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Author Topic: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?  (Read 16345 times)

Mark McFarlane

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2013, 10:43:21 am »

...Most of the time, the bass amp doesn't add significant color to the bass tone, and is simply a monitor.  ...The electric guitar amp is another story.  Most of the time, the amp is as much a part of the sound as the guitar itself, and just removing it and plugging the guitar direct into the system isn't going to cut it.  ...

Please take the following lightly...

Tom, do you play guitar :) ? Ever play bass through an Eden WT- or Ampeg SVT side by side? Day and night difference in tone, clarity, sustain, growl,...

Bass players do seem to be more tolerant of changes in the reproduction chain, but it can still make a huge difference. I (self confessed bass player) take different bass amps out for playing jazz versus rock or country.  For Christian music it depends on the band and style of music.

I sometimes wonder if bass player's increased tolerance to amp changes may more aptly reflect the typical bass players attitude of being part of a team rather than being a star. (Sorry, couldn't help myself).  The important part in secular shows is how the combo sounds; in a HOW setting it is about praise.  These goals seem to be lost on many of the guitar players I have worked with.  Luckily most of the praise teams I work with 'get it'.
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Mark McFarlane
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Kyle Leonard

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2013, 10:52:57 am »

We pulled all of our amps and replaced them with emulators. The bass goes through a Line 6 BassPod Pro. It's rack mountable and acts as a DI. It also has a pedal to control. My bass player said he'll never go back to an amp.

For my guitars, I have a Line 6 POD XT pedal board and a Line 6 POD X3 Live pedal board.

The new HD series are even better.

Kyle
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Karl Freudenreich (Acoustic Butler)

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2013, 04:34:33 pm »

He just about freaked when I told him no amp.  So I am looking at ways around it.   Thoughts?

Not surprising... I'm a bassist and sound engineer I've dealt with my fair share of guitarist who think they have ears in the back of their knees.  If your going with IEM then the acoustic sound on stage for the guitarist doesn't matter right?  One church I work with has lined the backstage wall (outside the room) with amp enclosures.  Player comes in put their amp in the box. Mic's it up and goes on stage.  That way it doesn't matter who's playing or what amp they prefer and you have control.   Do you have space to do this?

As a bassist we do have a different mentality... that's why so many sound engineers are bassists.  You'll never see a guitar player happy to be in the back of the room trying to be invisible.  :P   So we are less worried about what amp we have and how loud it is.  (former guitarist excluded) We are more concerned about the tone coming out of the bass. 

I personally love playing with headphones.  I'm not sure I'll go back to playing without them
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Luke Geis

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2013, 05:57:04 pm »

When people ask me how I deal with getting bands to do what I need them to I say this: " I get them to do what I want by making them think they wanted it.........."

That can mean to you whatever you want, but simply it means I use the power of suggestion, explanation and finally, acceptance. Another approach, is to ask can we try this real quick to produce these results and see how you feel about it afterwards and then we can fine tune it to work for both of us. More often than not the person is willing to accommodate. The reason being is that they are aware of the problem your trying to fix. If a person is unwilling to roll with it, then I simply tell them there is not much I can do to fix it later.

I am a musician and have been on both sides of the stage many times at very good venues. I understand the goals and I can say without doubt that it takes very little if anything to have what you need monitoring wise. Those that need a lot are ill informed, possibly self centered and too co dependent upon the crutch of monitoring. I have many shows where the monitors are louder than the PA. It's sad knowing how loud it is on the side and wondering how they cannot hear themselves? I myself played a show with headphones for monitoring and must say it was very nice. It was very much studio like and the immediate feedback from the superior monitoring was very nice.

If your bassist is unwilling to turn down, or try something to make it better, you can always replace him with someone who is more understanding and able.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2013, 12:56:51 pm »

Please take the following lightly...

Tom, do you play guitar :) ? Ever play bass through an Eden WT- or Ampeg SVT side by side? Day and night difference in tone, clarity, sustain, growl,...

Bass players do seem to be more tolerant of changes in the reproduction chain, but it can still make a huge difference. I (self confessed bass player) take different bass amps out for playing jazz versus rock or country.  For Christian music it depends on the band and style of music.

I sometimes wonder if bass player's increased tolerance to amp changes may more aptly reflect the typical bass players attitude of being part of a team rather than being a star. (Sorry, couldn't help myself).  The important part in secular shows is how the combo sounds; in a HOW setting it is about praise.  These goals seem to be lost on many of the guitar players I have worked with.  Luckily most of the praise teams I work with 'get it'.
I do, actually.  I play a Lakland 494, and a close friend is a very accomplished player, and has run the gamut of Eden, Aguilar, etc.  Both of us run direct, with in-ears and a butt-kicker platform, as it really does work fine. 

I recently provided for a gig where the bass player brought an Ampeg 8X10, and I personally thought my Lakland direct would have sounded better, both for stage volume reasons, and tone.

I may have over-generalized slightly, but of all the bass players I have worked with over the last 15+ years, the strong inverse correlation of the amount of gear in the path between the strings and the PA vs. the quality of actual music that emanates from the bass player is striking.
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #25 on: October 29, 2013, 01:34:18 pm »

...
I may have over-generalized slightly, but of all the bass players I have worked with over the last 15+ years, the strong inverse correlation of the amount of gear in the path between the strings and the PA vs. the quality of actual music that emanates from the bass player is striking.

