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so...bass through guitar amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by hachi kid, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. hachi kid

    hachi kid

    Jun 2, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I'm really wanting more treble out of my rig...like, "John Entwistle live" treble. I recently bought new strings, and it helped a TON, but I'm still not getting enough treble.

    I recently started bi-amping my sound through my amp for my lows, and my friends practice guitar amp that has a distortion channel. it's good, but I'm still not getting enough treble to really cut through, and it's driving me a bit loopy.

    I'm wondering if anyone knows if using a guitar amp to run my high's through would be ok, or would there be severe problems. I'm not quite sure what kind of guitar amp I'd like, too. I just know I need something really bright and crisp, but wouldn't sound like a brocolli fart when I turn the amp up to get a little bit of overdrive going as well.

    I'm really trying to get my bass to sound a good bit like a piano. just a huge, rich sound to cut right through, and I noticed every time I listen to a song with a piano, I can definately tell when he goes for a low note. so...anyone know anything about this area of playing the "bass guitar"?

  2. broadblik


    Aug 10, 2008
    Sheffield, UK
    What cab are you running it through? what bass? what strings?
  3. kingbee


    Apr 18, 2006
    You can definitely play through a guitar amp. I used to use a Behringer 210 for the same effect and it worked well. I think you can probably find some bass amp settings that work well though. Are you playing an active or passive bass? If you're playing passive, just make sure your tone controls are all the way up.

    A lot depends on the EQ ranges of your tone controls but a good place to start is to make sure that you make a cut in the 200Hz range and a boost around 800Hz-1KHz. Make sure your adjustments are narrow but very deep, say around 5db or so. The former frequency will help provide some overtones and warmth, while the latter will add a bit of that Entwhistle bite. Once you get those two frequencies balanced right, you'll need to adjust the 100Hz frequency to get a solid fundamental. Depending on how thick you want you want the sound to be, you might want a boost or a cut here.
  4. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I get the Entwistle sound with the following setup.

    1 - I have a 3 or 4 band preamp.
    2 - Ampeg b2r head.
    3 - I built my own speaker cabinets with Eminence 10" PA speakers.
    4 - Then I use this effects pedal. http://www.3dentourage.com/425/effects.htm I mix clean and distorted signals in parallel to keep it from farting out.

  5. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    For starters, Entwistle stated in interviews that he hated the 1kHz area and always cut the upper mid-range. He boosted the treble and the lower mids.

    Secondly, if you watch his technique, he played with a very low action and struck the strings against the frets for a "piano-like" sound. Kind of like how slap players do it but with his fingertips or with the "typewriter" technique.

    Until you get his technique, you won't sound anything like him.

    And in addition to distoriton on the 'treble' side of his rig, he always used heavy chorus too.
  6. Or....

    Boil you strings in the pan... vinegar is used somewhere in the process, i dunno if you boil em in that or just clean em with it... But thats how John got that Raw twang... :)
  7. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    Uh...where have you heard or read this? He put brand new strings on for every performance.

    He was an endorsed millionaire. He didn't boil his strings...because he got them for free.
  8. I do what you are describing with my current band.

    I use a Markbass LMII for the bass end, and I have a Vox Valvetronix 50-watt guitar combo for the highs. I run a short cable from the tuner output of the LMII to the input of the Vox.

    I imagine I could easily use a 30-watt guitar amp, because I really don't have to turn the 50-watt amp up very loud at all to get the right balance of sound. I have to make sure the bass is turned down on the Vox or else it its really muddy and farty. So basically, the Vox is only producing overtones, which doesn't require a lot of power (amplifying fundamental bass notes takes much more power and that's what the LMII is for). I have the Vox set for the Fender Twin Reverb model with the gain at about 3 o'clock, and I have the highs on the LMII turned mostly down. With this set up, there's way more than enough treble to go around. New strings help a lot too.
  9. If someone is an endorsing artist doesn't mean to say they get things for free all the time. Artist price my friend. How many people are endorsing artists? If they give everyone free things, they would be out of business.

    What did he do before The Who got massive? he still had the same sound then....

    And i know because a friend of mine used to jam with him before they got big.
  10. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    That's what you do to dirty strings to bring them back to new condition, if you can't afford to use new every night. I suspect Ent wasn't concerned about the cost of new strings post 1966.
  11. But it still adds that raw twang he had more so than what new strings do.

