P gets buried live.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by taught, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. taught


    Jan 5, 2015
    Ok so I've got a Squier VM 70's Jazz bass (with SPB-1s) for years. Dig it, love it, my piece of heart my mainest main bass of all.

    Recently I got Squier CV 70's P bass and I dropped SPB-3 in it. My problem is that it just gets buried waaaay down when I am playing with my band live which does NOT happen with my beloved J bass and it does NOT happen with the P when recording songs with the same guys. If I had to describe our genre then I would say it is garage rock paced music that has melody like Foo Fighters.

    Currently I play through an Ampeg Classic Preamp (https://ampeg.com/products/pedals/classic/) which goes into an Ashdown MAG300 EVOII that drives an Ashdown MAG 410.

    I tried to tweak the EQ but I never managed to cut through the mix with an acceptable tone. I attached a picture of my amp so you can see what options I have EQ wise.

    On the Ampeg preamp I always turn the gain and bass to 1 o'clock and everything else is at 12. Maybe I boost trebles here and there but that's all. Gain boost gives my tone clarity, punch and dirt while bass gives... well... bass!

    On the amp I tried (with compression always on at 11 and sub-harmonics always off):
    - Cutting low mid and boosting high mid - so far this is the most efficient
    - Boosting mid and high mid
    - Bossting low mid, mid and high mid
    - Cutting highs, boost low and low mid

    I play fingerstyle and I don't plan to play slap/pick. I always play around with the force of plucking so a lot of times I play palm muted and another lot of times I pluck so hard that every jazz musician would turn their heads away with disgust.
    Of course the goal is to cut through when plucking normally/hard.

    I am open to every advice!

    Attached Files:

    Pbassmanca likes this.
  2. Dragan


    Oct 5, 2009
    From what l've heard about spb3, it can be a reason. Funny thing l had Nate Mendell sig pbass with l think, very same pickup, and at home it roared and l thought this thing will kill live. But l didnt like the feel of a neck and l never get it on stage and sold it in no time.
    Anyway, my advice would be another pick up for sure. Nordstrand should do the job.
  3. taught


    Jan 5, 2015
    I heard the same things. I still have the stock pickups and I would put them back that's for sure so I can see if things get any better.
  4. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    I'm not a fan of SPB-3 pickups. I bought a used MIM Fender P bass a few years ago that someone had modded by adding a SPB-3. The pickup "upgrade" played a big part in me buying the bass. I used it at about 1-2 months worth of practices and only one gig and that was it. Sold it shortly thereafter. Big disappointment.

    I did some reading up on the SPB-3 around that time and ran across some negative feedback about how it gets lost and buried in the mix. That was my experience with it, too, in the limited time I had one.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
    10cc and taught like this.
  5. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    If the tone the guitarists in your rock band are using swamps your sonic space then there is not a lot you can do, other than move to another frequency or play so loud you swamp them. A P bass works well in many situations, but maybe you've found a place where it doesn't.

    Keep the P bass for the times when it works other than that I'd go back to using your Jazz in this band.
    djaxup, Adam Wright, bdplaid and 2 others like this.
  6. mouthmw


    Jul 19, 2009
    Definitely not a fan of scooped SPB-3. I had one too and it’s just not a true P bass tone imo. If I didn’t want mids, I wouldn’t play a P lol. I’d recommend EMG GZR, I never get lost in the mix with that pup and we play LOUD rock, trust me, we’re infamous for it here. J never worked that well for me, too scooped with both pups up and favoring any other pup just didn’t do it for me tone wise. P lost in the mix is IMO something I can’t even fathom these days.
    Rickter, djaxup, Pbassmanca and 11 others like this.
  7. taught


    Jan 5, 2015
    What tone you consider a tone that swamps my sonic space? He plays standard tele and stratocaster through a JTM45. He has more pedals than I can even count but usually he just adds dirt to his tone, nothing extraordinary.

    Haha! I heard really good things about EMG GZR before. I will definitely take a look on it and consider it, thanks.
    mouthmw likes this.
  8. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Guitarists using pedals can get into lower or low mid frequencies and start interfering with the sound of the bass. If he's not doing that then it isn't the cause of your problem. If he's well away from your sonic space then your volume level or eq could be the reason. Also, as I was saying, in this band maybe the J works and the P doesn't.
  9. Yahboy


    May 21, 2008
    Why you take out the aggressive tone stock pickup ??
    That stock pup sound really nice through fender Bassman 800 and Messa D800.
    Pbassmanca and EatS1stBassist like this.
  10. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    SPB-1 should make you happy
  11. Karlson541

    Karlson541 Inactive

    Jun 9, 2018
    The SPB-3 is known for it's high output, but also mid scooped tone that gives it problems cutting through despite it's high output.
    So if you like mids in your tone or like to be able to be heard the SPB-3 is not a very good choice, unfortunately for you.
    As suggested the EMG Geezer Butler P pickup is outstanding and what I would recommend.
  12. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    I have the SPB-1 P pickup and it is awesome, I can’t imagine getting lost in the mix. I remember when I was researching what pickup to get though that the SPB-3 is scooped, and the SPB-1 is strong in lows and low mids. I’d say this is your reason. Definitely investigate switching the pickup before you scrap the P bass - a P bass sitting right in the mix is a truly unique and glorious thing to experience.
  13. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    The problem is you have a mid scooped pickup AND you aren't eqing enough mids in. Back down the bass knob and bump the mids at whatever frequency you like them.
    Rickter, djaxup, Bredian and 7 others like this.
  14. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    I meant to say that too - back the bass off. The low frequencies take more power to amplify cleanly, so if you’re boosting them, you’re ultimately losing power and volume. Drop them back to noon or 11:00 and bump the mids to 1:00 or even 2:00.
    Rickter, R Briere, Bredian and 4 others like this.
  15. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    Especially on an ampeg dial! Noon is not flat and 1 is actually pretty hot.
    JeffC23, taught and BillMason like this.
  16. BillMason


    Mar 6, 2007
    Yeah Ampeg preamps are naturally scooped with everything at noon already, so OP is really laying the lows on thick.
    JeffC23, taught and StrangerDanger like this.
  17. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Quarter Pounders are excellent bedroom pickups. They are very scooped and will get you buried in a mix unless you play with a pick. Get a Geezer pickup or something else that’s full range and has strong mid content.
  18. Stranger Danger

    Stranger Danger Feel Like A Stranger Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Yeah I’m guessing heavy mush.
    BillMason likes this.
  19. bordinco90


    Dec 7, 2011
    SW Louisiana
    You could get the Fender Original Pickups. I use them and they are great in a live situation! Plus they are $63 on Amazon.
  20. Jscriv


    Feb 3, 2017
    Tonawanda NY
    I put spb3s in a P and it's the same thing. I have another with custom shop 62s in it and it cuts through like a sharp knife. My advice would be to swap to the 62s

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