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Over EQ'ing my bass (Warwick Thumb)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jnprather, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. Hi all,

    My main bass is a 1997 Warwick Thumb 5 (Neck-Through). At home I have an SWR Workingman's 10, and at my rehearsal space with a drummer and guitar player I use an SWR SM-900 through two SWR Goliath III cabs.

    As you may know, the SM-900 has two completely seperate 3 band semi-parametric EQ sections. These can be switched between or also used together, giving you the ability to pretty much shape your tone an way you'd want. When I first got the SM-900, of course, I played with the EQ, using SWR's suggested settings and also my own experiences/knowledge of EQing and frequencies. At the time, I was using the amp from time to time with a band that had a mix of straight ahead 8th note pick or fingerstyle playing and more "bouncy" walking ska/reggae type fingerstyle lines. Since I had the ability to, I developed two different EQ's using the two sections for the different sounds so I could switch between songs. Eventually, I ended up mixing the two and in my mind was getting the "best of both worlds"... I had "found my sound" in my eyes (and ears). Took my rig to my practice space with my new band (just a drummer and guitar player), and it sounded great. Loud and everything.

    However, recently I've been getting less and less satisfied with my tone. The first time I picked up a Warwick a few years ago, it was *IT* for me; I couldn't believe the sweet sounds coming from it... I had to have one. I still love the tone, and everytime I hear a Warwick on the radio I love it. But for some reason I haven't been so happy with my own tone. Maybe i'm just so accustomed to the tone that it doesn't have the affect on me anymore?

    At any rate, the other day I was playing at home on my Workingman's 10, and decided to try something. I set all of the controls on my bass flat, and all of the knobs on the amp perfectly flat. AHHH!!! THERE IT IS... Suddenly I could hear that beautiful SWR/Warwick Thumb tone coming out! I gave the knobs on my bass the slightest bit of adjustment and BAM... it felt and sounded GREAT. So much more "presence", and I could feel the full scope of the tone under my fingers.

    For years, i've always read the articles discussing many studio players swearing by passive electronics in the studio, and shying away from excessive EQing in general, using EQ only to make up for weakspots in the sound, not to "make" the sound, but I always just kind of let it go in one ear and out the other. I mean, look how cool it sounds when I turn up my bass knob... now I can crank the midrange at 300hz to make up for that... here... now I can turn the treble up...

    Here I am with this beautiful instrument full of such a rich tone and i'm EQ'ing the heart and soul of it right out, trying to make my own tone from scratch!

    I can't wait to try this out on my SM-900 this weekend. I know i'll want to make some adjustments to settle into the mix just right, but nothing even remotely as drastic as the settings I have right now. Sorry for the length of this, but I just had to share my experience somewhere!

  2. umm... good for you :D
  3. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    definitely man - flat is the way to go with these basses. they're so complex and so unique that any strange EQing totally wrecks the tone IMO.

    i just cut a CD (click the "new cd" link in my sig to hear it) and when i recorded i ran into my IOD with everything flat, and my SS2 totally flat. the mixing engineer FREAKED when he heard the tone, and didn't add ANYTHING except a little compression to the final mix.

    i used an SM900 for a show once, into a goliath 3 and a triad. what i did was have one channel with everything pretty much flat, and the other with some added bass for slap passages.

    congrats on your newfound tone goodness!
  4. Jason,

    Thanks for the reply. I just checked out the clips from that CD... The bass sounds incredible. I don't think it's possible to get bass much phatter than the verse line on "Red Capet". I'd have liked the bass to be a bit higher in the mix on some of the other songs but the bass sounds great nonetheless.

    The playing isn't too bad either. Actually it's very very good... :)

  5. Intrepid


    Oct 15, 2001
    I'd been messing around with the EQ and could never get the tone I wanted out of my Rick and one day a friend came over. I had messed with the EQ and cut everything, but boosted bass to just play around with. I told him he might need to re-EQ, so he did that and suddenly I heard the most beautiful sound. I was like: What the hell eq setting are you using? I looked at it and everything was nearly flat except for a slight bass boost.
  6. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Ive run all my basses and amp(s) flat for years.

    Jason-It's not my kind of music but.. you got some killer grooves and sounds going on, hope you sell truckloads of CD's.
  7. So I went to practice today. Set my amp completely flat, and the knobs on my bass flat, and bam!, it sounded as good as I expected. All of that Warwick growl and punchiness i've been missing was there... It sat soo well in the mix; I had my power amp knob quite a bit lower than usual and I was hearing myself better and "felt" louder.

    A few songs into practice, I decided to turn up the midrange a bit for the song... pretty soon I was messing with all my knobs and managed to destroy my tone again... by the end of the song I had the knobs flat again and didn't touch it!

    Makes me wonder if I should ever have bothered getting an amp (SM-900) with so many EQ knobs! :)

  8. A lot of players, Bass and Guitar, really do not understand the theory of graphic equalisers. They were introduced to tailor the sound of Hi Fi's to differant accoustic surroundings.
    The shape,and decor of a room could influance the overall sound. Much the same as instruments. So, rather than trying to alter the sound that was going in to the amplifier, use them to compensate any accoustic discrepencies in the room.
    The C.Ds you buy are usually recorded to the very highest standards, in an accousticly perfect envoirenment, so the only way to get close to that envoirenment, is to E.Q the sound coming back at you from the surroundings, not whats coming directly out of the player, and that is why the rig/bass that u try in the shop hardly ever sounds the same when u get it home.
    Sorry about that, once i got started i couldn't stop.
    The point i am trying to make,is, when you rehearse, or play live, walk out front, and around, and listen to the differance, and tailor your sound to what you hear out front.
    Its unfortunate, but a fact, that u are not always going to get that kick-ass sound that u had last week. All venues are differant, and u are in for one big shock when u find that the sound u have been working so hard on, for so long in the studio, dissappears at the first gig.
    Thats it, fell off me soap box, booked into a serious free clinic.
  9. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    True. True.

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