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Yea! I got a bluegrass gig!

Discussion in 'Bluegrass [DB]' started by countrybass, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. Haven’t been playing much
    stringbass, but just auditioned
    and got a gig with an old friend/band mate group.
    Jammed with them at a winter fest up here in the frozen wasteland I call home.
    I have an old blond Kay and a newer “Cleveland “. Not sure which I’ll use.
    Guess I need to check into the great pickup and string debate again.
    Anything new or great any one can suggest?
    I’ve played guts and steel, no pick up and amp and with amps before.
    Last time I ended up with spiracore strings and magnetic pickup rig off the fingerboard.

    This group is guitar,fiddle,mando and bass.
    Seemed like my New Standard acoustically was plenty loud enough. Not sure what it’s strung with, some kind of steel.

    Anyways, I’m pumped up and excited! Need to find some material to sing! Looking forward.
  2. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    Most of my gigs are in the bluegrass vein, I use a Kay with dead spiros and bassmax + mic. Doesn't leave me wanting. Hillbilly jazz, man :)
    james condino likes this.
  3. Holdsg

    Holdsg Talkbass > Work Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    Alta Loma, CA
    congrats on the gig. I've been using Eurosonic strings for about 3 years now. love the feel and the sound. I do use a pickup (Upton Rev Solo) when I play on stage, but prax and jams is always acoustic.
  4. Thanks for the links!
    Do you think the Eurosong
    strings could be picked up by a magnetic pickup?
    First rehearsal is tomorrow, looking forward but trying to learn a few sets worth of material is a challenge.
    Any opinions on pickup preamps?
    Blast cult, Shadow, etc.
    Guess I should search the forums. I need a new case too.
    Oh boy! Gollihur here I come.
  5. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Well, I play a lot of bluegrass on a carved bass with Bel Canto strings and have gotten a lot of positive comments and few negative ones.

    Personally I'd play what you brung and spend the time you would spend fiddling with strings, on getting the songs nailed down instead.
    AGCurry, james condino and marcox like this.
  6. frontroom


    Aug 10, 2011
    Yes, eurosonics work with a magnetic pickup.
    Holdsg likes this.
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Just curious, is there a reason you're leaning toward magnetic pickup? That limits your string choice, although admittedly there are some pretty great metal strings out there. But I'd at least be considering guts as a possibility, if not synthetics.

    Just as a counterpoint, I play light-slap/pizz (90%) and arco (10%) mostly for bluegrass-ish gigs and recording, and I'm using an Alcoa with Innovation SilverSlaps E and A under Superior Bassworks Deluxe (medium dirty gut) D and G. I'm using a Vic's Pickups Model C (dual piezo) with a K&K Dual Channel Pro ST pre-amp when plugged in for recording or for amp. This covers it all for both acoustic and plugged in, and I get excellent reports from band mates and jam mates for both tone and volume.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  9. Thanks guys,
    Good advice turf 3. I’ve working on the tunes.Got the set lists,
    done one rehearsal, got the dates for the gigs. I’m taking over the gig and have the first show at the end of the month.

    Dhergert, yea no reason really, just volume issue. I have 2 string bass(es?) a blond 58 Kay I got after I gave up cello; and a NAS Cleveland.
    The Kay has a K&K wing piezo thingy, and bass guitar pickup rig mounted off the fingerboard. Hoffman’s in Mpls rigged it up for me years ago, and it can be removed.

    The Cleveland has a full circle one.

    Originally I thought guts for root stuff on the Kay, and spiracore(which I had always played) for classical stuff on the Cleveland.
    But full guts sounded great on the Cleveland.So for a long time I had steel on the Kay, gut on the Cleveland ( both wrapped and unwrapped e and a’s)

    So far I’ve used the Cleveland for this gig, and it has steel on again(not sure what brand). It has such volume and low end, but the neck is so thick compared to the Kay. Just not sure.

    So maybe gut back on the Cleveland (wrapped or unwrapped) and use the piezo thru pa, or just acoustically,
    Kay with some new spiracore and the bass guitar pickup (which is what I did last time I was in a bluegrass band),
    Something else that’s better.

    That’s why I’m here looking for advice.

    I probably need a pre amp.
    Curious about shadow,blast cult, or any other.
    I’ll check with Gollihur.
    Just read the Blast Cult thread!
    There was a can of worms to open up! (Ha,ha)
    Glad new luthier is there.
    I have a friend that was on Hank 3 gig years ago.
    He might know the “new” Jason at blast cult.

    Dhergert, how do you like the Vic pickup?
    Turf3, are the Bel Canto strings steel? First I’ve heard of them.
    How do you like them?

