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Tone Chaser

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by dtripoli, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. I finally heard that perfect tone. Arrived at an outdoor carnival to pick up my daughter. A classic rock band was playing some 50 feet away and the bass player had the most perfect tone. Deep, crisp, clear but thumpy. I was off to the side and unable to see his amp. Bass was a black Jazz. My daughter was pulling my arm begging to leave because she was late to a sleep over. Torn between duty to child and discovering that elusive perfect tone, I high tailed it to the car, drove her to the sleep over and jetted back to the carnival to take notes on bass player's rig. Arrive back and the band is gone. As usual, I missed the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
    In the meantime, because I am usually having to quickly plug into rehearsal studio amps rather than my own, I found the best tone setting for my ASAT and leave it. I will adjust the amp to achieve the correct tone. With so many different rigs out there, once I start trying to adjust the bass and rig it seems to turn into a totally mess.
  2. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    At an outdoor setting, the bass (and probably all the instruments on stage) were probably running FOH.

    Your perfect bass tone was probably a combination of a good P.A. system and a soundman that knew what he was doing.....
  3. Hi.

    Especially the bold part ;).

    Depending on the genre and tone we're desperately seeking, the "pot of gold" can usually (un?-)fortunately be found from going direct.
    If we like a bit of dirt, a post Pre or a speaker line DI is probably called for.

    That doesn't obviously negate the personal rigs importance creating the feel for the playing, we tend to play different rigs differently.

    IME anyway.

  4. Perhaps you are right and they were going direct but this was a relatively small event and I'm pretty sure there was no sound man.
    Didn't look like much of a PA either. Besides the tone from the guitars and keyboard was less than spectacular so I assumed everyone was using amps and only the vocals were used in the PA.
    I think I may just track down who the band was and try and find their website then email the band.
    It may have just been one of those fluke moments where I happen to be standing in the right place at the right time with the right wind blowing at the right speed at the right humidity with the right amount of people between me and the stage and the bass rig happened to be at the perfect volume and EQ for that position.
    ...or he had an amazing rig, period.
  5. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007

    When you find out what the rig was, post back and let us know what it turned out being.
  6. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    Awww....c'mon fella's don't squash the man's dream of finding the perfect bass rig by filling his head full of FOH b@ll sh#t!!!! Geeeeezzzzz!!!
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    Not only that, but 90% of the outdoor festival I have ever played provided back line. And 90% of those provided rigs were all-tube Ampeg SVTs with 8-10 cabs.

    However, it shouldn't be all that hard to find out who the band was. And once you do that, that band shouldn't be too hard to find. Then you can just get up with the guy. I don't know of any bands that go out of their way to stay hidden. Quite the opposite.
  8. You are right and I did finally track down the band and the bass player's email.
    I just shot him over a post complimenting him on his playing and requested details on his rig/set up.
    For all we know the guy may be a TB member
    I'll post back when I get the data
  9. Bob Loza

    Bob Loza

    Mar 9, 2008
    I'm not sure that David got around to posting the 'data' he mentioned, but being as how I'm the bass player he so generously mentioned, I'll fill in best I can.

    First off, I freely admit to being a ROCK bass player, straight ahead. However my earliest influences were Jack Bruce, Stanley Clark, and perhaps more obscurely, Jim Feidler of Blood Sweat & Tears and Peter Cetera of Chicago. When I was a young buck I only wanted to hear complements on my 'chops'. But once I got over that I wanted my bass playing SOUND to be impressive, and over the last ten years or so, I have been complimented on that so consistently, that apparently I'm doing something right. Read on:

    David The bass I was using (and still have) is an interesting one: a 1986 Fender Jazz Bass Special. Basically it is an ALL black P-Bass with Jazz Bass pick-up configuration. That's why, in my opinion, in plays so well and sounds so good....up until I started playing a Music Man 5-sting three years ago, it was always my main axe.

    At the gig you saw, I was playing thru my Hartke 350 "combo" amp. 4 10" speakers and a nice 10-band EQ.

    I NEVER use foot pedals or effects when playing live. Back in the day (i.e. late 80's) I used to go thru an Ibanez floor box with either flange or chorus, but they screwed up my tone settings, especially that nice low end, so I gave it up.

    My Hartke amp has a 'compressor' feature which is fairly good and I always use to varying degrees. Being a 'fingers only' player (with an occasional thumb slap'), the consistency of finger-pressure on all strings is a big issue with me.

    (note: originally, I thought David was referring to another gig in the same town - Sierra Madre CA - where the band was indeed running thru the PA. Not so at the 'carnival' gig. It was just my fingers, my bass and the Hartke. And yes, the tone of some of the other musician's gear was less than awesome)

    Other than the above 'facts', let me add a few observations regarding 'tone': when I played HARD rock I had an SVT and a Music Man Sabre and that was IT. Plug in next to the little red light, turn it up and blow. I assume that's still true today.

    When I started playing smaller amps like my Hartke 350, I kept the same settings, but as a guitarist once pointed out to me - after a large outside gig - I was totally missing my low end! I am now glad I did not get the Hartke with double 12's or a single 15. If the cabinet is good, and the electronics well designed, there's no reason that 4 10"ers can't handle the "heavy lifting". Two things to remember: Ampeg SVT cabs are 8 x 10's; and, if I had been playing with a ROCK band, I wouldn't be using a "combo" amp.

    A few more details: I don't fiddle around with settings a lot, but after years of playing I've obviously developed a natural sense for what ought to work. IMO, being comfortable with your axe and your amp, and the WAY you hit the strings is basic. I use D'Addario strings, regular, long scale. I've tried others, but always go back. I've also learned that boosting my low is critical while remembering to not cut out the highs. A touring professional guitarist friend of mine sat in with the band at a club one night, and made a special point of telling me my bass sound was "clear and punchy". Now THAT is a compliment.

    I now play a Music Man 5-string (which makes my Jazz Bass Special feel like a freakin' Strat). It's a great guitar, but heavy as a mother and hard to EQ, IMO. Also, good luck finding a Jazz Bass Special. Apparently they only made that model for a couple of years, and the closest you can get now is a Squire P-Bass Special. I know - weird. (I've attached a photo of both basses mentioned. Hope they come thru)

    Good luck to all, and wish you many gigs. Any questions or commentary, please feel free.

    Attached Files:

  10. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Jazz Bass Special has been reissued as the Duff McKagan Signature.
  11. Bob
    Thanks for posting the info.
    I am still a bit surprised that a 4x10 combo did the heavy lifting.
    Totally changes my opinion of combos.
    Whatever the set up was, on that day, at that place where I was standing, your tone was near perfection.

    ...and sure enough, Bob's a TB member