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preamp for jazz

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by sDg, Mar 25, 2003.


  1. sDg

    sDg

    Feb 26, 2003
    Wise, Virginia
    OK, I am not a gearhead. I just play the bass. But things are progressing to the point where I need a decent stage rig. I have a couple of different gigs, but my main one is a jazz thing. I play a fretless jazz bass with 90% of my playing falling within 2 tones. Neck pickup full on with tone rolled completely off (an uprighteous tone). And bridge on with tone near max (more Jaco-ish).

    I need to start looking at preamps. I have come to the conclusion that I don't even have a clue where to begin. Which preamps should I try that would be a good fit with the tones I am going for?

    sDg
     
  2. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    My only preamp experience is with my old Pearce BC-1 so I can't really recommend any particular brand.

    For fretless though, it's important to have an eq section with sweepable mids so you can dial in Mwah. It's hiding in the 800 to 975 Hz range or so and being able to pick the center frequency is a big help.

    A good friend of mine uses an Alembic F1-X. It's very warm and he expands his EQ possibilities by running a Behringer 4 band parametric eq in the fx loop.
     
  3. A very good pre-amp for the jazz bass is the J Retro Gives you loads of versatility and tone
     
  4. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    sDg - are you looking for a rack preamp to build a rig around or an onboard preamp for your bass? I guess we're looking at it from both perspectives.
     
  5. sDg

    sDg

    Feb 26, 2003
    Wise, Virginia
    I am looking for a rackmount preamp to build a rig around. I am not sure if I want to color my sound too much either. I like the way my bass sounds.

    sDg
     
  6. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    Ok...you're looking for a warm neutral sound...with variable mid freq (my recommendation presuming that you like mwah...true?).

    What's your budget?
     
  7. Lonnybass

    Lonnybass Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2000
    Minneapolis by way of Chicago
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    It's way past my bedtime, but I saw BillyB from LZ's post and couldn't resist jumping in. Hi Bill!

    As Bill mentioned, I use an Alembic F-1X preamp at the heart of my rack rig, and I don't think I'll ever depend on anything else to get my sound happenin'.

    I've used the preamp in a variety of settings, including some jazz combo work. While it doesn't have a lot of midrange flexibility, I've added a 5-band parametric EQ to get added versatility, especially in the 800 Hz region for fretless, as Bill had mentioned.

    You should be able to find used units going for around $400 or so - let me tell you, it was one of the wisest gear decisions I've ever made. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

    Lonnybass
     
  8. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    Demeter VTBP-201s. very clear, transparent, yet has a refined tubey sound. great clean tone.

    if you want ALOT of flexibility in shaping your sound, Demeter also makes the HBP-1 which allows you shape parametrically the mids and lows.

    if you'd like EXACTLY what your bass sounds like, try an Avalon U5 or its more tubular (and pricey) M5 preamp. not really bass-centric like the other preamps i mentioned, but more a recording mic preamp that happens to also have a few great sounding bass presets.

    the Alembic is cool for that warm, old skoo Bassman tones, but i say it alters a bass dramatically.
     
  9. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    If you really, really like the way your bass sounds, you can do what I do and run a Raven Labs preamp (I use a PHA-1 'cause it's a great headphone amp as well).

    Simple 3-band eq, no sweepable mids or anything. It'll make your bass louder cleanly. That's it. $219 new, and it's tiny -- fits in the pouch of your gigbag, runs on 2 9V batteries if you need it.
     
  10. jasonbraatz

    jasonbraatz

    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    i've actually done some upright recording as well as electric recording/playing live through my SWR Interstellar Overdrive preamp, and it never fails to recieve a 'holy crap!!! that sounds great!!!" i think it has all the clarity you would need, but it seems to be able to add warmth without removing that clarity. probably the only part of my rig that i will never, ever, ever change.
     
  11. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    i dunno if that'll have enough juice to power thru a power amp.

    but Raven Labs does make a killer 2 space rack preamp that does. heard its clarity city! transparent and true.
     
  12. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    It does.
     
  13. junglebike

    junglebike Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    San Diego, CA
    yup...
     
  14. I wouldn't. One of the reasons I dig mine so much is that it just sounds very "natural" and "un-hyped" like you can get when you over-tweak your set-up. For a deep and rich, fat tubey tone the F-1X wins hands down IMO. If you need a ton o' flexibility, you might go for a Kern or something but after trying the Alembic, you may find it's tone exactly what you were looking for w/o needing any extra knobs to twiddle; I did?
     
  15. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    The Demeter is a really transparent pre.....if you like the way your basses sound.....that's what you get.
     
  16. This is how I find the Alembic as well. OK, I 'spose it does add a bit of that tube-mojo but in a very complimentary way, w/o dominating the sound of your instrument.
     
  17. JPJ

    JPJ

    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    The ONLY preamp I have ever, and will ever, put on a jazz bass is a Sadowsky preamp. There are a lot of great preamps out there for other, more "modern" basses, but if you're talking about a jazz bass....Sadowsky!
     
  18. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    you know i got nothin but love for ya, subby, but...

    didnt we go thru a buttlong thread about how Bgavin found the Alembic to have a dip in the midrange. enough so, that a "flat" response from the Alembic would mean setting the controls @:

    Treb 2
    Mids 10
    Bass 2

    ???
     
  19. Well, the passive tone control set-up is no secret...that Fender design and all. Is that relevant? As long as we all know where "flat" is on the thing, right?
     
  20. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny

    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hmm... very true...

    alright! you got me. ;)