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Reggae Bass EQ

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chico16, Jun 8, 2012.


  1. Chico16

    Chico16

    Apr 2, 2012
    Yuma, Az
    Well my friends, I have joined a reggae band and I'm struggling a bit with finding the right sound. I haven't really played much reggae before but what I can figure out is to lower treble and boost low mids and bass. The thing is that when I do this and find the sound I love, my amp head's limit indicator LED light begins to flash when I play notes on my E string so I get the feeling I'm not doing something right and could surely use the help of all the experienced talented musicians that roam talkbass!!

    I own an Ibanez SR605 with Bass, Mid, Treble, and Pick Up Balancer on board. (the pick ups are Bartolini MK-1's and strings are GHS PressureWounds) My amp head is a 450 watt Behringer Ultrabass BX4500H with Gain (which I usually keep very very low), Bass, Low Mid, Middle, High Mid, and Treble controls. It also has a Shape and Ultrabass knobs but I don't use those much. My cab is a 4x10 1200 watt Behringer Ultrabass BB410 with a 1" horn tweeter. I've had this Behringer set for about 4 months now and they have proved very reliable so don't plan on switching my gear anytime soon I just need advice on how I should set my EQ for that deep clean reggae bass sound.

    I'd like to thank any help in advance, always enjoy reading TalkBass!

    -Chico!
     
  2. My advice, for what it's worth: don't over-boost your mass. On my Bongo 5, I play Reggae with the controls centered, add just a little bass and roll off the treble just a bit.
     
  3. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    Low Pass Filter. I have one on my bass and I get that reggae bass sound easy breezy. I roll the filter back almost all the way and dial in the neck pickup and irie!

    Compressor too. gotta have that!
     
  4. Chico16

    Chico16

    Apr 2, 2012
    Yuma, Az
    Filter and compressor... Never thought about those about how much are they? Which would you recommend?
     
  5. Matthijs

    Matthijs

    Jul 3, 2006
    Amsterdam
    The key is mostly somewhere in boosting the 80 to 120 hz range without boosting the lower frequencies to much. The low mid of yourbehringer probably works in a slightly higher higher range and the low boosts the 40hz range to much. An eq pedal or a high pass filter working in the 40 tot 60 hz range might work. Also try eq-ing with cutting the highs and mids without boosting the bass. another trick is to try and see what happens when you boost the bass on your bass and cut them on the amp or vice versa.

    And not all regeae is as bass heavy as people have in their collective minds. Think: stir it up
    The bottomy feel comes from the prominent place of the bass in the mix and groove too.
     
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    I suggest you look up the compressor stickie and check out the Thumpinator high pass filter.
     
  7. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    a Moogerfooger has a low pass filter and an envelope filter all in one pedal. the FX are independent of each other. I am lucky enough to have a low pass filter preamp (acg-o2). As for a compressor. there are many, but not all are good. I like the Focusrite Trackmaster Pro.
     
  8. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    Anyway, as you said, don't use neither "ultrabass" nor "shape".

    You'll don't need the first, for it's not just the bass to enlight; you don't need the second, for there's no room for midscoop.

    Keeping your onboard 3 band flat (low-mid-treb center detent)
    emphasize on your head low-mid & high-mid frequencies: start from 12 o' clock, up and countin'

    Counter engage low and treble frequencies (9 o' clock is right) and fingerpick like that, with more volume than gain.

    Good and cheap compressor: Boss CS2 Compression/Sustainer

    Cheers,
    Wallace
     
  9. MoogMaestroMuff

    MoogMaestroMuff

    Jun 7, 2012
    Tone rolled off (almost) all the way with foam mute... and play softly. For my part, that's how I get the reggae sound I have in my head.

    The Moog MF-101 is also great for these tones! Close the filter to about 1KHz... and there you go! But still, I find the bass' (passive) tone knob to be more natural.
     
  10. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
  11. gigslut

    gigslut

    Dec 13, 2011
    St Louis, Mo
    The low mid on the Behringer is lower than most amps, centered around 145 hz. It should give a good mid bass boost for reggae. I used one as my main amp for a few years and got some good reggae tones from it. Don't let the limit indicator scare you. It is doing it's job preventing damage to the amp, and giving you some cheap and dirty compression as well. Win/win.
    The standard fare for Reggae bassists in the 70's and 80's was the SVT. I played in a local Reggae band in the 80's and we did some openers at Mississippi Nights for touring Reggae acts from Jamaica. On top of our meager pay for opening, the promoter paid me and the keyboard player extra for use of my SVT and his Hammond/Leslie combo for backline. I made a point to tell the bassists to feel free to adjust the amp to their liking, then check the tone controls after their sets, as I wanted to cop their tone. There was the expected bass boost, the ultra low was on, mids scooped around 800 and surprisingly, highs boosted as well (that's right, the proverbial smiley face EQ). I didn't think to ask about strings, but suspect they were using large gauge strings with a lot of miles on them. Suspect they had tone control rolled off some on the bass as well.
     
  12. Floridabwoy

    Floridabwoy Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Jacksonville, Fl
    There is a lot of different reggae.... depends on what you guys are playing.
     
  13. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    You're right man!

    And there's plenty of calypso/creole music playin' at you's.

    I travelled to Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and a crazy "sharky" place called Cocoa Beach 22+ years ago... There were Miami Sound Machine alike bands playin' right inside surf shops!

    Beautiful!
    I miss those places.

    Cheers,
    Wallace

    PS: please everybody forgive my OT
     
  14. guroove

    guroove

    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    You don't need a lowpass filter, you can just turn down the tone knob on your bass. A compressor definitely helps, but isn't necessary.

    Bass frequencies take more watts to deliver, so it makes sense that you are peaking your amp out. You can't get more bass than what you got, so you have to figure out if this will be enough.

    I once got to speak with family man about his sound. All he said was "turn up your amp really loud, and play soft. Let the amp do all the work."
     
  15. ODDBALL

    ODDBALL Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Salida, CA
    I was always told also it is where you pluck the strings as well. I had learned to pluck them softly as close to the end of the neck as possible, using the end of the neck as an anchor for the thumb. Might be wrong but sounds fantastic.

    Shaun
     
  16. guroove

    guroove

    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    Yes, where you pluck makes a difference too. When I play reggae on a jazz bass, I like the spot directly between the end of the neck and the neck pickup. Very deep.
     
  17. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Plucking location is key. Try using your neck pickup only, slight bass boost and treble rolloff (or tone knob almost all the way down on passive basses), and pluck gently right behind the fingerboard. Works well for what I do, which is admittedly more the '80s band pseudo-reggae than actual reggae.
     
  18. Toastfuzz

    Toastfuzz

    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    DOD FX25 Envelope Filter is a great cheap way to get awesome reggae dub tone. Its normally a "quack quack" guitar envelope filter, but when you turn the sensitivity and sweep all the way down, you get absolutely no treble and a nice round dubby bass.

    It may not matter that you're clipping your amp, if you're achieving your desired tone. All amps are different and I don't know Berenger, but on my Ampeg amp the clip light comes on anytime I play a note (and it doesnt damage it, again Berenger may be different)
     
  19. Chico16

    Chico16

    Apr 2, 2012
    Yuma, Az
    We are not strictly just reggae. We mix with many other genres like ska, blues, rock n roll, a bit of Cumbia etc.. As for myself, I'd like to get the tone similar as Iration, Sublime, or even the Mexican rock band Mana. I mention Iration because the bassist uses a deep fat tone, sublime because I move around as he does except I can't find the right EQ to compliment each note I play, and Mana simply because Juan Calleros is my favorite bass player lol
     

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