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Old 12-16-2007, 05:11 PM   #1
Deliriumbassist
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The Ultimate Bass Forum FAQ

Right, it's been a while coming folks, but it is finally here. This is the Bass Forum FAQ, your one stop place for those simple things that may need explaining, mainly because us regulars are tired of answering the same questions over and over.

I just want to use this first post to thank those involved in the creation of the initial version of this FAQ- it's standing as a "Living FAQ", something that can, and will, be added to over time. So without further ado, thanks to:

Nutter_101 (Chris), for putting together details on effects. I'm sure Fitz will have something to say about it

skater_dan0 (Dan) for his contribution on starter basses, as well as a special mention for mangling his bass's neck for photos later on

The Fitz (The Fitz) for his expertise on tonewoods. Cheers big guy.

Jonnomainman (Jon) for his write up on strings and amplification. If it wasn't for him finally getting off his lazy backside, the FAQ wouldn't have gone to:

jazz_rock_feel (Bales), who formatted, proof-read and added bits to the FAQ (including a large section on equalisation).

Thanks to Anarkee (Tamster), second proof-reader and content adding person. Never brought tea into the bass FAQ office, though. And btw, this FAQ serves only to stop her from getting enough money to get that Urge II she's GASing for

And finally I would like to thank myself, Deliriumbassist (Ben) for kicking people's asses, writing this, writing the general bass questions, the how to play section, the Bass Care and Maintenance section, and for being such a damn handsome guy.

And I want to thank every one of you guys who take the time to read this and actually take in the knowledge, doing your own research to find answers to those questions.

Much love,


THE BASS FAQ CREW

CONTENTS

POST #2- General, Bass Playing, Practice and Exercise
POST #3- Starter Basses
POST #4- Tonewoods, Amplification part 1 (includes own contents)
POST #5- Amplification part 2 (includes Equalisation)
POST #6- Amplification part 3
POST #7- Effects/Strings
POST #8- Bass Care and Maintenance part 1
POST #9- Bass Care and Maintenance part 2
POST #10 (Lendorav's Post)- Beginner bass amps/ Amps for £100
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Last edited by Deliriumbassist : 01-16-2008 at 12:52 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:19 PM   #2
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General Forum FAQ

1. Where the hell am I? JESUS CHRIST WHERE AM I?
The bass forum. Your number one repository of knowledge and stuff about that stringed thing in your hands. This FAQ aims to answer any questions you may have before wasting some bandwidth on some question that has 20,000 search results.

2. Can I play my bass through a guitar amp?


Quote:
Originally Posted by FatalGear41
And on the sixth day, the Lord God did sayeth unto the world; "Let there not be found amongst you one who maketh yet another goddamned thread asking if thou shalt play thy bass through a guitar amp. For the answer is and forever shall be no; thou shalt not do it; for it is an abomination and shalt destroy thine guitar amp in the course of time."

And the people did rejoice.

So let it be written; so let it be done.


For the love of God, don’t do this. It may be ok for a while, but one day, the heavens will open and your amp will be destroyed by the power of God if you're running a combo amp. The issue here is with the speakers. Get a bass combo/cabinet; it’s what they’re there for. As an added plus, guitars sound better through them too. Bass cabinets/speakers are designed to handle the lower frequencies.

3. Anyone with more than 4 strings is an idiot.

Get out. Now. People are entitled to their opinions, as long as they follow the rules of the site. Extra strings= extra notes with less hand movement. Always a plus. However, thicker necks may cause trouble for our smaller handed brethren. The trick is to find what works for YOU and to not give anyone else grief if their way is different.

4. How do I take care of my bass?

This’ll be covered in a later section of the FAQ

5. What songs should I learn?

Don’t EVER post a thread like this ever. Instead, go to this stickied thread: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/foru...04&page=1&pp=20

6. Should I use fingers or a pick?

Whatever feels more comfortable to you, and gives you the tone you want. Mix it up, do whatever. Just keep in mind that it’s good practice to learn how to use both. Don’t make a thread on it, it’ll just lead to a flame fest, and none of us want that.

7. What bass should I get? Threads

Please for the love of God… Bass guitars aren’t universal. Some people like some of them, but not others. A bass will feel great in one person’s hands, but not in another. Therefore the best way to see what bass is best for you is by trying some yourself. You don’t know if it’ll sit well with you until you play it. So don’t waste time making a thread about it, actually go out and try some basses. You’re the one using it; you might as well get one you’re comfortable with.

8. I’m a guitarist who wants to play bass...

Good for you. You may be an expert guitarist, but you’re on the bottom rung of the ladder as far as bass playing goes. Sure, there may be some crossover, but keep in mind that bass is a strength instrument, and requires a different approach musically. You may pick things up quicker technique wise, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking “I can play guitar, therefore I can play bass… it’s two less strings for crying out loud!”

9. So you said about no “which bass” threads… how about what amp/ what effects pedal/what strings?

Two steps ahead of you there. Amplification, strings and effects pedals all have their own sections later on.

10. I want to learn theory. I want to learn slap. I want to learn all this stuff!!!

Then search for it. There’s plenty of info knocking around the forums. There’s the stickies at the top of the page that include Bass Technique of the Month. Expertly written and barely updated, these threads are your number 1 resource for technique/theory information.

11. I just got this bass in a garage sale/late night poker game/from my cousin/as a secret CIA informant payoff and I want more information about it! What kind of bass is it? How much is it worth?


There are several good websites out there for dating and identifying basses. The following two are a good place to start:

http://www.promusicfind.com/new/dating.shtml
This is a great site for deciphering your serial number and dating your bass.

http://www.guitardaterproject.org
This site, while it only covers the major brands will not only give you the date of your bass, but where it was manufactured. So someone says that your bass is a MIA Fender? Check this site to see if they really know their stuff!

Google is your best friend in all cases, and someone out there has usually created a site on your bass brand. If you are an Ibanez freak, like anarkee is, you need to bookmark http://www.ibanezrules.com. Great site, and who can resist several decades of catalogue shots of Steve Vai?

As far as relative worth, Ebay and Craiglists are usually a good resource. But if you want to get more precise you have two options. You can sign up and use Orion’s blue book site with an associated cost of $3.95 and more.

http://www.usedprice.com/dropdown.p...ical_instrument

Or you can PM 83LesPaulStudio, who is always happy to tell you whether you have something antique road show worthy or you got ripped off by your cousin who overcharged you. (The rotten kid!)


As a side note, we’re a damn nice bunch of people here. Respect the forum and you’ll have no problems here whatsoever.

Playing the Bass

1. Finger style


Finger style is the most prevalent way of playing bass. You essentially take your plucking fingers, and “sweep” or “brush” them through the string in a single motion. You can do this with one, two, three o even four fingers.

2. Picking


This is where you use a plectrum to pluck the strings, similar to how you would on a guitar. This gives a much more clicky kind of sound, as the trebles are being accentuated. Useful for fast playing if you aren’t up to speed with your fingers, but also gives that tone that finger style just doesn’t get.

3. Slapping


This is the technique that is synonymous with bass playing. An excellent guide on how to slap is found here

4. Tapping


Tapping is a rather specialised technique which most bassists won’t use often. An excellent guide can be found here


Exercises and Practising


Exercising and practicing is what will make you a solid player. The exercises in the GP5 file here and the Powertab file < currently under construction> include many exercises geared to help you play cleanly, efficiently and fluidly.

