New to 18 piece Swing Band - Combo Amp not quite keeping up... any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by DanL, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. DanL


    Jul 5, 2016
    Thanks to all in advance.
    I have recently started playing with an 18 piece swing band.
    I'm playing on my 150 year old German bass with the David Gage copper head realist pickup.
    I have been alternating between my trusty early 90's SWR Baby Blue and my equally vintage GK200MB combo amps at rehearsals.
    And for rehearsals, these have been fine.
    However, last night playing in a high school auditorium my GK was barely keeping up with the rest of the band.
    I pretty much had it set on "11" all night... and I was definitely struggling some against the dreaded feedback monster a bit...
    Does anyone have any helpful hints based on experience on how I might tweak my rig for these larger venues?
    Thanks!! - Dan
  2. A preamp with a high pass filter and/or a notch filter is invaluable for controlling feedback; I use a Fishman Stage Platinum, but there are many others that will do the trick. Fdeck is a high pass filter (HPF).
    You can use a magnetic pickup, which is less susceptible to feedback because it picks up metal string vibrations rather than body vibrations. I used a Biesele model, which could blend its signal with a piezo signal, but there are others, including some very old designs.
    If your amp will run it, an extension speaker (of proper ohms) on the other side of the drummer can be very helpful.
    In a really loud situation I have used strips of foam rubber in the f holes; worked when nothing else did.
  3. DanL


    Jul 5, 2016
    Thanks! - I do have an Fdeck HFP... I'll have to try using it more faithfully... I did not have in my signal chain last night...
    old spice likes this.
  4. The HPF often has the side effect of cutting volume as it removes bass frequencies, so do consider that extension speaker. They can add 25%, 50% or more to available amp wattage. Putting it far away from you helps avoid feedback, too.
    (I like to ask the trumpets or whoever it is if it's ok, and to let me know if it bothers them. It usually doesn't.)
    One more thing: to decrease boominess, I avoid putting my amp or cabinet directly on a low folding stage; I put it on the floor or on a chair.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  5. DanL


    Jul 5, 2016
    Thanks! Yes this was a stage with a wooden floor - I'm pretty sure it was hollow underneath the stage too... and I did have my trusty old GK200mb on the floor... I'll try the putting it on a chair recommendation next time... and I think I'll start shopping for a light weight ext cab... ;) Thanks again!!
    old spice likes this.
  6. notabene


    Sep 20, 2010
    SF Bay area
    In a tactful way, explain what the dynamic markings mean to the band.
    Steve Boisen, old spice and DanL like this.
  7. DanL


    Jul 5, 2016
    Hahaha ;)
  8. Audiokinesis Birdhouse 4x6 (cab) + small 500w head of your choice will take care of business
    DanL likes this.
  9. DanL


    Jul 5, 2016
    Hmmm.... This looks intriguing...
  10. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I've found that a 1x12 combo is sufficient to keep up with a big band, even when playing in large rooms. Things that might bury you are a really loud drummer and overcompensating horns. I'm kind of surprised your 200MB is having trouble getting you in the mix. My GK MB112 combo has been enough and at only half volume. I do recommend getting the amp off the ground, might help project over the band.
  11. Putting my cab on a chair made a *huge* difference in my ability to project clearly behind 3 rows of enthusiastic horn players. :) :)

    It's clearer for the audience, but also clearer for the band too... and I am generally able to turn the volume down a notch or two... so less prone to feedback as well. Win win win. :)
    DanL and Seanto like this.
  12. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    This is it. I put my cab on a stand at head height.
  13. BHBassman


    Jan 5, 2013
    Hello DanL-& everyone else.
    I’ve used & played through many different amp setups though the years, but do agree that setting the amp up for you to hear it will help & alleviate some problems with you not hearing yourself & forcing the amp & speaker/cab to work harder than necessary.
    Obviously, you need a powerful enough amp/ speaker with plenty of headroom to get a quality tone & avoid distortion, especially the necessity to Pizz and play Arco and get a quality tone.
    Lately, for Big Band & louder Jazz combo gigs,(my basses all have an Underwood PU) I use a GKMB500 amp with a Markbass 15” or a Markbass 2 10” cab.
    I also own other amp heads & cabs, but have the best tone and enough power with this setup.
    For EQing the UB, learn to use the amp Contour/ Tone Shaper knob, back off of the amp midrange-blend the best mix of bass, mid & treble, avoiding a boomy or trebly “ Electric Bass” tone, with a bit of mids, depending on the room, distance from you, etc.
    I always try to get a clear and natural tone, in spite of the volume necessary to cut & play with a loud band-no matter the instrumentation.
    Consider getting an EQ pedal if you are not happy with using only your amp EQ, or continue to have issues with feedback, volume or dialing in a good tone.
    Hope that helps a bit. Good luck.
    DanL likes this.
  14. jdthebassman

    jdthebassman play to live live to play Supporting Member

    how bout an svt LOL
  15. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Supporting Member

    If you're looking to avoid buying a third amp, going with an "improved" version of what you've already got, I'd say buy one of the GK extension cabs designed for the GK200MB. It's the Gallien Krueger 112-MBX MicroBass Extension Speaker Cabinet 12". These cabs, while being from the Stone Age, are light, small and pair well with your amp. They sound good. As noted above, speaker placement is important and with two speakers, you have more coverage options. The extension cab can really make a difference on a gig like the one you describe.

    Remember also that your amp has an XLR DI out in the back that you can run to the console, have it come up in a monitor feed, in the mains, or both.

    Here's a link to the GK cab on Reverb; Gallien Krueger 112-MBX MicroBass Extension Speaker Cabinet 12"

    Here's a link to one on Musicians Friend;^[email protected]^PLA
    DanL and Groove Doctor like this.
  16. oren

    oren Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Salem, OR
    I’ve been using a Mark Bass CMD 121P combo when I sub in a local big band with no problem, using a Realist Lifeline straight into the amp.
    DanL and s van order like this.
  17. DanL


    Jul 5, 2016
    Thanks to all for your insight and experience... I'm sure getting my little GK200MB off the floor will help and I am starting to look at extension cabs... a 112 most likely and it will have to be an 8 ohm cab...
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Depends on your budget. If you like the tone, the simplest way is a duplicate second cab.