P and J basses get lost in live mixes?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by boilingTheDead, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. boilingTheDead


    Oct 15, 2018
    sorry for the trashy title.
    I stumbled across this video on yt:

    he mentoines that a P or a J bass can sometimes kinda get lost in the mix live, but his stingray always cuts through.

    Would you agree on that?

    ...I mean of course it depends on the situation, but generally I heard better live mixes with stingrays or simular basses. Maybe the pickup placement is just ideal for live scenarios and PA systems? I can remember a variety of smaller concerts where the bassist played a pbass (fingerstyle) and it had soo less definition that I could only feel the air move but could not hear the notes clearly, even though I stood pretty close to the PA. I wonder If the tone would have been more "hearable" over distance with a pickup closer to the bridge.
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  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    That’s probably why they’re not very popular. ;)
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  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Well played.

    EQed well, and in good hands, I can make any bass stand out in a mix. That guy's notion is ridiculous in its face.
  4. barginkov


    Feb 1, 2012
    L.I. New York
    You beat me to it. I was gonna say that's why you never see anyone using a P or J in a live
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  5. beaglesandbass

    beaglesandbass Think first, then post? Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    If something is getting lost in the mix, it sounds like more of a sound guy issue than an instrument issue.

    Also possibly how the instrument and amp are EQ’d before going to FOH
  6. Yes stingrays will generally 'cut through', especially the three-band with the mid control {like Marcello uses above} as the player has the ability to 'juice' the mids via the onboard eq. However, that's not to say a jazz or precision can't cut through. Either can if the player knows what they're doing.

    Jazz too boomy and won't cut through? Just run one pickup slightly in advance of the other to get rid of the phase cancellation and play between the pickups. P bass too boomy or won't cut ? Dial the tone back a third and pluck further back toward the bridge.

    As a listener, I've heard many live music situations where both J and P basses have sounded fantastic. Likewise, I've been a listener in similar situations where they've sounded pretty average, and I've wanted to go up and give the sound man a clip under the ear because the mix coming off the desk - especially the bass sound - was just abysmal.

    I distinctly remember a blues festival I attended a few years ago. One soundman only. The first bassist played a jazz and it sounded great; the second a stingray. Again, it sounded great. The third, a precision. Ditto. Honestly, if the soundman and the player knows what they're doing, it's hard to get a bad sound out of any of these basses.

    And then on the flip side of the coin, you'll always get players who don't know how their instrument works other than to pluck a string and fret a note to get a sound to come out; or soundmen who don't have a clue.... ESPECIALLY dudes who mix bands with the 'one-size-fits-all' approach { ugh }

    In my own personal experience, I can vouch for fenders. I've played them for a long time and know how they work. I've never had any trouble punching or cutting through a mix with either a jazz, or a precision.
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  7. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Any instrument will get lost in the mix if you don't EQ them correctly or if you're playing with people who don't understand or care about the sound and dynamics of a band.
  8. Mastodon2


    Feb 27, 2008
    Just a crappy click bait video. We shouldn't feed the ego of these people by watching this tripe.
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  9. I agree that a Stingray makes it easier, because it seems to have the right mids to fit in most mixes easily... but it can get lost too if not mixed well. A P or a J have the ability to fit in beautifully as well, so I would disagree with the video.
    It's what you do with it.
    If you take a Jazz, all controls open (cue mid scoop) and play with a typical rock band with two guitars with lots of distortion and low end... you'll struggle. But that's not the only sound you can get from a Jazz, and you can engineer the mix better by ensuring the guitars leave room for the bass. So it's all in the context really.
  10. NOVAX


    Feb 7, 2009
    Regardless. It's Leo, Leo and more Leo.
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  11. Kyuuga


    Jan 5, 2018
    Jesus, what's up with the hate on Marcello? I'm not his fanboy but he's an amazing YouTuber who rarely does clickbait videos and has a ton of experience - he has toured with big names in STADIUMS and he posted videos of that on his channel.

    He's not an anti-Fender guy, in fact he uses Jazz Basses as much as Stingrays from what I've seen.
    And what he mentioned is partially true - it's much easier to make a Stingray cut through than a J or a P.

    That DOESN'T MEAN a P or a J is unusable or whatever, quite the opposite. The whole notion of "cutting through the mix" is flawed and people need to stop saying that so recklessly.

    Your goal, as a bass player, isn't to "cut through the mix". It's to be reasonably heard - or, if you want to use terms, to "sit in the mix". That's the goal of ALL instruments. Everyone needs to reasonably occupy their frequency range and not meddle with each other's frequencies. And that's where the good ol' Precision comes in: for most genres, it provides the perfect frequency range for a bass to sit in the mix.

    The only one who needs to "cut through the mix" is the vocalist because that's what most people pay attention to and that's the main focal point in most music.

    Another flawed notion is that if you wanna stand out in a mix all you need to do is "boost the mids". No, that's not how it works. Sometimes that will make you even more buried by other instruments or it'll just ruin the mix as a whole, with everyone sitting on top of the same frequencies.

    There's no golden rule for EQ'ing your bass. It all depends on what type of music you're playing, what people you're playing with, how many instruments there are, etc.

