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My tone sucks and I have no money

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Busker, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    That's about the long and short of it. Is there any cheap fix out there?

    Here's my set up:

    Three GK Backline cabs, two 115s, one 210 (I know, I was already told to trade these off).

    One Peavey 1820 cab.

    Peavey Max 700 head. GK Backline 250 head. I also have a Peavey Firebass 700 head (if I ever get it back from the repair shop) but that should sound pretty much identical to the Max 700 if I'm not mistaken.

    Schecter Model T (tele type P/J bass) with the original Duncan Designed pups and Fender pure nickel roundwounds.

    I like the sound of the GK head fairly well, but it's only 125 watts, 8 ohm minimum load. I can't see using that on a gig unless it went into the board. The Peaveys are what I'd be using on gigs. They sound OK, I've experimeted with EQ settings, I'm just not all that happy.

    Does tone not tend to matter so much at stage volume? I don't know, maybe the bass tone blends with the other instruments so that most any rig sounds OK on stage.

    I was just hoping someone could give me a clue on some cheap tone tweaks.
  2. Greyvagabond


    Aug 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Second, trade those cabs.
    Third, get a used Tech21 SansAmp; they really are as good as advertised. The Big Gun Peavey's w/a SansAmp should sound great.
  3. Thunderitter

    Thunderitter Bass - the final frontier! Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2007
    +1 on the strings

    If you don't have a quality cable then that can be a help (and you don't need to spend more than $30-$40).

    After that, and with all that gear, it sounds like you just need to experiment a little more to get that tone you are looking for.

    Finally what do others/bandmates think of your tone? I had a mate who was always searching for the ultimate tone, not realising that he already sounded great.
  4. djwackfriz


    Jul 31, 2007
    Astoria, NY

    I just got one and it really cannot be understated: THIS THING IS AMAZING! I basically have double or triple the control over my tone now, it sounds amazing. I'm using all Peavey as well.
  5. robgator

    robgator Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    Urbana, Illinois
    +1 on the Tech21 SansAmp. Should be a nice addition to your rig.

  6. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    The only complaint I've heard is that the guitar player in particular couldn't hear me on the last gigs. It was a big stage area, he was a good 25 feet "over there". But I was just using the amp and cabs straight, no sound support. Next gigs I'm going to use the line out xlr jack and go into the board, if necessary. I CAN do that and still hear my amp on stage, correct? I mean, some of the sound will be going to the board and also coming out of the amp as well?

    Everyone is saying change the strings from the nickel roundwounds. But to what?

    Lastly, what is a Tech21 Sansamp? A really great cab? Hey, I'm pretty new to all this, sorry.:oops:
  7. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    They usually say 90% of it is in the fingers (though the people who tend to say this already have top of the line equipment), but nonetheless maybe that's a good starting point.

    If you want a brighter sound, get some good quality steel strings.
  8. djwackfriz


    Jul 31, 2007
    Astoria, NY
    LOL, no problem. It's basically a stompbox that emulates tube tones. I'm no engineer, so all I can say is that it REALLY boosts your tone and gives you a bit more "oomph" - honestly, try one out at Guitar Center compared with a clean tone on a solid state amp and you'll hear the difference.
  9. LarryR


    Feb 2, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Yes, even with PA support you still can control your stage volume, but, with PA support, you'll need less of it. Tech 21 is an outboard (handheld) preamp / tone shape device. Very popular. Google Tech21 sansamp.

    But, I agree with the other poster, alot of the sound is in your hands. I know the feeling of pointing to everything but your hands. Been there done that. From a Walter Woods Bergantino rig (super hi-end stuff) I can get a good sound out of my GK200MB 1x12 combo. I advise you get with a local bass player and have a "session" to talk about "sound" in general. Good luck with it.
  10. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007

    I don't want a brighter sound. Smoother is what I'd call it. More warm & buttery, like I hear on so many of these records I'm trying to play.:p
  11. robgator

    robgator Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    Urbana, Illinois
    Oh man, then I think you're after some flatwound strings. You can check out a number of flats and you might try the Fender 9050's for a start. These strings will set you back about 20 or 25 bucks but you might well get that warm tone to the bone.

  12. csala


    Aug 14, 2005
    Santa Monica, Ca
    +1 on the flats. Instant smooth!
  13. Paulitics


    Apr 12, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    The most popular Sansamp for bass is the bass driver di. The programable bass driver di is essentially the same thing except it allows you to switch between 3 tones setting which you preset yourself. The RBI is a rack mountable version of the BDDI. Any of these should work well for you. I think Sansamps really excel at what you are trying to do. They make rigs which are lacking in the tone department sound much better. If you want that tubey warm butter goodness out of your cheap solid state rig a BDDI is you ticket.
  14. Busker


    Jan 22, 2007
    Thank you for that. However, I like "affordable" much better than "cheap". Cheap sounds so.... cheap.:p

    Thanks all. I will put this on my want list, most definitely. Also, maybe a set of flatwounds.
  15. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    I suggest a complete overhaul. It seems like you've got a lot of low-budget gear which I'm not gonna bash but if you're not happy with it, you're not happy with it. Sell what you got, pool the money and put it toward something a little more renowned. Check out some used gear - the TB classifieds is a great place to start.

  16. If you like the GK sound well enough:

    Sell all three GK Backline cabs, (2x115s, 1x210).
    Sell the Peavey Max 700 head.
    Sell the GK Backline 250 head.
    Sell the Peavey Firebass 700 head when it gets out of the shop.

    Buy a used GK 800RB (~$400), or maybe a new GK 700RB-III ($600) or GK 1001RB-III (750). All great heads (I love the old 800RBs) - I bet it'll give you what you liked about the Backline head times 10.

    Try the new head into the Peavey 1820 cab. They are pretty good cabs - if you like it, you are good to go. If not, sell the 1820 and get a couple of new cabs, maybe a GK 410, a GK 410 and an SWR 18, or an SWR Triad (depending on funds).

    Good luck!
  17. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Try some compression-wound strings, like D'Addario Halfrounds. That'll be less drastic of a feel change, yet still be zingy enough to cut through. Off the GK head, and the GK cabs. The Max 700 and Firebass 700 are basically the same, and they're well-respected. Get a decent compressor if you want smoother, punchier bass. The SansAmp is good for rock, I personally had the RBI and didn't like it, but that's me. For a good cab to go with the 700s, try a Peavey 410TX, also used. Trying to get you the most bang-for-the-buck, here. Another cab I used in the past that was actually pretty decent was a Crate 215. Fairly light, had decent top-end (no tweeter, but it did pretty well), I think it was about 4-500W capacity, as well. I got mine dirt cheap, like $200 or something. Another good cab would be an Avatar 212. Not expensive, easily found on the used market, often in the $2-300 range, and the regular (non-neo) ones are rated 1000W. I liked the 212 because it had the fast, punchy impact like 10s, but bootay like a 15. Good compromise between the two.

    So start with the strings, then a decent compressor pedal, or a SansAmp, and then a new cab. Sell your old GK stuff, even if it's on eBay. Apply that money to a better cab. Your bass sounds like it's pretty solid. Your Peavey head through the 1820 should get you through a gig no sweat.

    Hope that helps.
  18. +1 on the strings. Change them as often as you can. And to extend their life try some DR string life. It helps.
    +1 on the Tech21. I use one to help round out my tone! Like they said here use it with the Peavey. Peaveys arent known for their tone, but they have the power. So the SansAmp will get yo your tone.
    GEt rid of the other gear you dont need.

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