But how does one go about practicing? Well, firstly, your environment must be calm, with no distractions like your television. If you just put your hands on autopilot whilst you watch Baywatch, you aren’t learning anything, and you aren’t paying attention to what you are doing. This is a great way of picking up bad technique.

So, you have your calm environment, you have your exercises. What next? A metronome. The GP5 and Powertab files have a built in metronome that you can change as you see fit. Start at a nice, low tempo, along the lines of 60bpm. When you can play an exercise smoothly and in time five times in a row, move up 4bpm or so.

By the way, you don’t have to do all 50 exercises in one sitting. Make a regime for each practice session.

Anyway, just remember that because you can play something at 60bpm five times in a row once, doesn’t mean you never have to do it again. Repeatedly go back to those slower tempos; it’s good to keep that internal clock in check. Usually, you’ll find yourself going a tad too fast when playing. It’s natural, but it’s also good to get that out of your system.
If you don’t have the powertab or GP5 software, you can download Powertab (free and legally) from http://www.power-tab.net/guitar.php
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Last edited by Deliriumbassist : 03-28-2012 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:22 PM   #3
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Top Ten Beginner basses

Squier Affinity P bass

Body – alder
Neck – maple
Fretboard - rosewood
20 medium jumbo frets
Split Single Coil pickup
Master volume and tone

The Squier Affinity® P-Bass is the world’s best-selling bass because of its unmatched value. It feels good, sounds good and fits the needs of any player on a budget. With its comfortable neck, solid alder body and classic tone, the Squier P-Bass conjures up the sound of thousands of recordings in every genre of music. Whether you’re just starting, need a bass for occasional use or just want a solid working bass that’s as easy to own as it is to play, the Squier P-Bass is a natural choice.



Squier Affinity J bass

Body – Alder
Neck – Maple
Fretboard - Rosewood
20 medium jumbo frets
2 single coil pickups
individual volume control and master tone

The squire jazz bass is a more versatile bass that the p bass. it has a warmer tone with less growl than the p bass. The neck on the jazz bass is thinner than on the p bass this is useful for players with smaller hands but it also helps when playing fast.



Peavey Millennium


Body - basswood
Neck - hard rock maple
Fretboard - rosewood
34 inch scale
4-string
String-thru body
Two straight single coil, hum-cancelling pickups

Peavey Millennium bass guitars are well regarded as the essential working player's bass for their solid low end, playability and craftsmanship. In fact, pros such as John Campbell (Lamb of God), Josh Sattler (doubleDRIVE) and Marco Mendoza (Ted Nugent, Whitesnake) are avid Millennium players.



Yamaha RBX170


Body - Agathis
Neck - Bolt-on maple
Fingerboard - Rosewood, 250mm (10”) radius
Frets: 24
Scale length: (864mm) 34”
Pickups - Two single coils
Controls - Master volume, master tone, pickup balance
Bridge - Chrome vintage style with four individual saddles

The RBX170 represents a price breakthrough for the RBX range, yet the quality is everything you’d expect from a Yamaha bass. The solid agathis body - in an attractive choice of colours - shares the range’s sleek, wide-cutaway contours, allowing the player easy access right to the top of the 24-fret, full-scale neck which carries a genuine rosewood fingerboard.
Powering is by two punchy, clear-voiced single-coil pickups, with the volume and tone controls augmented by a pickup balance control for added sonic versatility and expression.


Ibanez GAXB

Body - mahogany
Neck - maple
Fretboard - rosewood
B10 bridge (19mm string spacing)
Dual coil soapbar pickup
3 way tone selector



Ibanez GSR200

Body - agathis
Neck - maple
Fretboard - rosewood
B10 bridge (19mm string spacing)
Standard P neck pickup
Standard J bridge pickup



Warwick Rockbass Streamer Std

Body - carolena
Neck - maple
Fretboard - rosewood
Two MEC soapbar pickups
34" scale
24 frets

The RockBass Streamer Standard models are remarkable entry level instruments with the exceptional sound and playability typically found in higher end basses. The solid carolena body, hardly ever found on basses in this price range, delivers a large variety of exceptional, pleasing tones and incredible sustain.
Hardware on the Streamer Standard is top notch and its one piece bridge provides great action for beginners and experienced players alike. Each model, available in 4 or 5 string configurations, is equipped with two MEC soapbar pickups and comes in a gloss black or transparent red gloss finish. Additionally, features like the classic shape, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard, and more, combine to create an aesthetically pleasing guitar that is just as enjoyable to play.


OLP MM2

Body - Basswood
Neck - North American Maple
Fretboard - Rosewood (maple on natural)
34" scale
2 Volumes and one tone control
Pickups One Musicman style exposed pole
22 frets

The killer, 4-string OLP MM2 with Flamed Maple Top Bass Guitar has never been more affordable. Built to Music Man-approved specs, it pumps out gigantic waves of sub harmonic sound. Quality construction includes a basswood body with flamed maple top, maple neck and fretboard, chrome hardware, open-gear tuners, and that famously massive humbucker. 2 volume and one tone controls.



Washburn XB100

A new standard in value priced basses.... the XB100 includes a solid mahogany body, a maple neck, Washburn 100 Series Bass Pickups, and has a balanced feel/design and full length adjustable truss rod.
Body - mahogany
Neck - maple
Fretboard - rosewood
Die cast tuners
WB100 pickups
Black, Natural Matt or Metallic Blue finish


Peavey Milestone 5


Body - Lord only knows
Neck - maple
Fretboard - rosewood
34 inch scale
Dual-expanding truss rod with adjustment wheel
21 frets
Two straight single-coil, pickups (hum cancelling when used together)
Stamped steel bridge
Chrome hardware
Two volume, master tone controls

This cutting-edge instrument is the result of Peavey's continual dedication to the working musician. The Milestone® bass is a rare combination of stunning craftsmanship and intelligent design with a reasonable price range. The body design is both classic and elegant. The perfectly balanced body provides an intuitive feel, as if the bass is an extension of the player's body. Try one today and get ready to be amazed.

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Last edited by Deliriumbassist : 12-16-2007 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:24 PM   #4
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Squier Vintage Modified Precision Bass:

Think of it as the Affinity's bigger brother. It's basically the same beast but better.

Features include an Olympic White-finished agathis body, one-piece maple neck with 20-fret rosewood fingerboard, three-ply Black/White/Black pickguard, thunderous Duncan Designed™ split single-coil pickups, chrome hardware and machine heads, and four-saddle chrome bridge.


Squier Vintage Modified Jazz Bass

Think of it as the Affinity's bigger brother. It's basically the same beast but better... again.

This one comes in 2 flavours, fretted and fretless. First i'll deal with the fretted model.

The bass is made entirely of maple giving it a much brighter tone than most jazz basses. IT comes equipped with duncan designed single coil pickups. Other than that it has all the wondeful features that jazz bass lover like myself have come to love like the chrome hardware and control plate and 3 ply pickguard



and now to the fretless.

inspired by jaco pastorius' famous jazz bass this beast is a fretless sunburst jazz bass without a pickguard. It has an agathis body, maple neck and ebonal fretboard. It comes with fretlines on it so that you don't have to work too hard to learn a fretless instrument so theres no excuse not to at least look into it.



Tone Woods

Well, all sorts of basses are made of all sorts of woods. What are the best ones for you? Well, I think it'd be in a better context if I divide this section into 2 parts - budget bass tone wood, and bass tone wood.

