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Mic-ing a Washtub Upright Bass

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by rikke, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. rikke


    Sep 30, 2009
    I am looking for a way to amplify a washtub-beast (it gives enough volume for a gig of 200 quite silent people though, it is veryvery loud)
    Is there anyone with any experience in this? I noticed it is quite difficult to properly mic this instrument, as there is no directionality of the sound. It is sending soundwaves to all directions (omni-directional).

    (you cant really hear the bass on laptop speakers uh, so please try with good headphones or better speakers, it IS there!)

  2. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    The URL contained a malformed video ID.
  3. The way I have seen it done, is by cutting a 4" hole in the washtub, put a 57 or 58 on a desktop or kick drum stand and putting the microphone in by only about an inch. That was at an outdoor event. Indoors, they usually move the microphone to the outside of the hole, but very near the edge.
  4. rikke


    Sep 30, 2009
    Sorry for the broken link, this one should work:

    Thanks for the quick reply. Can you recall where they cut the hole? We use a plastic (PVC) tub, cutting a hole would probably change the osundcharacter and strength/construction pretty dramaticly...

  5. Another way to do it is get a contact piezo--in my band, we used the big shot from K&K Sound. It's feedback prone, but we figured out that a good trick is to mount it on the top, then put your foot on it (don't worry, you won't crush it)--somehow, this mutes the sound in a way that controls the feedback.
  6. I played a tea-chest bass years ago in Europe - basically the same as a washtub but using a plywood tea-chest, at the risk of sounding a bit obvious....

    Anyway, I found a SM58 about 4" off the soundboard (top of the tea-chest) sounded fabulous. Because the box never moved, the sound was consistently good. Much more zing than the acoustic sound, and great for listening back through the monitors and playing in tune.
  7. The tub player uses an old tin wash tub. It is about 1/3 up the tub and is about 1 foot from the "schtick" as he calls it.

    I wish I had some pictures, but nothing I have is good enough.
  8. Wow, I'm impressed by the sound quality of the washtub bass and how well you play it. You really get all the good notes out with the right rhythm, and fill out the bottom and drive the sound. It's like "Why spend so much money on a wood DB, when a washtub, broomstick and rope will do just fine?" And it really does just fine, for this kind of music.

    Good luck with the amplification.
  9. Gary Lynch

    Gary Lynch

    Nov 18, 2008
    Sonoita AZ
    Damn, that's really good. In fact, best I ever heard. I bet it's a lot harder than playing a standard DB.

    I went to look at the bass on your MySpace photos are see you have built a bass that's different than a traditional standard washtub. Yours sounds really defined and mellow.
  10. xwtb


    Aug 24, 2009
    Shawnee, Kansas
  11. rikke


    Sep 30, 2009
    Thanks for the replies ;) It took me a while to get back here. I tried and tried the several options you all gave me (and were in the links posted here). Micing the washtub with a kickmic worked best for me. I also tried piezo-pickup, but that sounded really tinny. Micing the washtub in a live situation requires some clean gain though, and perfect mic-placement.

    AKG D12 or D112 - worked fine.
    SM75 - do-able but a little less bottom

    First instinct got me micing the bass from the inside. I just put a mic on a tiny stand and put the tub over it. It worked, until I found out that putting the mic on the "soundboard" (the bottom of the bucket) had a much less boxy/damp sound to it.

    In recordings for our record I used this same micplacement, then I used one of my ribbons... -> wow! You really feel like you are listening to a serious instrument!

    Just for fun: This video has been shot a couple of days ago. It's a little messy but hey ;) We use a sm57 here on our tub.

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