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What is this

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Dec 14, 2000.


  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I was surfing around recently, and I stopped by "Stringbass.com". Not much to write home about there, but I stumbled across a "pickup comparison chart" of dubious pedigree (I say dubious because it lists the Barbera pickup as one of the worst sounding) which had a reference I had never heard of - Biesel. By the context of the reference, it appears to be a mic which can be combined with other pickups. I am interested in this idea, since I use a Realist and would like to add some clarity to it. According to this chart, the Biesel (whatever it is) is very feedback resistant and sounds great. What is it, and where can you find them?
     

  2. Chris, I'm sure you mean the Biesele Bass transducer. They run about $400 and look a lot like the string charger pickup. Here's the link to check it out.
    http://www.jazznsamba.com/pickups.html
     
  3. Chris, I have used Fishman, Realist, Schertler, and Barbera. Since the Barbera is inlaid in the bridge, it's been a simple matter to have 2 pickups om the bass. Then I let the group vote. They pick Barbera every time.
    I will be visiting Bob Gollihur (ALL HAIL!!) someday soon and will try a variety of setups. AMT - Applied Microphone Technologies - told me I can come by their headquarters and try out their line.
    I may be very close to breaking my own 2 setup rules:
    2 wire maximum; one trip from the car.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    reedo,

    thanks for the link (I need to figure out how to put links in my posts - that is incredibly helpful!). This pickup, like many others, looks interesting. The problem with it, as with many, is that it is a big investment to take a chance on sight unheard. And it looks weird. When my last bass crashed, I borrowed an EUB which had something similar, and it had a very "electric" tone with very little dynamic variation. Have you seen one of these in action? What do you use yourself?

    Don,

    I apologize for the length of this post in advance, but.....
    you have said a few things in your posts which I can really appreciate. One was a response to a potential flame reply from someone who criticized your deference to the people you were playing with in allowing them to judge the effectiveness of your tone/choice of pickup on a gig. Your reply was something like, "who better to judge the sound of the bass than those who are listening to it and responding to its voice?". That hits home. The other was the remark that no pickup and no amp really sound exactly like the bass. True again, right on the money. So, we do the best we can to come up with a voice we can live with.

    The whole pickup issue is kind of the bane of my existence as a DB player. Somebody on this forum (can't remember who) puts a quote on the end of their posts which says something like, "What we type is who we are in cyberspace". I always feel like as a bass player the quote should be modified to say, "the tone we get is half of who we are on a gig" (the other half being of course what we play). When I record with either of my basses, I just put a mic in front of my bridge, and I have never been disappointed in the result. It is both extremely simple, and extremely effective. Pickups, on the other hand, are another story.

    Right now I can "live with" the sound I get from the Realist on all strings but the G (the same was true on my last bass). The G string sounds fine a capella, but in the context of the total sonic spectrum produced by the entire ensemble (whatever it may be) playing at once, it sounds too thin and the bottom drops out when I am playing it. This is the opposite of what happens when I use a mic...there the G is probably the strongest sounding string, and carries its weight in context admirably. This fact makes me think that the Realist plus a mic is going to be a good solution to beef up that string without overfattening it or muddying it. What are the different types of mics out there for DB? Rufus' gooseneck mic mount, while goofy-looking, seems like a logical solution, but I know he fights feedback constantly.

    What are the options for DB mics out there? I'm only one string away from a sound I can live with! So close, and yet so far....
     
  5. Rufus uses the AMT which I'm going to try out soon. I know NOTHING about mics, but my jealous rival Ed Fuqua has the experience to help you.
     
  6. Chris, You're right about that pickup, it gives a very Fender-ish type sound to the bass,which is OK if you want that sort of thing, But I thought you ordered a K&K pickup. What happened with that one? I'm using a pro-pak on my Fendt right now, and have got quite a few compliments on the sound, so for now I am happy with that. On my Juzek, I have a Barcus-Berry that seems to work fine and is very simple to put on and remove. As far as miking goes, I used to use a Pan Electric Mic, which worked fine at low volumes, but just didn't have the cuervos for Big Band stuff and feedback was a recurring problem. I don't know about that crown mic that goes with the fishman, But I think it would probably be the same. My first pickup was an Underwood, then a Fishman, and i just kept searching, which is a never-ending and expensive quest.I have yet to shell out the bucks for a Barbera or a wilson, 'cause what I've got works fine for me right now. Oh, by the way, when I plug direct into the PA, I use a sans-amp bass driver, it really beefs up the sound.
    Also, if you want to put a link in your post, just type the address in(example- http://www.whatever.com), and the url should automatically show up when you post it.

    [Edited by reedo35 on 12-15-2000 at 10:45 AM]
     
  7. lermgalieu

    lermgalieu Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2000
    Palo Alto, CA
    I dunno if you were thinking of me - I just ordered a K&K Bassmaster Pro. I used it last night at rehearsal - its like a Fishamn BP100 in terms of feedback (not much, easy to get good volume) but sounds way better. I had no luck with the Crown/BP100 combo - it was feeding back like crazy. I really like the K&K so far - the preamp is a little weird to configure right (you have to take it apart and adjust the trim settings with a little screw driver) but the wing vs the 4 bridge elements really offers quite a bit of flexibility (the wing seems to get a little more body tone to add into the mix), and sending the whole thing through my Fishman DI box before it hits the amp seems to give me a very workable signal level. I may have to play a bit with the position of the elements, but I am really impressed with the durable construction of this rig, and the good sound it gives me. That said, its not "perfect," but luckily (heh) I have a bass on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and am not as obsessed with finding the perfect reproduction of my bass' sound as some with high end basses rightly are.

