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Uh oh! Acoustic bass guitar gig!

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by St. Louis Scot, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
    So this Sunday I practice for a Thanksgiving gig and have been asked to bring my acoustic bass guitar. Gig will be a little folky, a little jazzy. Not sure if we're in the auditorium or the smaller room yet.

    I never played live with my acoustic. I may use my Tech 21 BDDI (two band EQ,) MXR M87 (three band EQ,) or just bring my little Ampeg BA10 (three band EQ) and let the techs mic the amp.

    Anyone have experience gigging with an acoustic? How do you set your EQ? :confused:
  2. Yeah, I've done a lot of acoustic-electric bass guitar gigs and it's totally fun. Don't worry about how you're going to adjust your settings until you get there and then just adjust your EQ, volume, etc to where it sounds best. The sound techs should have DI boxes, but just incase, maybe take your little BA10. Have fun. :)
  3. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
    +1 Cheers, Joe! :bassist:
  4. Hi.

    Rule #1 in everything, BE PREPARED.

    Don't go to the gig assuming it'll work, IME it never will unless certain precautions have been taken.

    Sounds trivial, but whenever there's low natural SPL amplified acoustic instruments involved, feedback problems will arise.
    If You can eliminate some or most of those problems beforehand, the gig will go much smoother.

    Even though I've never found much use for it in the PA settings it's most commonly used by one school of thought, "ringing out" the amp/system is something You have to do if You have amplification of any kind.
    Knowing exactly what affects what is essential to trouble free performance.
    It's always a compromise though, the best tone with least amount of feedback prone-ness.
    Usually it's the tone that gets the soiled end of the stick.

    If it's a flat-top ABG, a sound-hole cover is necessary to good, less compromise EQ'd tone if the SPL is loud.
    If it's a carved top, a towel with a DB (a hankerchief will do with an ABG ;)) wedged between the tailpiece and the top works wonders.

    If the sound crew is competent and used to be dealing with acoustic instruments, for other than personal monitoring purposes I'd forget using the amp.
    Going direct will eliminate most of the problems with feedback.

    If You accidentally make your amp feed back, the PA will most likely start to feed back as well.
    After that, Your mic channel fader will be really low, or the channel is compressed to flatline before being heard.

  5. Dan55


    Apr 26, 2006
    Soundhole cover (Planet Waves has a good one) and lower your mids a bit on your EQ. You're good to go.

  6. St. Louis Scot

    St. Louis Scot

    Sep 16, 2013
    Austin, Tx
    Excellent advice, Sam and Dan. Thanks a lot!
  7. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.


    I've done a few gigs with my ABG. Here's a a few other points to consider.

    -If you're using an amp, make sure you can be at least 10' away from it. It will feedback, and it will drive you crazy trying to stop it.

    -Make sure you have an HPF of some sort. Rolling off everything below 80hz or even higher will make everyone's life easier in terms of feedback.

    -Make sure that your preamp on the bass is not too loud or eq'd too heavily. I know I usually have the volume around 3 and need to completely turn off the treble slider on my Dean ABG.

    -I've had some luck sticking some low density foam in between the strings and the body at the bridge. Damping the strings a tad helped avoid feedback, as well as removing a bit of sustain to get a more DB-ish "thump" out of the strings.

    Good luck. It's a lot of fun playing the ABG live when feedback isn't sucking the joy out of it.
  8. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    Soundhole cover and eq when you get there. I've played with mine many times through the DI, no amp, with great success. If you've never played it live, note that even with the soundhole cover certain areas of the stage may be problem spots for feedback. Try to avoid being in the direct line of fire of monitors, acoustic drums, etc. My last bit of advice is since the piezo is typically directly under the bridge(or maybe it's just characteristic of ABGs) it might sound really trebly through the PA. Eq helps but moving your picking hand further away from the bridge is the best tone improvement. There's a sweet spot you'll find and it's probably not your normal hand position when you play it unplugged or how you play your other basses.