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Newbie tone/rig question

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by phoenixjmw, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. phoenixjmw


    Jul 9, 2013
    Hope I have right subforum:)

    Ok, so my question is if there is an accepted direction to go in regarding tone or is it a case by case basis?

    More specifically - would one be better off getting an amp or bass that was heavy on the low end/slightly dull and trying to adjust and rig it to get a more punchy/brighter tone


    Would one be better off getting an amp/base that sounded to bright and punchy and then try to add more low end to it?

    or is it case by case/matter of opinion?

    Just starting out to build a rig but nothing seems spot on to me. Everything seems overly bright or dull.
  2. Horses for courses and you're mostly in the wrong forum but don't worry about it. Less "noise" here than in Amps forum.

    If we assume you will be playing without PA support, rig has to serve as your monitor as well as fill the room. Bass players get dragged into playing rockstars with far more rig than needed for bar gigs when gui****s go all 100w halfstack on you.

    Maybe that's your thing. More info?

    Generally you can add more highs a hell of a lot easier than more lows, by adding a tweeter. With enough EQ you can shape the mids.
  3. Don't try to "add" anything, get the rig that gets you enough of both.

    It's always easier to take away...
  4. phoenixjmw


    Jul 9, 2013
    Ok thanks, I will be more specific: (and I will move the post if another forum is better)

    First I would love to get an SWR or Mesa rig and a $3000 bass which would solve the issue but I don't have the cash for that so going to have to make some compromises...

    Been looking at either a small half stack or combo amp to start out with since I have been borrowing since I started playing. Seems my choice has come down to Ampeg vs GK. Ampeg is nice but does not have the cutting ability I want - they just don't seem to bite into the mix well. GK's sound great but I don't know how the low end will be in a band practice setting. Right now I am playing a Jackson bass which is already pretty punchy so I worry low end may be an issue with a GK amp.

    Then I was also thinking how a hollow body bass would sound compared to mine. This begs the question also: would it be easier to add punch and sustain to a mellow hollow body bass or add low end/mellow out a base that sounded to "hot".

    So is there i "rule of thumb" in these situations to go by?

    (BTW I did pick this forum in hopes of getting a more objective response since sound guys have to deal with whatever the band has where I would be worried the amp or bass forums would be partial to a specific brand)
  5. I feel like "mellowing out" a hot bass would be much easier. I don't recommend a hollow body unless you already like it the way it is.

    You can mellow out a "hot" bass by lowering the pickups (though that will reduce low end), or choosing different pickups that will emphasize different parts of the frequency spectrum. Strings will also have an affect, some strings will be much more mellow (e.g. flatwounds)

    I've always considered punch and sustain to be opposites, more or less. When I think punch I think wide dynamic range. If you think guitar, a Strat is punchy and a Les Paul has sustain. There are exceptions, obviously and that's all just my opinion.
  6. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    You may be over-thinking this a bit. This is my philosophy on things - which is purely subjective mind you:

    1. Get a great sounding bass. This way you can play direct to a PA and not have to worry about a thing. "Great sounding" does not mean "expensive". I use a Squier Jazz $255 USD and it sounds fantastic. The money saved here can go towards your amp.

    2. Get an amp that is A. reliable and B. loud enough for your purposes. Pretty much any amp that fits those criteria is going to have enough versatility to mold your tone to your satisfaction.

    Don't be a gear head. Save your mental and financial resources for things that will more positively affect your playing.

    Hope that helps.
  7. phoenixjmw


    Jul 9, 2013

    I could be using wrong semantics... I guess when I think of punch I think the bittey forceful sound you would get from say a set of Dimarzio pups in a Jackson or Ibanez guitar. As oposed to a stock strat which I would say lacks punch because it is a very bright guitar without a forceful low end. There is deffinition section, maybe I should study it, lol.

    Specific to me though... I have a Jackson JS bass with Jackson HO humbuckers. It can sound good in person but on a recording it just doesn't sound right - has a clanky, higher mid/high end almost "fake" sound (which is kinda typical of the guitar style I guess). Almost like you were hearing in a tunnel. Its this way regardless of amp or setting. So my thought was go with the Ampeg but in person the Ampeg sounds to dull. In person the GK amp sounds perfect with my bass but worried how will sound on a recording.

    So in practical terms... Do i get the Ampeg and try to brighten the sound a bit? or Do I get the GK and fatten the sound if need be?
  8. With me personally, I would want the bass to sound good whether direct or amplified, and then get an amp that compliments it well.

    So in your case since you're not happy with the direct tone of the bass, I'd want to fix that first, rather than get an amp to compensate. Unless you never plan to play that bass direct, in which case go ahead and use the bass + amp in combination to get the tone you want.

    If I were in your position I'd experiment with aftermarket pickups and strings to get the dry bass tone where I want it.