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Markbass Settings With Pbass

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by theevilplankton, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. I've been struggling to get a great tone from my Markbass setup.

    I run a CMD121P amp with a New York cab - had this for a while.

    However, I've recently changed bass, now got a 2012 American Standard Precision. Love the bass - but I just can't seem to nail 'the' tone.

    I'm pretty much playing with a pick in the current band, nickel wound D'addario strings.

    Tried everything at 12, bit of gain, fiddled with the filters....but it still sounds a bit top 'sharp'. I've rolled the tone off the bass about half way as well.

    Any suggestions on this? I've googled some settings, and it just confused me even more!:bag:
  2. terranova


    Sep 9, 2011
    I am playing an semi agressive g&l , if I set the vpf and vle to 3 o'clock and the rest to 12 it sounds like mud, no top 'sharp' evident.
  3. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    Get an Aguilar Tonehammer 500, I have found mine plays MUCh better with my passive USA P-Bass than the Markbass LM III did. Both at band volumes, and practice. The Markbass LMIII was HARD to hear on stage for me. I felt it, good thump, but couldn't articulate a lot of what I was playing.
  4. I disagree with obimark, sorry....adding effects/ and or extra EQ to a P-Bass is not necessarily the answer. I have almost EXACTLY the same setup you do: 102p and I sometimes use a 1X15 NY cab. I struggled with this amp for almost 2 years, fiddling w/controls and getting mostly bad advice from other players... I tried preamps, effects pedals and my sound only got worse. This is what I have learned;
    #1) generally I use EITHER VPF OR VLE, but never the two together. TERRANOVA is right, it will sound muddy if you use both. That's because one is a vintage "tubey" kind of tone, and the other is essentially a scoop filter.
    #2) the EQ controls should be used sparingly if you boost, but don't forget you can always cut them too, especially the bass.
    #3) set the gain control properly: Turn the vol control on the bass to full. Turn off master vol; Turn up gain and play hard (like you would live), until the blue clip light comes on, then back off a notch until it doesn't.
    That's proper Markbass gain.
    Now carefully experiment, try starting out at 12o'clock with the EQ, but turn up each tone shaping control ONE AT A TIME.
    I find my best setting to be VLE off and VPF (scoop) at about 2 o'clock.
    Change EQ to taste.
    In other words, start with EITHER VLE or VPF, then add your EQ.
    You might find you like it better with a lot of VLE (tube) and no VPF. That creates a more plucky, country sounding tone.
    ALSO, and this is important:
    Start with just the 2x10. Disconnect the NY cab to do your testing. I find it sounds better on stage with just the one cab believe it or not. I hardly ever use the 1x15 anymore. ( I had a second 2x10 last year but traded it.) But then, I almost always play through FOH through the Markbass DI, which is also excellent quality.

    I hope this helps...Ziggy
    BillMason likes this.
  5. Ziggy - you are a legend!

    That is exactly the detailed response I dreamed of - I will try everything you have kindly suggested - including doing the testing without the cab attached.

    I'm glad I'm not alone - I was going mad trying to get a good sound!

    Now to - hopefully - get that Pbass growl!

    Thanks again....great stuff.
  6. Hey man,
    If you still can't get the right tone after doing this experimentation, you may want to demo a different cab with the same amp. I use a 2x10 cab (102p) and it works great. My friend had one like yours and traded it in for something else eventually. I have never played it, but I have heard it and it doesn't sound the same at all. Maybe too thumpy. Sounds like you want precision growl ala John Whetton-King Crimson sound. That might be better achieved with a different cab setup, not sure...You can always take your bass to a Guitar Center later and applying what you've learned, demo different cabinet combos. I learned to drop out my extra 1x15 by accident... One night at a gig, I left my Speakon cable at home, so I was forced to play the gig with just the 2x10. Damn if it didn't sound better! Been doing that ever since...Good luck! Ziggy
  7. Sorry, my bad, I didn't realize you had a 1x12....Change the sentence "Start with just the 2x10" to "1x12". Point being, don't attach the second speaker cabinet yet. Keep it simple.
  8. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Well, my experience is different. With my LMIII going through one (or two) of my Traveler 151P cabs I usually end up with the eq knobs all at noon and then use mostly the VLE filter at around 2:00-3:00 for a good P-bass sound. My gain is set as per Markbass' recommendation (ending up at about 2:00 for me, personally), and usually set the master around 10:00-11:00, max. This is while playing my '87 Jazz Bass Special on the P pup. Did it just the other night, and sounded great. Works with my 121H combo as well.
  9. I play with a P and LM2 through a 6x10. If the "Wetton Growl" is what your after. I would keep the VPF(scoop) off. And maybe just a little of the VLE filter(around 9 o'clock). I would keep most the eq's at noon except the high mids. Boost those a bit. If this sounds a bit off to you, try it in a band setting before you dismis it. Alot of times what sounds great in a bedroom just does'nt work in the context of a band and vice versa. Good luck. And rememberm the growl is in the mids, don't scoop em.
  10. Good advise Ziggy. I use the same combination and tweak my setting for each gig in the same way. Each gig is slightly different but so is the combination of extension cabs. Let us know how it goes PLankton.