    No one put's new strings on for every gig... Even if he wanted it... the roadies wouldn't have done it.
  12. hachi kid

    hachi kid

    Jun 2, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Geddy Lee does, and I wouldn't have been surprised is John did it/had it done, too. oh, and Billy Sheehan uses a new set every gig, too. and yes, if every company gave everything away to every tom, dick, and harry, they would be broke, cept John, Billy, or Geddy isn't a T,D, or H. I know that John did, in fact, get Rotosound strings for free because he helped create the Rotosound RS66, and they had a lifetime endorsement deal for free strings as long as John wanted them.

    enough of the thread hijacking, though. I'm not looking to replicate his sound, I just pointed to John's live sound as reference to how much treble I was looking for. as far as my bass, it's an Ibanez GSR190 with a set of EMG P/J replacement pickups I put in the bass after I bought it, and I'm using a set of medium gauge cleartone strings. my amps I'm using at the moment are sort of irrelevant cause they are going to be replaced. the bass side is ok, it's just a 35 watt Ibanez practice amp, and the treble side is a ratty Crate guitar amp from the early 90's. so, that's going out the window pretty soon. I'm also thinking about buying an Attitude to go along with the amps, and stuff, as well. dunno when all this is gonna happen, though.

  13. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I've used guitar amps for years.. (not all the time)

    The key is to find something with a high quality installed speaker...

    I often enclose the back to get a fuller tone.

    This was a trick done for me while endorsed (yes I had to buy the amp) the techs said the major difference in guitar vs bass amps was the enclosure system.

    You may really be talking about a digital rackmount biamp system with crossover... would be less junk to haul

  14. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    You don't know what you're talking about. I don't care if you have a "friend" who jammed with John Entwistle before he hit puberty. He had a lifetime endorsement with Rotosound and roadies who refuse to do their jobs get fired.

    I believe the science is that enclosed cabinets are better for bass because they force the speaker to 'work harder' and thus produce more bottom end. Don't quote me on that. A crossover system might work, but I have always heard that it's best to let any amplifier you're using for bass get the full frequency spectrum to avoid any 'holes' in the midrange which sometimes occur with crossovers.

    What kind of gear are you thinking about upgrading to, hachi?
  15. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Just an fyi, but Chris Squire also used a brand new set of Roto's for every performance. Sorry, back to the thread. Probably the best way to acheive this high end tone the OP wants, would be splitting the signal and running two seperate rigs, one bass, one guitar. Both rigs would need sufficient power and alot of speakers. Judging by the gear the op has currently, I would suggest this will be a very expensive proposition, meaning over a couple of thousand bucks. Considering each rig would be in the 1000 dollar range. Unless this is for fun, and doesn't need to be professional quality gigging gear, but even then, a pair of decent combo amps will still run a grand.
  16. Acquistapace


    Feb 28, 2009
    My rig is more than you might need, but I'm running an Orange Rockerverb 100 w/ matching Orange cab to carry my mids and highs, and I get this great John McVie round, snappy tone with lots of warmth and room to breathe on the upper range. The current plan is to split (w/o biamping) into an Ampeg something'r'other into a beefy 2x15 or two to cover the lows. Incidentally, the Orange 4x12 is a perfectly serviceable bass cab for most rock uses, and in an industrial/post-punk setting lets synths and drum machines really claim that 808 boom range of the sound spectrum without robbing you of your true right to the rhythm. :bassist:
  17. I aint "hijacking" this thread... was just saying that was part of his live sound. That will help with the treble problem you seem to be having.

    I wouldn't just say it... i have tested things like this myself.

    You think your the center of it all most of you from U.S.

    I just thought i might have been able to help, being a pro musician and endorsing artist myself.
  18. lowend1


    Feb 15, 2005
    Which era of Ox's tone are we talking about here? P-Bass w/Hiwatts (Live at Leeds)? Thunderbird w/Hiwatts (Who's Next)? Alembic w/Sunn (Who Are You)? Buzzard Bass w/rack system?
    Technique aside, IIRC he used to run the amps wide open, and was bi-amping long before it was fashionable.
  19. hachi kid

    hachi kid

    Jun 2, 2008
    Austin, TX
    when I said "enough of the thread hi jacking", I was talking more about the arguments whether John got free strings, or irrelevant stuff like that. and I'm not sure I follow what me being from the US has to do with anything, either.

    I was just curious as to how to get more treble from my bass. I've learned how to do the "typewriter" technique, but it's not applicable to every song, and I just like plucking strings. I do use it, but it's not every time I pick my bass up. and as far as which era, I would suppose I have to say my favorite bit of tone I've heard from him was on "substitute", the album version.

    how would I go about getting a tone similar to ^that without using a pick? it's bloody fantastic! the tone in that vid is what I think when I hear the adjective "piano-like" when describing bass tone. it seems to have a good bit of mid-range, and a ton of treble, but also a bit of low end, too. anyway, I suppose I'd like to shoot for something similar to that, but with some foundation shaking lows...that's where bi-amping comes in.

    and in another thought, anyone know anything about how to build a guitar/bass guitar amp? I may want to look into doing just that. anyone know if it's cheaper, or if it's more efficient/help me get the tone I'm looking for?

  20. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Dick Lovgren seems to.

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