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Mog

Rig for that new fangled Blues musak.

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Hi all

I've been asked to join a startup Blues Band. Its mostly that newer stuff, John Mayer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Joe Bonamassa etc that's in the set.

I'm torn between getting a new rig and piecing together something from my current stock. I was going to go with my Jap Precision which has Thomastik flats on it into my Terror 500 but I think that it may be a bit too old school for the modern Blues thing.

Whats out there at the moment in terms of versatile micro heads? Would I be better off using a more modern sounding rig etc?

Suggestions and Opinions welcome. 

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I've got a Euphonic Audio (EA) Micro head, can't recall the model number, but it's 550W when run at 4 ohms (for me, this is 2x 8 ohm cabs) or around 300W when run at 8 ohms.
People tend to describe these heads as rather "hi-fi-like" but with the right bass and the right cab(s) mine sounds great - quite warm and colourful
It can do very flat, dry and clean, with some tweaking of the EQ and the "dry - wet" control

It's dead handy cos it's so tiny & lightweight and I really like it
I get a good sound with DB / EUB too. I tend to use it with my Epifani UL110 lightweight cab, and sometimes my MB 2x8 or 1x12

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You might be over thinking this. Bass has a support role in Blues (old and new) so just get a good sound and play well. Listen to Pino, Carmine Rojas and Sean Hurley, and you'll hear totally different sounds and styles. I'd just use my go-to 5 string active jazz bass with rounds and my regular Aguilar/Barefaced rig. What you play will be twice as important as what you sound like.

More importantly, find a drummer who knows the difference between a 4 on the floor Texas shuffle and a Purdy shuffle and can play an interesting pattern on a slow blues.Then youonly  need a guitarist with a brain and a singer without an ego. . . good luck with that search!!

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2 minutes ago, chris_b said:

You might be over thinking this. Bass has a support role in Blues (old and new) so just get a good sound and play well. Listen to Pino, Carmine Rojas and Sean Hurley, and you'll hear totally different sounds and styles. I'd just use my go-to 5 string active jazz bass with rounds and my regular Aguilar/Barefaced rig. What you play will be twice as important as what you sound like.

More importantly, find a drummer who knows the difference between a 4 on the floor Texas shuffle and a Purdy shuffle and can play an interesting pattern on a slow blues.Then youonly  need a guitarist with a brain and a singer without an ego. . . good luck with that search!!

😂 In fairness I cant fault the guys. All good.

I guess what Im trying to do is fill the gap between the Guitard and The Keys. My "normal" gigging rig is a Spector into a Hartke/Sansamp. Think Godsmack+Alice In Chains+Pantera. Its definitely too High Gain for the new band even without the PSA.

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Amp doesn't matter, anything goes as long as it's not too bright/tweetery.
Precision with flats will do the job.

Easy :)

 

Si

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10 minutes ago, Mog said:

😂 In fairness I cant fault the guys. All good.

I guess what Im trying to do is fill the gap between the Guitard and The Keys. My "normal" gigging rig is a Spector into a Hartke/Sansamp. Think Godsmack+Alice In Chains+Pantera. Its definitely too High Gain for the new band even without the PSA.

Just leave the Sansamp at home. The Precision with rounds will work fine for the stuff you're talking about doing. 

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34 minutes ago, chris_b said:

You might be over thinking this. Bass has a support role in Blues (old and new) so just get a good sound and play well. Listen to Pino, Carmine Rojas and Sean Hurley, and you'll hear totally different sounds and styles. I'd just use my go-to 5 string active jazz bass with rounds and my regular Aguilar/Barefaced rig. What you play will be twice as important as what you sound like.

More importantly, find a drummer who knows the difference between a 4 on the floor Texas shuffle and a Purdy shuffle and can play an interesting pattern on a slow blues.Then youonly  need a guitarist with a brain and a singer without an ego. . . good luck with that search!!

A 5 string for blues? Sacrilege.

I reckon I could do a whole set on the E string alone.

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1 hour ago, Mog said:

😂 In fairness I cant fault the guys. All good.

I guess what Im trying to do is fill the gap between the Guitard and The Keys. My "normal" gigging rig is a Spector into a Hartke/Sansamp. Think Godsmack+Alice In Chains+Pantera. Its definitely too High Gain for the new band even without the PSA.

You should be good if the keys doesn't use his left hand and the guitarist stays away from the low mids.

Which Hartke amp do you use?

I'd clock up a few hours with this band using your current rig before I'd start trying to second guess which new rig would be better. Try all tone controls at 12 o'clock , then start dialling back some of the highs and pushing up the low mids. Only a click or two should do it.

