OK, how do you play the double bass with a band? (need help)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by novo, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. novo


    Feb 20, 2007
    Hi There!

    I got myself a beautiful blonde double bass, a realist pickup (the copper one) and a fishman pre amp plugged into my Ampeg SVT 2 Pro and a 6 x 10 cabinet.
    With the pre amp the feedback problem has been solved a bit but still the sound coming from the double bass (from the amp) is not nice at all...

    Is this a problem from the double bass? How do you play the double bass with a band and sound good and with enough volume

    Thanks in advance for your help!

  2. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Stewartsville, NJ
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  4. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Fishman preamps and Ampeg heads, in my experience, do not work very well with upright. If you are doing some dramatic eqing to stop feed back, that can kill tone. There is also always going to be a limit to how loud you will be able to get, a quiet drummer is the best thing for tone I have found. I have also found that steel strings allow me to get louder than synthetic strings.
  5. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I played my upright in several bands and it can be quite a struggle!
    I would recommend you get high pass filter made by FDeck. I have the micro thumpinator and it made a world of difference.

    -try putting a tennis ball between the body and the tailpiece. That can stop a lot of feedback vibrations
    -experiment a lot with EQ.
    -I would get a thick sounding string like Pirastro Obligatos so you don't have to wrestle adding in low end
    -make sure the speakers are not pointed at your bass
    -my bass has a C extension.. so, sometimes I noticed my low E string would be feeding back, I would set a capo on my E to be an Eb - that helped but that's a rare case as not everyone has an extension.
  6. This is a matter of taste, but I wouldn't go with either the Fishman preamp or the Ampeg SVT - which is a great amp for bass guitar, for double bass not so much IMO.

    I use the Radial PZ Pre as the preamp - it's designed for this and has both great feedback control and great EQ, plus a great post-EQ XLR signal out.

    I would then use a cleaner amp, like one of the Genz Benz heads (and probably not the Streamliner - a Shuttle 6.0 has plenty of power). Have a 10, a 210 or a 12 with you on stage to hear yourself, but get most of your volume using the DI out of the Genz Benz into the PA.

    Double bass is really different than bass guitar. If you just try to "move air" through a big cab you will not get the result you want. You can cut through the rest of the band if you do it as I suggest, but it will sound like a double bass and you'll avoid the boominess and feedback.
  7. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I agree with needing the right preamp. I was never happy with my Fishman Platinum.
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    If you haven't been playing DB that long, I'd say the problem might be at the beginning of the signal chain. Those things hanging off your torso, your arms and hands. This is an acoustic instrument and all any amplification chain can do is make that sound louder. So if you get a thin, weak, unfocused sound out of the bass, you get a louder thin, weak, unfocused sound.
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    +1! Assuming you develop the proper tone from your hands, changing the rig as others have suggested would be a good start.

    KUNGfuSHERIFF Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    Upstate NY
    Do you have access to a PA? If so, try setting one channel flat and see what you get. If that gets you in the ballpark, your Fishman should be enough to get you where you want to be.

    Guys I know who play rockabilly, psychobilly and related genres love their SVTs but I can't stand using anything but the PA when I'm forced to amplify.
  11. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    Hands, player, concept, experience. What is your experience with the instrument? What kind of music are you playing? The doublebass is one of those instruments that really needs to be played, not just plucked. If you are an electric player you will find there is a lot to learn right at the beginning as far as creating a good sound out of the db. Then there is the learning curve of how to amplify. You've got all the tools there but you likely don't know how to use them. How loud are you trying to be with this rig? Are your volume expectations realistic? Are you running your signal out to the PA? You sound like you are in need of some holistic instruction, from the bottom of the chain all the way up to the top (your amp)... Tell me you have a teacher....heh heh
  12. +2 Ray Brown could sound like Ray Brown on different basses & through different amps. His sound came through his hands and playing style, not an EQ setting (otherwise we'd all have bought 'that' amp and would all sound like him!). Focus on playing smoothly and purposefully, in tune and in time, without overexerting or injuring yourself. Develop your tone primarily via your playing acoustically, not your electronics. Once you're happy with your tone, then start playing through the amp and EQ it so that it sounds like you do acoustically.

