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Running multiple basses through one rig...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by GeorgiaHonk, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. I've been gigging with a classic rock cover band using my bonestock AmStd Precision through a Peavey 450 Max head and an Avatar B212 cabinet. I've got things set to where I can get the sound I want at my required volume. As I indicated in another thread, however, I just won a contest and the prize is a new bass.

    In contrast to my passive one-pickup P, this new one is active and has a J-pup in the neck and a MM-style at the bridge. Since I haven't received it yet I don't know how its tone will compare with my old standby, but I thought I'd begin to glean some suggestions from you guys who play more than one bass through a single amp/cab setup.

    My initial assumption, based on style and body materials, is that the new bass will more aggressive and probably more scooped. I foresee this as being a problem, as my current amp settings are tailored for my warm, mellow and mid-heavy Precision. Will I have to change all my amp settings every time I change basses onstage? How do you manage multiple basses through a single rig?
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    well, 1st, don't assume anything until you play the 2 side by side. When using more than one bass, It's usually pretty easy to figure out the minimum eq change you may "need" to make. Don't forget, the new bass will probably have active tone contols, so you can change the eq on the bass itself. I've used a lot of different basses, and I've found that the less you eq, the better. The bass will sound best when it sounds like itself. Even more important, you will always sound like you. IME, most good players have a sound based on style and technique that come thru no matter what they play.
  3. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Yeah, i think you will find that it wont be as hard as you think it will. One issue you may have is volume, as ones output may be significantly higher or lower than the other, but that is easily fixed. One thing to keep in mind, however, i find every bass sounds best at a certain amount of preamp gain. I.E., on my amp, my Jazz sounds best at between about 4 and 5, while my peavey sounds better at about 3. Granted, i could just leave the gain at 3, and boost the master when i was using the jazz, but i find that if im not up high enough, i sound thin and tinny. So i would focus on knowing your settings for gain and master, and worry less about EQ. Plus, i bet your new bass has an onboard EQ, so it should be fairly easy to set it the way you want it, without changing your amps EQ.
  4. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA
    Amen to that! After years of never even tweaking the knobs on my Jazz bass when I played, I hotwired it so both PU volumes were bypassed, and turned the old tone knob into a master volume control. My sound got even better, and I've never looked back.

    It's all in the fingers... When I want a bassier sound, I play closer to the neck; treblier (is that a word?), then closer to the bridge, etc.

    GH, when you run two basses on stage, don't make it so you have to tweak amp settings in between, if at all possible. It takes long enough just changing basses (assuming you're doing it mid-set). Like IvanMike said, it's best to make adjustments on the basses so that they'll both work with the same amp setting. Depending on how your signal is getting to the PA, it could be that the basses' on-board tone control is your best chance to get the basses to work interchangably.

    A/B boxes work better than unplugging cords, as well. I've learned to keep things as ridiculously simple on stage as possible, because there are always better things to be focused on (like playing, starting the next song, checking out the crowd, wiping the drool off the drummer's face, etc.). Part of playing professionally is looking as good as possible, and it's always better to be interacting with the crowd then off in your own world with your equipment (I learned this after watching video of my performances -- you'd be surprised that what you think is pretty harmless actually looks pretty bad). But, as always, YMMV depending on what you're trying to accomplish on stage.

    Sean Mc
  5. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
  6. wyliee


    Jul 6, 2003
    South Hill, WA
    Raven Labs made several different products that would allow you to have two or three different basses plugged in to one amp. Sadly, Steve has closed shop, so the only products you'll be likely to find will be used.

    I personally use the USIP in my rig and always have the PMB DI box in my gig bag o' goodies.