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Why do bass amps have no reverb?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Coutts_is_god, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    I was just sitting here and the question came to my head. So why don't bass amps have reverb?
  2. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Because reverb sounds like poop on bass.
  3. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Guitarists use reverb to cover up bad technique. It's kind of like a "suck filter." Distortion has a similar effect. So their amps usually have distortion and reverb built-in.

    Bassists are man enough to admit it when they have bad technique. They don't need no steeenkin' reverb or distortion.

    It's really as simple as that.

    (Just kidding. Actually, the "sounds like poop" explanation is a bit more accurate. Lower frequencies reverbrate enough without additional assistance; adding reverbration creates sonic defecation.)
  4. lol, sonic defecation is really a good description

    athough a bit of reverb can be nice on a recording if you recorded it directly/in a nearly anechoic room which is quite usual in many studios (mostly recording direct)
  5. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    Actually if you try the Acoutic Image Focus head with reverb you might change your mind. The reverb Acoutic Image uses actually sounds great and adds a wonderful depth to it.

    Just a thought if your really interested. And just to be clear, I'm not much of an effects guy and I dig it on the Focus!
  6. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Because Lexicon won't let anybody know their secret. I was just in a studio that had the most amazing Lexicon unit. As for heads not having reverb, a live setting for bass related reverb would sound like what was said earlier.
  7. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Good answers

    I find my self only a wah wah pedal user but I do want a over drive/ distortion pedal cause.......well lets face it. I like to make noise:D
  8. My friend has an old Sun 112 bass combo with a reverb dial. I never used it though and cant say how it sounds with a bass plugged into it.
  9. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i'mof the opinion that reverb should be saved for recordings. Usually it's no good on bass. Years ago i used to like to use the reverb when playing guitar, but over time i came to appreciate how much clearer and more natural a guitar amp sans reverb sounds in a live setting.
  10. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    Applying reverb on low frequencies confuses the bass listener. Low frequencies penetrate anything and everything and it's often difficult to know exactly from where the bass sound emenates. Reverb also blurs the clarity of the bass line, mudding up the definition that is normally required to hear individual notes. Overall, the bass generally has fewer problems with sustain, at least relative to the other instruments in the usual band.

    Reverb on guitar is gorgeous because of exactly the opposite reasons. The high frequencies penetrate nothing and dissipate instantly, and without it you are often left with a very dry and too clearly defined guitar line. Sustain is often a problem with those weenie little strings that hardly wobble and come to an audible halt shortly after plucked. Reverb blends the dead space between the notes and offers more sound staging to the otherwise harsh and highly directional nature of high frequencies.
  11. Reverbs can be tuned to keep the lower octaves dry. Even my little korg bass pandora has that, and it sounds good when playing solo. Try playing Bach sontas or minuets and you'll see.

    What's really cool is the "tremelo" effect. But as far as amps go, they bass players like simple stuff, like compression or even a little chorus. Most of our bass amp dollar goes to a good pre and amplifier/power supply. Our speakers costs more too.

    conclusion: pragmatics and cost.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is a very good explanation - but my short version is :

    Reverb on bass in a live setting = mud!! ;)
  13. What others said and also: even if you would want a splash of reverb in your sound - perhaps in a solo passage - you´d be better off leaving it to the soundguy. Chances are he´ll have better reverb units in his rack than anything you´d buy for yourself. Especially so in the studio, one top end Lexicon unit costs more than your basses and amps combined. Heck, throw in the drums and guitar rigs, and you´d probably still be left short.

    Also, mixing the right amount of reverb in a band context is not an easy trick. Again, let the pros handle it. I just wish guitarists would understand this too. Too often you see guys with reverbs maxxed out on their crappy Zoom/DOD/wheatever multi-FX units . Sure it sounds fun when playing alone, but in a band context it´s utter chaos.
  14. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I like that. If i quoted funny things in my signature, then I'd be quoting that right now.
  15. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    That is tongue-in-cheek, of course... I've had the privilege to play with a number of very talented guitarists. :)
  16. BigRed


    Apr 1, 2004
    Palestine, TX
    That was EXACTLY what I thought when I read the subject line. Nice. :smug:
  17. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Once in a while, some amateur soundman will put some reverb in my bass. I'm like, take that crap out of my sound! Bass with reverb is a capital sin! :mad:

    In the studio it's a different story. A mellow fretless solo sounds nice with just a little reverb.
  18. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Well, reverb, by its nature, puts "distance" into the sound. Kinda makes the bass sound further away.

    Bass should be IN YOUR FACE! No reverb.

    As for guitar, the further away it sounds, the better...
  19. ha ha i like that!
    but reverb can be fun and sweet for some short passages or for outro mayhem noice end of all kind of things. can´t say i´ve ever missed a reverb unit in my amps thou...
  20. some old acoustic and peavey bassamps did have reverbs i seem to remember now.