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Managing arco/pizz levels?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by tornadobass, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    I'm going to be playing a pit orchestra for a show that mixes arco and pizz enough that I really do need to use a bow for some parts. It's possible I'll be asked to use an amp.

    My choices of bass are either a Bugbass with single BassMax or American Standard URB with Underwood.

    In either case, the arco is loud and bright when I have the pizz dialed in. What solutions do you guys use? I've tried a Yamaha Bass EQ pedal with bypass for pizz and a different EQ and volume setting on the pedal for arco.

    That works, but the pizz tone isn't as good as without the pedal. Other suggestions? Is there usually this volume/tone imbalance between pizz & arco?
  2. Saw the bass player with BeatleGrass put on his Tourte mute to play arco while plugged in.

    It seamed to balance the level between pizz and arco.
  3. 1. Get one more EQ. Some DI-boxes also have filters. Cut treble and/or volume while scratching the strings.
    2. Try another PU. The realist PU has always done the job for me.
  4. I use the sans amp DI to switch back and forth if volume is that much of an issue. Works well for me.
  5. I have this problem every Tuesday night with my concert band. I've tried a volume pedal (too fussy to get it in the right place), an A/B switch, two-channel preamp, etc. One setup that works is to go from the pickup to a preamp and then into a Zoom pedal (one of those processor boxes). I have the Zoom pedal programmed for arco and for pizz (so different EQ and volume). I wouldn't record with this setup, but with a noisy 40+ concert band, it works. Perhaps the suggestion above for the extra EQ pedal would be a more "professional" way to go? Maybe an A/B switch between two preamps?

    Good luck!
  6. larry


    Apr 11, 2004
    I found the Full Circle to have good pizz/arco balance, and a nicer arco sound than any other pickup, IMO.
  7. I don't have any experience with the Bass Max, but when I was using the Underwood the balance of levels between arco and pizz was always a problem. I tried some of the solutions that you have - different preamps and EQ's, etc. - but ultimately I ended up trying different pick ups. I'm currently using a Full Circle and, as Larry says above, I've found it to have a good arco sound and balanced arco/pizz levels. I haven't had to change EQ settings when I grab the bow. The Realist I used before was also good in this regard.


  8. tornadobass

    tornadobass Supporting Member

    Nov 20, 2000
    Iowa City, Iowa
    Endorsing Artist: Black Diamond & SuperSensitive strings
    Thanks for all the ideas. For the Bug, I'm basically stuck with the BassMax. On my URB, I could pursue the Full Circle if it starts getting enough use. I tried a Realist a few years ago and it had problems with some of the E string notes sounding dead in pizz.

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