    I know a lot of you on Talkbass play country, blues and old school rock'n'roll and for that a more vintage tone provided by a Fender bass with the mids rolled up fits PERFECTLY.

    But for anyone who plays different genres that isn't gonna cut it. For someone who plays Hard Rock or Metal, for instance, a tort pickguard sunburst Precision with flats and the mids rolled up isn't gonna do it, sorry.

    Not trying to offend anyone, just giving my 2 cents!
  12. bassstrangler


    Mar 2, 2015
    "Marcelo Feldman is a professional session and touring bass player based in Los Angeles. After graduating from Berklee College of Music and moving to Los Angeles, Marcelo has gone on to perform and tour with multiple artists such as Hollywood Records artist Olivia Holt, Hannah Montana star Mitchel Musso, Glee star Mark Salling, WWE Diva Lilian Garcia, American Idol finalist Carly Smithson, Steve Rushton, Billy Unger and many others. He has performed on The Today Show, the Nascar Awards, The Tonight Show, Ellen, Walmart Soundcheck, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Yahoo Sessions, AOL Sessions, the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, the Colgate Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular, Hallmark channel’s Hollywood Christmas parade and in countless other live shows across the U.S., South America, and Europe."

    ^^^^from his website. Plenty of pictures of him with EBMMs and Schecters. I see only one with an active Fender bass (a Marcus Miller).

    It looks like the "highly pedigreed" Mr. Feldman is trying to sell some Rays and make some YT bucks. And like a thread about Daviewhoeverthehellheis stated, YT is full of click bait to keep those YT dollars rolling in.

  13. Leonid Nidis

    Leonid Nidis

    Jan 1, 2018
    I have heard many passive Js get lost in a distortion filled busy mix including big acts.Even a metallica concert with a J was a bass disaster imo.
    Ps can get lost but they will be felt even in the wost case.
    Stingray does cut well in heavy music.

    Anyway I got a G&L L2500 it doesnt need to cut or punch through cos it owns the mix to begin with :)
  14. Kyuuga


    Jan 5, 2018

    It didn't take me more than 2 minutes to find him in a recording session playing a TORT PRECISION BASS (ah the good old classic).

    What's up with the unreasonable hate on someone you don't even know? You think a YouTuber like him gets paid by Musicman to sponsor their basses? He's a professional working musician, the basses he has is what he has bought.

    Also he has been playing for years, I'm sure he has used quite a few Fenders in his lifetime (like we all have...)
  15. SteveCS


    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    I think, unfortunately IMHO, this has actually become a feature of mainstream bass guitar, and probably accounts for the current wave of popularity of the precision. On TV I see more and more precisions and on the radio I hear equally less and less bass guitar. I guess there mighf be a correlation? In fact there is a video interview I saw recently with the EBMM company where they acknowledge this change in focus as driving some of the changes made to the latest StingRay special. Mellower, less aggressive, less top-end sparkle, etc...
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  16. You have to be pretty good at messing things up to lose a p-bass in a mix.
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  17. bassstrangler


    Mar 2, 2015
    I never heard of him until about an hour ago. I'm sure within an hour he'll be completely forgotten by me. I don't know who he is, can't say I know anyone he supports with his playing either.

    As far as I am concerned he's just another person on YT wanting me to like him so he can get more money to "buy" his active mix cutting basses. His opinion to me is worthless.

    Hate? I can't hate someone I don't know or have never heard of.

    He's just another self-proclaimed expert in a world filled with self-proclaimed experts. He has his right to proclaim his opinion. I have my right to question his expertise and opinion, just as he has the right to throw it out there.

    How do you know he isn't endorsed by EBMM?

    In summation, I don't care, I don't know who he is, and honestly his opinion holds as much weight as yours or mine.
  18. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I play a P a J or a ebmm Sterling live. Every single one cuts through the mix just fine.
  19. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Inactive

    Jun 22, 2013
    As a Pbass aficionado, and having also had/used a plethora of other types of basses, I’d say that a proper Pbass has an inherent mid focus that not only cuts through a mix, but also perfectly slots into most mixes in a near tetris type fashion (hence its ubiquity from stage to studio). To me (operative) it’s a much more congruent sound than either the overtly nasal stingray vibe (which due to its pu placement is inescapable... not saying that’s a bad thing for you ray fanboys) or the potentially synthetic timbre of an active bass whose onboard EQ, with its proclivity towards added noise, is sent to the FOH. The P can cut like a knife if plucked near the bridge, or blend into a mix like butter if plucked towards the neck (granted all basses produce that effect to varying degrees, but the p has a design that simply works). I’m not particularly up on my Jbass game lately as even tho I have good one, I never reach for it, so I’ll not comment on it.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  20. nnnnnn


    Oct 27, 2018
    That is certainly literally true, noting that it says sometimes, not usually or always, and it says kinda, not completely.

    However, from the way he said it it seems like what he meant is that it happens often enough that it may not be a good idea to use a J or P live, an idea that obviously a lot of people disagree with.
    I'm sure the sound engineer could bury it under the other instruments if they tried hard enough, but yeah, few people would argue that Stingrays don't cut through.
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