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Rigs for acoustic basses

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by K Dubbs, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    Hey All,

    I've got a tacoma thunderchief ABG and it is a feedback monster through my rig. I find that I'm actually preferring the tonal characteristics of this bass for all playing situations, but I just can't get it loud without it screaming.

    For all you ABG'ers out there, what do you do in order to use these bad boys plugged in?

    Feedback killers (expensive or crappy)
    sound hole covers (which i can't find for the Tacoma)
    really high q parametric eq's (which don't usually get narrow enough)
    pedals of some sort
  2. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Another option might be inner ear monitors.

    The acoustic guitarists I've played with have had great luck with the LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI for that particular issue.
  3. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Feedback at loud volumes is always a problem with ABGs. The Tacoma is especially prone to this due the very large body cavity...tho the offset soundhole CAN be of help there.

    A good parametric eq can help you find, and hopefully nail the offending freq, but it will not obliterate the problem which stems from a feedback cycle of the top/body resonating at a freq which the amp is, well..amplifying...anyway you know the physics.

    A phase reverse switch and/or notch filter (which is a parmetric with a very narrow and specified Q) can be of great service here (look at what acoustic gtrists use to fight similar feedback problem...).

    Another aid can be where you place your amp. I have found having the amp to the side of me and not behind greatly aids in curbing feedback (this is a trick URB players use a lot...)

    Yet, truth be told, most ABGs do not respond to well when plugged into conventional bass amps. Most bass amps have eq humps in lows or lower mids (which is where that nasty howl comes from on your ABG).

    A quick fix, which would not include buying a seperate amp just for the ABG, would be to add an "acoustic instrument preamp" such as the Raven Labs PMB or D-Tar Soltice and run that into the fx return of your amp (bypassing the amps preamp stage and eq). Then use the new preamp to dial in a wonderful tone, use the notch and/or phase reverse or parametric to eliminate the feedback.
    Something like the Baggs ParaDI, which has both a notch and semi parametric eq would work in this order as well....as would the Fishman Pro Platinum Bass Eq/DI..both of which are fairly inexpensive.

    Just some thoughts....
    For myself, I grew weary of that feedback howl and stopped using big bodied ABGs (tho I still have a Martin, Taylor, Washburn, Guild) and now use Godins, which have athin body and no soundhole. Yes, they can be made to howl at high vols. but you have to really push things..they are a lot easier to control. And careful placement of my amp onstage keeps any feedback at bay (and I have played some very high vol gigs with these).

  4. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I have an Epiphone El Capitan, which is not in the same league as your Thunderchief, but is actually quite good in its price range (IMHO, at least). I used to have feedback issues with it, but of late, it has been much more well behaved. In part, I think that this is due to the fact that my gear is becoming more and more "flat" or "accurate." I use mainly EA and Accugroove cabs, and sometimes Epifani, and especially with the EA's and Accugrooves, their aren't any frequency humps (or dips for that matter) inherent with the cab themselves, which can aggravate feedback issues if those humps tend to fall where your feedback is starting from.

    That said, two things which have helped my feedback control are use of parametric EQ (on my Eden Navigator or iAMP 800) and/or the notch filter on my Stewart UDP-1a (which I use as a buffering preamp). Actually, just running through the Stewart ahead of my amp helps in and of itself (the tone certainly is better this way). My El Capitan also has an onboard EQ with semi-parametric mids, and I do end up tweaking this as well.

    Above and beyond this advice, I'd just reiterate to pay special attention to how you set up your rig (experiment with cabs on the floor, cabs on a chair, cabs titlted back, etc.), how you set up your gain stages (try all the options) and where you stand.

    Good luck!

  5. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001


    One of my guitar players uses something like this in his Guild. Playing at International Pop Overthrow in Hollywood, during a soundcheck, he was having trouble.

    The soundguy walks up and flips this rubber thing on the stage. Bill thought it was a coaster and puts his drink in it.
    The sound guy popped it into the soundhole for him.

    I guess it really works for cutting the feedback, but it may change the overall tone - I can't tell.

    I just started playing a Martin ALt-X bass this past week. [​IMG]
    I had some feedback issues at rehearsal through a hartke Kick-12. The feedback I got sounded kewl though. I was able to keep it in check with the notch filter and phase switch on the Fishman pre.