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What is that high pitched sound?!?!

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Demon_Hunter, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. Demon_Hunter


    Jun 8, 2008
    Even though this happened at Church service this has to have happened to somebody else at sometime and somewhere.

    We start playing and while playing we all hear this high pitched sound as if someone is hitting the highest key on the keyboard. All are looking around like, what is that(and we should've just stopped to figure it out) and kept playing. It went on for the first two songs. And it wasn't continuous, it came and went. I thought my bass was vibrating something in such a weird way it was creating some odd harmonic. You could see the uneasiness on everybody there. It was just horrid.

    Finally after the 2nd song our guitar player had figured out it was his guitar. The high E string had snagged itself up under a fret and when he played it that would create that sound.

    Anyone here have anything similar happen?
  2. MooseLumps

    MooseLumps Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    I was a sound guy at a gig and the bass player was using a doghouse with a mic. He plugged into the backline Ampeg rig and warmed up and everything was fine. I should stop to mention that I was recovering from surgery and was in terrible pain and pretty loopy from pain killers.
    Anyway they start warming up and about 5 people show up (it was early) and there comes some of the most shrill, painful feedback i have ever heard. I run through my system for about a minute before i realize that it's not me, it's the bass amp. The band is giving me dirty looks still, except for the keys, who realized what the problem was. My ears are killing me. The bassist still has no idea it's him, and as the drummer stops playing (killing the tune) the bassist mutes his strings to yell at me. What do you know, the feedback disappears!! (This sounds like they played through it, in reality, it was maybe 15-30 seconds)
    He shouts at me for about 5 minutes while the band tries to control him, talk sense into him. He drops his bass and the feedback starts back up!!. He is screaming at me and trying to tear my head off, his band mates trying to hold him back. I calmly walk over and turn off the bass amp. The feedback slowly dies.

    I wish I had a camera; the look on his face was priceless.
  3. Back when I was playing guitar in a duo with midi file support at a regular restaurant gig, my partner and I became aware of a high pitched sound that sounded like feedback during a song.
    I was always, and am particular, and never have feedback, especially in a low volume situation like a restaurant.
    My partner and I begin looking at each other and the gear with increasing consternation. What is wrong? I look into the crowd perplexed and it hits me.
    There at a table quite close to the band stand is a party of the local theatrical set, and one particular matron who specialized in musicals, and known for her ability to drill holes in heads with her soprano, obliviously singing along with our song.
  4. MX21


    Sep 28, 2007
    Grass Valley, CA
    I was playing bass and running sound at a church event a few months back. We kept getting this weird high-pitched sound. So high, some people couldn't even hear it. After listening to it for a minute, I recognized what it was and was able to locate it. There was an older guy in the audience - his hearing aid was going into feedback. I pointed it out and someone next to him politely made him aware of it.

  5. Fretless1!


    Feb 19, 2007
    LOL! That's happened to me, too. Took me forever to figure out what it was.
  6. Bardley


    Nov 16, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    That has happened to me many times, usually in a church setting. As the sound man, everyone looks at you. The first time it happened I was with a university touring choir and it happened just before a church service. We turned the entire system off trying to find it. Bad memories... :scowl:

    Now that I know what it is it is easy to find.

    It's hard because it really is feedback, just too high for the person to hear. Horrible sound...
  7. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    The hearing-aid feedback happened to me too.

    It makes me wonder whether that loud feedback is further damaging the wearer's ears!
  8. MX21


    Sep 28, 2007
    Grass Valley, CA
    I've wondered that too. Can't be good for the wearer. Seems like some sort of feedback killer in the hearing aid hardware would be an absolute must.

  9. Otter


    Dec 14, 2008
    Oregon (Southern)
    My wife wears two hearing aids. It's hardest on the batteries, it wears them down quick. The reason the wearer does not notice is that the frequencies may be in the bandwidth the user has the most hearing loss. They can't hear it!

  10. ive had a string latch itself under the top lip of the pickup before. steve vai and dime put tape there to avoid this from happening during dive bombs.. but i dont use a trem.. so i have no idea how it happened.
  11. Robster22


    Jul 27, 2008
    BC Canada
    I play a Yamaha bass BBNE2 and once in mid song I heard this high pitched whistling/scream...turns out it was the 9 volt battery that powers the active pick ups.....changed the battery,,,no more screech...all gone !
  12. thumpbass1


    Jul 4, 2004
    I can tell you a story where the high pitched Banshee wail was deliberate. I was in a band where the drummer had had some little feud going on with the sound guy, where they kept pranking each other. We did a gig at some college theater, back in the late 70's. I do remember that our sound board was big, clunky, and pretty basic, with no modern clip warning indicators, etc, that are taken for granted these days. After sound check, and most of us hanging around in the auditorium before the gig, the drummer had run an extra mic, and hid behind the stage curtain, where he began blowing the high note of a harmonica into the mic in such a way that it sounded like incoming feedback. The sound guy responded, and went about cursing and trying to dial things out. The drummer would back off for a bit, and when the sound guy thought he'd fixed the bug, the drummer who was named Dave, went back in to blowing that shrill note on the harmonica.This went on for at least a good 10-15 minutes. Let's just say that the sound guy had to be restrained by others for a moment, when Dave came out from behind the curtain blowing away on his mouth harp, later to give a big victorious grin. It ranks as one of my favorite pranks that I've seen pulled.

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