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What are Touring Bassists using for Sound?

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by flatback, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    I am interested in what working/traveling players are using lately for pick ups/mic/amp for live sound reenforcement. As best as I can tell a lot of cats are sticking with the same sounds that they have been using for a long time...
    Dave Holland underwood/realist(for recording)
    Gary Peacock Fishman bp 100
    Ron Carter ?
    Larry Grenadier Mic (I think)
    Marc Johnson Just saw him playing a EUB but whats on his bass?
    Eddie Gomez full circle although I think it is from Japan...
    Christan MCBride Realist/?
    John P. I think realist/AMT
    Scott Colley ? (Damn he's good...Check out Old School)
    Lots of others....
    anybody got any info to share? Any opinions about how they sounded at live gigs you've seen? Did the rig get their sound out acceptably or were there problems.Etc.
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Didn't someone say once that Patitucci uses the AMT only in the monitors? Or did I just dream that?

    Agree enthusiastically on Scott Colley!
  3. abaguer


    Nov 27, 2001
    Milford, NJ
    I've seen Marc Johnson using the Eminence EUB with both Eliane Elias and John Abercrombie. The Eminence has a Realist specially modified for the bass. I believe he runs it into an Avalon preamp.
  4. Ron Carter endorses GK products. I picked up some material at the NAMM show and based on it, he uses the MB 150.
  5. winston


    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    When I saw Gary Peacock last year in Frisco with Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette in a large concert hall, I could barely hear the bass except when drums and piano were quiet. I sat/stood in several places with the same results, so I don't think it was the acoustics.

    When I saw Adam Lane play with John Tchicai a few months ago using a bass with a Realist, I could only hear the bass when he was bowing vigorously or the other instruments got really quiet. I have worked on and off as a pro live sound engineer and I've come to the conclusion that a lot of engineers (in venues large and small) just don't know how to mix DB so that it's actually audible with loud drums, guitars, keyboards, horns. It might mean cutting out everything below 80Hz, boosting the high mids and compressing most dynamics out of the signal--a notion that may offend purists, but can actually make the bass sound we work so hard to develop audible to others.

    I saw Scott Colley with Herbie Hancock in a large hall. Don't know about the pickup, he was playing througha GK800RB and SWR SOB 1x15 and it sounded great. I did sound for Rob Amster with Kurt Elling's group last year--he ran his AMT into my Eden WT400 and SWR 2x10 cabinet, and got a beautiful sound. It was hard to hear note definition between A on the D string and the octave on the G string, but everything else was clear. Rob told me he was still experimenting with positioning the AMT so I imagine this anomaly had something to do with placement.
  6. Two years ago at the Regattabar, Ron Carter used a GK MB-150 with an extension cab. I saw him last Friday (again at the Regattabar) and he was using a GK head (from the blue light, it looked like a MB mk-III, but I couldn't tell which one). I don't know what cab he was using - it looked like a 12, it might have been Aguilar…

    - Wil
  7. AFAIK, Patitucci uses a mix of the Realist and a Neumann KM 185 mic which he sends to the main board. The AMT is used for his monitor.

  8. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    Is anyone in serious rotation using a full circle?
    What kind of pick up is Rufus using these days? Still the Barbera? I had one of these and it was OK untill one of the pick ups started to crackle then it was just useless having a less resonant bridge on my bass with wires coming out.
    Scott Colley has a tight well placed sound on Lift, Chris Potters Live CD. He used to use Spiros and a realist and a WW, but that was the last time I saw him a few years back.
    I hear that Miroslav Vitous is back playing and touring, anybody seen him?
  9. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Like the rest of us DBers, the big boys use just about everything under the sun for pickups and amps.

    From what I see in clubs Walter Woods heads and GK MB combos still are the most popular amps, GK 400RB or 800RB heads after that. Despite the endorsements I've read about I haven't seen anyone using AI yet (but I haven't seen every bassist out there of course).

    In the Boston clubs, national acts seem to use supplied cabs (at Regattabar and Scullers for instance it's a Hartke 410XL) with their own head or combo.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Kristen Korb is using a Full Circle, and from talking to her briefly, she likes to augment with a mic when it's easily done. Rufus has three pickups on his bass: An AMT, a Barbera, and a Dyn-B. He uses whatever mixture he feels will suit the room best. I just saw Buster Williams a few weeks ago, and he had an Underwood and (I think) a Realist on his bass. From the sound of things, he was using the Underwood. Christian McBride uses only a mic on a stand, and for that reason is sometimes hard to hear when the band is really cranking, but sounds great during all of his solos. Lynn Seaton has an old dynamic mic stuffed in a towel between his bridge legs, which sounds good at low volumes, and progressively worse the louder things get (not his fault).

