Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by HHHolmes, Feb 13, 2003.

  1. I'm having a hardtime keeping my upright from feeding back & still being heard during gigs. I usually play in tight quarters, so someone's amp is always close by. I've tried using a pre-amp & compressor pedals - but have to admit that I'm not much of a gear head.

    The pick-up I have is an Underwood - it even happens if I go straight into the board.

    Please help before someone loses their virtility.
  2. Sorry for the lack of 411

    I've been playing electric & upright for about 20 years, but my only upright experience is orchestral & small jazz combos. Now I find myself trying to keep up with electric guitarists, bashing drummers & neurotic keyboardists.

    I play alot of styles, but currently am heading in a Barenaked Ladies / Electric Bluegrass / Rockabilly direction. Things tend to get loud on stage and my bass starts feeding back & vibrating (which reminds me to try this on my chick - hmmm).

    Anyway, someone has suggested replacing my metal end pin. I've also been told to fill the bass with insulation foam (I took that guys keys & called a taxi).
  3. MacDaddy


    Jan 26, 2002
    Provo, UT, USA
    You can tell really easily if it's your end-pin rattling. If it's a quick metallic sound, it's the end-pin. You can either chop off the end you're not using to make it shorter, or replace it with a better insulated one with more contact. My end pin only rattles if I leave the nut really really loose, but otherwise it's all good. (yay for Hammond Ashley!)
    If you're playing on like a Kay or Engelhardt, then I can pretty much garauntee it's the end-pin. If it's a good carved then a bad end-pin would be an oddity.
    If it's the string vibrating, then you got issues, no experience there.
  4. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    You got a typical feedback problem when you want to push the volume to the limit with an instrument with a resonating volume, like a classical guitar, a fiddle, or a double bass. The insulating foam suggestion is not dum but rather impractical, and maybe also it would muffle the top. But taping the f holes could bring some improvement.Bob G (all hail!) has a good set of advice for feedback fighting fellow bassists like you. He might offer to send you a BassMax with preamp which may give better result than the underwood. You should also talk to the rockabilly dbass cats, they tend to RULE as far as volume is concerned.
  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    First thing to try is a piece of foam or an old sock (Put a sock in it!) wound thru the strings between the bridge and tailpiece. That can help dampen a lot of weird overtones and sympathetic vibrations, which lead to feedback. If the sock is recently worn, it also might help keep banjo players and guitarists from getting too cozy...
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    Down here in Kentucky, that particular kind of sock actually attracts banjo players, so take AHNUHLD's advice with a grain of salt when it comes to avoiding unwanted BillyBob advances. However, his advice about avoiding unwanted feedback is right on the money. I've found that a strip of piano felt (what piano tuners use to mute piano strings) wound tightly around the strings in that area can work wonders in terms of cleaning up amplified sound and avoiding feedback.
  7. olivier


    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Thank you TB folks (ie: Arnie and Chrissie)! I've switched recently from BasMax to StatB, and my open D is now feeding back, not a lot, just enough to distract me from nailing down the bass line. The way the pickup output jack is attached differs in each device: a thingy that you jam between two strings for the BM versus smthg that you screw in a FB string hole (or on the bow quiver) for the SB. So my D string which was previously muffled between the tailpiece and the bridge with the jack holder is now free to feed back...
    I got to try the sock trick at the rehearsal tonite. Won't be able to report for another week: I'll be in the south a France, trying to catch some of the action at the Mardi Graves festival, among other things.
  8. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Electric bluegrass:confused: Now that's an oxymoron - the festivals i frequent won't even allow electric BGs in the jam sessions. I also play in a band competing with electric guitar, drums and steel. I found that the type of strings i use can contribute to feedback. Currently i play on gut strings and the feedback has been minimal. I also tilt my amp back.
  9. Excellent replies oh brethren of the bottm end!

    I'm anxious to try these out.

    If I understand correctly - the sock/fabric should be between the strings - close to the bridge.

    I forgot to ask this question - It had also been suggested that I place a mute piece on my bridge, I haven't tried this - but I'm thinking it would affect my tone more than the feedback/vibration.

    Time to hit the woodshed (it's been a few weeks since I pissed off the neighbors) - thanks all for the info.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    I'm thinking you're right. Elementary!
  11. Thanks for pointing out the "purist's view" - unfortunately, the venues I'm stuck with (mostly sports bars - gotta love Richmond, VA) have an ambient noise level that dictates that a band needs to be loud (although not crushing) or we won't even be acknowledged by the crowd (who mostly don't give a damn anyway - but that's another story).
  12. Been there!

    Mine, of course, was the "perfect world" suggestion. Hope you're able to solve your feedback problem, short of filling your bass up with foam (or old socks).
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I'm surprised nobody has said it would be worse if it was virility! ;)
  14. The one bluegrass/rockabilly doublebassist who I know ( and he seems to be gigging a lot) plays at bass guitar levels of volume and, not surprisingly uses a di mazio precision pickup with metal wound strings on a plywood bass.It doesnt sound much good at low volumes , but when played with a loud band sounds like an amplified double bass , and definitely not a bass guitar.
  15. Kevinlee


    May 15, 2001
    Phx, AZ..USA
    The magnetic pickup route will definately enable you to get the volume up. I've been using a string charger combined with a bass max lately. If volume is whats needed I dial in more of the string charger and less bass max. The magnetic is also great for being able to quickly throw your gear up onstage and play without alot of tweaking to get a good sound. It is not as rich or natural sounding as a piezo pu but at high volume it cuts through the mix with definition and low end. If it sounds good in the mix then your doing what the bass should be doing.