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Weak B Note

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by sniperchris, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. sniperchris


    Nov 17, 2013
    I have noticed that at rehearsal, anytime I play a B it is weaker than any other note. The note just doesn't have the punch of all the others. The B on the E string 7th fret and A string 2nd fret are more affected than the higher octaves but all have some of the effect.

    I play a MIM Fender Jazz through a handful of pedals into a Markbass Little Mark II into a Hartke 210xl.

    Any ideas? Is it just the room we play in or is this a bigger problem? (The room is pretty small, maybe 12x15)
  2. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    It can be multiple things, I find an amp that can reproduce a low-B with grace to be difficult to find in a 2x10s cabinet. It could be the EQ on the head, the cab's rolloff on lows, the room, your strings, and many many other things.

    I'd try for a larger cabinet with more cone space, see if that helps at all. I think a 4x10 would be a good place to start.
  3. sniperchris


    Nov 17, 2013
    It is not the low B though. Just a normal B on the E string.
  4. sniperchris


    Nov 17, 2013

    Also, I forgot to mention I am not just playing through the 2x10. I am playing through the PA with the 2x10 as a monitor. So I can't imagine it would be a problem with the speaker cabinet.
  5. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Snap, sorry about that...just glancing through while at work :bag:

    I've heard of notes with less oomph and some with too much on basses. The ones with too much are called wolf notes or something like that, I think they just call the dull ones dead spots or dead notes.

    Some people argue the wood, electronics, strings, or hardware is to blame for it. I had a similar issue on a custom P I built. When I swapped the neck for an all-maple Mighty Mite one, didn't have that problem. Could be neck construction/materials. Not sure if you know any builders in the area, but a luthier might have a better grasp on it than a guitar tech would. Shooting in the dark there, just a suggestion.
  6. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    does it happen through headphones?
  7. eekmeg


    Aug 15, 2008
    Does the body or the neck resonate more than usual when you hit those notes?

    What is the sustain of the B in both places compared to other notes on rest of the neck?

    If you can play through a pair of headphones, that will help you determine if it is the room or not. I doubt it is your speaker cabinet(s).

    My theory, based on the OP, is that you have a dead spot, or dead note. Your answers to the above questions will help determine whether or not you may have a dead spot.
  8. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Are your speakers always in the same place in the rehearsal space?
    Does it only happen I'm your rehearsal room, is is ok elsewhere?

    If so, it's more than likely room acoustics. Bass frequencies have quite long wavelengths, so long, they can be measured in feet, which can often coincide with room dimensions. They have the effect of either accentuating or reducing the presence/volume of certain notes. Some will seem very quiet or may boom out. If you have a room with a couple of dimensions that are the same, it can be seem even more apparent, esp if the speaker is the same distance for each plane.

    These rooms nodes can be tuned out with acoustics treatment of the room , moving the speakers so that the wavelength doesn't reflect the same way, or at a pinch, a parametric eq to hone in on the offending frequency.
  9. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    ^This. Because it happens across multiple strings (and, to an extent, to the B notes across octaves) it seems more likely to be a room issue than an instrument, amp, or cab issue.

    The easiest way to narrow down your troubleshooting is to listen to the bass feed through headphones from the PA. If it sounds good there, you know your bass-->DI-->board chain is solid.

    It's pretty likely that if you walk around in the room you'll hear the bass response differently in different spots. You could move your cabinet around to change the filtering you hear, but in a room that size you're likely to some uneven response(s) wherever you stand.

    For a better solution, raise your cab closer to your ears and get everyone to turn down. If the room response is terrible, you might consider rehearsing using headphones.
  10. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Dead spots seem to be something you have to live with on standard scale "four tuners on one side" basses.
  11. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    True, but 8 dead spots, coincidentally falling on *every* B—that's not a likely explanation.
  12. eekmeg


    Aug 15, 2008
    ga, derrico, & Roadkill,
    Thank you for that. I have not, knowingly, experienced similar issues dealing with terrible room response. I have experienced many dead spots on a few basses.

    sniperchris, any luck with headphones?
  13. sniperchris


    Nov 17, 2013
    I have played through headphones from my Zoom B3 but not from the PA. I can't detect any problem in the headphones.

    Last time I tried turning my cab about 45 degrees and that didn't really help so it could be the positioning of the PA speakers. Like you all said in a room that size there will likely be some cancellations which is what I figured but I just needed a second opinion to make sure my bass isn't the problem.
  14. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    If it sounds good through headphones, you can rule out dead spots as the problem. Unless you have a parametric set for a deep & narrow cut at ~62 Hz or 124 Hz, you can also pretty much rule out your signal chain to the board. (Other processing and effects can make your bass seem to disappear in the room, but they usually don't do so only at octaves of one note.)

    What sort of music are you playing, and can it be played quieter for rehearsals? That is, can the band play a 12' x 15' room at a volume that doesn't require bass (and any other instruments) to be run through the PA as well as through your 210? If you can, cut volume, and bring instrument cabs up closer to the players' ears. Bringing volume down will reduce the smearing effects of room reflections, and having your bass come just from your amp will spare you the comb filtering you'll get from running the bass from three points in the room (bass cab + two PA speakers).

    If you're playing doom or somesuch, or if the band's enjoyment depends on making the room vibrate at the molecular level, then at least stack the two PA cabs and put your bass amp with them to cut down comb filtering. (Also, put a high pass filter across all the channels except bass and kick, to cut down the unproductive low end spill that will interfere with your sonic territory.) And wear earplugs so you don't suffer tinnitus for decades.

    But if you want to hear what's everyone's actually playing in a tiny rehearsal space, it's much better to turn way down. If that's not an option, the second-place solution is to use closed ear headphones or IEMs. Unlike running through the PA, 'phones will reduce any crazy SPL from a maniac drummer or guitarist/volume junkies, letting *you* hear everything clearly while monitoring at a lower level. Phones will also help a lot in letting you work on vocal harmonies, spot and fix clams, and other rehearsal work for which you need critical listening.
  15. sniperchris


    Nov 17, 2013
    Thanks for all the advice. It's a new band and our first gig is Friday so I will have a better idea of whether the room is the problem after that.
  16. Dave Curran

    Dave Curran Lilduke

    Jul 27, 2013
    I think it may be comb filtering between the pa and your cab. You said the low B is ok, but all the upper ones are weak. (I think) I'd look at playing with just your cab, and no pa and see if YOU notice a difference. Then have someone bring you up on the pa and see if they get weak again. Pa tops don't reproduce low B well, most seem to get weak once you get down below the low G on 4th string.

    This shouldn't be an issue live(mostly lol) because the pa and your cab are facing the same direction.

    I'm just guessing the pa speakers are facing you and your cab is behind you. In my basement (13x16) I have the pa's on the long wall stacked on top of 2 single 12 subs per side. Only one sub is used, and it's x-overed to cover everything from the low A down as I go direct. the guitarist has his amp in between the two stacks, up on a stand and pointed his way. The other goes direct. We practice like standing on stage. E-drums in the middle, guitar on either side, and me wherever the mixer ends up.

    Here's pics



    And my new fretless, cause I love it!!!