    Patitucci has had by far the most natural and present sound of anyone I've heard live, but every time I've seen him he's been playing in situations where there is an extensive sound stage crew that goes with the band (with Chick, Wayne, etc...). Next would be Rufus, who paid me the somewhat backhanded compliment last summer of being easily as big a gear nerd as he is! :D But when he plays, he gets the sound he wants, which is a good thing - and every time I've seen him, he's asked numerous people he knows out front to give him feedback (no pun intended) during the soundcheck.

    A lot of bassists are hampered by the fact that they have to travel light, and have to rely on the kindness of strangers. I've loaned either basses and/or amps to Buster, Michael Moore, Dennis Erwin (sp?), Percy Heath, and Jim Cammack while they were in town, and they all just made the best of it. Most of them are grateful to get the best you have to offer, then go out and play the **** out of whatever it is they end up with. :)
  11. I think I've mentioned this before, but I've seen a couple of Rufus' clinics, and he's always asked questions about his rig. His admonishment is, No matter what rig you use, you must PRACTICE the RIG -- know it cold before you get to a gig and just start randomly twiddling knobs. I'm guilty of the latter, and I've spent some pretty miserable gigs trying to find the sound I need.

    But as much as a gear-head he is, his sound is there first, before any pickup or amp. I was lucky enough to hear him perform a couple of numbers sans amplification in a nice recital hall. He filled the place up with a big, beautiful warm sound without even breaking a sweat.
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    This is an important point. Years ago, I got hammered pretty hard on this very site for making the same point. :) But I believe that when you play amplified, your amp is part of your axe...don't know if I picked that up from Rufus, but it seems pretty self evident. My wife just rolls her eyes when I get a new piece of gear, because she knows she's gonna have to liten to me practicing the RIG for the next week or so. Actually, it's a pretty cute look of resignation she gets...maybe I should take a picture? I'm sure most people here would recognize that Universal "look" from the significant other...
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Really?! I'm surprised anyone gave you s**t about test flying amps off the bandstand. Seems like common sense to me.

    Actually, the same rule should be applied to prospective wives :smug: .
  14. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Most upright players are damn stupid when it comes to
    gear. Some are even proud of it. "just practice, don't
    worry about the amp" i've been told. "the less wires, the
    better". BUT! It seems strange to spend so much time
    and effort practicing and learning to get a great sound from
    your bass, only to not care how or if anyone hears you.
  15. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    only when the bow comes out.

    Of course you should practice with your rig. I just think some players feel you really need to find your sound first, so the rig isn't your sound.

  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Ooh, I get that same look from my cat when the bow comes out... :eyebrow:
  17. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Yeah, my cats run for cover from the pain I'm about to inflict. :p

    But no matter how much I tell them if I don't practice I won't make progress, they still don't listen.

  18. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    For about 5 years I just played the realist thru the GK in NYC and felt that I had to just get used to only sounding better then that when recording or playing someplace big (if there is a good sound guy if...if) Then I moved out to San Francisco where it is a whole lot easier to get around and I thought that maybe I should reinvestigate the whole issue (at least this is the rationalization I tell myself) I end up playing a lot with Piano trios or Guitar where some nights it really feels nice to get a 3 dimensional sound so I have been getting into the blending thing. But I keep wanting smaller and less knobs and more consistency, and so I start looking at the cats who play a lotta places, and it seems like they either stay away from the exotics or have a back up.
    Rufus is the only cat I know using Schertler but I see AMT's everywhere.
    I asked Dave holland why he has never changed from the underwood and he said, he likes to hear himself . He also said it makes it difficult to play with fine intonation if the pitches reach your ear indistinctly or very late.Last time I saw him he was running an ATM 35 direct to the board too.
  19. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Larry Grenadier is using a Dyn B with a Schertler preamp. He sends the wet out to a Pub on stage to hear himself, and a dry out to the house.

    I also saw Richard Davis using the Stat B a few years ago.

  20. A somewhat late reply, but how did Marc Johnson sound with this setup? I was rather shocked to find out he uses an EUB on tour now, instead of his old, and beautiful, acoustic.