Soft notes

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Dobi, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. Dobi


    Jun 1, 2004
    I have a problem… when playing my bass some of the notes come out very loud and some come out very soft. This is hard to detect when I play without other instruments, however when I play with a group it’s quite noticeable. I was told this is common with basses with bolt on necks. I have 2 bass guitars (both Fenders) and a SWR Workingman’s amp. Any thoughts?
  2. If you are noticing this from string to string, it could be a couple of different things. Pickup height may be an issue. I don't know what kind of bass you have and thus don't know the quality of pickups. If the pickups aren't wound well, you could get some output differences. If you are noticing that notes on the E and A are stronger than the D and G you could try raising the pickup height on the treble side or lowering it on the bass side. Also some basses have adjustable pole pieces under each string, and you could adjust them if you have this type of pickup. Describe the problem a little more, and tell us what pickups we are dealing with and we will try to help.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    There are lots of possible factors... I'm not convinced that the bolt on neck is likely to be much of an issue. It would help if you could narrow things down a bit more.

    For example, take a bassline you play with your band which seems to have variable sound levels. Play it with the band and see how much you notice the problem. Now, in the same room and with the same gear (but with the rest of the band keeping quiet) try it again. Do you notice the problem or has it gone away?

    Sometimes, particular notes can really boom due to the acoustics of the room. Maybe there's some odd effect when the other instruments all make a lot of noise and there's less power available for your amp?

    However, if you can narrow it down so that you know the conditions that allow you to recreate the effect, that will be a big step towards fixing the problem.

  4. etherbass


    May 24, 2004
    check your hand position and fingering... an Eb on the E string will sound alot fatter and louder then an Eb on the D string... you have to move around and try new things...
  5. very true, ther was one room we used to play that every time i hit C on my A string it was way louder, never had a problem in anyother rooms but that one though.

    Another thing that might be a contributing factor is the way bass waveforms develop. Naturally they are larger waves and take more distance to fully develop. Unfortunately most stages don't have the required space for a player to be far enough away (12-15 feet if i recal correctly) to hear the fully developed waveform.

    Most of what you hear/feel on stage in a live setting is the pressure wave created rather than the actual sonic frequency. In this case the type of stage/ground you are playing on can make a big difference. For example, we played on a poured concrete stage and i used the same levels as i usually do for a similar sized room and i noticed a huge difference in not having the vibrations of a hollow stage beneath me to help transfer the vibrations.

    Maybe i'm just wierd but i can't stand playing on solid footing, i'll take a wooden stage anyday.
  6. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    I would guess this is a Setup issue, but since everybody's talking technique, off it goes to... Technique. Moved.