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MBOL....sort of *tldr version on bottom

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by jasonrp, Sep 14, 2018 at 9:46 AM.

  1. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    A lot of guys (including myself) I run into here and in the union on FB, have Chinese basses. Some of these can explode at the neck, some have unplayable action and some, like mine, just need a slight adjustment to be rally nice sounding, easy to play instruments. Mine is the silver creek rocker model from musicians friend with plain clef guts. I had never owned an upright, and had no idea what to amplify it with. I started with the K&K rockabilly setup and then started wondering about an amp. Most of us here know that getting your tone is a roll of the dice when it comes to getting amps and cabs so I waited and researched for just about a year before I pulled the trigger on an amp. Throughout my whole time playing electric, I've always run GK stuff but I know that it changes the sound of your bass so I wanted something that sounded as close to my upright as possible and decided not to go GK.

    For starters, one problem that I did have with my upright was no real thump when in an open room. Not sure if I've just been lucky but all of my basses are kind of heavy in the mid-range. My upright, even with guts, also was midrange heavy and have no real thump to it when I get together with other people. Even a plain gut e had enough clarity that a G sounded like a G note rather than a G toned thump and that bugged me because I wanted some of that gut string airy, woody, thumpiness that I hear in rockabilly and I could only get it when I practiced in a small room at home.

    After TONS of searching, I went with an EA doubler gen II and their NL-112 speaker. For one, it made sense to me since I couldn't walk away from electric completely because some of our songs just sounded bad on upright. For 2, I wanted something that could jump me from 1 bass to another very fast because I hate long pauses between songs.

    I get the rig and with about an hours tweaking, I had a tone that sounded just like my upright when I played on stage acoustically and my fender (MIM P with 1/4 pounders) sounded just like it did when unplugged. I have always loved my unplugged fender tone so that had me tickled pink.

    The only problem was that lack of thump and since my bass didn't really thump on its own, I wasn't sure what to do. I couldn't get it to sound quite as good as it did when unplugged at home. Then I realized what my problem was....

    My mute.
    I have always taken it off when I played with other people and when I setup my amp, since it would only be for when playing with others, I took the mute off. As soon as I put the mute on, I had that real nice gut thump that I was only getting at home

    TLDR: If you need some thump for that rockabilly tone, try throwing your mute back on the bass. It was a cheap solution to a problem that I might've thrown ALOT of cash at trying to solve. You will lose volume but, in my case, I gained tone at the cost of volume and my volume knob can solve that problem.

    EDIT: I have since thrown a lezner wound E on because the plain E had too much flub when playing fast. Still like my tone though
  2. Thank you for the thoughts!!! A lot of what you've described sounds very familiar.

    My son plays electric and has a GK setup that I've plugged into mostly just to test out my Vic's Pickup Model C pickup. But then as I played with large acoustic groups more and more I began to realize that I'd need some sort of amp. However for the sake of my lower back, it would have to be small and light.

    For most of my playing a little portable 6AA-battery Roland Cube BASS has been doing fine; originally I intended it just to be a personal monitor, but lately I'm using it as a full-out amp for good size indoor audiences (150-200 people) and getting good reports back -- the only trick is getting it elevated to about upper chest level.

    This unit is a combo-unit, the "head" offers EQ, gain and volume, simple compression, a number of voicings and effects and various input and output ports. I've been using a "Mic" (clear) voicing until recently when I have hooked in an old but functioning Fishman Pro-EQ II pre-amp, so now I have enough power to use the "Super Flat" voicing which reproduces the bass's natural tone very nicely.

    I think my biggest future change is going to be strings. I started with SBW Deluxe spiral-cut wackers and loved the tone and feel, but the E and A were really unclear and quiet. So I swapped in Innovation SilverSlaps E and A strings and have been much happier with them, but I still want more acoustic volume. I want to wait for my current strings to be exhausted, but currently I'm watching Gamut Red Diamond Guts, Thomastic SuperFlexible Solos and Innovation Polychromes pretty carefully.

    Since I'm not using gut strings yet, I didn't know what to expect with the mute trick... Actually I don't notice much difference with or without the mute on my bass. But I'll play around with it more...

    Thanks again! It's nice to see I'm not the only one seeking better sounds!
  3. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    What mute do you have? Mine's that big Ultra USA one. If you have someone take it off while you are playing, the sound change is very noticeable (to me anyways). Lay off the slapping while you do that little test because the clicks can distract your ears a bit
  4. Duh. I was trying the mute acoustically, where my Deuce 1 bridge seems to be mute-resistant.

    Plug in the amp, and yes, there's a definite difference with the mute on... And no slapping. Cool!

    Mute on and amp set to "Mic" (clear) voicing, sounds pretty good!

  5. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
  6. Oh, and here's my mute, it came with the bass :cool:


    Yup. it's a rubber hose. Pretty sophisticated stuff there.
  7. jasonrp


    Feb 19, 2015
    Since it's below the bridge, I'm not sure it does much to dampen the volume...Anybody else know for sure?
  8. It's sort of like a violin mute, in the picture it's not in use, but there available... It slides up to sit tightly against the bridge, where it is at least slightly effective, but definitely not a magnitude difference. I think your mute is a better bet...

    Honestly, I leave this rubber hose mostly as pictured to reduce overtones; testing it today was one of the few times I've actually tried it as a mute. When I need to play quietly, acoustically, I usually just use a very soft touch, which is actually pretty often because I tend to be practicing in the wee hours.

    One thing I love about using an amp is I can use that same very soft touch and get huge volume. It's a whole different dynamic.

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