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Where do you cut through?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JetBlackJazz, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Am I the only person who fiercely boosts their mids (~600-2000 hz) / instead of treble to cut through? I just let my technique do the rest of the job (aggressive fingerstyle, think Geddy and Billy Sheehan had a baby)

    How do you cut through the mix? Eq/Distortion/etc?
  2. I prefer to sit IN the mix. I do this with a small bump in the LOW mids.
  3. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Depends on the mix. Every band, bass, amp, cab, and room is different.
  4. jimmyjames


    Mar 30, 2011
    yeah, each style of music, or even each song needs its own kind of "cut"... are you driving or in the driver seat?
  5. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    When I drive I am in the driver seat.
  6. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Sorry, my previous comment was an unfinished thought. What are you dealing with in term of bands, rooms, etc? The mention of distortion suggests that you are competing with at least one guitarist. Volume wars perhaps? Regardless fill us in with some details, a live or rehearsal recording if you have it.
  7. This is small room stuff. And I'm behind 2 guitarists. We are prog rock/metal. I have enough volume, just I think my tone needs adjusting
  8. Count me in, I like a lot of mids/low mids in my sound. I hate scooped mids
  9. dustinfennessey


    Sep 29, 2011
    I usually have my mids and trebel at about 8 and the bass a little below 5...I also use an EHX Steel Leather which really helps it cut through the mix :)
  10. funkybass


    Oct 19, 2006
    I prefer more mids and less treble myself. But it depends on where we are playing too. I'll eq to the venue.
  11. mbeall


    Jun 25, 2003
    Don't boost the lows. Mids will be your friend here. Not necessarily the most pleasant tone solo'd but if you are trying to cut through 2 prog/metal guitars it's you best chance for a balanced mix. Boosting the lows is just going to rob you of power and they will still get covered up. Leave the super lows to the kick drum. In my past experiences it was always easier to cut though this stuff will a clean/semi clean tone with some boost in the mids then with heavy distortion. If the guitars are setup for a scooped EQ with boosted lows and highs find the hole and fill it. Set your EQ flat. Have them strum power chords for an open string. Use your EQ to find the hole. This is super easy if you have a parametric/semi parametric EQ where you can just boost the mids a lot and then sweep the frequency to find the sweetspot in the mix and then back off the boost until there is a good overall sonic balance. It's easy to do with a graphic EQ as well, just find the right slider. Most of all use your ears and get the guitars to spend a few minutes working with you during a rehearsal. Be prepared to change everything when you get into a new room. It's amazing how room acoustics will change this and you will need to listen from off stage as well, or find someone whose ears you really trust because those low notes don't really start to bloom until your a good 15-30 feet away from your amp, what wound good on stage to you could very well be tearing someones head off in the audience and trampling the mix. In my opinion a wireless is a worthwhile investment for this alone even if you don't play the gig with it.

    The other thing that comes to mind is that you guys should take an honest assessment of your volume in the small room. A lot can be cured with that alone. I don't know if you guys are "too" loud or not but my personal experience with metal is that the rehearsals are usually way too loud if only because of everyone having to compete with drummers that only play with stick heights of 12" or more. :p

  12. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    I find treble balance doesnt help me cut it just adds to the enjoyment of my tone when it's right. For me the cut Is a balance of low and high mid. I can get fullness and body at 200 to 500 and hearability at 800 to 2 k.

    Sometimes I like a little dip at 200 to 250 for clarity sake.

    I've been getting bass gigs only for two years so I'm always learning and experimenting. I have a jazz, p copy, Warwick and I have been finding my most hearable tones are going for an Ernie ball thing with the Warwick humbucker or the humbucker routed into the p bass copy. I generally use more bass for humbuckers, scoop some mid 400-600, add some 800 - 1 k.
  13. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I like low mids 250 -500 hz - more about pitch than timbre.

    But the comment about sitting in the mix vs cutting is very relevant.
    A mix you are struggling to "cut through" is probably a bad mix to begin with, a collective problem,
    and best addressed as a conscious group effort and evaluated by neutral ears.
    Seeking to individually "cut through" may be counter productive.
  14. Well my definition of cutting through is being not buried. Being 'obviously' head, heard and not felt.
  15. I just recently got a parametric eq. Adds so much life and variety to my tone! But for now, I'm just experimenting. I have a Tc Electronic Bg500 and I change all 3 settings everyday. It's more a problem of being tone satisfied. My satisfying tone satisfies my band. Being 'big' enough but to me, punchy and audible.

    I engineer my tone much like Chris Squire or Geddy did; where my tone does 2 jobs. Supports and influences.
  16. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Even when my job is to cut through rather than sit in a mix (not that often), the EQ on my amp remains almost flat. Bass a tiny boost, mids at 12, treble 12 or 11. My technique and choice of instrument/pickup balance will take care of the rest. But then again if you're going for a Chris Squire sound, you've got to take drastic measures. I used to be mid-obsessed, and had a fancy bass with a Demeter onboard preamp. Boosted the mids, and in retrospect, I sounded like absolute crap for a couple years.
  17. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    For the album that my band's just finished mixing, I found that 1K was my resonant frequency sweet spot. YMMV.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    When I can't hear myself, 800 is what I usually boost, although 500 is good for a deeper mid presence as well.
  19. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    for the new project hell-o i don't cut through i rumble, the other bassist plays overdriven octave stuff and the drummer beats the toms and bass and sometimes the snare, no cymbals

    actually considered switching from a 15 to an 18
  20. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I wish all amps had semi-parametric mids. I might actually get an eq pedal. However...my Little Mark III head does alright set neutral on the eq when in a mix. If I'm getting buried, I have my choice between boosting the low mids at 360 or boosting the high mids at 800, or both. Works every time. Wish I had a knob for 100 or 150.

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