  11. Leave the VPF off (always... don't touch it). Dial the upper mid control down just a touch. Dial the bass control down just a touch. The VLE has a very similar result as the passive tone control. So, either one will nicely and graduall roll off treble to taste. Should sound killer.
  12. Isn't the Markbass a great amp? (and i.m not Italian!)
    Looks like more Markbass people are chiming in with good suggestions.
    As a matter of fact, I'm going to try these ideas out as well....
    There is no "right" setting, it's all personal preference. But the goal here is to get good tone that you dig.
  13. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Forgot to mention that I pluck with a little fingernail, so I have to dial down some highs. I think the reason we get a lot of different setting suggestions in threads like this is due to how everyone is different in the way they play, and what they use to pluck the strings with. My situation reflects more like what a pick player would do.

    And yes, that VPF filter can really make your sound disappear if you're not careful.
  14. Excellent suggestions!

    I've got a rehearsal Thursday, gig on Saturday - so will have great opportunity to nail it.

    Had a go indoors at home - but as what was said, what sounds bad solo can sound fab in a group situation.
  15. Hey ziggy and everyone else, this is great info and discussion! I fully endorse ziggy's first post about setting gain and tone! Mine is the Little Mark Tube 500(also with the 102 Traveler) so the only addition to that first advice by ziggy, is that the 'blend' dial seems right just in the middle or sometimes about 1 o'clock (slightly more tube).

    Interesting though, I've been thinking about getting a second, probably matching cab but now I'm thinking twice! For the gigs we do, both band and duo in small/medium clubs, I have never gone more than 10 o'clock on master volume after setting the gain with the clip. Most of the time it's just above 9 o'clock. A lot of fellow musos as well as audience members say they like the sound.

    All up, I'm really happy with the new rig. It's the sound I've wanted for a long while. Wether I expand to a second cab now remains the big question. let's see how it goes over the next few gigs!

    Cheers, Dave G
  16. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I would look at changing your pick-ups rather than trying to apply make-up (pedals and what not) on what is a great rig. I have found that the current fender pickups put out a lot of harsh highs which are not liked by all bass players.

    I had the same problem with a 62 US P bass reissue. I put in Seymour Duncan Antiquity II and my tone hugely improved. I was amazed by the difference.

    When dealing with tone problems, I would recommend you look at strings first, pickup seconds than the rest afterwards.
    BillMason likes this.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The 2012 MIA Standards have Fender Custom Shop pickups in them so that should not be the issue. I totally agree with KJung. Those are the settings I used when playing my LM III with a P-Bass and it sounded killer. I find that the upper mids need to be dialled down a bit for it to sound ideal.
  18. cchorney

    cchorney Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2010
    Meriden, CT
    I liked Ziggy's response as well, matched a lot of what I would have said. I'll also add you've got to factor in the strings. If they are "bright" sounding strings (which new nickels often are) that could be it. You might try just a piece of foam tucked under the strings where they meet the bridge. Not too much, just enough to lightly mute out the overtones and some of the sharpness.
  19. Many thanks to all for the help on this.

    I had a good period of experimentation with the amp on it's own as per Ziggy's idea.

    I then used a mixture of the above - Gain at 2 o'clock , VLE at 7, VPF at 10 - everything else flat except for the high which I set at about 1. Precision tone about halfway.

    The results were outstanding - a nice growl, bags of bottom end, and nothing too 'sharp'.

    I had tried before, but didn't get anywhere near this - it actually gives the P what it deserves. I played Rics for a long while, and never achieved a tone as powerful as this.

    Thanks to all again - one happy bassist, one even happier band!
  20. bassman64


    Jan 19, 2001
    I cannot ad anything that Ziggy said but I just wanted to say you are not alone.

    I bought the Jeff Berlin MB and plugged my Ric into it and was very disappointed. it just sounded flat and dead to me. Ric's are typically known for their growl and punch. it was there with my B100R but not with the MB. I never did find that right sound for me with the MB....damn shame too. I think MB is one of the best built amps out there currently and that sucker is LOUD.....

    all things being equal I wound up with an Ashdown amp that may not be as balls to the wall loud as the MB but I love the sound the amp produces with my Ric and a new addition a Gibson Explorer....

    good luck. hope you find the sound you are looking for.

    oh, 1 more thing....to me one of the best features of the MB is the VPF VLP filters. I have that in what they call a super booster pedal....works great with my Ashdown and B10R