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Uneven Volume Levels on Specific Notes

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jgill312, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013
    After reading everything that the internet has to offer for the past two weeks, I've given in and I'm asking for help. I recently noticed that my mid 2000's Fender Mexican P-Bass was producing extreme volume spikes, especially on A's and C#'s on all 4 strings. They sound very boomy compared with adjacent notes; at least 3 times the volume. When playing live I have to make a conscious effort to play those notes extra soft, even so they are still somehow louder.

    It is the same on both my practice amp, which is a tiny 25 W Crate, and my larger rig, a Fender Rumble 350 W, which I play in two completely different rooms with different size/shape/flooring, not to mention live venues both indoor and outdoor.

    Thus, if it's not the amp or the room, it must be the bass. Considering the same notes are over amplified across all the strings, I assume it's not them. (Pyramid flat wounds, I know these have some eccentric qualities so I'm not ruling them out completely, but I don't think they're the culprit). I'm guessing it must be either the Pickups or the Preamp, maybe even the body of the bass. Does anyone have any prior knowledge regarding this issue, or have any suggestions for further pinpointing the cause of this?

    Also wondering if maybe a compressor pedal would help with this?
  2. Hook up to a oscilloscope and you will see that certain frequencies project differently..I don't think anything is wrong...simply the nature of sound
  3. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013
    Will an oscilloscope do anything beyond show me the frequencies visually? I want to fix this, it is not practical to have such a severe difference in volume between notes.
  4. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    What preamp? :confused:
  5. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013
    The one under your pick guard that is attached to the knobs that control tone and volume
  6. i've had the exact problem on my basses, but i haven't "fiddled" with them, but my guess is that your strings are too close to the pickups, try this get the string action a little higher than it is and try raising the volume than you normally would by a .8 or 1 (it can be on your amp or bass it doesn't matter) and try if that helped you.

    another thing you could do is make sure you don't have any special effects on like "scoop" or "punch" also try resetting all of the equalization knobs fiddle around with that a little bit and see what happens, as well as your bass, if it has that extra PUNCH try to bring your tone to a more bright sound
  7. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013
    Yeah that's exactly what I've been doing for the last month haha. Just adjusted the pickups earlier tonight, actually made the problem notes even more noticeable...

    The rumble has scoop and punch and the punch actually made it sound a little better, seemed to cut out some of the booming sustain. The attack was still pretty vicious though.

    Tone knob all the way treble makes the booming notes even more contrasting, all the way bass makes them simply louder.
  8. If that's a stock MIM P, there isn't a preamp in there. Just two pots and an output jack. But since you mentioned it, a decent pre may solve your spike issue.
  9. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013

    Yeah it's stock... My bad. Whatever the circuitry is, I wouldn't be surprised if that is the root of the problem. Any recommendations for pre's that could solve this?

    With that being said, I don't want to go out and spend the money on a pre just to find out the problem is still there. Are there any other possible reasons for the volume spikes?
  10. bass32


    Jan 30, 2012
    The room can have an effect on certain frequencies. If you have a equalizer on your amp or one in your rig you should be able to work it out. That's what I do.
  11. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013

    Same notes are spiked regardless of indoor or outdoor venue qualities.

    EQ on amp helps minimally, I've spent hours trying to dial in a setting that would cure this. Maybe an EQ pedal would be better.

    So pre-amp, EQ pedal, compressor pedal, or pickups. That is the question
  12. I'm a big fan of Audere preamps. They're kind of expensive (worth every cent) but may or may not fix your problem.

    Have other people noticed it, or just you? If no one else notices it, you may have some hearing issues (doubtful).

    A compressor may help, but don't get a crappy one. I'm a fan of the Markbass Compressore for as far as pedals go. Check out member Bongomania's website.


    Lots of info there.
  13. None of those. Is this noticeable when played acoustically?
  14. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013
    Oh yeah, I've spent quite some time on there lately...

    As far as the ears go, if they're not working right, I'm going Van Gogh first then Beethoven.
  15. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013
    If it is, it's not loud enough to hear or feel. I'll take a closer listen on my lunch break.
  16. Then it's not your bass. No way. This is some weird acoustical problem. I know you said it happens with two different amps as well as different venues. Still not your bass, guaranteed. Do you run through a PA?
  17. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    I can speak of a similar issue I've had. '12 Squier Telecaster. passive di into presonus 16.4.2. 4th string G, G#, A. 3rd string C, C#, D. But to a lesser extent. Only does it with chrome XL's. Both light and med nickel wound xl's don't. No noticeable boost anywhere on them.

    When I use the notch filter set to 155hz with gain at -15db it all but eliminates it. I then lowered the E side of the pickup half a turn and got the same results. The level input before eq/pickup adjust would avg 2 db higher when playing those notes, but now avg +/- 2db over all the strings in the first 12 frets.

    Hope this may help, Dave
  18. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    I would. The circuitry doesn't work that way.

    Separate whether this is an acoustic problem or not, notable by audibly hot notes played unplugged.
  19. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    tried it with headphones only? also, wolf tones can be affected by changing strings.
  20. jgill312


    Nov 6, 2013
    I do not run through a PA.

    It is not noticeable at all acoustically.

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