    Having said that; you mentioned using a 6 x 10 cabinet :eek: You may find that this is better suited to slab rather than double bass (too bass heavy, which can result in a muddy tone; try cutting frequencies below 70Hz). You may also find that the sheer sensitivity of a 6 speaker cabinet is a major contributor to feedback and may be causing you to play tentatively rather than purposefully, which may produce a weak feel to the tone and poor output levels. If you are using this cabinet in place of a main PA in a large venue, perhaps stand behind it and just use a smaller amp at ear level for monitoring. Otherwise, go a smaller amp for a smaller venue and ditch the 'wall of sound' cabinet.

    I respectfully disagree with other posts that the Fishman Platinum is no good for DB in general; I quite like it but of course YMMV. I primarily use it for minor adjustments to cope with noisy & boomy rooms (ie, dial out some feedback modes or boost the mids a little if I'm struggling to hear myself in a crowd).
  13. novo


    Feb 20, 2007
    might another head and cab do the trick for this situation? instead of the ampeg and svt 6 x 10
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
  15. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    Although the amp isn't something I'd choose, there are many fine players using it. Esperanza Spalding, Avashai Cohen to name only two. http://www.youtube.com/user/AvishaiCohenMusic

    So, rather than blame the amp it comes down to player, instrument and pickup, in that order. First, learning to pull a big sound out of the DB takes more than the few you have been playing. It just does.
  16. novo


    Feb 20, 2007
    just beginning double bass....yes i do have a teacher :)
  17. novo


    Feb 20, 2007
    ok hands and playing apart apart...I m gonna talk about the sound of the guy of the youtube clip....His sound is INCREDIBLE...and my amp is not very far from his (axctually had one exactly like it but sold it)....what does he have (Except that he is an incredible bass player) in terms of pickups to produce that natural sound...

    Thanks for the clip...great watch
  18. Jason Sypher

    Jason Sypher Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2001
    Brooklyn, NY
    I've played through a number of oddball amps lately. The big old ampeg I played was definitely not the sound I was looking for BUT, as I played it through the night I began to find really cool sounds in MY PLAYING. I changed the way I played. Sure, I adjusted the TWO eq knobs (heh heh) but mostly I just changed the way I played. For example, the low registers were freaking rocking and the upper registers were a bit thin and trebly. So I chose lower octaves and played less notes with more attention to note durations. I found really cool grooves within the grooves by utilizing the sound and space. I could have used the Headway Pre that I am selling but I'm just not a gear guy really and decided to work with the amp. Ampeg didn't become Ampeg for no reason I figured...let's see what I can do with this....blah blah blah... (seamless plug don't you think?)

    But I have to add, this is a fairly new concept for me. Amps were anathematized for me for years, even decades. But then I found out they can be played as part of the chain, part of the expression, and sometimes, to great effect.
  19. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
    Unfortunately for your situation, it's mostly that he is an incredible bass player. As others have said, most of what comes out of an amp is what the player is actually playing (not the gear.) Practice getting a strong, consistent sound out of your bass acoustically and you'll be a whole lot closer to getting a good sound through an amp.
    Good luck and keep practicing!!
  20. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a bassist with decades of experience. Asking him which amp I should buy he told me, "an amp is an amp is an amp. The sound starts in the player's head, travels down his spine, back, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers and through his instrument. You must hear it first."
    Really, it takes time. Muscles and calluses develop as you learn to use your body to get the sound. For me, it took years, partly because the tone in my head kept changing as I learned more about the history of DB playing. Hearing and studying great players, then emulating what they did is a good way to learn.

    Strings, pickups and amps are important but it's the mind, heart and hands that create the music. Perspective.
  21. novo


    Feb 20, 2007
    you guys are awesome!

    thanks :)