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If it was me, and a three piece, I’d go for a Jazz bass for a richer/fuller sound.  With keys in the band then I’d go for a Precision with either flats or rounds to make sure I could sit easily in the mix.  I’d see nothing wrong with going a bit more hi-fi in a modern blues context, though.  

Sounds like good fun - I’m a little envious!

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4 minutes ago, chris_b said:

You should be good if the keys doesn't use his left hand and the guitarist stays away from the low mids.

Which Hartke amp do you use?

I'd clock up a few hours with this band using your current rig before I'd start trying to second guess which new rig would be better. Try all tone controls at 12 o'clock , then start dialling back some of the highs and pushing up the low mids. Only a click or two should do it.

Im using a LH500 and Hydrive Cabs. Its a great combination in fairness but I dont know if it will fill enough space. I guess I'm thinking that I need an old school tone with a modern twist. The Terror is a great head but it only does "That" sound. 

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I do a lot of this sort of music - I used a Markbass Little Mark Head, into either a Schroeder 1210 (12" and a 10" speaker) or for really big gigs, I add another Little Mark and an Aguilar GS410.

Bass-wise, a Precision with flatwounds does the job. Tone sometimes rolled off to about 1/2 or 3/4 depending on the room.

I find the guitar and keys covers a lot of the mid/high end of frequencies, so a nice, warm, smooth bass sound stands really well in that mix.

 

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2 hours ago, chris_b said:

You might be over thinking this. Bass has a support role in Blues (old and new) so just get a good sound and play well. Listen to Pino, Carmine Rojas and Sean Hurley, and you'll hear totally different sounds and styles. I'd just use my go-to 5 string active jazz bass with rounds and my regular Aguilar/Barefaced rig. What you play will be twice as important as what you sound like.

More importantly, find a drummer who knows the difference between a 4 on the floor Texas shuffle and a Purdy shuffle and can play an interesting pattern on a slow blues.Then youonly  need a guitarist with a brain and a singer without an ego. . . good luck with that search!!

I think you're quite right here chris_b. Maybe we do tend to over-think these things?

Although I was playing as part of a guest trio, at an open mic night a while back
Someone asked me to play some pretty standard blues songs, and I'd chosen my bass to suit what the trio was playing (with the house bass amp, I might add) and it didn't quite have that "warm, old-school" type sound
It was fine, and sounded.... OK, but I wished I'd had my P bass, and my own amp - I think it would've suited the blues band a bit better.

Of course, probably no-one but me noticed or even cared - but I know I'd have been happier (a relative term, for a miserable old sod like me, of course!)
So I think, even if no-one else notices, get yourself a set-up for a sound you're happier with.

Of course, one of the problems with open-mic nights, is that you can end up with gear you don't particularly like

Edited by Marc S
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15 minutes ago, Mog said:

Im using a LH500 and Hydrive Cabs. Its a great combination in fairness but I dont know if it will fill enough space. I guess I'm thinking that I need an old school tone with a modern twist. The Terror is a great head but it only does "That" sound. 

Really. . . you don't need to "fill" any spaces. Strategically spaced gaps are essential for making the notes sound even better. As long as your rig isn't underpowered, ie just 1 x 112, you should be fine. 

You only need to sound full and fat, with good low mids and enough definition to clearly hear every note.

Don't overplay or fill in all the spaces. Less is always more effective.

 

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3 minutes ago, Marc S said:

Of course, one of the problems with open-mic nights, is that you can end up with gear you don't particularly like

This is always the down side, ending up using unfamiliar gear, but as the house band bass player on a jam night I can hear when people are struggling with their sound through my gear. The thing is, most of them never actually sound bad. In reality you can have the worst sound in the world but everyone will still be impressed if you play a blinder.

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Pretty much any decent bass sound should work for this type of modern blues, just make sure there is not too much gain or that it doesn't sound too 'hi-fi'. Anyway, when you get playing the blues circuit you may quite often find that you don't have the option of using your own rig and that you will be expected to use the house rig (especially lower down the bill on festivals), so it helps if you don't get too precious about the gear you're using! 

A decent P or J bass of some description, together with either of the OP's amps should be fine... 

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I reckon your P bass and orange will do the trick nicely. Pino uses an Ampeg SVT when he plays with Mayer so you should be able to dial in the Orange no problem at all. Sounds like an awesome band! Good luck!

That being said if you want to go down the class D micro head route, I reckon the Genzler Magellan 800, Aguilar Tone Hammer 500, and the Mesa Subway D800 would be what I would be looking at.

Edited by Crawford13
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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

Really. . . you don't need to "fill" any spaces. Strategically spaced gaps are essential for making the notes sound even better. As long as your rig isn't underpowered, ie just 1 x 112, you should be fine. 

