Why so much mud?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Ralph124C41, Jan 26, 2022.

  1. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    Yesterday I went to a jam that turned into an offer to join a forming band. While there i got reunited with my Rogue Violin bass that I played for year and years ... but not very much at all in the past five years or so.

    I have had it setup and I have La Bella Deep-Talkin' medium flatwounds on it. I'm pickin up a used amp tomorrow so I borrowed what was at the practice area, an Acoustic 100.

    I played for the first time in a long time ... and I hated, hated, hated the sounds I was creating. Pure mud. I tried different amp and bass settings and all I got was mud on top of mud with a side order of ... you guessed it ... more mud.

    Now I know my Rogue has a somewhat muddy neck pickup but in the past with the amps I've generally used I was able to coax an acceptable sound out of it. But this combination today was just miserable and I felt as if I was cheating the others in the band.

    Was it my guitar? That amp? Both? And what can I do in the future to relieve this abysmal sound? I've thought about replacing the neck pickup but I've had a hard time finding something that will drop in very easily. I don't do mods like that so I would have to buy a pickup and then pay somebody to do the switch.

    So I hope somebody here can clear up the muddy mess I made today.
  2. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Hopefully the amp you pick up tomorrow will pick up on some nuances that the Acoustic wasn’t getting. Flatwound strings and a neck pickup on a violin bass certainly predispose your sound toward the muddy end of things, but obviously players have made it work. Even just trying a pick might get you there.
  3. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    yes i used a pick a lot because frankly I haven't played much bass at all so I've been playing acoustic and electric guitars, mostly flatpick bluegrass. It's also short scale or maybe medium scale ,,, but as I said I was just schocked at how it sounded. Two of the other players said my playing was fine, however, so light shone through the mud.

    I'm hoping it could be the Acoustic amp. I've played one or two before and I thought the sound was just ho-hum but not muddy.

    Maybe a pedal? I have lots of guitar pedals but really no bass-specific pedal except for a Behringer BD21 with a wonky knob that I have taped over so it works at one setting. Maybe I could use a spare guitar 10-band EQ pedal to help fine-tune the sound? Maybe ... that's all I can think of except using my other bass, an Ibanez GSR200 also strung with flats but I can change them to non-flats; I may even have a spare set.

    Btw, in the interim I sold my three other basses, including an Ibanez Iceman and an Ergodyne 5-stringer. (I bought that for a forming new country bass that I left after two mind-numbing practices in which we played "Toes" by the Zac Brown Band for two hours or more because the leader demanded we play the song note-for-tone from the LP or CD or 8-track or whatever he had.)
  4. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    Could have been the amp, or the room, but flats on a hollow body will lean towards muddy. Throwing a round wound set on is probably the easiest and most affordable way to get a crisper and less muddy tone.
    stretch80, CTW68, AGCurry and 13 others like this.
  5. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    It sounds like you’ve got some options without having to run out and buy anything, at least. There’s no reason you couldn’t use that 10-band; some distortion and modulation pedals will lose the bottom, but a lot of “guitar” pedals can also be “bass” pedals. Even so, it’s hard to add definition with an EQ pedal if you don’t have any in the first place. Hopefully your new-to-you amp will find some definition and bring it out; if not, changes in technique are cheaper than picks are cheaper than strings are cheaper than pedals are cheaper than amps and basses … and I would try things in that order ;)
  6. Al Rivera

    Al Rivera

    Mar 20, 2021
    Try some roundwound strings,problem solved.
    Sixgunn, CallMeAl, bassdude51 and 4 others like this.
  7. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    The roundwound strings sound terrible on the Rogue. Just, just bad.
    Ekulati and Al Rivera like this.
  8. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    I'm really a minimalist person on pedals, especially on bass. However I do need a compressor because I'm basically a thumb player at heart (hey, so was Paul McCartney mainly) but also use pick and regular finger style. I do have supposedly a built-in compressor on the amp I'm getting but I've read reviews that it isn't all that great but it may be enough. I do have a cheap guitar compressor which I almost never use.
  9. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    So let me make sure I have this straight: you’re playing the neck pickup on a short scale hollow body strung with flats using your thumb through a budget amp, wondering why you’re getting nothing but mud, but dismissing most advice as fast as we can provide it? :eyebrow:
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022
  10. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    P bass pickup??
    el jeffe bass and CallMeAl like this.
  11. Ralph124C41


    Sep 20, 2012
    I'm not dismissing any advice as I've played bass for several years until about four to five years ago. But I will dismiss any advice from you. I came here for advice ... whether I wish to follow that advice is up to me, not you.
    themickster likes this.
  12. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    So glad I took the time to reply thoughtfully! Good luck; you’re going to need it.
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Hopefully you can bring your bass and try out any amp before you buy. Also, sorry if I missed this, was the combo on the floor?
    CallMeAl likes this.
  14. Well. if you’re buying another amp, you can cure a lot of ills with a good EQ section. Secondly, are you sure your bass is functioning properly? Before you do anything, take your bass with you when you go looking at amps and try out with a bunch of them . Always start out with the EQ set at flat, then see what you got. You try three amps and you still got mud, if this bass sound good before, Could be your pickups went bad, which is somewhat rare, or something else electrically went south, like a pot or cap. Best wishes.
  15. jdh3000


    May 16, 2016
    A good eq can fix a lot of inherent tonal issues.
  16. 31HZ

    31HZ Glad to be here Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2006
    Central VA, USA
    It was likely a combination of: a) the bass frequency content of the other instruments (and/or the PA); b) the room and your position in it.
  17. themickster


    Oct 4, 2015
    That's right. Dismissed the advice to play with a pick on the weak grounds of already playing pick.
    4StringDave and Gorilla Fingers like this.
  18. MisterUbu


    Feb 25, 2020
    Toronto, Canada
    Have you tried playing through the bridge pickup soloed?
  19. themickster


    Oct 4, 2015
    Well said.
    Well said.
  20. themickster


    Oct 4, 2015
    You're right about distortion, but a bass one will have a knob to blend the dry back in. Boss BB-1X has that and leaves the lows alone. I've heard mine make old strings sound newer and make flatwounds sound lively.
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