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Weird compressed sound when digging in

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by randysmojo, Jun 26, 2014.


  1. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Temple, TX
    I've noticed when I really dig in on my bass the notes sounds real compressed at first and never quite come out as loud as when I pluck the string with a regular attack. I don't know if maybe my pickups are too high or I'd it could be a string issue. I notice it most on my A string and the higher strings some, but it kills it when you are really starting to go and it happens. I'm thinking of going to heavier strings to see if that helps. Anyone have an idea what it might be?
     
  2. Active, or passive bass? I had my active do that when the battery was running low.
     
  3. Could be a number of things:

    1. Action could be too low for what you are doing (the strings are clunking against the frets)
    2. Pickups could be too high
    3. If active low battery
    4. Amp clipping
    5. Unagreable pedal settings
     
  4. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
    It sounds like a limiter or compressor overreacting. Not likely from the pickups.

    Does your amp have a limiter?
    Are you using a pedal with a compressor function?

    Turn your bass volume down. Do your note dynamics now sound ok?

    -
     
  5. sunfighter

    sunfighter

    Nov 26, 2011
    Lower the pole pieces on the pick ups, thats if thats a possibility. On my gibsons if the poles are rasrd too high ill get compressed effect.
     
  6. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Temple, TX
    It's a passive bass with no pedals and no compression of limiter on the amp and not clipping the amp. That pretty much leaves it to pickup height of action too low, which I will check today. I was half asleep when setting it up so I might have set it a little low for aggressive playing though I wasn't getting fret clanking. Might just be since it is more pronounced on one string.
     
  7. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Temple, TX
    A very good luthier in the area said the same thing about pickup height. The sustain seems like it isn't what it use to be either so I'm leaning toward that.
     
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    If your action was to low and your strings were hitting the frets, it would manifest itself in a buzzing sound. Since its passive, I would guess that you are clipping your first gain stage, either a pedal or the preamp section of your amp. So my guess would be that your pickups are to close to the strings.
     
  9. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Do you play through a Peavey amp per chance? The old ones have a compressor built in that you can't defeat, so you wouldn't really know when it's kicking in other than by the sound.
     
  10. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Temple, TX
    No a Genz Benz ShuttleMax12.0. That's why I said no compressor on the amp. I had a few old Peavey's in my younger days.
     
  11. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    +1 to pickup height. When the pickups are close to the strings (which I like) and you play hard, on some basses you can physically pull the string so that the attack happens when the string is not over the poles. This makes the attack lower in volume with respect to the sustain of the note and sounds similar to compression.

    I have a G5123b. The pickups are single-pole and not really made for the string spacing of the bass. It is very easy to pull the E string away from the pole and kill the attack. I have noticed this to a lesser degree with my '51 reissue, too.
     
  12. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Temple, TX
    The amp has clipping lights that are jot lighting up and no pedals in use to clip, but I still wonder if pickup height is the culprit or s combination of that and string height. They are low enough that if I hit it hard I get a very slight clank, but not much. Maybe between that and pickup height it is a perfect storm to choke the strings.
     
  13. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Temple, TX
    I'll know for sure after tomorrow's show since I'm off tonight, but I can tell an improvement with a string height adjustment already acoustically. I shouldn't have tried to set the action when I was half asleep and hurried through it. I lowered the pickups a bit too and still plan on going to s heavier set because the strings still feel too floppy for me. It's D'addario lights (45, 65, 80, 100, 130) and they died quick to. Thinking of trying Ernie Ball Power Slinkys next.
     
  14. megafiddle

    megafiddle

    May 25, 2011
  15. randysmojo

    randysmojo

    Jan 14, 2008
    Temple, TX
    A limiter circuit that only acts if the the channel is clipped, which has an indicator light to let you know if you are clipping which I am not because I adjusted my gain so that it is well under the levels with this bass to cause clipping. Other words, still not an issue.
     

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