Tone vs Volume Dilemma

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Tarheel73, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. Tarheel73


    Apr 21, 2013
    I have had a problem for a while now, I know the tone I want and can get it, and its fine when playing alone, but throw in a loud drummer, two guitar players, and a keyboard and I get lost, to get back in the mix I either have to add more bass, or volume, doing so either distorts my sound and it starts farting out, or I get a real wooferish sound, I have been through lots of combo amps(TCbg250, rumble 60&75, gkmb112, even a peavey 50w valve king guitar amp) and also had a hartke HA2500 head with a hydrive 112 and then with a vx410 cab. The tone I like is crisp and punchy kinda like Dave Ellefson, I'm going to get a new rig and need to know how to solve this problem, do I need more wattage, more speakers, bigger speakers or all of the above? I don't think I need a full stack, I mean I would look pretty funny with a full stack when one guitar player uses a blues jr and the other a peavey classic 50, any advice would be great thanks
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Wattage is good, and more is better, but in the end, a good speaker cab will get you farther. A 4x10 is sort of a basic "minimum", though many, myself included, prefer a 2x12 or 2x15. Diameter of the spkr is less important than having "good" spkrs, and whatever size you choose, all the same size is better than a mixture.
  3. Your problem is you found a "solo" tone you like that doesn't work in a band setting. Don't feel alone most people do. You most likely found a bass heavy, scooped mids sound. Guitarists with low end content cut into your slot and with scooped mids their mids are drowning you out. You need to boost your mids back up and not try to muddy the sound with more "bass" control. Welcome to the reality. ;)
  4. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Nailed it! That distortion is your speaker saying "ouch"
  5. Tarheel73


    Apr 21, 2013
    Yea this makes sense, what are the best mid range frequencies to boost, I've always had a hard time with graphic eq's and mid range frequencies
  6. slingki


    Jan 23, 2013
    Tell us about your bass , pickups , is it active or passive .

    From my humble experience , active bass play whit a pick and LOTS of mids give me that crisp and punchy sound your looking for . I dont think the amp is the problem imho.

    Good luck !
  7. Tarheel73


    Apr 21, 2013
    Right now my main bass is a passive MIM jazz bass, only thing I changed was the bridge to a high mass style
  8. Tarheel73


    Apr 21, 2013
    But I had a jackson js2 and wish I wouldn't have sold it, it really sounded good with a pick, may get another one
  9. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001

    yep. and come to terms with the fact that some tones, no matter how much you may want them or how much you spend, just will NOT happen without a little EQ co-operation from the Guitar and kick drum.
  10. Joedog


    Jan 28, 2010
    Pensacola FL
    Let your ears be your guide, and in the full band setting. If you can get out front (long cord, wireless, or let someone else play your bass while you go out and listen) should help. All rigs (and rooms) are different.
  11. WRONG use of a graphic EQ. That is for fine tuning a room not getting a basic tone. The G-K would be easy, boost low mids a little (the meat of your bass's punch) and the high mids (crispness and definition) with highs (treble) for sparkle.

    What is your current amp/speakers?
  12. Artobass


    Jan 21, 2012
    Nashville, TN
    Getting your tone when playing solo/practice without drums, guitar and vocals is much different than dialing in your tone in the mix or with the full band. B-String explains this very well. Everything changes when in the live band environment and eq and tone adjustments become extremely important to get your sound "right" in the mix. As an example, you want to "fit" right in with the kick drum and not sit on top of it in the same frequency that will muddy up that low end area. Just my 2 cents and good luck with the new rig search.
  13. Experiment with the pickup volume controls also. Both pickups wide open (full on) cuts the meat out of your sound. My most used is neck pup wide open and bridge 7 to 8. Try each pickup wide open with the other off (this will show the "native voicing") and play with blending for different sounds.
  14. Tarheel73


    Apr 21, 2013
    Yea I do play with both pick ups wide open, so I'll definitely try messing around with blending them different
  15. Simple - either get the loud drummer to play with more dynamic control and quieter, and get the rest of band to turndown too - or, get a bass amp/rig with more oomph - period. Seriously!!!

    EDIT: PS, and don’t forget to use hearing protection (earplugs) when playing that loud.
  16. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Yup...solo tone does not equal band tone.

    Also, at least having more speakers, and maybe a little more power too, will let you get the volume without the farting and distortion. Something like a 212 or 410 and 200-300 watts will do it. The small combo's just aren't enough for a full band. If you want a combo for the convenience, you could get a 112. Just make sure you can chain another 112 to it to make a "mini-stack"'ll need that for gigs.
  17. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    Yes.. full stack = 410 or such. Especially if it has to be cheap.
  18. Tarheel73


    Apr 21, 2013
    Well I know this is mostly personal preference, but if you guys were gonna get a 4x10 cab and a head, what would it be, I don't mind buying used, and may have to, trying to stay around $600
  19. Jerryr63


    Feb 10, 2010
    I've heard many times, and experidenced myself, that the tone that sounds good when you are playing by yourself is usually not going to cut through in a band mix. Boosting the lower mids can help you project better without feeling like you are losing to much low end. You'll also have more punch and less mud. Your speakers and amp will also love you for it :).
  20. Where are you located (might help with used market suggestions).