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slystewart

Bass Guitar volume control

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Using a bass on stage  Lakland  55-02  with DI box into PA  and using 4 x10 cabs on stage with amp...is it better to have guitar volume up to max or say leave  it at half way  with some in reserve 

The guitar player in the band uses a fender strat  says you must play with volume up to max on the guitar to get best out of the pickups  

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Always full up or off for me. An on/off switch would be a better idea.

I've not had a bass yet where I felt the volume increased uniformly either.

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1 hour ago, slystewart said:

The guitar player in the band uses a fender strat  says you must play with volume up to max on the guitar to get best out of the pickups  

I suspect what he means is that have having the guitar volume on full drives the amp harder which produces more drive/distortion.

On some guitar amps you can switch from a distorted to an almost clean sound just by turning the volume on the guitar down a bit.

I'm not sure it would work as well with most bass amps, which tend to be designed to distort as little as possible and I'm not sure it would be a particularly useful feature for most bass players if it did.

I'd generally keep the volume on the bass on full and turn up at the amp if I felt it necessary.

 

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I never use the volume control on my basses except as a cut switch.

I use the the tone control/s all the time...

On guitar I use both, particularly on the Les Paul.

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I guess it depends on the control layout. My main has individual volume pots per pick-up and no blend, so I use those but admittedly  rarely use the master volume on a bass with a single pot. X

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I remember someone years ago telling me to keep the volume on full for a passive bass but feel free to adjust on an active. Something to do with maintaining tone. As I keep the vol on max irrespective, I do not know if that does or ever did stand.

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Always full up for  me as well. If I sound check with a certain level I want to know it will stay like that. Too much room for error if I don’t have the volume knob set to somewhere it won’t move. I have  other ways of getting louder and softer. 

Edited by dave_bass5

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For things like guitar (and bass to a degree) it will depend on the taper of the pot, there are differences to how they perform, Vintage vs Linear vs modern.......

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If the instrument is hi-Z (high impedance) or lo-Z and the input channel does not distort, then as loud as possible. This is about signal to noise ratio (SNR). Higher signal level equals less noise.

Every hi-Z ("passive") adjustment affects the sound, so if the actual pickup sound is in order, all pots should be bypassed.

Lo-Z instruments should not color the sound but most of the adjustments in the beginning of the signal route (vol, blend) are actually hi-Z and affect the frequency response. If your instrument has a system from EMG (pickups and BTS/BTC) or the preamp is from John East, the adjustments should not affect sound. Practically all others do. Active blend, so lo-Z mixing is possible but rare.

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If I'm playing with a bass amp/cab on stage then I tend to adjust the volume to 80-90% so I have the ability to have a boost when needed without having to go to the amp.

If I'm playing in-ears I just go 100% volume as you're not in charge of volume other than your personal mix.  Passive basses have pretty low output so 100% makes complete sense to me.  Unlike guitar, I've never really noticed any difference between pre-amp vol and master vol.  I expect to get slayed but that's my experience.  Possibly to do with the modest volumes I play at.

Regards

Davo

 

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Davo-London said:

Passive basses have pretty low output so 100% makes complete sense to me.

If a bass has a preamp set flat, it usually is as loud as its passive counterpart. The sensation of a louder instrument may be related to a preamp that boosts T/M/B or all bands. It should be remembered, that a preamp can also dampen frequency bands. This is quite often the more effective way of handling sound.

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I usually have the master vol for the bass on full as I typically play fingerstyle most of the time but if I'm going to use a pick I roll it down to 70-75%. Usually the output volume from the amp increases when I play with a pick (is that my poor pick technique or just what happens?) so I want to maintain the same volume but just get that different attack from using a pick. Rolling it down on the bass is the easiest way of doing this for me. 

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depends on the bass, how the pickups are wired (specifically whether a two pick up bass has a master volume control or independent volume for each pickup) whether I need to drive the amp and whether I will be switching between basses.  And whether it's a gig or a practice

For gigs I'll set everything on 100% on the bass and get it right at the soundcheck.  One variable less to worry about as it's much easier to remember that setting!  Plus nothing unexpected for the soundman to have to deal with mid-gig if I want to hear myself better, and I'll need to tweak the amp (post DI)

But for practices I'll often set 100%as  a little too loud and roll it off slightly to maybe 90%, just so that I've got a little bit of poke left if things change as we are playing without having to muck about with the amp

If there are two basses with different volumes, I'll again go for 100% on each and have a pedal that will cut or boost the volume for one of them, either an eq or something like a MXR Micro Amp with a clean boost

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If I'm playing just with backline (95% of the gigs I do), I back the volume off a bit so I've got a little in reserve in case everybody else starts getting louder. Playing with PA, I just put it on 100% and let the soundman sort it out.

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I run my Precision Lyte 100% full on, but do occasionally utilise the volume control for quiet passages in songs. It has a master vol for the P/J pickups and also a blend control (which does affect the overall volume a bit when dialled fully onto the J pickup.) When using a passive P-bass I always have it flat out too though, sounds best to me.

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should maybe add to my previous post - most of the volume control when I'm playing comes from my fingers - set the bass for 100% then either hitting the strings with less force, or varying the playing technique if I want less volume or a different tone

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7 hours ago, Monkey Steve said:

set the bass for 100% then either hitting the strings with less force, or varying the playing technique if I want less volume or a different tone

This is also my approach 😀

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I’m obviously more out of step than I thought!

i always set up the amp so the volume on the bass is at about 75%. That way I can adjust to allow me to play with optimal force for each song. If I want clank, I can dig in but the overall volume can match the smoother sound when I play softly. Or I can swap over to just the back pickup without losing volume. 

I don’t think I could play with a fixed volume on the bass. 

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On 29/09/2019 at 15:52, slystewart said:

 

The guitar player in the band uses a fender strat  says you must play with volume up to max on the guitar to get best out of the pickups  

As a bass player I also play guitar, well mostly guitar nowadays.

I don't know about live situation, but  my Fender strat sounds best ( in a heavy overdriven/distorted mode) when the volume control is rolled off between 7-8.

With my p bass the volume is always at max.

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I play through an amp and cab, no DI to the PA.  I generally back off the volume a touch when setting up, because I use a mix of fingers and pick so my volume isn't constant anyway.  Some songs need more bass in the mix but I normally do this through an EQ pedal which boosts the mids and cuts through the mix slightly more.

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Two types of schools of thought for guitarists and volume controls.

One, if you are playing just into a valve amp, it effectively controls the overdrive of the amp, and can be used subtly and tastefully.

Two, more commonly, it means that once you have set up and got all the levels just right for the band, the guitarist can then turn up so they are louder than everyone else!

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