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Sitting in the Mix: Do you use certain basses for this?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jarrett, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Jarrett


    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    Do any of you approach what bass you buy/play by how it sits in a mix? Whether its on a track or a live mix. Does this factor in for you and what have you learned over the years by selecting basses on this criteria?

    For example, I've owned several basses from different manufacturers in the past and have had different levels of success with them in a live mix.

    Currently, I am a big fan of the Carvin SB series basses. One of the many reasons for this is how well it cuts/sits in a live mix. When I play my Alder/Maple boarded/fretted SB5000 in any live mix, it fits in well. It carves a nice sonic space for itself in between the kick and low end of the guitars.

    Recently, I A/B'ed a Squier Vintage Modern J Bass at practice with my Carvin SB5000. It was like a magic trick. When I played the SB, everyone in the band could hear me clearly. When I played the Squier Vintage Modern, no matter how I adjusted the input gain, EQ or master, the band had a much harder time hearing me. It was as if my bass had vanished from the mix.

    So back to the original question. Over the years, have you become cognizant of this phenomenon and choose basses accordingly? If so, what basses do you go to for certain mixes?

    I personally like my maple boarded/fretted SB5000 for any gig. My fretless SB5001 seems to work better in scaled down, acoustic settings where there is more sonic space.
  2. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I have been using my Sadowsky JJ4 for recording because it sits in the mix beautifully without much tweaking. But I use the Sadowsky P for live performances on good stages and keep the J on the stand for back up. I play a regular weekly gig on a concrete outdoor patio at a local pub...for that I use a RW P bass. The Sads sit better in a studio or live mix than the RW but the venue is such a dive I don't take my Sads to it.
  3. I had am interesting situation two weeks ago with a Jazz at a CW fest. I had to run DI to FOH and there was absolutely NO lower end.

    I knew it wasn't me, but there was only Mids and Highs.

    So I grabbed me P and did it right. I know the J has the gombies to do the work, but I think the PA-guy had a case of the jaws for any Jazz bass.
  4. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    I have a CV 50's P and a '79 MIJ P. I've found that in a live context, the '79 MIJ cuts thru nicely but on a recording, I really love the way the CV50 kind of "hugs" the other instruments in the mix, with it's fat bottom and growly highs.
  5. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    My primary criteria for tone is sitting in the mix, and I'm back to being a P-bass guy... Sadowsky P-basses, currently.

    To be even nit-pickier: alder P-basses have worked better for me than light ash ones (even true for an ash Sadowsky P-bass I no longer own), but that opens up a whole 'nother can of worms and I'm not certain that wood species was responsible for my dissatisfaction.

    Anyway, the series-wired split P pickup seems to easily find its place in the mix. (I've nothing against the original single-coil, I just have very little experience with it).
  6. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    In fact this is the _entire_ reason I choose a particular bass and, maybe coincidentally, why I've finally ended up with Carvin.

    My Bunnies are the best at sitting in a mix of any bass I've ever used. The 4 string in particular has that middy Bunny Brunel sound that works with just about anything.

    Part of that is tonal preference also, because I like a popping sort of tone that gives very distinct notes. I don't like that low vroomy kind of thing where you can sort of hear something going on back there, but it's hard to make it out.

    They do work for a more traditional tone also, for styles like classic rock or blues. Especially the 6 string - the neck PU is a stacked humbucker that sounds exactly like a Precision bass when soloed. My Bunny 4's neck PU is a J99 so it sounds more like a Jazz with the neck PU soloed.

    But audible notes at the lowest possible volume in a mix has been the main goal of my entire bass playing career. I even gave up frets pursuing it and then finally discovered Carvin here after my gigging career ended.

  7. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    Yep, MM 'Ray, P-Bass, or Sadowsky. I have other axes but the ones I listed are go-to for sit in the mix.
  8. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    I mostly play a J or a P/J and haven't had any trouble with those.

    The only bass that ever gave me fits trying to sit in a mix was a MM Sterling. That was a band with heavy overdriven guitar and I couldn't EQ that bass to come through for anything.
  9. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Any Sadowsky
  10. I have issues with a P bass in my current cover band.
    It sits too far back in the mix that you can't hear it over the electric & acoustic guitars.

    My Spector ReBop with Jazz pickups cuts through very well, though. Sits just right but doesn't overwhelm or get lost.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it.

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    It's the main reason I fell in love with the Fender Roscoe Beck Signature. It can sit in ANY mix. It's sort of a chameleon. With it thrown to the neck position in single, it does the P thing pretty well. With both in single it cops a J perfectly (which was a requirement of Mr.Beck). With it all the way to the neck in series, it does the MM thing really well. It even cops a mudbucker at the neck in parallel. It's the Swiss Army Knife of basses to me.
  12. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    I use StingRays almost exclusively because of how easily they can sit in a live mix.
  13. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Yes... but unfortunately no matter how 'present' a bass is, and no matter how much you KNOW how it can sit in a mix with little to no tweaking, a heavy handed engineer or producer can render it impotent and make you 'felt but not heard' when all is said and done. Gotta fight for the right to be felt AND heard. That said, my Lakland 44-02 is my go-to session bass, but I have gotten lots of compliments on my fretted and fretless 55-01 basses as well. They have a low mid punch that works well but still leaves detail all around.
  14. Engineers like this drive me nuts. I'm not there to proxy the guitar, or fill in the void he can't fill with his twangy crunch. I'm there to add rhythm & be heard.

    Luckily, the guy who runs sound for my cover band at our local watering hole gets this. He has a knack for having a well rounded mix where everyone is present, but not overbearing.
  15. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I finally just gave up and always brought my amp regardless. So I and the band could at least have a fighting chance of hearing me on stage. I was always lucky if there were monitors at all, much less if I was even going through them.

    When it got to that point I just didn't care if anyone else heard me offstage. I just cozied up to the amp till the gig was over, collected my $10 and went home :).

  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    If a bass doesn't sit in the mix for me, it's outta there! All of my basses sit in the mix very well or I get rid of them.
  17. Jarrett


    Jan 19, 2004
    Waxahachie, Tx
    What basses ended up doing that for you?
  18. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    I find that every place I play sounds different and "sitting in the mix" changes a lot. I've been doing most of my gigs with a Peavey Zodiac, which has thunderous lows, ripping highs (rock all the way) and lots of sustain. It's the Seymour Duncan Basslines pickups.
    Lately I've been digging my MM Sterling with it's more natural mids and less sustain. I find my playing is different with it. The new Carvin (on it's way) will likely end the competition based on my experience with it in San Diego.
  19. bobbybass85


    Dec 19, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    For me I use my two bass styles as follows:

    Jazz Bass: for when I want to be pronounced in the mix, easy to pick out.

    Precision Bass: for when I want to solidify the mix. I use this to fill in the sonic holes in the band. Still heard, still present, but more supportive than standing out.
  20. sj_bass

    sj_bass Supporting Member

    May 23, 2010
    Long Beach, CA
    Proudly Supporting Moody Leathers

    Here's an offbeat analogy: You're filming a car-chase sequence, so there are some cars that have to be there to make the whole thing real - that's the P bass... then you got the bad guy's car - the one that's on steroids with nitrous - well... that's your active bass. Finally, the protagonist's car - great looking, lots of growl, and has a little personality of it's own - that's the Jazz bass.

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