Budget Bass Tone wood

Getting cheap wood is a huge way to cut down the cost of a bass. However, the cheaper your wood gets, the less character and detail your tone has. Let me go over some of the types of cheaper tone wood

Agathis: A common wood found on many Squier basses. I've read somewhere that it's related to the mahogany tree, but tonally, there are very few similarities. It's quite tonally neutral - there's not a lot of character or nuance detail. It doesn't have any particular strong qualities, but sounds a bit livelier than some of the other budget tone woods. It can be heavy, and that could slide the neutral tone into one with some low-end heft. However, it's not quite as clear as some of the more expensive woods. This wood is considered to be a cheap substitution of Alder and tonally could be considered so. There's a decent amount of wood grain for a tone wood of this price.

Basswood: The commonness of Basswood on guitars is increasing. While agathis is only seen on budget basses, there exist expensive instruments with solid Basswood bodies. Different basswoods vary greatly, but I'll just talk about the type of Basswood seen on cheaper instruments. Basswood is an extremely neutral sounding wood. There's almost no tonal character at all, but that yields a consistent tone. The bass isn't lacking any lows, highs, or mids, but the mids are not complex and the frequency extremities are just enough to be noticed. It sounds very similar to agathis, but Basswoods light weight prevents it from having the potential for low-end girth that agathis provides. Basswood does not have any grain worth mentioning, and many Basswood basses have other wood veneers to give transparent finishes some visual character.

Mahogany: Like Basswood, there are different grades of mahogany. Most mahogany in a budget line is seen on Epiphone basses. It's a naturally dense wood, which is what most people consider 'warm'. Its strength lies in its low-mid and bass frequencies, but unfortunately, cheap Mahogany probably has the least tonal character in the mids and trebles out of all the woods in this section. However, if warmth is an important thing for you, this wood is hard to beat at this price range. It's heavy (sometimes it isn't, but sometimes it can be extremely heavy), and there's a nice subtle grain that looks nice with transparent finishes.

Alder: Alder is a wood commonly seen on expensive basses. It's Fender's facto-de-standard wood since the late 50's, and it's rare to see low-grade Alder. However, companies (e.g. Squier) make bodies thinner (i.e. using less wood) to keep costs down. If you see a bass with a thick Alder body for a low price, the company probably saved money by using cheaper electronics and hardware.

Bass Tone Wood


There are many different woods that basses are made of, and some have very different tonal qualities.

Alder: The quintessential Fender bass wood. It's a medium weight wood that has a nice, if subtle wood grain and a somewhat light colour. Tonally, it's quite warm, but has a good deal of clarity to it. Its tonal character lies consistently throughout the bass, but alder possesses an amount of low-end that seems high for a bass with such mid and high end presence.

Ash: A very popular tone wood. It's more expensive than alder, but also found on many Fenders, and its tonal characteristics would make many say it is superior to alder. Ash is a strikingly clear tone wood. You can get a fantastic amount of crystal-clear treble from this bass, as well as deep sub-lows. Ash is not as warm as alder, and this is what separates the two woods. Ash is a lighter, brighter wood with a more pronounced wood grain. One might consider ash to be more 'hi-fi' than alder, which is ironic, because the first Fender basses were made of ash. However, with active electronics, ash is a crucial ingredient in getting a hi-fi tone.

Maple:
Maple-bodied basses are typically the brightest and clearest basses. You get total tonal clarity and an intense amount of high-end detail, almost to a harsh degree. It's a heavy wood, so deep lows are ever present, but they can be dialled out completely. Warmth is simply not in a maple-bodied bass.

Mahogany: Mahogany can be safely considered the tonal opposite of maple. Like said earlier in the budget bass section, mahogany is an extremely warm wood that has a great low-mid presence. However, more expensive mahogany has some mid and treble detail that cheaper grade tends to not have.

Bubinga:
You could possibly consider bubinga to be mahogany on steroids. Bubinga is a very heavy wood with a bludgeoning low-mid and bass presence. It's a very dense wood, so there is some treble sparkle tucked away, but for the most part, it's a bassy wood.

Basswood: Basswood is naturally a tonally neutral wood, regardless of the grade. However, with higher grades, the bland tone manifests itself as a tonally even and totally consistent tone. There's no added bass or treble from the constitution of the wood - most of the tonal control comes from onboard preamps. This wood is the most chameleonic out of all of the tone woods.

The Guide to Bass Amplification



Contents


1. What is a Bass Amp?
2. Heads, Cabs and Combos
3. Speaker Cabinet Configurations
4. EQ
5. Matching Heads with Speaker Cabinets (Ohms, Wattage etc.)
6. Brands to get your hands on!
7. Brands to avoid...
8. Misc (Line Out/DI, Tuner Out, FX loop, Separate Pre-Amp and Power Amp systems etc)

1. What is a Bass Amp?


To put it simply a bass amp takes the electrical signal you send from your bass and makes it louder and stronger. So much louder that it can move a speaker and make sound! Apart from this, they also EQ your sound, alter your tone, and have numerous other gadgets which enhance your sound.

Bass amps can be in the form of heads paired with speaker cabinets or combo amps with in-built speakers. Read on for more information about this.


2. Heads, Cabs and Combos


Bass amps come under two categories, heads with cabs or combo amps. There is a simple difference between the two.

Heads and Cabinets
– These are two separate units, the head and the speaker cabinet. The head is the amplifier and contains no speakers so if you plug in your bass into just a head you’ll get no sound. In fact, most manufacturers will recommend not even turning the amp on before it’s attached to loudspeakers. I know you just got your new Trace Elliot and you want to see all the pretty colours, but wait until you get some speakers hooked up so you can listen to the pretty sounds as well. You need to hook it up to a speaker cabinet, which is basically, a box with loudspeakers in. Now you’ll have sound.

The pros to have a head and a cabinet are that you have an amount of over the products that you choose. You can even match a head of one brand – for example, Trace Elliot with a speaker cabinet made by Ampeg if you wanted.

Cons – You need to “match” heads to cabinets (see “5. Matching Heads with Speaker Cabinets” for more information).

Combos – A combo amp is one which contains both an amplifier and speaker in one unit. Some offer extra outputs so you could connect a cabinet if you wanted.

The main pro to combo amps is the simplicity, you don’t need to worry about overloading you speakers and blowing them, and it is also cheaper.

A con with tone purists will point out is that you lose the flexibility you would have with a head/cabinet rig.
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Last edited by Deliriumbassist : 12-17-2007 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:25 PM   #5
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3. Speaker Cabinet Configurations


There are a few different sizes of speaker and most bass amp companies will offer a variety of different combinations. Here are the most common ones and comments on the tonal qualities of each. Be aware that most of this information is opinion but I’ve tried to base it on common consensus – the only way you’re gonna find out whether you like what each speaker has to offer is to go out and try them.

4x10 – This is a cabinet containing 4 speakers which have a 10 inch diameter. It is one of the most common speaker combinations and has lots to offer. The small diameter speakers lead to punchy and articulate high end, some may say it lacks the low-end oomph but it definitely keeps it tight. They have lots of volume due to the large mass of air moving.

2x10 – Now just two 10 inch speakers, more portable than the 4x10 but has the same glass like top end but less volume and less low note boom. It’s definitely going to have less punch than a 4x10 but you’ll still get the basic tonal properties.

8x10 – The monster of all cabinets, even guitarists get jealous of this; a whopping eight 10 inch speakers. The tone is generally good all round with lots of punch and you can push loads of air with this beast. Good low-end from the shear mass of speakers but with the top end of the 10s.

1x15 – A single speaker with a 15 inch diameter. Another common speaker combination. The big speaker leads to low end that really booms and can handle the lowest of notes. I personally love the warmth and rounded quality they add to the mids and highs but others hate them and have been known to describe the low-end they produce as muddy and undefined, something I believe is down to their EQ more than the speaker size. You’ll find these guys in many combo amps and in full stacks.

4x12
– Less common but still around, the 12 inch speakers are the middle ground between the 10s and 15s. As you can imagine they have the best of both worlds and are sometimes employed singularly in a small combo. They really accentuate the mids the most, and are the punchiest cabinet known to man. They will also be the loudest possible single cabinet speaker configuration, because the human ear picks up the mids the most. They won’t technically have anymore volume but they’ll still blow some head backs with the awesome mid-end punch.

2x12 - These are the third loudest speaker configuration after a 4x12, and of course an 8x10. You may be saying “Hey wait, if a 4x10 is pushing 40” of air, and these are only pushing 24”, how is this louder? Again, it all goes back to what they accentuate: the mids. They will have very similar properties as a 4x12, in fact the two’s relationship is the exact same as the 2x10  4x10 relationship. They have very similar tones, but the 2x12 has portability advantages

Tweeters
– These are typically speakers with just a 1 inch diameter and are sometimes piezo speakers. They’re added to combos to add a highly defined top end and are often used in conjunction with 1x15’s and 8x10s.
4. EQ

EQ is simple, it’s the boosting and cutting of certain frequencies. It basically allows you to “customize” your sound, there is no such thing as the “best” EQ and it’s up to you to find out one which you like however I will go over some classic sounds and how they’re generally EQed. Some amps have knobs you turn with 12 o’clock being 0. Afternoon times boost the signal and morning times cut. Others have sliders where the middle is 0 and you push it up to boost and down to cut. A KEY POINT TO EQing IS TO NEVER EQ TO EXTREMES. There’s nothing technically wrong with it, but it results in an empty sound, as something is missing, or a raunchy (not in a good way) distorted signal, as something is too present. A general rule of thumb is the “three up, three down” rule (baseball anyone?), or to never cut or boost more than 3dB (thanks fitz-baby). I know what you’re thinking: “Huh? 3dB isn’t that much.” Well, you’re wrong, and here’s why. The first thing you have to think about is the fact that you can boost AND cut 3dB, meaning a total of 6dB of boosting or cutting. The second thing to consider is that 1dB is the change in volume that the human ear can pick up on. Therefore, you have six different levels of sound for each band. In the end, that’s actually quite a hefty amount of tone shaping at your fingertips. Anyway, ENOUGH RULES! On to the fun.

Putting Your EQ to Good Use

The most common set of EQ, is more than likely the Lo, Mid, High, as those come on most beginner amps. So, I’ll talk about this specific combination and what each knob is going to do.

The Lows are the frequencies from 40Hz to about 200Hz. They are going to add the low-end to your sound, that low end boom. These are the most forgiving bands of frequency because if you boost or cut them too much you’ll still have a nice tone, which may not be the case in the future (here’s looking at you mids). The low bands have a very gut-wrenching feel and carry the bottom end thump of your sound. As forgiving as it is, it’s still a frequency and it’s still a bitch to manoeuvre. If you throw in too much bass, you’ll get a very boomy sound, too little, and you’re in tin town. This is where the one rule of EQ comes into play, 3 up three down, never forget.

The mids are the most important frequencies, ever, ever, ever, infinity. They are the most important because, if you were paying attention before you would know that they are what the human ear picks up on, and thus have the most important affect on your tone. I know I said that I was going to stick to the Lo, Mid, Hi system but the mids are just so gosh darn important, that I’m going to split it into Hi Mid, and Lo Mid.
Lo Mids are sometimes the hardest to dial in effectively. If done right they are basically the punch of your sound. They have that certain oomph to them, very similar to the way 12” speakers do. For a good example of using Lo Mids to make a sexalicious tone listen to Rush’s Presto album. The vice to a Lo Mid, is that adding too much or cutting too much can do miserable things with your tone. If you cut too much you’ll virtually disappear. It won’t be as devastating as losing the Hi Mids, but it will cut you down in the mix something fierce. Mids are what keeps you present in the mix. If you don’t want to be heard, don’t use any mids. Conversely, adding too much Lo Mid is going to result in a boom that you just don’t want. A better word for boom is mud. Too much Lo Mid basically sounds like an elephant farting into mud.
Hi Mids are a little easier than the Lo Mids, but they’re still difficult to find exactly what you want. Hi Mids are what keep you the most present in the mix. Why? It just so happens the human ear is highly attuned to the mid frequencies, but the mids are a wide band, from about 250Hz to 5000Hz (5kHz). Hi Mids are usually around 2-3 kHz. Now take a little gander on the internet as to where the human ear is most attuned to. I’ll wait… … … … … So? I’ll bet you saw that the answer is 1-5kHz, especially around the 3-4kHz range. That’s why the Hi-Mids are the most important. Because they are literally what the human ear is going to hear the most. Now, the tone of the Hi-Mid is very biting. It adds a barking, attacking sound. Too much, and there’s too much bark, too little, not enough bark. For them being the single most important frequency they’re pretty simple to use.

The high. Oh, the high. The high is a very simple frequency to dial in. It’s probably the easiest in fact. The highs are the frequencies from 8-10kHz. The only problem with too much highs is that it can begin to sound scratchy. The problem with too little is that it tends to sound too bassy without any definition. The only other viable problem I can think of is the hiss factor. If you put in too much highs you’ll end up with an annoying little hiss. In fact this is true for mids as well. Again, follow the 3 up, 3 down rule and you’ll have no grief.

The other important thing to remember about EQ is that each band interacts with the other bands, especially consecutive bands. The only way to find out how your specific amp’s EQ bands are going to behave is by getting in the woodshed and seeing what each thing is going to do, in each situation. There’s no telling. This is where the true art and nuance of EQing comes into play.

Metal – The classic metal sound comes from boosted lows and highs and having the mids cut out. Remember try not to cut out all the mids because you’ll absolutely disappear.

Funk – Boost your lows and mids a tad and leave the treble flat (no boosting or cutting), compression is the key here.

Punchy – The lows is left alone and the mids are boosted to taste, the highs can be adjusted too give some top end clarity. How punch you want is up to you but you need the mids up high, especially the lo-mids.

Any tone can be made so get fiddling!
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:25 PM   #6
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5. Matching Heads with Speaker Cabinets (Ohms, Wattage etc.)

This is a tricky but very important area. Pay attention and some maths are involved, nothing complicated but it can be a bit daunting especially when the health of your speaker cab and head depends on it. Basically for your head and cab to match you need to “match” the ohm and watts. I’ll break it down into the separate parts to make it easier.

Ohms
– They’re the impedance of the cabinet and it will say what the ohm rating is. The head will require a match between the ohms of the cabinets and the ohms that the head itself produces in order to get the highest output but we’ll worry about that later. For now, you need to be more than or equal to the minimum ohm rating given on the amp. This tends to be 4 ohms, although 8 and 2 ohm amplifiers exist.

