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Rigs not handling a B string?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    I've only ever had 4 string basses, but in the next week or two I plan on getting my first 5'er for the B string.

    I have read a lot on here that a lot of amps/cabinets cannot handle the lower frequencies of the B string. This concerns me, as I wouldn't want to get a 5'er if I couldn't use the B string to my liking.

    I think the open B is somewhere around 32hz. I know my cabinet cannot handle anything below 50hz, so I have engaged the high pass filter on my power amp to only allow any frequency above 50hz.

    Clearly my amp wouldn't reproduce the fundamental, but shouldn't it still reproduce the 2nd harmonic?

    As a note, in most cases my mids are boosted above all frequencies. I'll only scoop the mids if I'm going for an old school tone, which won't be done as much on this bass.

    Am I going to have any issues with playing the B string?

    What causes this issue?

    Is it people boosting the bass and their speakers can't handle it and fart? If not an EQ issue, is it a setup, pickup, or string issue? Or is simply that a B string doesn't sound right if your cabinet cannot reproduce the fundamental frequency?

  2. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    No one?

    I have read around a bit and tend to think that the some amps can't handle the 31hz fundamental of the low B, and tend to fart out trying to play it. Having the HPF at 50hz makes me not worry about this ssue. Plus, I found out the open E is somewhere around 42hz and my open E, even dropped D sounds great, but the thicker B string would also create a thicker, fuller tone.

    Not playing any frequency below 50hz still makes me wonder how good the low B would sound, especially in comparison to the other strings. Could it be quieter?
  3. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    The second harmonic is what you're hearing most of the time, I think the issues most people have with the B would be not getting 64 hz through the cab for the second harmonic of the B. I've never had any issues with the amps I've played through though, including little cheaper combos.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I've never had a problem with it. My gigging rig was a GK 800RB through a pair of Bag End S15D's which all have a sharp bass roll off at 50hz.

    If you're playing through a small combo I could see it possibly being an issue, but if you're playing through a proper rig I wouldn't worry about it.
  5. experimental bassist

    experimental bassist

    Mar 15, 2009
    I don't use a 5 string, but ran a BEAD setup briefly.

    I've never had any issue with even my modest amps.

    I would assume you're already WAY ahead of the game with your understanding of fundamental vs. harmonics and even just recognizing how important EQ is is making it work.

    In the meantime, if you have access to even an inexpensive keyboard you can try running that through your rig, they go way lower than 5 string basses.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I came accross one amp that could not handle a low B ...

    It was a little 10 watt Yamaha guitar amp with one 8" speaker ...
  7. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    The only time I worry about a low B is when I'm using 100 watts or less. Some cabs are better than others at filling in the deep lows but that applys to more than just the B string.
  8. bertthebassist

    bertthebassist Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2013
    Bethlehem, PA
    I love my low b and I had troubles finding gear that produced it well. IME, I have found several Aguilar and Bergantino cabinets to sound great with a low b without being muddy or giving up mids or highs. I found the Aquilar DB751 and Tone Hammer 500 amps along with Mesa m6/9 to produce a Low B that I love. You may be able to find these used.

    Another respectable, more affordable, option are the Carvin B2000 or B1000 with the BRX410 or BRX 210. I especially like the Sub Bass control vs. other amps' "deep" button because I have more control over how much "deep" I want for the room.

    Your genre of music, your volume needed, and your style of playing will also affect your choice.

    I found most of the 5 lbs amps to sound "electronicy" on the low notes when the volume was pushed. They pushed out a loud low note, but it sounded more like a synthesizer than a bass, IMO.
  9. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    Carvin 210s sound awesome with the B string, very bassy and clear.
  10. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    I actually tend to think of scooped mids as a very modern tone, personally.

    That said, I play a four string bass tuned BEAD through a 30+ year old tube amp and a 40+ year old 2x15 cab that probably isn't putting out much volume below 40hz, if even that. Sounds fine to me.

    Chances are that when you record, or if you're in the PA, you're going to be high passed anyway. Those ultra low frequencies are more kick drum territory.
  11. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Close. It's 30.87 Hz to be exact, generally rounded up to 31 Hz.

    Are you certain of this? It's a rare bass cabinet indeed that cannot handle ANY frequencies below 50 Hz. Are you sure you're not confusing this number with the tuning frequency? :eyebrow:

    Almost certainly, the "amp" is not an issue. If anything, it would be the cabinet. I think you actually mean "cab", yes?

    And yes, it should reproduce the second harmonic without difficulty. That still doesn't mean that it won't reproduce any fundamental.

    If your question is, "What causes a rig to fail to reproduce the fundamental of the open "B" satisfactorily", then the answer would be: "It depends". Yes, extreme EQ settings that crank the low bass can be problematic. But there are certain cabinets that simply are not engineered to handle the sub-bass frequencies very well (*cough*Schroeder*cough*). And that's generally a function of the limitations - or trade-offs - of the cab design, coupled with the limitations of the drivers. That's why there's been so much buzz around here these past few years over the new breed of modern bass cabs & drivers that are actually designed to reproduce the sub-bass - cleanly, accurately, and at volume. Because it's so very refreshing to finally be able to hear the bass the way it should be. For a change.

  12. Lots of cabs have borderline low B performance unless a highpass is used.
  13. Korladis

    Korladis Supporting Member

    Meh, I don't really care to have a whole lot of sub bass in my tone. I don't think it necessarily "should."
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Me neither. Some cabs that do are very popular, but I like a rolled off low end, even with a 5 or an octave pedal. Let the bass drum have that real estate. Bass you feel is in the 100-200 range anyway.
  15. I have a GK MB112 combo and if I keep volume levels reasonable for that amp, the B is fine whenever I mess with a 5 string...which I admit is rarely
  16. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
    Thanks everyone. It sounds like I shouldn't have any issues.

    Hi Michael, yes you're right... I meant the cabinet would be the issue.

    The cab I use is a GK 410MBE, and I can't find the necessary spec now, but I did think something gave me the impression it shouldn't get any frequency lower than 50hz. Thus I have set my HPF at 50hz and everything still sounds good. I don't really want anything lower than that coming through anyway. I guess I was more curious as to how a low B sounds without the fundamental. It seems like it may sound richer with it, but it doesn't seem like there's a volume drop without it.

    Thanks again guys
  17. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    I ran that cab with a gk backline and my 5 sounded great. Guy I traded it to also ran a 5 through it with a rack, sounded excellent. Unless you're pushing it too hard I wouldn't expect you to have any issues. Same as a 4-string.
  18. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    if you don't want B string angst, you probably don't want a B string.

    The cab is just the start. Then you'll have, do I have enough headroom for a B string? Followed by, what is the best B string for this bass? Followed by, what is the best bass for the B string? Followed by, is a bolt on neck better than neck through for a B string? followed by, how should I use this B string? Followed by, Should I even use the B string in this song.....
  19. And and after that... you have to divest yourself of all your 4-strings in favor of all 5's.
    Oh yeah, and if a 35" or longer scale is better... then the string spacing thing... ad nauseum...
  20. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    To each his own, of course. But it's really not a matter of "should". As with so many other aspects of music, the decision of how much sub-bass to include in one's sound - or any other frequency range for that matter - is open-ended. It's a choice. It's an option - not mandatory.

    Just part of what makes the music creation process such a fascinating one - because there are very few rules...and the few rules that do exist can readily be bent - or broken. If you know what you're doing.

    As for me, I love, love, love solid, powerful, deep low end. I find a way to make it work musically. And I'm not going to give up on it for anything. :cool: