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Tips on Cutting Through?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bass_drum, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Hey guys !

    At my last gig I could barely hear myself. I tried changing the eq and volume, and nothing helped. Then I moved the shape knob on my hartke b60 amp and although I didnt like the sound it made (real trebly, kinda sounded like you were using a bridge pickup with high mids boosted, fairly hollow sounding, little low end) it cut through. So now I'm wanting some tips on cutting through the mix. I know I need lots of mids, but the way I eq right now I have lots of mids and leave the bass and treble almost flat.

    Also what kind of pickups/basses cut through, and why?

    Thanks for your time,
  2. Mids are obviously important. Shape buttons/knobs are usually mid cuts, to some extent. I find that using the graphic EQ on many heads also gives an inherent mid cut, and even though you boost the mids accordingly using the EQ, it begins to sound pretty weird. I think a bit of a mid boost is good, but pushing it too much could limit your sound... it does sound a bit hollow. Try boosting mids a bit while cutting bass and treble a bit as well. Cutting is usually better than boosting, since boosting will colour the tone quite a bit.
  3. The Nanny

    The Nanny

    Dec 23, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    ok, some may jump all over this, but...

    try using a pick. I'm a fingerstyle player 95% of the time. But given your circumstances, and equipment limitations, give it a try for a song or two. Downstrokes with a pick, and a bit of mid boost should get your bass recognized in the mix. Now, will the pick sound (with its advantages and limitations in its own right) be good for your song? I dunno...you'll have to be the judge.
  4. Yeah, pick playing definitely helps, if you're comfortable with that. At the least, you could play fingerstyle and switch to a pick for songs that require a bit more presence.
  5. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Ignore what sounds good solo. Often the best tones to cut through the mix sound rather mediocre played solo. I jack my mids waaaay up and I usually use a Sadowsky Outboard Preamp, that seems to do it for me.
  6. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    First thing - set your EQ flat everywhere and disable any "shaping" or "contour" controls on the amp. Work from there.
  7. NV43345


    Apr 1, 2003
    Are you playing threw just the Amp ? or are you in the PA mix
    also? :)
  8. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    at my last gig we were all just playing through amps, except the vocals wich were going through the pa speakers. Halfway through the gig my soundman found a DI and I used it.
  9. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    If your guitarists are using huge stacks, push low mids. If your guitarists are using combo amps, push lows.

    Get an SVT-ii.
  10. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    Are you sure 60 watts is enough power with your band?
  11. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    well although I wouldnt think so, evenw hen we are practicing with a roland cube amp, my hartke b60 and my lead guitarists 4x10 combo (egomaniac eh? :p) at very low volumes, I still dont cut through.

    Even when using the b60 and a 2x15 cab it still doesnt cut through all that well.

    Does distortion affect how will you cut through?

    Also what is it about a billy sheehan bass or a mm bass that makes it cut through so nicely?
  12. 3x the wattage you're guitarist is using. and a p-bass isn't a bad thought either ;)
  13. I use a 410 combined with a 118. The tens cut through and the 18 makes you FEEL the bass.
    I think it depends on the music you're playing. If your guitarists are detuned, you've got a more difficult task.
    IMO, distortions tend to treblize your tone.
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mids. Those two basses have a lot of midrange, which as others have posted, are your friend when needing to cut through loud guitars. The fastest way to get lost in the mix is smiley face EQ.

    It does sound as if you need more power too, though.
  15. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Are your basses passive? If so, maybe the output is too low. I use a clean boost to up the gain on my P bass with low output pickups.

    But I think the main problem is your amp. 60w is not much.

    Try a bigger amp. Borrow if you can, or rent one. Long & McQuade will usually rent an amp cheap. It is usually better to rent for a week than a day.
  16. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Ya it might be to low wattage. Although I have a 2x15 cab wich is only 50 watts but i played it outside on my driveway and people (inside their houses) 2-3 doors down could hear me very clearly.

    I played through a hartke rig (300 watts into a 4x10 and 1x15 cabs) and it sounded amazing, amazing sound and cut through nicely. Now it didnt seem to have any big adjustments in the eq (just +1 here and there. and although it wasnt obnoxious, it was LOUD!

    Maby i should save up for a bigger rig. Maby one big enough to properly use the Kustom Groove Bass, hmm? :smug:

    If I do upgrade my rig, what would yuo suggest I do with my 2x15 cab and head. Its heavy and I guess it wouldnt be much more (if any) help then the hartke b60... Perhaps I should replace the speakers with 2x10 and a new 15 inch. Ideas? Suggestions?


  17. bass_drum


    Feb 13, 2005
    Also, When recording, do you need to worry about eq or can you find a good sound and adjust the volume accordingly to be heard?
  18. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    IMO/IME This is very true. I also agree that you could use more power.
  19. syciprider

    syciprider Banned

    May 27, 2005
    Inland Empire
    Yeah, Jaco's tone in Teen Town and Birdland probably sounds horrible w/o the band but it sure made his sound distinct in the mix.
  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    You still need to worry about EQ. Your bass still needs to cut through the mix. So no happy face EQ settings.

    What you don't need to worry about is volume. So a smaller amp works fine.