For example, our amp produces 100% of it's output at 4 ohms. This means you can connect an 8ohm cabinet or a 4ohm cabinet and have no trouble. 4ohms would be where the amp is most efficient and have the greatest output. If you used 8ohms, the output will be reduced down to the region of 60%.
You can use two 8ohm cabinets to draw the full output from the head however. To do this you would wire them up in parallel, using both the speaker outs on the back of you head. If you were to have them in series, their impedance would be 16ohms and would only draw about 30-40% of the output of the head.

As your head is 4ohm minimum you must not wire speaker cabinets which would give you 2ohm draw. This would force the amp to work over its rating; it could over heat; start a fire; burn your house down; kill your kitten and you’d have no bass amp to play on. 2ohms could be achieved by wiring two 4ohm cabs in parallel so if you want a full stack with two cabs, go for 8ohm cabs to be on the safe side.

Wattage – The watts rating is how powerful the head is. Speaker cabinets also have a wattage rating. It is very important that the head and cabinet wattage matches or the cabs wattage exceeds the wattage of the head. If the head is “over powering” the speakers, you will blow your speakers. Most brands of amps will make a matching series of cabinets to go with their heads to avoid such trouble!

6. Brands to get your hands on!

This following section is purely what I think although generally taken as a good opinion.

There are several legendary bass amp manufacturers – Ampeg, Trace Elliot, Fender and several smaller, often overlooked brands – Ashdown, Harkte, GK. In this section I will try to give a brief outline of why each brand is so renowned but the only way to know that you’ll get along with them is to try them yourself!

Ampeg – The Ampeg SVT 8x10 is the speaker cabinet of nearly every touring band and often on the GAS list of almost any bass player. Good rounded tone with no bias to any one tone means that this great all round cabinet can suit any style of bass. The SVT heads are legendary for that Ampeg tone that’s so hard to describe but instantly recognisable. Their cheaper combo amps are also very popular among the users of UG and look and feel very worthy although costly.

Trace Elliot
– My personal favourite, the classic British sound. All made in the UK by some of the best engineers in the business. They gained huge popularity in the 70s and 80s and even reached over into the US but are still a rare find in comparison to the numbers sold in Britain. Famous for the Trace preset with boosted lows and high mids and the green and red output level knobs. A new line of fantastic Trace Elliots have been released and are a must try if you ever come across one!

Fender
– The brand that started it all, the tweed Fender Bassman is perhaps the amp that started it all. Valve driven, well-rounded sound with plenty of volume, they are however, extremely rare and hard to find. Fender’s Rumble series isn’t half-bad for an amateur bassist just stepping into the gigging scene but still leaves a lot to be desired. Popular among young bassists for portability but true Fender bass tone comes out in their more exclusive, more expensive ranges.

Ashdown – A brand whose popularity has exploded in recent years. Engineers that left Trace Elliot after Gibson’s take over in the early nineties set up Ashdown Engineering with a vision to create good sounding, reliable amps but at a price anyone can afford. Many people will agree that they have met and even exceeded this vision. The affordable MAG series offers plenty for the gigging bassist and the ABM range takes it one step further. The even higher ranges are top quality amps and used by many pros in bands around the world.


7. Brands to avoid!


The biggie to avoid is Behringer, mention their name on the bass forum and you’ll see many members throw their hands up in the air. They have a terrible reputation to break down after just a year or two of active use and this is paired with tone that leaves much to be desired. However, you’ll often find Behringer owners who love their units to pieces. Here are the two main gripes surrounding Behringer bass amps.

Overrating
– When Behringer advertise their gear they will generously rate the output (Wattage) often quoting more than is true. Furthermore, they quote the PEAK output – the peak output is the output when the amp’s output spikes, not the RMS (root-mean-squared) which is the average. So they advertise something as being 300W for $200 and you’re thinking wow but actually it’s only 150W which isn’t as good value for money. It’s this while not deceitful but certainly not honest practise that has left a dark stain on their name.

Reliability
– Behringer is perhaps most famous for the issues surrounding the reliability of its amplifiers. You hear many stories of a customer just buying a brand new Behringer, gigging a few times over the course of a year and then it just gives up on you for no apparent reason. If you’re going to buy an amp you want it to be able to keep going for 10, maybe even 20 years without packing up. You will rarely hear such horror stories about brands such as Ashdown, Trace Elliot and Ampeg.

Perhaps the only good point about Behringer is the cheap price but this is due to the use of poor, cheap materials, a poor quality control and less than honest business practises. In my honest opinion, a Behringer of any price isn’t worth it because you’ll only be replacing it a year or two down the line.

8. Misc (Line Out/DI, Tuner Out, FX loop, Separate Pre-Amp and Power Amp systems etc)

Line Out / DI
– Many modern amps built for the gigging bassist now include a Line Out or DI out socket. These are two ways of being able to plug directly into the PA system of a venue without having to use a DI box between your bass and amp (meaning you have no tonal control of what comes out of the PA). Or Mic’ing the bass cab which unless done perfectly can lead to poorer tone. To connect your amp using the LineOut/DI you simply plug one cable in the amp and the other into the PA. Some amps have a switch labelled “Post/Pre” next to the socket, this will select whether your LineOut/DI takes the signal from before the EQ on your amp or after. On the most part you’ll want it on Post so you can control your EQ settings rather than have your tone at the mercy of the sound man.

Tuner Out
– This is usually a ¼” Inch socket located on your amp with a mute switch near by. You connect your tuner into this socket and when you want to tune simply hit the mute switch on your amp, this will let you tune in quiet without disturbing anyone. Although most tuners will mute automatically for you, this can be really handy for using rack mounted tuners.

FX Loop
– A FX loop comprised of two ¼” jack sockets labelled FX Send and FX Return. What this does is result in the ability to EQ your sound before the effects affect it. It isn’t necessarily better or worse, but it has its advantages depending on the effect being used. It’s especially handy when you have a big FX board or the signal from your bass isn’t strong enough to pass through it all. Some higher end amps with FX Loops will have a blend knob so you can mix the “Dry” signal with no FX with the “Wet” signal which passes through the FX loop. This is really handy if you have tone sucking effects units like EHX’s infamous Big Muff.

Separate Pre-Amp and Power Amp systems
– Here you simply choose a pre-amp of your choice and a power amp of your choice, this lets you have the ultimate flexibility over your tone. You can choose the pre-amp of your favourite bass amp brand (most of the top ones have a pre-amp available) and the power amp of another, you can even use a PA power amp! This means you have the tone of one brand with the wattage of whatever you feel you need. For instance you could use a Trace Elliot pre-amp through a 1000W/1000W stereo power amp to power two Ampeg 8x10 cabs. Why you would need 2kW of power is another question.
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Last edited by Deliriumbassist : 12-17-2007 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:26 PM   #7
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Effects

Distortion


Distortion basically clips the signal's waveform, which results in a gritty, growling sound. You don't have to use a distortion designed for a guitar. In fact, you shouldn't if you want to keep your low end, which will be removed due to the circuitry. Use a bass distortion, like those below.

Some Bass Distortion Pedals:
Boss ODB-3
Digitech Bass Driver
Fulltone Bass Driver
MXR Bass Blow Torch

a list of reviews and sound bytes for every proper bass distortion on the market.


EQ


An EQ pedal is like the EQ on your amp. It allows you to adjust the frequency response of particular bands of frequencies. Basically, it lets you tailor your sound, so the bass is louder, or you have a lot more treble.

Some EQ pedals:
Boss GEB-7
Behringer BEQ-700

Compressor


A compressor limits peaks in your signal and enhances quiet parts of it too. It evens out your sound. If you put on too much compression you might end up with a boxy sound. Moderation seems to be a theme in this little FAQ guide doesn’t it?

