Re: Volume of DB
On Oct 18, 11:51 am, Golem <dro...@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Oct 17, 12:39 pm, "dustoyev...@xxxxxxx" <dustoyev...@xxxxxxx>
Playing electric (amped) bass in string band (bluegrass, whatever,
talking non-amped acoustic instruments) can be a problem because a
speaker has so much more "punch" compared to a string bass, even when
the amp is about as loud overall as the string bass, that it can make
it hard for un-amped string players to hear what they're doing. That
said, in my limited experience, some string players like a carefully
controlled electric bass because they can hear more in-tune notes, and
that might be more common with players who amp up in some manner or
Since I play electric in a fiddle-mando-guit-bass string band,
I was left wondering what made me more "in-tune" than my
bandmates ..... til I dope-slapped me and I says to myselves:
"Joik, he means FRETTED electric !"
Okeedookee. Don't know why anyone WOULD play fretted
in such a mix, but I can tell you what's working for us. I play
a Wendler. It's red cedar solid body FL, mahogany neck,
and a special passive piezo circuit. You can check it out at:
Thomastic Jazz Flats also keep me copasthetically inclined.
Indoors, the other 3 are uplugged, including vox, and I use
a small 2x6" combo [MarkBass]. Outdoors, the other three
mic into a PA and I use a 300W head and 1x12" cab. Our
outdoor scene is not the SuperBowl .... just a park gazebo,
garden party, or such like.
Audio "engineering" consists of:
Indoors them 3 play and sing and I dial to where I can just
hear myself OK. Outdoors someone hasta go out front and
listen to the balance between the bass and PA. Unplugged
string players gather around one mic, like olde tyme radio,
plus there's a boom mic for the primary singer. The singer
and mic'ed strings get balanced in the PA by ear, without
bass. Then the bass amp is balanced by ear to the PA. I'll
just stand wherever I hear a good mix of me and them. We
dohn neeed no estahnkeen moanitaurs ....
~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~ ` ~
I think that especially indoors where the other 3 are totally
acoustic, choice of bass ax is crucial. The small combo is
an obvious thing, but the "lack of punch" from the Wendler
and TI flats is part of what makes it work. I can't imagine a
fretted electric bass, of ANY style, doing this job.
It happens that we work in crowded conditions, usually in
the corner of a pub, no stage .... So the Wendler is magic,
cuz I have huge hollow basses that would serve well tonally
[plugged in] but space is VERY limitted. Any of you who've
never worked with a fiddler might be thinking that it's just a
tiny ax like the mandolin .... NOT ! When the bow is flying,
the bow, and elbow, demand a lotta room. Plus our fiddler
is nearly blind .... so our safety is our own responsibility !
All sounds good here, notably how you go about getting good live
mixes. Including "no monitors", which, again, relates to being able to
hear an instrument that doesn't put out very many watts.
It might take some exposure to "the culture" to understand the
attraction of the single mic, or single main mic, but it can work
great. I have heard it fail once; there seemed to be a "mismatch"
between mic setup/performers and the box-on-a-pole PA setup being
used. Just a guess; this was an outdoor performance and there were
wind issues, too. But yeah, it could have just been a "bad guess" on
the mix that could have been fixed by a "roving reporter" out in the
Don't get me wrong IRT fretless electric for string band use; I've
enthused here about a recording I heard on the radio where the well-
known bassist whose name I didn't write down, and subsequently forgot,
was playing "fretless electric" according to the DJ's on a local
Bluegrass show (KOP).
They praised the man and it was just some of the finest recorded bass
playing-- and over the radio, too. No "big mwahh" at all, very in tune
to my poor old ears. No idea of exactly what sort of instrument he was
using. As I've tried to explain here, somehow it was more the sound
coming off the notes more than the attack at the front of the note.
Words fail me, the sound was super and fit a "traditional" bluegrass
style to a tee, while not sounding like a gut-string upright or
FWIW, the people I've seen using a fretted electric bass in the band,
or commenting, were fine pro players, which says nothing against your
comments. You might be able to make some converts, after all.
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