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Upright Bass Tone and Gear

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by alfredo_bass, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. I am not very happy with my tone lately, especially amplified. I use an Upton bass Hawkes, D'Addario Helicore Hybrid Light Tension, Realist Pickup, and Markbass 1x12 and a Walter Woods amp. All quality equipment in my opinion, and still crappy tone!!! any suggestions TB land??
  2. It could be the bass...my own instrument is a bit 'honky' in the midrange when I amplify it. Parametric eq helps to fix that, especially on large stages. I also find that blending pickups is a good idea, for example i blend the brightness of a fishman with the darkness of the realist through my bassbone. I also use a schertler magnetic pickup for louder gigs with a big band or rockabilly. Thomastik Spirocores are the best for a bright tone for jazz, whereas D'addarios tend to be better for arco.
  3. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    Are you using a preamp or running the realist right in? On some amps (acoustic image) the realist sounds great without preamp. On some others a preamp helps.
    I've personally never liked running the realist right into the Walter Woods. I have the WW ultra and even in the double bass channel I have to eq the high and mids out of it. The acoustic image is a much better sound fit for me. Many of my WW owning friends disagree but that's the sound I like. I want it darker with just a little zing. I've also never liked the Daddario hybrid strings and changing strings is probably the cheaper way to go unless you're really happy with them.
  4. I don't use a preamp. My bass is naturally boomy. I normally turn the lows down and highs up on my ww. The strings I have are only a month old or so, they still have life. I'm not married to any particular piece of equipment. Ideally if I could get a preamp or a new amp that would be sweet.
  5. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    you should request that a mod move this into "amps, mics and pickups" instead of "Basses". You'll get way better results there. even if the answer is a setup or different strings, all the gear junkies tend to hang out there.
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    The Realist probably isn't doing your boomy bass any favors. Try a Full Circle or a wing style pickup.
  7. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    +1. I had a 2006 Upton, which was a Gliga import. A Full Circle worked well on that bass.
  8. artfahie

    artfahie Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2007
    Bar Mills, Maine
    On my Upton Bohemian I too use a MarkBass 12" bottom (amp/speaker combo) along with Spiros and a Full Circle... I play it in "flat" position" and at low volumes you can't tell the sound of the bass from the sound of the amp... identical. Nothing but compliments on the rig.
  9. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    My experience with the Realist is that it sounds great on some basses and dung on others.

    Bear in mind that amplified bass tone is a crap-shoot because what we hear is powerfully shaped by the place we're standing in. Something as simple as putting your amp on a chair or a milk-crate can solve a lot of problems.

    Last but most, no offense meant but you've got great gear, 'fredo. With all due respect, the most important component in amplified bass sound is . . . the unamplified bass sound.
  10. seang15


    Aug 28, 2008
    Cary NC
    Start with the strings. That's the easiest and most cost effective replacement. I don't personally like Helicores. Obligatos might do your equipment well.

    Edit: coupled with Fdeck HPF, and you're well on your way to tone land!! :)
  11. I've played my bass through a Hartke when I was going to school and actually didn't sound bad. I even played it through my electric rig which is an aguilar 4x10 and aguilar db751 and didnt sound bad.

    A big part of my problem is I am more of an electric player, my ear for tone is much more experienced on that instrument. It's hard to tell on Upright since a big part of your sound comes from the instrument as well as my right hand. Unamplified I'm pretty happy with the sound I get, but it could always be better. It just seems that there are much more intricacies on an Upright than electric tone-wise that I am struggling to work out the kinks on.

    I normally elevate my rig on a chair, which I am told helps. Thanks for all the continued insight!

  12. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    If your happy with the acoustic sound I would go for a Full Circle as I have often found the realist has too much low end for my taste. It seems to work really well for a lot of other though. I think the full circle would be more focused and I personally love the adjusters.
  13. cbird


    Sep 27, 2006
    Davis, CA

    I spent about a year trying to get a good amplified sound out of my Upton Hawkes with Helicore Hybrids-- I dug the unamplified sound ok, but plugged into an amp, ugh it was painful. My mistake was spending way too much time (literally months) experimenting with the most expensive gear pieces-- amps, preamps, speaker cabs, I must've tried 10 different amps and 4 or 5 speaker cabs, 2 preamps, in different configurations and all resulting in some variation of crappy sound. Then, I changed my strings, from the Helicores to Corellis then most recently to Obligatos. I won't say that I magically suddenly had phenomenal tone, but getting the Helicores off and the Obligatos on has given me a much more usable, musical sound that I'm not embarrassed of at a gig.
  14. HateyMcAmp

    HateyMcAmp Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2006
    Get an Fdeck from any series. Also, a switch from helicores to Spriocores hasn't hurt many pizz players sound.
  15. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Anyone amplified Zyex strings? I use helicore hybrids but find, like many, they are very midrangey and somewhat unfocused. They lose their warmth and smooth low tones. I'm kinda partial to DiAdarrio but I'm seeing many of post about Correlis. Any thoughts on those versus Zyex?
  16. I just put a brand-new set of Zyex on my bass last week, and am really digging them. I'm still playing them in, but so far they sound great (my set up is a carved Wilfer w/ Realist through a Fdeck Series III HPF into a Markbass Little Mark III and Markbass 12 speaker). I'll admit I don't know a whole lot about Corelli strings, other than Lynn Seaton uses them, but from what little I do know, they're a different breed than Zyex. Zyex is a synthetic-core string (along the lines of Dominants) and is somewhat more gut-like. On my bass with my particular set up, compared to the Spiro's I was using, they have a much more mellow attack while still having good "meat" to the sound. I used them at a gig last night in a very loud club, and they blended really well.

    There's a mega thread in the Strings forum about them. Sorry for the derail...
  17. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Nice! Your set up is close to mine. Except I'm playing a 5/8ths German ply fron the 40's and no Fdeck. The Fdeck is now on my list to get. Been researching it and it seems pretty important to the setup. I had the Zyex once but they were too dull. Turns out that dull/thuddy sound was a tight soundpost and string grooves that were choking the strings. So now I'm thinking about going back and trying them again.
  18. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    I'll add that I'm playing through a Markbass CMD121 with the Little Tube head using a Realist SoundClip. I like it but I'm doing some extreme EQ stuff to get a good tone. Never thought about strings until I read this thread. Now, thinking back, my (sniff sniff) Eberle hybrid from college had the same time issue amplified (Realist pickup and AI amp) and I used Helicore Hybrids then too. Could be a coincidence, but it makes sense that the middy tone is the strings not the amp per say...
  19. Before you jump to conclusions on gear or srrings, What are you not liking about your tone?
    Too much this or that? not enough of something?

    If it use to be better, have checked the mounting of the pickup?
    I dont know about the soundclip but prev models of the realist can grow weak in sound and need replaced.
  20. BHBassman


    Jan 5, 2013
    Just read this thread...been there.
    Try using a preamp(for ex: Fishman Platinum Pro, etc., etc.many out there)
    Take OFF some treble & mids off of your EQ. Don't put too much on your amp & the preamp.......
    Good luck.
    I use EPs

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