Some Bass Compressor pedals:
Boss LMB-3
Behringer BLE-100

While there are compression pedals, the best compressions come in rack mount form such as the infamous DBX 226XL Compressor/Limiter/Noise Gate. It’ll have a better quality compression than the pedals.

Wah


A Wah Pedal is a kind of band-pass filter. It will only let certain frequencies through. As it is rocked backwards and forwards, bass frequencies are added, and then cut, and treble frequencies are cut, and then added.

Some Bass Wah Pedals:
Jim Dunlop Crybaby Bass Wah
Morley Dual Bass Wah PBA2

Auto Wah/Envelope Filter

An Auto Wah (or Envelope Filter) is just like a manual Wah pedal. However, the filter changes based on the dynamics of the input signal. As such, it changes between the two settings of a wah pedal quickly.

Some Auto-Wah Pedals:
MXR Auto-Q
EHX Q-Tron
Boss AW-3

a list of reviews and sound bytes for pretty much every envelope filter on the market.


Flanger


A flanger is a time based effect which simulates the sound produced when two tapes are mixed, one of which slowed down by holding something against the flange of it. It makes a "whoosh" noise, like a jet plane.

Some Flanger Pedals:
Behringer UF-100
Digitech Turbo Flange
EHX Flanger Hoax USA
Boss BF-3

Chorus

The chorus effect basically blends lots of versions of the input signal together, resulting in a big, swelling noise.

Some Chorus Pedals:
Boss CE-1/2
Digitech X Series MultiVoice Chorus
EHX Small Clone
Line 6 Space Chorus

Phaser or Phase Shifter


A Phaser mixes two signals. One is the original signal, and the other is one that is out of phase. This creates a rushing "whoosh" noise.

Some Phaser Pedals:
MXR Phase 45/90/100
Boss PH-3
EHX Small Stone

Delay


A Delay or Echo pedal takes the signal from your bass and puts a delay on it. This is repeated once for a delay effect and multiple times for an echo.

Some Delay Pedals:
Boss DD-6
Line 6 DL-4 Delay Modeller
Line 6 Echo Park

Booster

A Booster boosts your signal, which is useful for when you have a solo.

Some Booster Pedals:
MXR Microamp

A/B

An A/B or Switcher Pedal allows you to run multiple pedals in parallel and switch between them easily. They will also allow you to plug into two amps at the same time, or switch between them.

Whammy


A Whammy pedal is like a whammy bar on a guitar. It raises and lowers the pitch of the note/notes you're playing, and then you can return them to the original note.

Noise Gates

A noise gate cuts out unwanted noise from your signal. It gets rid of any hum.

Octave Pedals

An octave pedal takes the signal, and splits it into two signals- one with the original pitch of the note, the second set to a different relative pitch, e.g. an octave below, an octave above, a 5th up. Here is a list of reviews and sound bytes for most of the bass-friendly octavers on the market.

Strings

This is pretty much lifted from exactly what Bales said, slightly edited .

Ernie Ball are generally well balanced mid accentuated strings, giving them perceptibly bright sound, but they're not bright if you know what I mean. However, they are on the less expensive size and work great if you are on a budget.

DR have a good balance to them as well, without any kind of accentuation really. If strings were made out of wood DRs would be the most premium of basswood. They don't really have a specific tone but are very versatile, with a nice general tone. Also DRs are great with slap.

Rotosounds
are the bright strings. They aren't like the Ernie Balls where they are perceptibly bright; these are BRIGHT; almost to the point of harshness when they are new.

Other members would recommend Stadium Elites and Elixirs.

Strings-but I can’t afford to replace mine! A note from anarkee
Some Bass players like playing dead strings, but if you aren’t one of them and you’ve have no cash to buy new ones, you have two options to get that new string sound back once again. Take your strings off of your bass and…

1. Boil your strings.
Find an old cooking pot that will never be used for cooking again and add your strings and water and boil them for 20 minutes. After taking the strings out of the pan, you can remove as much of the water as possible from the string with a lint free cloth and then set them some place warm to dry; or you can bake them in an oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees to remove the water and avoid rust.

And word to the wise—if you use a cooking pot without permission, it will not end well for you. And most cooking pots cost considerably more than a new set of s strings, which is why I really recommend Option #2.

2. Soak them in denatured alcohol (for you non-Americans that would be methylated spirits)
Denatured alcohol can be purchased at any hardware store. This method requires a bit more cash, but doesn’t ruin a cooking pot and doesn’t run the risk of rusting your strings. Get a big glass or plastic jar and put your strings in the jar and fill it with the alcohol. Leave the strings in for at least 24 hours but no more than 48. Take them out, let them dry and put them back on your bass.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:28 PM   #8
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BASS CARE AND MAINTENANCE


Storage


Firstly, storage. At LEAST get a gig bag. This will protect your bass from collecting dust, which is just an eyesore. However, it doesn’t protect the bass from accidents. When I used gig bags, I would constantly be finding dints in the lacquer, and even a nice dint in the neck, which led me to shave the neck down, which I may or may not cover later on. This is why I recommend a hard case. As well as better protection, the regular shape allows for better physical storage as well as looks a lot more professional. Anarkee has also mentioned semi-hard shell cases. These do the same job, but are lighter, and therefore easier to carry, yet still very durable. Keep the bass away from sources of fluctuating heat, like next to radiators. This will knock your bass out of tune, and has the potential to warp that precious neck. It happened to a friend of mine; don’t let the same happen to you.

Some people have suggested wall hangers or instrument stands. Obviously these are much safer than just leaving your bass just lying around; however, it doesn't make them immune to dust. By all means use them, they're practical, and when used properly will cause no damage to the bass, e.g. don't leave a stand in a place where it can be knocked over easily.

Cleaning

I know you all have grubby mitts and pick your nose. In all seriousness, you’ll be transferring oils from your skin to your bass, as well as nasty string gunk and dead skin. So, eventually, you’re going to have to clean your bass. If you store your bass well enough, you’ll barely ever have to dust it. However, you will need to polish it if it has a lacquered finish or similar. To do this, you’ll need a CLEAN COTTON CLOTH. Make sure it doesn’t leave fluff behind, or else your bass will just be more of a mess. Squirt a little bit of (non silicon based) polish on the cloth, and wipe away until you get a nice finish again. Easy. For oil finished basses, beeswax is the weapon of choice. But what if your bass does get dusty? Well, follow the above advice, and heed the rest of what’s to come. If your bridge is anything like mine, it’s a pain in the arse to clean. This is why I have me a can of compressed carbon dioxide. It’s non-toxic, and causes no damage. It flushes the dust out of those hard to reach places. I also use it to flush dust out from under my string retainer, as it’s impossible to get underneath the strings at that point.

Fretboard Care

Right, so you’ve cleaned the bass body. But the fingerboard looks a bit, well… dead. This is because it is dying. It isn’t nice and bright anymore. This is a job for lemon oil. Lemon oil can be used on any wood except maple, so you Stingray users can go make a cup of coffee Remove all your strings, and using a similar cloth to the one you used to clean the body (NO! NOT THE SAME ONE, IT’S DIRTY!), squirt on a couple of sprays of lemon oil, and wipe PARALLEL to the frets, all the way down the neck. Don’t leave the lemon oil on too long, and make sure to wipe off excess, or else the fretboard will become saturated and nasty. Your neck should now have that nice, healthy shine it had when it left the factory. You’ll also notice that your tone is slightly brighter as well. This only really has to be done every 1-3 months or so depending on use, and a little goes a long way. As a general rule of thumb, I do this every time I change strings. You can prolong the need for this by keeping your hands clean before playing. I wash my hands, and then I wash my hands with rubbing alcohol to kill the oils. Also, thanks to anarkee for this, it may be a good idea to wipe down your strings after playing. Make sure you use a lint free cloth, or else you'll get a load of crap in your strings.

