What makes good bass sound?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Skorzen, Apr 10, 2002.

  1. Skorzen


    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    I am talking about in a group here and not solo. I have heard of basses where they sound incredible alone but when in a group the sound is lost. I have worked PA for awhile and know that many factors affect sound the biggest being the group and then the room (assuming a good PA system). I have found recently that I tried playing my new Steinberger Spirit with cheep passive emg select pickups at church instead of my Ibanez ATK. The bass with the cheep pickups sounded great in the group when alone the sound was fairly uninspiring, not bad but not great. Alone I think the ATK sounds better but in the group I think the Steinberger may be the better sounding bass. So the question is what makes good usable tone that is not lost in a group?

  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I think that there are many factors, but it all comes down to how you have your amp/pa's eq set. Certain settings might sound great by theirselves but won't cut through in a mix. I find that if you are up against distorted guitars and a heavy drummer, more mid and highs help cut through. If you are in a more mellow situation, or you have more sonic room to expand, boosted lows and boosted highs sound good. You basically have to expierement in each situation.
  3. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    Well.. You can get a crappy bass come through the mix in a band.. but is it the sound you want? If i were to have a bass that had great sound but didn't cut through the mix of a band.. I'd get a bigger amp....

    I also have but don't use any more, a steinberger Spirit bass. I had real trouble with it comming through the mix. It doesn't sound great in recordings either.. I use my Ray 5 for everything now, it sounds great for solo, in a group.. it fits my needs perfectly imo :)

    but again What sounds good is all subjective.
    its also about how you have your eq set. Can't believe i almost forgot about that
  4. JazznFunk

    JazznFunk Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    The biggest thing to think about is EQ. I suggest listening to the band play without you and hearing where the majority of their frequencies lie. That way, you can tune your amp to the room and the rest of the band. Also, Keep your volume all the way up on the bass. This gets the hottest and most punchy signal to the amp at all times, which goes a long way in making your bass cut through. Additionally, at least in my experience, the more you turn your amp up, cut the bass back a bit on either the bass itself (if you have active EQ) or on the amp, and if necessary, add mids. The added volume will increase your cut-through factor in the group naturally, and cutting the bass back will tighten up the bottom end while cutting back the boominess factor.

    This advice comes from someone who plays with a really midrangy tone with a thick bottom end, so it may or may not be applicable. I suggest these things because everyone I've ever played with, in a variety of situations, has never once asked me to change my sound. So there's at least something that might be applicable. :)