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Switching Basses during a show...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by life.x, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. life.x


    Dec 21, 2003
    hamburg ny
    Awright my band switchs tunings, and instead of waiting until the end to play all the songs in Drop D, we play the drop D through out the set list, switching back and forth. I know some people will say "just tune down" or "set up a tuning pedal so you can tune confidently" but i want to know how to switch basses during a show using the same amp, while not turning the head off.
    Thanx for any replies.
  2. PlayTheBass

    PlayTheBass aka Mac Daddy Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2004
    Carmichael, CA
    Are you just lowering the E-string down to D? A Hipshot D-tuner would be the ticket there, and would allow you to keep the same bass on.

    If you're dropping all the strings and so have to switch basses, then an A/B box is best so you can leave both basses plugged in and just hit the switch to change between them.

    Depending on the style of your show, frequent switching of basses can be a drag on the performance. It's much more professional when a band can just go from one tune right to the next, so any delays in messing with instruments/gear really take away from that.

    If you do have to switch, it would be best to minimize it by grouping the drop-D songs together at least a little bit (groups of 2-3). YMMV, but I think switching basses between every song would look a little ridiculous!

    And lastly, one other possibility, though I know it might not be the best solution, is to learn to play the standard tuning songs on a drop-D bass. May not be the most comfortable at first, but you might learn some new positions, and it might be cool to throw in the low D every now and then anyway.

    Hope that helps.
  3. KPJ


    Oct 2, 2001
    Methuen, MA USA
    An A/B box works great as mentioned, but another option that I use is a Circuit Breaker Cable from Planet Waves. There's a little switch on the jack that mutes the signal. It's quiet, there's no popping or noise when you mute it and it's part of your natural action when changing basses. All you do is hit the button, remove the cable, switch basses, insert cable and hit the button. It's especially handy if you are switching between more than two basses and there's one less long cable to worry about as with an A/B box. The sound quality with the cables is excellent, also.
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA

    cheap way is to unplug the instrument cord from the head input 1st, then from the bass, plug the cord into the new bass, then into the amp. you'll get a little pop but nothing devestating.

    expensive way (but more professional) is to get an a/b box that allows you to plug 2 basses into it, and you step on a switch that selects which bass gets its signal sent to the amp.
  5. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    This works for me, but I'm not certain it can work with everyone's setup.

    I have a rackmount setup which includes a pre-amp and a rackmounted tuner. I run the tuner in the effects loop of the pre-amp. I have "Bass A" connected to the inputs of the pre-amp. I have "Bass B" connected to the tuner, but with the plug not fully pushed in. When I need to play "Bass B", I simply push in the plug. I pull it partially out when I need to go back to "Bass A".


  6. I use the Planet Waves circuit breaker, fantastic cable, sound guys will love you for it.
  7. Mickey Shane

    Mickey Shane what goes here?

    Feb 23, 2003
    Denton, Texas
    I switch between fretted and fretless quite a few times during the gig. Just like anything else, you have to practice the 'switch' to be fast at it. Sometimes the next song doesn't have me start playing until after a few bars of intro by other instruments. Sometimes I start the next song and have to be fast.

    Have straps on both (or all) basses. I use a wireless with a mute switch on the transmitter. Hit mute switch, unplug instrument cable that is tied to only drop to less than arms reach by my right thigh, raise strap over head (don't mess with the strap locks or buttons), place axe in Rockstand while grabbing the other one, strap over head, plug in, unmute.

    Approx. total time: 6 seconds. Like I said, I've practiced the switch.

    I'm against TBS (time between songs), but I've seen pros that switch with a tech assistant and they aren't any quicker than I am.
  8. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Two words- Five String!
  9. Quadzilla

    Quadzilla Supporting Member

    Damn you! You beat me to it. I was scrolling down this thread hoping somebody had not said it yet! :D I was in the same dilema about 6 months ago. We started playing more tunes that were drop D. I got sick of hauling 2 bases or re-tuning. I was skeptical about buying a 5-string and "learning" how to play one. It really was easier than I thought. The only bad part is that my trusty ole American P-Bass has been collecting dust ever since (I'll still never get rid of it).
  10. 2slick4u


    Jan 18, 2005
    As mentioned before, the hipshot d-tuner works great, I couldn't live without it. Just hit the lever and you're in drop D, pop back and up to E you go.
  11. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    of course, you do realize that if you plug two basses into the 2 inputs of the alembic both will be weighted equally (the pad on the lower gain input will be disengaged by doing this), then you can just turn the volume of the unused bass off. Hey is that the hippobias in your avatar??
  12. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    Volume pedal
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    +1 A 5 string bass is the cure all for all the detuning crap!!
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    You're looking for one of these:

  15. life.x


    Dec 21, 2003
    hamburg ny
    Thanks guys for all the info. This really helps me out alot. Now all i need is a job and can get a hipshot d-tuner, which i've looked at before, and i can be set.
    Thanks a lot.