Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

When yer bass just won't listen to ya

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Joe Nerve, Nov 24, 2004.


  1. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    I am a totally confident player, yet this is something I've come to slightly fear and need to master.

    I've found that every once in a blue moon I'll hit a studio or stage (not actually sure if its ever happened on stage, yet) and EVERYTHING sounds wrong. Tonight it happened. Unfamiliar amp, couldn't get a sound that was even close to what i'm used to, the room was huge, there was tons of echo and boom, and it just felt and sounded like i was playing an instrument i've never played before. It's a hard thing to describe. If there's something funky and fast that i do - the notes just seem to get completely lost in overtones, or there's a lack of sustain that makes everything i do sound like it's just wrong, or not tight. My instinct is to play harder to make the notes clearer and it winds up just slowing me down and making things even worse. It sucks! It doesn't happen often, but it happened once on an audition for a prety easy but happening gig. Tonight we were working in a new drummer (cuz my dumass drummer broke his hand in a fight) and I was a little bummed that we didn't sound like ourselves. Didn't matter to him as he's a fan of the band and would play regardless - but it ain't cool. I don't like it!

    Anyone else know what I'm talking about? Anyone have any insight into getting your bass to do what you want it to when everything around you is working against it?
     
  2. yeah...I have my off days too,but its less whats coming out of the amp and more what my fingers are doing,they'll just not "work"
     
  3. jondog

    jondog

    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    When it's a large room, and the stage sound is off, I just have to trust that the soundguy is taking care of FOH sound. One way to make sure your bass always sounds the same is to buy in-ear monitors.
     
  4. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    I don't know if this is the problem in your case...but I have a problem with the quality of electricity from place to place.

    Sometimes even in the same room..the electricity will flux from a brown sound..where everything sounds soft, mushy and a bit out of whack....then when the volts are up..the sound comes alive again.
    I'm thinking about getting one of those Furman voltage regulators for my rack..
     
  5. Raven

    Raven

    Nov 14, 2004
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Maybe the answer lies in another question.... WWLD...( what would Lemmy do?) .. probably "percussive maintainance" on the offending piece or pieces of equipment..... :D

    Seriously tho, when I have a night like that, I just try to hang on, muddle through as best I can, figure the general club audience doesn't realize how bad it sucks then go home and get trashed.....
     
  6. The size of the room and acustics of a room can play havoc with your tones. It sucks when you play a gig and the band doesn't sound like the "band". Frustrating. even what side of the stage you set up on gives a different sound perspective. Depends how much time u have to fiddle with options.
     
  7. Amen. I played a wedding gig last summer, and the room over-amplified the G frequencies (especially low G on the E string), so I had to get used to hit the G with almost half the force I used with the other notes. That kinda sucked.
     
  8. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    this is the kind of stuff i'm talking about. the room we were in last night was so bad that the deep end of the guitar was causing some sort of weird overtones that made my guitarist stop because he thought we were playing entirely different things.

    i think one of the things i need to learn to do is simply suck it up and relax.

    i also learned that i HATE shape controls. that was also a big part of my problem. i was playing through a hartke 3000 and the first thing in that series of controls is a damn shape control that i didn't know how to set flat. why don't they just call it what it is, label the damn thing properly "WEIRD MID PARAMETRIC EQ", and give it a zero setting. i've yet to be able to find a worthwile use for a shape control.
     
  9. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Just curious if you'd like to buy the Brooklyn Bridge? I can make you a heck of a deal!
     
  10. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA
    please, no need to be sarcastic.

    why can't you just share your knowledge on this subject instead of trying to make me feel foolish.

    I do have problems with the electricity from time to time...and it does reflect in the sound. If you don't believe that, then what explains it?

    Are you telling me the quality of electricity doesn't effect the gear and the sound? I don't have a need to waste my money...so if you think a voltage regulator is snake oil, I'd like to hear reasonable comments.

    thanks
     
  11. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Fair enough, and please don't take offense as no offense was intended.

    Obviously you can get some ground hum, or other strange noises from improperly wired outlets, but outside of that I personally don't think anything within the norm can drastically affect the overall sound. Obviously, surges are bad, but I believe it was take quite a significant drop in voltage to make the changes in sound that you describe, nothing that should be occuring within normal operating voltages. It is my understanding that for the power supply, either it will be enough to work, or it wont, but as always I could be wrong. Perhaps John Turner, or someone else with extensive electrical knowledge could help set us straight here.

    Again, sorry for the sarcasm, I just had a flashback of $1000 power cables promising to tonally take the "blanket off my rig".
     
  12. AlembicPlayer

    AlembicPlayer Im not wearing shorts

    Aug 15, 2004
    Pacific Northwet, USA




    cool! thanks!!
    I hear you about the $1000.00 cable crowd....I'm not in that camp :)

    check this -
    we rent a band rehearsal space that has a dozen rooms for bands. When we get a room at the end of the chain..and all the other rooms are full...the whole band experiences this sag (for lack of a better word) in all the gear. For me it sounds like my strings are dead..and mushy....however, when we are one of just a few bands that day, or as other bands close up shop...the sound is normal. Maybe it's not voltage..but it sure seems like it. I've never put a meter on it, so I am just talking here. I'd like to know why this happens and if there is a way to prevent it.

    I thought the same thing...that the power supply either works or it doesn't...but I really don't know enough about it.


    thanks Tim, I appreciate your reply.
     
  13. Raven

    Raven

    Nov 14, 2004
    Jacksonville, Fl
    FWIW... in my experience, both as a bassist and an electronics tech, voltage fluctuations are more damaging to the equipment then the sound. If the line voltage drops too low,(sag) the sound quality can suffer because there is now not enough voltage to power the equipment with what it needs so your amplifier output suffers. It also causes the amps and evering else to start drawing more current. (this is basic Ohms Law...) If the voltage remains low for too long, the high currents will cause damage to the components in the equipment, especially transistors and diodes. Generally, and this is not to be taken as a blanket statement, voltage sag is worse than momentary voltage spikes or transients.... (spikes can let the smoke out of your stuff too) The best solution is a quality power conditioner or (if you can afford one) an industrial grade UPS.
     
  14. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    A few of the places we play have very old wiring, which causes a lot of hum to come through my amp (and PA since I line-out) Unfortunatley, I don't have a ground-tap so we always have to come up with creative ways to counter the problem.