NEW!!! Right, for maple fingerboards, a good old polish with beeswax does the trick.

Strings, Screws n' Stuff

You’ll notice your bass has strings. Funny that, eh? Strings aren’t immortal, and they get dirty. Some people like dirty strings, and more power to them (and more money in their wallet). If you don’t, then you’ll want to change your strings. I know it’s recommended NOT to remove all the strings at once, but I do, because I’ll be resetting the intonation and truss rod afterwards anyway. Plus, if you don’t remove all the strings, it’ll be a pain in the ass to get that fretboard clean. So anyways, changing strings is a simple process, but do it carefully; we don’t want the strings scratching your precious instrument. I’m going to assume you know how to restring and retune. Now, I don’t know about you, but I HATE having massive amounts of metal wrapped around a tuning post. So I take a wire cutter and cut off about 2-3 inches off the string. It’s still long enough to reach the tuning post and get a few stable wraps, but no longer has the collective girth of an elephant’s trunk. Looks better, too.

You’ll also notice the mass amount of SCREWS your bass has. They’re everywhere. Pickgaurds, tuning pegs, string retainers, pickups… everywhere. Most of the time they’ll be Philips screws. Other times, allen key screws. The general rule is that a screw should be snug, but not tight. If you start turning a screw past its limitations, you’ll shave the screw, and it’ll be pretty much useless, as you can’t adjust it again. Check how tight your tuning pegs and posts are after every time you change strings. Pickguards aren’t too much of a problem, and I’ll talk about pickups and bridges and truss rods later. However, knobs can be a pain in the backside. Literally. Mine come loose all the time. Check them at least once a month, only takes a few minutes. If they’re like mine, they’ll have a small hole in the side. This will have an allen key bolt in it. Tighten it, but not too much. It’s slightly embarrassing to be fiddling with your knob during a gig, and it falls off. Not clever. Not nice. Also check your jack input every now and again and see if it’s tight. If not, it’s an easy hand job.

NO, I’M IN TUNE; IT’S YOU THAT’S NOT!!!!

The biggest hassle of maintaining your bass- truss rod adjustments, action, intonation. Pain in the ass. As a general rule, truss rod adjustments come before everything else. The bow of the neck is important. It helps with intonation; it helps with your playing. You’ll also hear this in reference to the relief of the neck. To check this, take your hand. Fret the 1st fret on your thickest string, and with your other hand, fret where the neck joins the body- often, this will be around the 16th fret or so. Now, measure how far the 7/8/9th fret is from the string. I realise some of us only have two hands. This is why I capo the first fret instead. Use a steel ruler or feeler gauge to measure the distance. 0.6-1mm is a good distance. Repeat this with your thinnest string. Now, if it’s more than this, you have too much bow in the neck. Relieve this by tightening the trussrod- turn the nut clockwise, and vie versa to get forward bow.Simple as. HOWEVER, ONLY DO MAXIMUMS OF ¼ TURNS AT A TIME, AND RECHECK, WAITING A DAY BETWEEN ADJUSTMENT AND CHECKING, TO ALLOW THE WOOD TO SETTLE. The truss rod is a precious thing, don’t f*ck it up. And make sure you use the right tool. Often you'll need an allen key. With my truss rod, I just need a metal stick, because my truss rod has a sort of wheel thing going on.

Now that’s out of the way, it’s time to set your action. This is done by adjusting the height of the saddles. Most of the time, you'll need to use an allen key. The higher the saddle, the higher the action, simple as. I find it helps to keep a tuner on at all times when doing this, so you can retune the string, and check up and down the neck for fret buzz. Adjust the action according to your tastes, and we’ll move onto intonation.

So, the open note is in tune, but what about the entire neck? Simple way to do this, in theory. Play a 12th fret harmonic and take note. It should be the same as the 12th fretted note. If the fretted note is sharp, lengthen the string by adjusting the bridge. If it is flat, shorten the string length, also by adjusting the bridge. Obviously, all bridges are different, so I can’t really help much but give a general overview. I have movable saddles without springs, which are kept in place by the string tension, whilst others will have springs, e.g. Jazz bass users, which are altered using a Philip's screwdriver. It’s easy to work out, though. You will have to go back to previous strings, as tension will be adjusted, and you may need to sot out the action again. It’s a long process.

As a side note: standard gauge strings for standard tuning. For every step you go down, get a thicker gauge by at least .05.

Pickups

Now, a lot of you will probably never have to adjust pickup height. I have a couple of times, but that’s my personal taste. I tend to set my pickups so they pick up heavier on the bass side, and not as much on the treble side. My EQs make up for the trebles, I just like to have a beefy bass side. This achieved by heightening the pickup at the thicker string side. To heighten a pickup, loosen the screws. But not too much. A little makes a big difference. If you want a bit more treble, leave the bass side alone, and heighten the pickup under the thinner strings.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:29 PM   #9
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Neck profile

I hope to God none of you have to do this. Sanding the neck can be a pain in the arse. Not only do you need to sand, but you need to plane it, so that the curve is consistent. Sanding should only be done if you are unhappy with the neck profile, or if you want to do something ambitious like removing the heel of the neck, like I did. I recommend you take it to a luthier if you want this done. I’ve done many heel removals; I know what I’m doing. If you positively must remove the heel, PM me and we’ll have a chat about it.

That’s all for now, I may add more. Take care of your bass; it’s an extension of you

Heel Removal Tutorial

This may be something I (Deliriumbassist) may decide to make threads on in the future. Mod stuff for your bass. Here’s the first:

Right, I've been asked to write up a tutorial for heel removals by skater dan, and thought others might like to know....

Firstly, look at the heel of the neck. Now look at the body where the neck joins. If the body line is flat at the join, like this:

http://www.elderly.com/images/fmic/...J_body-back.jpg

then it's gonna be an easier process, and will facilitate total heel removal. If not, you're gonna have to do some sculpting in order to allow the neck to "flow" into the body of the bass.

I'm gonna deal with just flatlines here. READ THROUGH BEFORE STARTING.

The main thing is to be VERY CAREFUL about the truss rod. If you cut into the truss rod chamber, it's gonna look stupid, and may be detrimental to your playing. I personally recommend looking sideways on to the neck, a take a pen and a ruler. Draw a line across both sides of the neck so it is flush with the body where it joins. This is the maximum point you will sand to nearest the body. Don't go beyond this, or else you may hit the screws holding the neck to the body. Now, remove the neck from the body, and continue that line across the heel, where you couldn't draw previously, because the body was in the way.

Look at the profile of the heel. It looks a bit like a semi-circle with a couple of pointy bits on each side, and a slope into the neck. You are essentially going to be pushing this semi circle up underneath the body, so these slopes slope into the body. Just look at the neck and with a bit of imagination, you'll see what I mean.

