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Owners of active basses - how often do you tweak settings?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by dave64o, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Non-stop - I have to get the PERFECT tone for EVERY section of EVERY song

    5 vote(s)
  2. Frequently - Not necessarily different parts of songs but, for most songs, sure

    39 vote(s)
  3. Infrequently - I tend to stick with one setting but might adjust once in a while

    106 vote(s)
  4. Rarely - Only for room conditions at the start or for those few songs that need something specific

    72 vote(s)
  5. Almost never to never - I have my settings dialed in for each bass and they sound awesome that way

    45 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I see a lot of posts from people who have no interest in knobs and switches and simply prefer passive basses. I get that some people will prefer passive and only play passive, and that's fine as far as I'm concerned. I have no problem with anyone's preferences. But then I also see posts from passive players who go a step further and seem to imply that those who play active basses are just fidgety children who spend more time with their fingers on the switches and knobs then they do with their fingers on the strings.

    Personally, I have both active and passive basses and enjoy playing them all. But I prefer the flexibility I can get from my active basses so they're what I use the majority of the time, just my personal preference. However, that doesn't mean I'm constantly futzing with the controls while I'm playing. I have a favorite setting on each of my active basses and that's always my starting point. Sometimes I tweak at the start if the location calls for more or less of something, but then it pretty much stays set that way. When I do touch a knob, it's almost always to adjust volume if needed. I'll let my my plucking hand handle most of my tone adjustments, so I rarely touch the tone controls once I'm playing.

    What about other active players? Where do you fall along the tweaking spectrum? I'm not sure the poll accounts for all possible responses, but I allowed two responses thinking that that will enable you to straddle the line between two adjacent choices. Hopefully that will help get more accurate poll results, which I can't wait to see. :D

    FWIW, I'd say my personal response would be "Rarely".
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
    TinIndian and TrevorR like this.
  2. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Being a rock and funk player, yes, I do adjust frequently - not every time, but when the situation calls for it. Going from Chris Squire to Louis Johnson, kind of have to. I do love the simplicity of passive basses though, for active basses, I tend to prefer those with 2 band EQ as opposed to 3. Keep it simple yet versatile.
    Novarocker, cchorney and funkinbottom like this.
  3. meatwad

    meatwad Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    Smallville, USA
    New roundwounds call for rolling back the treble on my active Jazz, but that's about it.
  4. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    With my Ray34 I have it set but my MIJ Marcus Miller I have different settings for passive and active modes so I fiddle with that bass more.
  5. Nedmundo

    Nedmundo Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    On my G&L M-2500, I rarely deviate from my preferred setting: panned slightly to neck pickup; treble cut significantly; mids flat; and bass cut slightly down from flat. I'll occasionally leave the pickup blend centered.

    But I'll adjust if required. For example, I bought the M-2500 for a musical theater project, and one track had a heavy club bass line (played with a synth on the original cast recording), so I boosted the bass considerably for that. It sounded awesome. When I played in a cover band, I tweaked for some tracks, like boosting the bass for reggae.

    Had that band lasted, I may have experimented more with different sounds for different tracks, but because I'd played passive basses almost exclusively before the M-2500, I'd become accustomed to using technique and pickup blending to alter my tone. Boosting bass for club bass and reggae is an obvious move, but for less radical changes I still gravitate toward the blend knob and hand position.
  6. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I'm a set it and forget it player. I move my hand plucking position for drastic changes, just as I would have done on a passive.
  7. I've actually wondered about this myself. I've never owned an active bass. The one time I gigged a borrowed Sire, I dialled it in to the sound I was after, then basically forgot it was active. Any tweaking I do at the amp or via pedals, I just don't have the need to swap sounds that often mid-set.
  8. Song to song, man.

    I’ll roll my blend from neck only for a 70’s P sound, to bridge for a mid-laden Latin sound, or in the middle for a warm jazz or country sound.

    I’m jacking up the treble for funk and rock, and boosting mids for a Steinberger type sound, or a fretless sound.

