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Not getting enough 'punch'

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by megadan, Sep 29, 2009.


  1. Wasn't quite sure where to post this but my suspicion lies towards the bass.
    Basically the problem is that I don't feel I'm getting enough 'punch' from my rig. Attack, that is.
    I'm not quite sure where the problem is.
    My basic setup is Squier VM Jazz (with American Fender pups, CTS pots) into a GK1001RB and an NV610.

    That amp/cab combo should be punch city, right??

    Effects chain is generally:
    BBE Opto Stomp --> Bass Big Muff --> 3xFx Fatman --> Polish Love OD --> EH Pulsar --> Stereo Memory Man

    I bought the compressor to try and help this problem, and while it is subtle (the Opto stomp), I like it, especially at low volumes. But it doesn't seem to help the punch problem.


    I'm thinking about getting an 800RB because I'm not getting that GK growl from hitting the rails. There's no way I should need to change cabs. I'm going to try some of my other basses (ie, Stingray), because that should equal punch city. Maybe this Jazz bass setup isn't sending any punch :confused:
     
  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    Try adding a little bit of mids.
     
  3. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    one of the ways to get more punch is to sync in with a good drummer who knows how to use his kick drum and has it miked into a big pa with 18" subwoofers.
     
  4. See that's the problem, sort of. My drummer is very good and knows how to kick with the bass. He likes big punchy bass drums. I feel like I'm not keeping up with him!

    I'd tried boosting low and hi mids on the GK, but the notes still don't 'leap' out like it seems like they should.
     
  5. Does the bass have a good setup?
     
  6. Is this your first jazz bass? To me jazz basses are the least punchy basses out there.

    A jazz bass pokes through the mix, but it doesn't provide that pillowy punch, especially when compared with a P-bass or stingray.

    Adding a lot of low mids might help you but I personnaly really don't like to over Eq if a bass doesn't provide the tone I'm looking for.

    I'm not saying jazz basses are not good, not at all, but if you want a fat punchy sound they might not be the best tool around.

    All of this of course IMO
     
  7. I do setups for myself and many other people; the setup on this bass is pretty good. A not totally perfect neck prevents getting the action any lower, but I'd say it's at a healthy medium action. Other aspects of the setup are good.

    Technically this is my first jazz bass, but I love the sound so much in theory.
    I'm going to try my Stingray and see what the difference is. I've never thought of a p-bass as 'punchy' before, just 'thumpy' - close but not quite the same! Punchy to me is fast mids, where thumpy is fast lows.

    I've recently started cutting my highs strongly on the bass and amp, to try and get more of the two guitars to come through in my band, without cranking volume knobs.
     
  8. standupright

    standupright

    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    this may be a dumb question, but i didn't see it mentioned. how are you blending your pups?
     
  9. My understanding is a P-Bass is stronger in the Low Mids with perhaps a slight cut to the lower Bass frequencies. A J-Bass has a "flatter" sound. I'm surprised boosting the Low Mids didn't help you...
     
  10. kraigo

    kraigo

    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Pluck closer to the bridge.

    KO
     
  11. generally both pups on full. I have a series/parallel switch that I throw on sometimes for for bottom end.

    I play with a pick about 70% of the time, and I play very close the the bridge. It's my default picking place. My fingers aren't strong enough to pluck hard near the bridge all the time.




    Oh the other thing I was going to mention was that this bass has a very low output. I wonder if adding a preamp would be of any service?
     
  12. standupright

    standupright

    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    just a suggestion -

    set your amp eq and other controls (besides volume) to 12 o'clock.
    set your pup knobs to 12 o'clock
    play
    adjust your pup blend first (try full neck and pull back on the bridge pup)
    play and continue adjusting until you find the bass's tone.
    then adjust your eq/controls
     
  13. Is it louder and punchier in Series mode? Assuming the pickups are already close enough to the strings and the rest of the setup is okay, a preamp would likely help increase output. I recently found out there are also ways to keep a bass passive and still increase output. I had a Villex Passive Rotary Tone Booster installed in my Hanewinckel 5-string. I think the bass version is called the Compressor 45 or something like that, and the settings are 0 (natural), +4db, +7db, and +10db. To my ears, each subsequent setting seems add a bit more mids and roll off more highs while increasing output. And, no, it doesn't require a battery.
     
  14. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Staff Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    Seattle Washington
    Endorsing Artist Mike Lull T Bass pickups
    +1 to this...............
    Do it without your effects in the signal chain first, you've got so much *stuff* modifying the signal, then add them back into the chain one at a time.
     
  15. That's a very good point. I'm not using any effects currently and even my tuner isn't in my signal chain (there's a 1/4" output on the back of my amp for my tuner).
     
  16. desertsolace

    desertsolace

    Feb 10, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB
    As counter-intuitive as this might seem... it worked for me. Do a pickup upgrade. Try Villex's passive pickups, put them as close to the strings as you can. It's midrange control should give you every kind of punch you'll need and you won't need the preamp!
    -Ryan
     
  17. Thanks for all the suggestions, I'm going to try and start from scratch, and without the pedals in the chain.
     
  18. dave_bass5

    dave_bass5

    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Im facing a similar problem. I do love the punch i get from my Fender P5 but I recently got a Lakland DJ5. Love it to bits and the tone, at home, is great but its just not cutting it at gigs like the P5 does. I play with a pick most of the time although since i got the DJ5 ive found i can play a bit more finger style.
    This is my first Jazz for about 4 years, i have a Hw1 Jazz but never use it, so the difference in tone came as quite a shock.
    Nothing i do can get me that punch i have with my P5, even using the same strings. Ive played with the EQ on my amp and i can get some nice enough tones but they all seem to lack something.
    In the next few weeks ill have a P pup in it, as far as i can see thats my only option.

    Good luck with your quest.
     
  19. dougjwray

    dougjwray

    Jul 20, 2005
    And, just because no one's said it yet, try turning the contour knob on the GK all the way off (counter-clockwise). That'll "de-scoop" the tone.

    And, as mentioned by someone else, try soloing the neck pickup. Years ago, I learned a valuable Jazz Bass lesson when I was playing in a band with a frequencies-hogging guitarist (Les Paul Junior or Strat through Mesa Boogie head into 4x12 Marshall cab, turned way up with the low end cranked). I had both pickups up all the time, because the tone was really smooth and silky that way. People kept telling me that they couldn't hear the bass at all. Finally, at one show I bit the bullet and soloed the neck pickup. The same people said things like, "Is that the same bass? It sounds great!!"
    It's the "bedroom tone" vs. stage tone issue.
     
  20. Great point, and one that SOOO many people cannot comprehend. They get that sound they love @ home while practicing, then wonder why they are buried in the mix through FOH with a full band.

    What sounds good in your tiny little practice area most likely will NOT sound good and fit the band in a live setting.
     

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