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First upright gig - advice on feedback and tone..


Drax
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After years playing electric in groups I should be probably be on upright, made the big move a few months ago. Got my starter bass, loving it so far. First gig .. tomorrow (!) and worried on managing feedback, plus trying to get an acceptable tone.  

 

Bass has Realist , then Aguilar TH500 into TKS112.. Also got K&K pre which may / may not get used. Gig probably doable with backline, but have option to DI / or mic amp into PA. 

 

Rehearsed last night with endless tweaking, got good volume with bass rolled off on the pre, but super nasal. Never properly grasped Aguilar's Drive either, but believe it might help here. 

 

Reasonably lost with this. All advice warmly welcomed.. !


Dan 

 

 

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Calling @Happy Jack.  I haven't gigged a DB for a while so this comes with a slight health warning:

The TH500 amp has a 1 megohm (ie piezo friendly) input so does not necessarily need a preamp in front of it. You may need to roll off pretty much all the highs and mid-highs to get rid of nasal piezo honk. Its a fine balance between dialling down the bass  to avoid boominess and feedback and emphasizing the piezo's potential for nasalness. Afraid it comes down to a lot of EQ tinkering. On some amps I have had to roll off essentially all the tone controls.

 

What would be useful is a high pass filter pedal such as an fdeck or Fishman Plat Pro to control feedback and boom. Looking at the spec your K&K doesnt have an HPF unfortunately, although it has other useful elements.

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Obvious questions ...

 

Where's the gig? Are you playing a winebar or a church hall?

 

Will you be on a raised wooden stage or a concrete floor?

 

What style of music will you be playing?

 

What's the band line-up?

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

Obvious questions ...

 

Where's the gig? Are you playing a winebar or a church hall?

 

Will you be on a raised wooden stage or a concrete floor?

 

What style of music will you be playing?

 

What's the band line-up?

 

 

 

So.. 

 

 

Venue is in converted railway arches. Raised wooden stage. 

6 piece jazz group.. Bass drums guitar keys sax trumpet .. 

 

 

 

 

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Bass to cab placement is IMPERATIVE to controling Low Fequency wobblyness. If you are smack in front of the cab, the DB will just suck up all the extra LF and get wobbly. Standing to the side of it will clean things up in that particular circle.

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1 hour ago, Drax said:

Venue is in converted railway arches. Raised wooden stage. 

6 piece jazz group.. Bass drums guitar keys sax trumpet .. 

 

Plenty of good advice already given, but my comments (FWIW):

 

No 6-piece jazz group should be loud enough to cause serious issues with feedback. At any sensible volume, feedback (if encountered) will be very probably down to poor cab placement rather than something fundamental.

 

You're more likely to be plagued by a boomy rumble. If you have an isolator pad for your cab then best use it. Failing that, try putting your cab on a stand, a beer crate, or even a chair ... get some distance between your low frequencies and that stage. While you're at it, be ready to roll off the Low on your amp really quite sharply; I frequently gig with the EQ all at 12 o'clock except the Low which is down at 9 o'clock.

 

The railway arches are your Get Out Of Jail Free card. The acoustics will be so unpredictable, and probably so unusual, that any unpleasant sounds can be casually dismised with, "Well what do you expect in a space this shape?". 😎

 

Enjoy the gig and don't worry too much about the sound. If you obsess about whether or not the audience likes your tone, you'll lose sight of what matters ... your playing. 

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Its a Jazz gig, you are playing a DB, you will look fabulous AND you get to play no more than 50% of the notes a bass guitarist would play AND you will sound better. There is nothing not to love. 

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Thanks for all the BC advice 🙏

 

Ended up to side and behind of cab, no feedback and could hear enough to intonate. Awful boomy rumble from the stage as billed, shoved flight case under cab, will get an isolation pad next.. Strange room acoustics with a steel lined roof but once it filled up was fine. 

 

We'd not played there before but gig went well, great crowd and we've been rebooked , couldn't really ask for more. 

 

Next up is just stamina. Underestimated how physically tough it would be doing a 90 min set. Even with half the notes I'd play on electric, was just about hanging on by the end 🤪

 

 

 

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A single 90-minute set is barking mad ... is that what you actually did?

 

If so, then suggest to the band that you split it into 2x45 minute sets with a 10-minute break between. Have a decent MP3 player (NOT a bloody smartphone) tee'd up to play appropriate music through the PA during the break so the audience isn't sat there in complete silence.

 

Any smokers in the band will welcome the suggestion in a nano-second. If you've no smokers then point out the advantages of a short break for correcting the band's sound, sorting out technical issues, persuading the guitarist to finally tune his instrument properly, and - of course - sending the brass section to the bar to get a round in.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 28/03/2022 at 11:05, Happy Jack said:

A single 90-minute set is barking mad ... is that what you actually did?

 

If so, then suggest to the band that you split it into 2x45 minute sets with a 10-minute break between. Have a decent MP3 player (NOT a bloody smartphone) tee'd up to play appropriate music through the PA during the break so the audience isn't sat there in complete silence.

 

Any smokers in the band will welcome the suggestion in a nano-second. If you've no smokers then point out the advantages of a short break for correcting the band's sound, sorting out technical issues, persuading the guitarist to finally tune his instrument properly, and - of course - sending the brass section to the bar to get a round in.

 

 

 

Yes! Completely agree on the above, and we'd normally be 2 x 45mins with a healthy break. However drummer (a car less drummer no less, unbelievable) was late, so half time was about 3 minutes.. enough time for me to move my cab..then straight back into it. Alright for the horn players who can share the load between them, but obviously on bass we're playing pretty much the entire time. We finished with Chameleon, can't bring myself to watch the video back.. 😂

 

 

Edited by Drax
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  • 2 weeks later...

You're at the start of a long and possibly never-ending journey! Good advice already listed but a few more thoughts:

 

1. Some basses work well with the Realist and others just don't. There are many pickups out there but I find that the K&K Bass Max is one of the most forgiving.

 

2. If you roll off all the bass to avoid feedback any rig will sound nasal. Use tone controls sparingly, just a little cut on the bass will likely fix the problem. And I wouldn't use the TH500's Drive at all on an upright,  it will likely make the feedback worse and really you want the natural tone of the instrument.

 

3. Every room is different, especially with feedback. So be prepared to tweak things depending on where you are. Some rooms always sound crap on stage but things may be better out front so get someone with a good pair of ears to give you an opinion about what the audience is enjoying.

 

4, If the rest of the band is too loud then it's tough to compete on an upright. If you can't persuade them to turn down their stage volume then get yourself through the PA and put your on stage speaker off the ground as close to your ear s possible so you can hear yourself without feedback. Most people find it difficult to play in tune anyway and if you can't hear yourself it's likely to sound painful.

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