's placement in a given room, etc. What's nice about using EQ cutting is that it pretty much works to control all these causations. A pedal will not make your amp less boomy, it will work to deliver less of that boomy frequency to your amp. It will not make a room less boomy, but using the equation above, your amp will deliver less of the boomy frequency to the room. You dig.

    The m108 is pretty rugged and keeps it simple -- another big plus is that for $100 you'll own a useful item that you will probably be able to use for a variety of things down the line. This is the primary reason that I recommend it rather than one of the more bass-specific EQ pedals like the Boss or Whirlwind (which is also 2x $$).
  14. jumblemind

    jumblemind I also answer to Bryan Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2011
    I gigged a Little Mark head through a 210 for a while, and it sounds to me like an issue with the Markbass. A different amp might suit that style a little better, like an Aguilar Tone Hammer 350/500, or even an Ampeg Portaflex, and give you the tube-like tightness you miss. The Little Marks are warm and round and a bit loose by nature, and I imagine even more so through a GS cabinet.

    Clearly a new amp is above $200, and the MXR EQ is a great suggestion (and be sure to cut only, the MXR's are HOT on the boosts). I would also throw out the idea of a tube preamp type of pedal that will give you compression and tightness "naturally" without squashing like an actual compressor pedal.
  15. SunnBass

    SunnBass All these blankets saved my life.

    Aug 31, 2010
    Columbia, Mo
  16. I experimented with Lowbrow's suggestion for mid cuts on a digital multi fx pedals parametric EQ & the results were positive with my P bass. Brought out more bark less woof. I might incorporate this setting for my P & PJ basses we'll see. Do you have any specific eq tricks for a Jazz style bass & or where do you get your esoteric knowledge Lowbrow?
  17. godblender

    godblender Banned Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2009
    I would definitely second the idea of a little subtractive eq although I might start with simply dialing back the bass on the amp itself. A good parametric eq pedal is always handy though, both live and in the studio.

    Good luck.
  18. huckleberry1


    Jul 1, 2013
    Mesquite, Texas
    Personally, I would lose the littlemark and purchase a Diamond compressor pedal which is expensive but well worth it.
  19. Lowbrow

    Lowbrow Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2008
    Pittsburgh PA!
    Just a lot of time in a lot of situations, keeping your mind open to many solutions and training your ear to diagnose sonic issues. Never played a Jazz much but it's all the same theory: eliminate offending frequencies. It's not specific to a given bass.