You only need to sound full and fat, with good low mids and enough definition to clearly hear every note.

Don't overplay or fill in all the spaces. Less is always more effective.

 

Absolutely.

Listen to Pino playing with the John Mayer Trio for inspiration!

Si

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I use an LM3 with either one or two Markbass 2 X 10s dependent on venue size and use the LM3 line out on about 50% line out gain and post EQ for the PA. 

I always use a Musicman bass (don't have anything else) but ensure the sound is a good balance between thump, note definition and warmth - it also leaves the option to get more 'modern' sounding if you go in the direction of Hamilton Loomis, Keb Mo etc or some of the funky Albert Collins stuff. In all of this the bass is quite up front in the mix. 

I don't view using a Precision as essential - in fact Pino actually plays quite busily with John Mayer and I would see his style in that setting almost as a Jamerson/ Babbitt with more 70s/80s and rock influences - fact is he plays that Precision hard - not much difference between a Precision played hard and a Stingray played more softly - perhaps plucked nearer the neck.

Works for me - in fact I'm often asked by sound guys at small festivals why you can hear my notes whereas some (but not all) other players get an ill defined sound - it ain't all the bass and equipment I think!! 

Come to think of it one of the best sounds I got recently was with a Musicman Bongo - so impressed was the sound guy/PA supplier he came and asked about the bass after!! 

I will confess to having a 2 band Classic Ray with flats and (yes I'm a Pino fan) a Fretless Ray with cobalt flats and the mutes engaged a little. I play what takes my fancy to be honest so long as the band is happy with the result. 

5 strings is often useful as well - some if this more modern stuff actually uses the lower notes (as it's very funk/R and B influenced). 

Youll have seen from the replies in this thread the number of people who have said P with flats - there is undoubtedly some presumption of that among non  bassist musicians as well. However it has not stopped me - I guess it depends who you are working with. 

I hear the comment about Texas Shuffle and Purdie Shuffle - it gets interesting when overly flash drummers try the latter when it isn't even a shuffle.....

Edited by drTStingray
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I play in a more Chicago style blues band at the moment, although we do cover material by the Stones and similar. Having listened to a lot of older and modern blues to get myself more acquainted with blues and I can't really find 'a bass tone' used by everyone. 

I use a Jazz type bass, Aguilar TH350 into a Schroeder 1212L. The roundwounds I have on that bass are as dead as a set of rounds can be. I can turn up the gain and drive a bit on the amp, give the low mids a bit of a boost and that's about it. It fits with the rest of the band, whether it's an older blues song or a more up to date song.

I'd use what you've got at the moment and see if it fits the band.

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I have been listening to fair amount of modern blues of late and I think the OTB will fit in nicely (I have a 1000w Model). I run mine through barefaced cabs which are pretty neutral sounding and I think they would go well for the sort of stuff you are looking at.

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6 hours ago, chris_b said:

You might be over thinking this. Bass has a support role in Blues (old and new) so just get a good sound and play well. Listen to Pino, Carmine Rojas and Sean Hurley, and you'll hear totally different sounds and styles. I'd just use my go-to 5 string active jazz bass with rounds and my regular Aguilar/Barefaced rig. What you play will be twice as important as what you sound like.

More importantly, find a drummer who knows the difference between a 4 on the floor Texas shuffle and a Purdy shuffle and can play an interesting pattern on a slow blues.Then youonly  need a guitarist with a brain and a singer without an ego. . . good luck with that search!!

Agreed - the bass players job in a Blues band is to help make the other players sound great, and lock in with drummer. Can't go wrong with that 😊 

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Would think a P bass into the Terror head and a decent cab would be spot on even for the "modern" blues. At the end of the day the bass players with the bands you mentioned will more than likely be using Ampeg 810 with an old school valve head more than likely Ampeg again. From what i could see on Youtube John Mayers and Kenny Wayne Shephard are using Fender basses into Ampeg altho its not clear what amp head is in use but def Ampeg. 

Think as long as its a smooth well rounded deep sound it will be just fine. I would use nickels rather than flats but that's just personal taste and i don't really know how flats sound on a bass these days unless its a fretless.

Think you might be over-thinking this.

Last year i was doing a similar project and used my PJ bass into either my GK1001RBii, Markbass or Ampeg SVT4 Pro and they all sounded great. No real fav between them. All slightly different but all sounded good. 

Dave

Edited by dmccombe7
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3 hours ago, Sibob said:

Absolutely.

Listen to Pino playing with the John Mayer Trio for inspiration!

Si

Do I have to? I don’t reallt consider that blues. They’re all incredible players, but, well, meh.

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