    This is totally off the whole thread, but does anyone know if an acoustic guitar player could use the Crown GLM200 mic to good advantage? I am gonna try to sell my old stuff, but would just let my guitar player try it out (he's on the hunt) if it might give him good results....
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Wow, leave the house for a couple of hours, and suddenly "War and Peace" appears on the forum. Cool.

    reedo - as usual, thanks for the education. Yes, I ordered a K&K Bass Master Pro, and I got to use it for about a week before my old bass crashed. On that bass, it sounded great. On my new bass, it sounds terrible (it picks up some funny wolf-tones that I don't have any idea WHERE they come from, like one three 8ves and a P4 above my low F, which is louder than the note itself). Go figure...so, I'm going to put the K&K back on my old bass now that it's repaired, and use the Realist for the new one. The old bass has a very round, almost tubby "Red Mitchell" kind of sound and a very thin top & bridge, and really benefits from the definition. The new one just sounds thin & wolfy with that pickup; I suspect that the fact that the bridge is a very thick Aubert (sp?) has something to do with that.

    lerm - if your bass is anything like my old American Standard, you might just fall in love with that pickup.Good luck!

    Mr. Ed - of course you are right about the fact that I perhaps overdramatized the importance of sound on a gig. I deserved for someone to give me some sh** about that, so consider it given and taken. The tone I am getting, however, does greatly affect the way I play, especially when I feel a certain string isn't speaking...when that happens, I usually tend to avoid it intuitively, and end up playing a 3 string bass a lot. So, yes, it matters, but you are correct that it matters a lot more to me than to anyone else. And I would never stop living/playing because of it, but the situation just might drive me to do something crazy like,...oh,...I don't know....spend a lot of time asking other people about the situation and contemplating spending yet more money in pursuit of a better sound. Because there have been some gigs where - for whatever reason - the sound was just right, and the experience is always kind of transcendental, musically speaking, and it makes me want to do what I can to make more of those situations possible, y'know?

    About your mic stories, your experience seems to be fairly typical if what I hear other places is true. I remember seeing the Fred Hersch Trio a couple of years back, and Drew Gress had a Realist and a mic, and about halfway through the show, he got fed up with the encroaching feedback and simply ditched the mic and played his ass off for the rest of the night. When I told him afterwards that he sounded great, he said thanks, 'cause he thought his bass sounded like sh**. It just goes to show that everyone trying to solve this problem is in plenty of good company.

    Don - you will share the results of your AMT experiences (once you have them, that is) with your old buddies at the forum, right? I, for one, am all ears.
     
  9. Chris: You're hip to the fact that a true wolf tone is the result of a confluence of overtones? And more overtones is one of the reasons the truly great basses sound like truly great basses? And therefore, the better the bass, the greater the likelihood of a wolf? (All this according to Kolstein.)Most of the time, the wolf shows up at A natural, but it can be at another pitch. You can find the wolf best with a bow. When you reach it, you will see the string vibration pattern suddenly go wacko. If you need help getting rid of it, let me know. It's also possible to wolf at more than one pitch.
     
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Don,
    I don't know if this is a true "wolf tone" or not; I only used the term because when it happens, it sounds like the bass is howling at the moon. The bizarre thing about this situation is that I literally can't even hear this sound acoustically, but the second I use the K&K bridge transducers and hit that low F, I hear a bad moon on the rise through the amp. I'm not sure I know what you mean about the string vibration patterns...is that a visible thing? How do i look for that?

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  11. Watch the strings as you bow them. A light background, even a TV or monitor screen, will let you see the "normal" waving of the string. On a true wolf pitch, the wave pattern goes nuts, and you can see the string fighting the bow. Also, on a true wolf, the reaction occurs wherever the note or its octave is played; any position, any string.
    If the problem is only with the K & K, this sounds like a case for (ALL HAIL) Bob Gollihur.

    [Edited by Don Higdon on 12-15-2000 at 04:54 PM]
     

  12. Don is correct, it is much easier to see the vibration of the string when you are sustaining a note with a bow. My
    "wolf tone" is on the octave A on the A string. It's actually kind of interesting to watch. Instead of a symmetrical sine wave pattern, you can see visible variations in the vibration of the string. Some of it doesn't move at all (deadened harmonic nodes?), and other parts of the string move in an asymmetrical, almost random pattern, and yes, it seems like my bow gets "stuck" on the string.
     
  13. Hope this is not too far out of the thread, but I had a good chance to listen my bass only through the Barcus-Berry I´m stuck into last saturday. The story is that I was called suddenly to borrow a bass for a French band which was performing in Helsinki. I went to the joint, and the female bassist ( a very nice player as it occurred ) was standing there anxiously bacause the bass she had been given the night before was absolutely the worst she´d ever played. As I saw the rig, I felt kind of mervous too, because thre were monitors all over the stage, the drums had been miked all over, and the tenor player was practising through microphone. The bass rig consisted of an old Ampeg tube amp and a cabin the size of a refridgerator. So I gave the bass to the girl and let her practise with it while negotiating with the French guy who was handling the PA. I told him that I definitely will allow nobody by to stand in front of that cabin with my bass, unless he´s ready to take the risk my bass turn into 2" splinters...so finally he let me try to take the sound from the B-B preamp straight to the PA through a DI-box and have the stage sound come through the monitor.
    Well, I sat there, listening to my bass, which sounded truly good, and by the looks of the girl who was playing it she was also satisfied with it. During the first break the mixing man came to get the contacts for Barcus-Berry ( amazingly he did not know anything about it ). In the end of the second set I ended up jamming with the rest of the band, and the monitor sound in the stage was also very nice and focused. It was about the loudest gig I´ve played for a while though, and my ears were ringing the rest of the night. But this was really the first time I´ve tried to take the signal directly out from the preamp, and B-B worked well in that context.