Trimpot settings for upright rockabilly sound?

Discussion in 'Rockabilly [DB]' started by Jodaman, Jun 8, 2020.

  1. Jodaman


    May 28, 2020
    Just started playing upright in January. I have a GK amp and just got a K&K Bass Master RB preamp. I am completely new to amplification and curious if any one has some good trimpot setting advice? Primary interest is a good rockabilly tone.
    Many thanks -
    dhergert and Keith Rawlings like this.
  2. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    The settings have to match the player’s tastes which can be very subjective. I’ve tweaked my K&K preamp with a bit more mids and a fairly flat treble setting and left the bass setting alone and I leave the outside knobs all set at 12 o’clock; but a lot of your amplified tone depends on the pickup. I’m using my K&K preamp with a Vic’s Model C pick-up through a 2-channel AI Clarus head and I love it. I split the signal with the stereo cables and run the bass signal through the first channel and the click pickup through the second channel on the amp; however I’ve been experimenting with running the single cable output into one channel and blending a mic input through the other channel since the Clarus has phantom power. I absolutely love it and my bass sounds way better than it ever has - plus the Clarus has a high pass filter, which I highly recommend to avoid feedback. You should get one to run the signal into the GK since it probably doesn’t have one built in. This makes the signal much more stable on stage - especially at high volumes; and if you’re dealing with a Gretsch wielding loud rockabilly guitarist, then you’re going to need that HPF to combat those volumes.

    I have a good buddy who plays mostly psychobilly and he likes his signal to have nothing but highs and lows for an insane click attack-style tone (kind of like Batmobile). I used to be a big fan of this type of slap bass tone but I’ve gotten to where I’d rather have a more woody tone now; the elusive “my bass only louder” (MBOL) tone that most of us double bassists shoot for. I suggest you spend some time just messing around with it and see what you like. Good luck and enjoy it! The best thing I ever did was pick up a DB and learn how to slap the heck out of it! Now I’m trying to learn other techniques like arco and proper jazz pizzicato and it’s so much fun!
    Custard cat, Trimmo91 and Slaphound like this.
  3. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Like @Keith Rawlings, I'm using a Vic's Model C for both bridge and fingerboard coverage, and it is feeding into a K&K Dual Channel Pro ST pre-amp mounted on my bow quiver.

    I have the internal EQ pots set flat and high all the way across for both channels, and then I control my EQ at my amp where it's easier to get to. The EQ pots do a nice job of EQ for tone, but they also determine the amount of volume that the pre-amp can produce, so that's primarily why I have them flat and high. My amp does the tone EQ work just fine. I have gain for both channels set to about 20%.

    I usually have both exterior volume knobs at about 25%, although the slap channel comes in pretty loud, so often I'll lower that to 10% or 15% for a better mix.

    Also like Keith, I like a more acoustic tone for a lot of the more bluegrass-ish music I do, so for that I also have a Sennheiser e604 dynamic mic mounted on my tailpiece; it provides a clear feed directly out to FOH or to my amp, as needed.

    I also use wireless for my bass, and my amp is battery powered, so when I setup with my amp and/or with FOH, there are no cables and I can freely move my bass around wherever I want.
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  4. You must first get the right tone acoustically.
    Do you have a teacher or someone who can help you develop your tone?
    Plucking the strings the right way is a good part of the tone.
    That's in your hands.
    Amplifying it is not the most imporant part of the equation.
    My $0.02!
    Keith Rawlings and Who da Ville like this.
  5. Trimmo91


    Apr 29, 2015
    I use a very basic setup. Kna db1 wing piezo into a Sansamp paradriver di. No click pickup or amp acting as a stage monitor. I would echo what Francois said. With just this setup I can get a range of different tones just by the way I handle the strings. I don't slap but want a dark tone with the punchy attack. My playing technique is to put two fingertips under the string and pull them up with the movement from my first knuckles avoiding a slap on the fingerboard. I find that if I use a full slap technique the sound is too bright and twangy and unpleasant. This is even before I've plugged in. You can achieve a range of tones by adapting the way you attack the strings. As Francois said achieve your ideal acoustic tone before delving into pickups, preamp etc.
    Keith Rawlings likes this.
  6. AlBass


    Aug 19, 2018
  7. AlBass


    Aug 19, 2018
    Great advice thank you