:).  I said decades ago "I'll buy a pedal after I master this bass instrument'.  Still don't have a pedal, but my fingers can deliver a wide range of sounds.
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Mark McFarlane
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Luke Geis

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #26 on: October 29, 2013, 01:36:14 pm »

Bass rigs as of late have been getting smaller and smaller. Much like guitar rigs though too. The whole lunch box sized amp thing is kind of a blessing! The bassist that plays with me in a couple bands has a 200 watt head that is about the size of a sandwich. He touts a 2x10 cab and shreds!!!!! His whole rig, including guitar can be moved with one person. Another bassist I worked with ( who is also the best I have ever seen ) is running around with a 20Lb. Genz Benz rig that is about 200 watts and has a single 12" speaker that is a combo amp setup! Sounds amazing and only takes seconds to set up.

I love the lunch box amps. Even Steve Vai has made his signature amp into a lunch box. Not only that but Van Halens signature amp has a reticulated size as well as an option!

Less is truly more....... My current guitar rig is a Peavey triple XXX ( although a full sized head ) and a single 12" cab. Not exactly as small and portable as I would like, but about as ripping a small rig as one can get. I will eventually get a full rackmount setup!
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Jerome Malsack

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2013, 01:37:34 pm »

I have been seeing a device lately call the SubPac?  along the lines of the butkicker. 
  http://www.thesubpac.com/ 

Seems a bit pricey yet, IMO,  do you think this will work well for the bass players, or others? 
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Luke Geis

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2013, 09:32:58 pm »

^^^^^^^^^^^

Clever idea!!!! A bit cumbersome to many I would imagine. Pretty hard to rock out with your cock out when you have a devise strapped to your back.....
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Keith Shannon

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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2013, 05:13:33 pm »

Bass rigs as of late have been getting smaller and smaller. Much like guitar rigs though too. The whole lunch box sized amp thing is kind of a blessing! The bassist that plays with me in a couple bands has a 200 watt head that is about the size of a sandwich. He touts a 2x10 cab and shreds!!!!! His whole rig, including guitar can be moved with one person. Another bassist I worked with ( who is also the best I have ever seen ) is running around with a 20Lb. Genz Benz rig that is about 200 watts and has a single 12" speaker that is a combo amp setup! Sounds amazing and only takes seconds to set up.

I love the lunch box amps. Even Steve Vai has made his signature amp into a lunch box. Not only that but Van Halens signature amp has a reticulated size as well as an option!

Less is truly more....... My current guitar rig is a Peavey triple XXX ( although a full sized head ) and a single 12" cab. Not exactly as small and portable as I would like, but about as ripping a small rig as one can get. I will eventually get a full rackmount setup!

I second this. Musicians are finally recognizing that good sound can be had from circuits designed after circa 1975, and many are also coming to the epiphany that venues that need serious amp power already have it built in. Amp circuits that are not only solid-state, but modern solid-state with surface mount PCBs and compact transformers and capacitor banks, and - here's a thought - a rig that can be carried into the venue in one trip, are all becoming more popular, especially among bassists, most of whom are eager to get clean headroom in as lightweight a configuration as they can.

I'm an apostate; I learned on bass, and never put much credit in the Gospel According to Tubes. My current amp for just about everything that plugs into an amp is a Fender Bassman 150 1x12" combo. Very flexible preamp, built-in DI, and for guitar it'll give me way more than I'll ever need. On bass, whether it's sufficient depends on who else is playing, in what space, and what the PA looks like. Against any number of acoustics I can certainly hold my own. One or two electric guitars in a small space with appropriately-sized amps, no sweat. More than that, I start looking at the PA's capabilities.

Going all the way back to the OP, I would agree that as a sound engineer, you might want to wean the bassist off his amp, and make sure your PA can handle the bass along with everything on top. It's not so much about power handling or frequency response; your typical 12" 2-way mains are well able to handle a bass guitar. In fact I know of more than a few bassists whose "big rigs" for situations where the PA can't handle them are basically another PA; an Aguilar or similar preamp into a PA power amp like a Crown or QSC, and from there into one or two 2-ways.

It's more about separation of concerns; your bassist's current amp is currently doing nothing but reproducing his instrument, while in the PA, there are a lot of other instruments competing for the attention of that woofer, and if it's being worked out at its program rating to produce low bass fundamentals, it's going to be less responsive to any higher frequencies making up the full waveform. This is the primary reason you want a good sub in your system; now the sub can take the powerful fundamentals, leaving the woofer for the higher harmonics and fundamentals, which need less power to sound at the same perceived volume.

As for taming the guitarist, if you have a tube snob who'd rather eat ground glass than plug into solid state, this is going to be a tough sell. The first thing to try is to see if his amp will give him the sound he wants at a lower volume. This can be tricky; lower-power amps, while they break up sooner so you get the saturated tube crunch you want at lower volumes, are also less fle controls, which allows you to really push the preamp while keeping actual output volume low (so as long as your guitarist doesn't think power amp tube distortion is his tone, you can get his tone at agreeable stage volume).

The second suggestion is an amp in a box. Buy or make a 1/4" Lexan box, more or less airtight (doesn't have to be perfect, or even close; just don't put any big holes in the top as handles) and big enough for the amp and a mic (for obvious reasons, small amps are better here as well). The higher frequencies of a guitar amp are relatively easy to dampen, so this works surprisingly well. It doesn't work so well with bass amps, though.

If the guitarist is more amenable, there are a number of excellent amp modelers, which will give him the color of any guitar amp  he wants, without the volume. The go-to for most is the Line6 POD, though there are a number of solid-state combo amps with good modeling, allowing him to get what he needs of his instrument from his own amp.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 05:18:28 pm by Keith Shannon »
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Re: Eliminating bass and possibly guitar amp...yes/no?
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2013, 05:13:33 pm »


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