Too Much High End... Suggestions?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by DieTired, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. DieTired


    Feb 22, 2020
    And here we are... hunting the elusive perfect tone. She is a fickle beast.

    I’m currently playing a M2500 G&L Tribute through an Ampeg PF350 amp and PF115-LF cab. The lows are strong, fundamental and all around incredible. Work up into the higher notes and everything kind of thins out, sounds snappy, and really high end-y. Too much for my tastes. I typically like a warmer sound, round, full, etc. I like to be able to access a little grind when necessary but I don’t like basses that essentially sound like a low octave guitar. I’m a fan of my bass sounding like a bass. Maybe John Paul Jones is the right example? A bass that cuts through the mix but still really holds the low end. So... my thoughts are this:

    A. Try using an EQ pedal to pull out the low mids and tone down the treble.

    B. Trade the Ampeg rig for possible a Fender Rumble rig (I typically see people reviewing these as having a more warm sound to them).

    C. Switch my M2500 to possibly a J or P bass (the G&L pickups run very hot).

    D. Any/All/None of the above.

    I appreciate all input! Help me hunt down the perfect tone!
  2. DieTired


    Feb 22, 2020
    I should state that I typically leave the preamp on my bass even, both pickups open. PF350 bass is at 3 o’clock, mids and treble at 10 o’clock.
  3. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    The first thing you should know is that, when you set all the controls at noon on your bass and amp, it isn't necessarily "flat" - almost every amp (na d active bass) has a "baked in" sound. The point is, while you might want to start with the controls at noon, wherever they need to be to get your sound is fine - twiddle away, don't be afraid to turn controls to their max or min. You've got a bass with active tone controls and an amp with tone controls - I wouldn't buy anything until you've exhausted what you can do with what you have, and I'm guessing what you have can at least get you close to where you want to be, if not there.
  4. DieTired


    Feb 22, 2020
    Very good advice. I appreciate that info! Thank you.
  5. Agree with @micguy.

    I'm from the Stevie Ray Vaughn school of EQ. He said, "Turn the knobs until it sounds good"
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  6. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    We gave the same advice, pretty much, but you did it in a lot less words. Nice job!
  7. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    P bass.
    CallMeAl and DieTired like this.
  8. CallMeAl

    CallMeAl Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    What strings are on it? Maybe try flats, Pressurewounds, or a mellow/broken in round?

    I find some times that harshness lives in the hi mid knob rather than the treble knob. All depends on where the Frequency is set on those particular EQs. Don’t be afraid to turn down the mids.

    also neck pickup solo and plucking up towards the fretboard will help warm up your tone.

    Id try the cheap and easy ideas first. Then if you still can’t get there I’d look at a passive J or P over swapping the rig.
    BILL BO SAGGINS likes this.
  9. DieTired


    Feb 22, 2020
    I currently have GHS Pressurewounds that I really enjoy. I’ve previously had GHS Precision flats as well as D’Addario Chrome flats. I’m debating going back to flats but I do really enjoy the pressure wounds. They seem to react a lot to how I approach the string. I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m just not an active humbucker guy (which is all I’ve played for many years lol). Perhaps a passive bass is the natural tone I need.
    CallMeAl likes this.
  10. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    It sounds like the problem is more in the higher register, which suggests to me that the physical setup might be at least part of the issue. I find a lot of basses don't let me dig in the way I like to above the 12th fret so that whole register seems thin and choked off. Sometimes that can be improved by adjusting the truss rod, bridge height and possibly neck tilt.
    Sometimes the neck just doesn't want to cooperate. The end of the fingerboard can have what they call a "flip" or a "ski jump" which makes it a real pain to get that upper register to sing properly. If the response is really good below the 12th fret, I might live with it & relegate it to "meat & potatoes" duty. Sometimes a luthier can shave down the higher frets, or even remove them & plane the fret board down. (But I usually just trade up before resorting to something like that.)
    If it's the electronic response that is bothering you, IME a good passive tone control can work wonders. (I assume you have tried all the many available settings on your G&L? For your tone goals I would try the neck pickup in series, preamp flat or bypassed and the treble knob rolled back.)
    Matty Koff likes this.
  11. CallMeAl

    CallMeAl Supporting Member

    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I’ve played only passives for years. I hate to jump straight to “get a new bass” but sometimes you’re just on the wrong instrument. Sounds like a demo day is in order! ;)
  12. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    I know it was not one of your options, but just because you have two pickups does not mean you need to use them. Try the neck pup only and roll the tone knob off. Does the bass have a switch to turn off the active circuit?

    But typically, I find that having more knobs in the chain only creates the likelihood of being unhappy with the tone.

    Does your cab have a tweeter? Turn it off.
    groove pump likes this.
  13. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Are you describing the sound you achieve at home or with a band? IME, the settings used to achieve good sound can be quite different at home than on stage.
    groove pump likes this.
  14. Good advice already given here, beyond settings you can adjust with what you already have, I have found compressors to provide the heft I want on higher notes while maintaining the tone I want down low. Not that running out and buying more gear is always the solution.

    Also try just rolling the volume down to like 8 vs 10 on the on passive basses not sure on actives
  15. Choice of strings. Try .105-.050 guage.
  16. DingwallDingus


    Sep 26, 2018
    Here to chime in that I have the same brittle high strings problem whenever I use ampeg amp head emulation. Part of that I believe is my Dingwall's fault, almost like it is predisposed to that if I don't color it up. I prefer to use my Genzler Magellan 800 on a pretty flat setting but with contour B engaged about a third of the way up.

    This gives a very pleasant heft to the notes and certainly helps create some sub harmonics under those higher strings.

    I play through a small fender rumble combo occasionally and even though it's a smaller amp I really like the tone stack set flat. I feel like its a healthy amount of sub bass.
  17. DieTired


    Feb 22, 2020
    This is all very insightful, thank you! I’ve been fiddling knobs like a mad man lol. Through my experiments it has become very obvious to me that my bass is VERY mid forward. This bass does not have an active/passive option. I compared to my Ibanez (bartolini pickups?) which are very warm by nature. I think I’m very close to the sound I’m looking for. What I found to be true is the the Gain knob is king! With everything at “noon” it’s a very open middy sound. Cut the preamp mids drastically, increase the gain, and everything opens up in a much more “bloom” sound. I still ended up cutting the mids and treble a little bit in the amp as well. My compression pedal definitely helps with warming up the higher notes. Now the test will come tomorrow at band practice when inevitably my tone sounds like garbage in the mix! Haha

    Trying to convince myself to be happy with what I have an shy away from new gear lol. I’ll keep experimenting and I really appreciate all the input!
    DingwallDingus likes this.
  18. Matty Koff

    Matty Koff

    Aug 21, 2014
    I tend to roll that treble right on off unless I am looking for some grit or wanting to attempt to slap.. which I mostly play fingerstyle.
    DieTired likes this.
  19. DingwallDingus


    Sep 26, 2018
    The compressor helping to impart some lower harmonics and saturation is always nice. I enjoy compression more as an effect rather than a transparent dynamic squeeze which is also fine, I just prefer for it to add it's own color.

    If you ever record without micing up your cabinet I'd recommend trying cabinet emulation if you are having brittle high strings. I use a virtual ampeg 8×10 and it warms my aggressive rig up in a very pleasant way.
    DieTired likes this.
  20. JohnnyBottom

    JohnnyBottom Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    New Jersey
    For something completely different...maybe limitations of that cab. One thing I have found with all my RevSound cabs is an even response up and down the fretboard.
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