    Thanks again to everyone that chimes in!
  10. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    My Alcoa came to me with an early version of Vic's Model C... I used it without a pre-amp for about 9 months for both gigs and for in-studio DI recording all of our band's upcoming double CD album and it worked great, but I did want more headroom so I got the K&K pre-amp. The tone is warm and clear and remarkably powerful with or without a pre-amp.

    Anyway, when I got the pre-amp, I discovered that the fingerboard piezo on the old Model C wasn't working, so I called Vic's Pickups thinking I would order a new one, and he (Vic) replaced my old Model C for free (!!!), providing a new updated version (with insulated cable). And Vic pointed out that the lifetime warranty applies to any of his pickups, 100% even with non-original owners. So clearly I'm very impressed with service.

    I even bought one of the Vic's Pickups Model C as a gift for a friend's wooden double bass, for which it also sounds great. Vic's Pickups prices are dramatically low for these boutique pickup systems (NFI).

    Keep in mind though, I'm just 1 year new to double basses, I haven't compared pickups and I am using a restored and hot-rodded Alcoa (which includes acoustic treatments to reduce the metallic tone). So YMMV...
  11. jlmorgan84

    jlmorgan84 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2014
    Clemson, SC
    I play a lot of bluegrass and old-time; it's some of my favorite music. I'd echo the poster who recommended not worrying so much about pickups and working on getting the repertoire down. You don't actually have to get that loud in traditional music, no drummer and generally acoustic instruments, so feedback isn't as much of a problem. A number of bass players just wrap a handheld mic in a towel and shove it behind the tailpiece.

    It's a great time to play bluegrass! Bluegrass gets a bad rap for being overly simple, especially the bass parts, but you can tell the difference when you come across a bassist who knows what they're doing, and there are some contemporary bassists who are really pushing the genre.
    AGCurry and dhergert like this.
  12. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Despite just documentiing that I have and like my pickups and electronics, I agree with that approach 100% for bluegrass. It is more in keeping with the acoustic nature of bluegrass. If I had a standard wooden bass that didn't already have pickups on it, this would be my approach. But my Alcoa came to me at a time and at a price that I couldn't resist and honestly I really like the fact that it's hot-rodded.

    I do have to say though, banjos, mandolins, guitars and dobros can be just as loud as drums. If players of these instruments do not know how to dynamically moderate their volume or if they do not know how to avoid stepping on the voice-ranges of other instruments, they can easily drown out an acoustically played double bass.

    More than once I've used my personal amp in jams, and with one of the less volume-controlled bands I play with I always use my personal amp for exactly this reason. On big stages, I'll DI into the FOH system and if necessary also plug into my personal amp to make sure I can hear my bass. On small stages I'll place my personal amp elevated behind me so I can hear it and so it feeds in to the FOH mics.

    My main band does a great job of volume and voice-range control, and we could perform on stage completely with mics, without plugging in. That's one of the reasons it is my favorite group of people to play with.
    unbrokenchain and jlmorgan84 like this.
  13. Keithunem


    Jun 17, 2018
    Bemidji, MN
    Congrats on the gig, hope it’s still going well. I’m looking at putting together or joining a bluegrass band also...talk about the frozen wasteland, I live in Bemidji(beautiful though). I’m playing spirocores and once they hit a few months old they settle in to a nice punchy thump. I run into a dual channel Grace Felix and use either a Krivo magnetic, or Yamahiko wing piezo, or both. Once you start with a nice bass, strings, and pre amp the choice of amps/speakers become a lot less critical. Good Luck, and .....Skol Vikings!!!
    Inky13 likes this.
  14. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    I'd just stick with what you already have. Let the gigs pay for more gear as needed. Only you and one other bass player in the audience will notice......
    jsf729, bassfran and Keithunem like this.
  15. Keithunem


    Jun 17, 2018
    Bemidji, MN
    James, I agree that only a few people will appreciate your tone but the key to my bass sound appreciation is that I notice the difference (and can afford it).
    james condino likes this.
  16. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Set up the Cleveland for the music you'll be playing. Gut or something close. FC pickup is fine for use with an amp for monitoring; find a good mic and use it for FoH. The "thick" neck is going to be better in the long run for your left hand.
    unbrokenchain and neddyrow like this.
  17. unbrokenchain

    unbrokenchain Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    Black Mountain, NC
    @countrybass how was the gig? Still playing with those folks?
    dhergert likes this.
  18. 210superair


    Sep 10, 2019
    I played with some bluegrass fellas before. The guitar player was talking me into going to my first bluegrass camp out, and he said "You'll love it. Everyone jams, and the people that go to these things are old people, and their parents..." Lol. I currently play in an old time band, but we have a modern edge to it, like pyscho grass, so I guess we're 'psycho time' or some such thing.

    I do think bluegrass folks are pretty awesome though. I've met some really amazing pickers at their jams, and really down to earth folks. Enjoy, looking forward to a report on how it went...
    dhergert likes this.

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