    If you ask me, that’s the purpose of an active bass—so can adjust your tone without turning around and fiddling with your amp.
    Indexed, MonetBass, Rebopmass and 5 others like this.
  9. MTMB


    Apr 14, 2017
    The Netherlands
    Although I like the simplicity of a passive bass, I love the versitality and sound of an active one (Especially playing with very long cables where there is a lot of signal loss). Nowadays I find that having an active tone control is a must have. I currently only play jazz and funk on a MM stingray with 3 band eq. When playing funk I crank up the treble knob and for jazz the bass one with the rest of the knobs on 50%. Just two settings do the trick for me, unless someone wants me to change something about my tone because we are playing some different style of music.
  10. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Depends upon a lot of factors-
    The room
    The drummer
    The guitarist's EQ

  11. GIBrat51

    GIBrat51 Innocent as the day is long Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2013
    Lost Wages, Nevada
    Epic 2.JPG That's a hard question to answer.. This is my only active bass. I don't play it much; for several reasons, but mainly because I have no idea which knob does what. Well, other than the volume...:rolleyes: I know what Alembic says it's supposed to have, but honestly, I can't really tell what 3 of the controls are doing - assuming they're actually doing anything at all. And I have no idea which knob is supposed to do whatever.. I guess real Alembic owners are just born knowing this stuff; it's not written down anywhere I can find, anyway. A picture with labels would be really nice to have... However; I suppose that, even if I did know what the knobs did, I'd probably not mess with the controls anymore than I do on all my passive basses. I tend to be a "set and forget" type...:whistle:
  12. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    I tweak for room during sound check and then during an evening there are 6 songs in our set that require a significant treble cut to sound right (to me).
  13. DavetheDude


    Nov 28, 2014
    I normally have lows, (mids) and highs turned pretty much All the way up while having the amp's eq fairly flat. Sometimes, when I have the feeling my tone is too fat, i might turn down the lows a bit or reduce the volume a slight bit and/or change my way of playing for certain parts. Works perfectly.
  14. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    I tend to keep mine once it is settled. I change it when the music switches up and I move from my usual "neck pickup favored" to "bridge pickup favored" tone. I usually move the mid frequency and boost or cut. The only other tone control I touch is the passive tone knob. Bass and treble are pretty much forgotten once they are right for the room.
  15. aproud1

    aproud1 Don't surround yourself with yourself. Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2007
    Cincy, OH
    I adjust for the room initially. Then i might tweak pickup or tone for various songs. But mainly adjust my hand once I'm room corrected.
  16. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    In addtion, I generally don't find the need for big changes. My default is set the EQ flat, and on the Laklands I have both PUPs on, with the bridge PUP's neck coil selected. Then the pickup blend, coil selection for the MM PUP, and slight EQ changes (mostly centered around the mids) depending on what I think is needed for particular songs/sounds.
  17. FilTurd


    Dec 13, 2015
    Pacific Northwest
    Every club is different....
  18. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    My primary bass is a series I Yamaha TRB6P. Controls are volume, bass, treble, magnet pickup blend, piezo pickup blend, and piezo polarity.

    My goal is to dial my tone in with my amp and vary my sound with technique and pickup fading/selection. I usually run passive basses with the tone control wide open and active basses withe tone controls at 0. Sometimes I can't get the low end completely dialed in due to the EQ parameters and natural voice of the amp. When this occurs, I'll dip or boost my instrument's active bass control as required to get the sound I want. If I want to shape the highs, I'll usually reach for the piezo blend before I use the basses treble control. Flipping the polarity of the piezos can also be used to shape the lows but I don't generally like the results. I would probably be better if the piezos were modded with an HPF to prevent them from impacting the low end.
  19. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    I don't really tweak much once I figure out where I want everything to be. For new strings I might have to roll off some high end for a few gigs.
    jfh2112 likes this.
  20. el_Bajo_Verde


    May 18, 2016
    I never tweak anything, the only reason I play active basses is because they don't hum like my passive basses did

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