Slap and 8 up...

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I've been playing passive basses for the past year or so. Took my Bongo to my last gig - a wedding. Hated the experience (and my Bongo was my #1 for many years). I've gotten too used to passive basses and felt like I was playing a entirely different instrument - had to dramatically re-adjust my playing style. But never mind that, the point...

    When we played any slap tunes, or I had to do anything from the 8th fret up - it's the first time in a year that I heard CLEARLY what was going on!

    I have to humble myself and admit I've been a lazy guy for a while. I just kind of accepted that I lose something when I switch from finger style to slap, or when I start going down the neck - but I don't want to do that anymore. I want my notes to be clear and articulate all across the board, and think I need some assistance.

    I know - a compressor seems like the simple, logical solution - yet it isn't. Or at least not the compressor on my head (Carvin BX700) or pedals (which I don't really like using). Open to possibility that I might need a specific type of compression though. I also anticipate the, "Duh, start playing active basses again," response. But I'm currently in love with the expressiveness of the less electronic instruments.

    I'm curious how other deal with this (or if they even experience it), and it seems very much to be something that only happens with my passive basses. Was never a problem in the past, only since I switched over from all active to all passive.

    Any and all thoughts are welcome. Would also like to know how pickup height affects the sound. I realize my strings are dangerously close to the pickups when I'm playing on the lower half of my neck.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  2. Active/passive electronics switch
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses

    Hmmm.. Big Al and/or Jaguar. Both of which I own.

    Interested in any other thoughts people might have. Do other people have issues with this also?
  4. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I have issues... but not with my gear :)
    kcolyar likes this.
  5. TedH


    Dec 6, 2014
    Westchester, NY
    Think about the Sadowsky pedal preamp (SB-2; new one without the DI). I have it and it pumps and crisps up my Lakland P a bit without it sounding like my active Sadowsky J.

    I also have a Keeley Bassist Compressor, but for one-pedal simplicity, the SB-2 has been very interesting as you can balance the output level and then toggle on or off as the song/timbre call for without having to deal with active/passive volume boosts/drops (e.g. Motown vs. disco).
    deepestend likes this.
  6. Ant Illington

    Ant Illington I'm Anthony but I'm only illin' Inactive

    Since any and all thoughts are welcome, I have to point out the peculiarity that you may be interested in adding something to your signal ("specific type of compression" or something else electronic- I mean, you are asking what other people do to compensate for the losses you are experiencing and I don't think that anybody is going to be offering any "holistic" solutions- the answers will be (and so far, are, something "electronic") yet you don't want the obvious answer- returning to active- of which you are blessed with a billion. You like the "expressiveness" of the passives but how can you imply that they are more "expressive" if you can't hear them over the 8th fret or when you slap? I call BS. Keep it simple, stupid! I know you know that one. Yes, this IS an intervention. I hate to call you out here but, c'mon, Joe. Embrace your actives. Passives with no outboard electronic tomfoolery, be it live or in studio, are largely for sparsely arranged/old-school music or for music where bass is just a non-descript hum underneath power chords. Your gig ain't playing that stuff. It's okay to be not hip, to not be retro. Worse, its definitely not authentic to be "posing" with a passive while secretly using electronics to effectively simulate an active bass. It's OKAY to play a big ass, gas-guzzlin Hum Vee equivalent of a bass on YOUR gig! Bust out your actives and pollute the venues like a mofo. 'merica!

    PS: I finally got tired of smoking and I haven't had a cig for 7 days and 11 hours. I'm selectively following stuff from your book as life allows, too. I'm not sure if I'm getting better or worse. For instance, am I being a super dick here or am I just giving good advice in a tough love way? :)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
  7. AngelCrusher


    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    I dont agree with any of that. Darryl jones is the immediate guy who comes to mind. Played a passive bass in fusion projects. So many - Tim Lefebvre, could even throw in the classic Jaco reference. List goes on forever.

    I mean, there are so many passive basses in so many styles of music that it makes no sense to pigeonhole them to any specific genre.

    One great thing about them is that they do really well with pedals and preamps. There is nothing wrong with running a passive bass through a pre. I have been running mine through a noble and boosting the highs a lows a bit. I never experience a lack of clarity above the 8th fret when i slap there.

    It will never sound active, but thats not really the point.

    Anyway, a great option is the sadowsky preamp pedal. A little goes a long way with it.
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    That actually made me LOL... so iz all good :). I hear ya, and I learned something at tonight's gig also. I asked the other guys about when I play stuff in the upper register. They told me they hear it just fine. Hmmm....

    This may very be an IEM thing I have going on, or a deaf thing - maybe I'm just losing the higher frequencies within the mix. And my active basses rip through it all? I dunno. I'm gonna play all my basses. I'm gonna buy more basses :). I'm gonna finally sell some basses - I have to. I'm gonna shut up now cuz it's late and I'm only half here... aight... yeah... g'nite!
    Ant Illington likes this.
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