Take a sander or sandpaper and get to work. Sand down the beginning of the heel so it flushes with the main neck profile. Start with coarse sandpaper, and move down to fine grain. Do this progressively towards the body. Now, you may realise "hey, but the heel is deeper than the neck, if I keep sanding it to the neck profile, there'll be a gap where the join is!" And you'd be right. When you get closer to the join, remember what the original heel had- a slope. Now you need to sand a slope in so the neck seems to slope up into the body, towards the sky. If you need a visual reference, take a block of something, and place it on the heel, to stimulate the new join point. THAT's the slope you are aiming for. I know, it's not total heel removal, but you still want some stability, right? So, get sanding. When you have the heel removed, tidy it up, plane it, and smooth it out properly. Reattach to bass, and voila, heel removal. Shouldn't take too long, it takes me about an hour to get it perfect.

Now, why remove the heel? Well, not only does it look great when done great (IMO), it also allows better access to the higher frets without scalloping the body, or losing too much neck-body support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skater dan0
I only did a partial heel removal but I hope these pics help

before I started
http://a903.ac-images.myspacecdn.co...30259457ce6.jpg

marking the lines
http://a601.ac-images.myspacecdn.co...368f8762980.jpg

started sanding one side (the light colour is where I sanded)
http://a190.ac-images.myspacecdn.co...c3c8cca534d.jpg

then the back (light colour again)
http://a978.ac-images.myspacecdn.co...52412eff7d1.jpg

the finished product from side
http://a188.ac-images.myspacecdn.co...3af0f5d814b.jpg

the finished product from back
http://a204.ac-images.myspacecdn.co...e822013d6eb.jpg

sorry for the poor picture quality they were taken with a camera phone I hope they help

peace

dan



Nut Resizing


Grab yourself a veeeeeeeeery thin file and get to work. Only file away little bits at a time, and check to see if the string will fit snugly. As soon as it does, you're done. Remember, filing is generally irreversible, unless there's some magic thing I don't know about, and if you want the nut grooves smaller, you'll probably have to buy a new one.

Installing New Tuning Pegs


All I can gather is you need two screwdrivers- I'm doing this with open mechanism tuners on a jazz bass copy. Just dismantle the tuning peg and remove. It's quite simple. I can imagine that closed mech tuning pegs would just involve unscrewing the back screw, and then using a sprocket to undo the nut around the base of the string post. For open mech, unscrew the back of the tuning post and then the small holding screws. It should pretty much fall apart after that.

Installing new tuning pegs- assemble without screwing just in your hand to get an idea of how it fits together. Set holding screw sites in the back of the headstock by getting a screw and screwing it in just slightly. Then just reinstall it. Should be a very simple job. The holes in the headstock should be big enough for any post to fit through (especially on jazz basses). If the hole is too big, don't worry, the holding screws will help keep it in place, as will the big washers on either side of the hole. If the hole is too small, you got to shave a bit of wood away, but I doubt you'll have to do that.

INDIE-BASSIST ASKS: How can I make a new, longer neck fit my bass properly?

Right, you'll probably need to do yourself some routing, indie. This can be done in one of two ways- routing the body or you could shave off some of the neck. I recommend routing, because you'll be losing a lot of wood off the neck if you go the other option. But I'll go through both:

Routing

You'll need to do some measuring or tracing. I would do both. Measure how deep the neck will go, and mark that on the body where the neck enters the body. Now, measure the neck. What you need to do is take this measurement and decide how far into the body you need the neck to go in order to keep the scale the same. Say the neck is... 27" and the scale is 35". However, the old neck was only 24". You need to rout out 3" worth of body. Hopefully you know how to use a router, so I won't go into that. If you don't, get someone who knows to do it for you. If you do it yourself, make sure you make the cavity just a LITTLE bit larger than the portion of neck going in. I'm only talking a couple of millimetres here. Route the body, clean the cavity up a bit, and insert that lovely new neck.

Neck Modification

This is harder and more complicated. You also won't have a heel, or much of one, anyway. Measure the neck again, and do what was mentioned above about deciding how much wood needs to be removed. However, this wood is going to be taken off the neck. Get a sander, or a router, and carve off a chunk of wood and sand it off so you get roughly a 90 degree angle and an overhang (made by the fingerboard). You'll probably hit truss rod though, so I SERIOUSLY don't recommend doing this method. In fact, forget this method, go with the body routing.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:29 PM   #10
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Top Amps for Under Ј100 (Roughly $200)

Golden Rule, STAY AWAY FROM BEHRINGER!!!

Hartke B300

Wattage: 30

Speaker size: 10”

EQ: 3 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: No

Compressor/limiter: No/No



The B300 combines a 10" bass driver and 30 watts of power. 3-band EQ and a preset Shape circuit. Dedicated effects loop, buffered input, a line level output and headphone output.

Verdict: A good amp, not short of power and you can get some nice tones out of it after a little fiddling with the EQ.

Fender Rumble 15

Wattage: 15

Speaker size: 8”

EQ: 3 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: No

Compressor/limiter: Yes/No



With 15 watts of power generated through its Fender Special
Design 8” speaker and closed-back cabinet, the Rumble 15 will help take
you to the next level of bass playing.

Verdict: An average amp in the price-range, lacks power and the 8” speaker lacks punch but overall will give a good sound for bedroom practice/small jams with guitarists.

Kustom KBA16X

Wattage: 16

Speaker size: 8”

EQ: 4 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: No

Compressor/limiter: No/No



The KBA 16X is a 16-watt combo amplifier for bass guitars. It features an 8-inch Celestion™ speaker, 4-Band Active EQ and lots of conveniences such as a built-in Limiter, an external speaker jack and a CD/Tape input for jamming along with pre-recorded music. The sealed-back cabinet itself is built to last, with a heavy vinyl covering, protective corners, and a metal speaker grill. Portable and practical, the KBA 16X is a rock solid performer that you can depend on.

Verdict: An average amp in the price-range, lacks power and the 8” speaker lacks punch but overall will give a good sound for bedroom practice/small jams with guitarists. The 4 band EQ is a good feature though.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE]Laney RB2

Wattage: 30

Speaker size: 10”

EQ: 3 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: Yes

Compressor/limiter: Yes/Yes



The Laney RB2 Richter bass combo has all the features: 30 watts RMS power, a custom designed 10", 3-band EQ with swept mids, switchable compressor and internal limiter for more punch, and phono socket CD stereo inputs and a headphone socket. All in a carpet covered 26 kgs combo.

Verdict: Personally I think this top of it’s price-range, it’s got the power and punch to hold it’s own easily with a guitarist, if you push it, you may keep up with a drummer but don’t expect decent tone. Good versatility, compression and limiter are a good feature for this price-range.

Ashdown Perfect Ten

Wattage: 30

Speaker size: 10”

EQ: 3 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: Yes

Compressor/limiter: No/No



The Perfect Ten bass practice amp combines a 30 watt power section with a single 10" Ashdown BlueLine bass speaker. Sounds can be shaped quickly and intuitively using bass, middle and treble controls, supplemented by a pre-shaped 'deep' switch. A headphone output is provided for private practice along with an extension speaker output.

Verdict: Not lacking in power, volume or tone this is a great amp for bedroom practice or jamming with guitarists. Add another speaker to get the most from it and you’re laughing, it will keep up with a drum-kit pretty well providing your drummer isn’t too heavy handed.

Orange Crush CR20B

Wattage: 20

Speaker size:

EQ: 3 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: No

Compressor/limiter: No/No



Designed to look like their big brothers at a fraction of the cost, these little guys are well worth taking a look at. A Little more punch with this Orange Crush 20. Great little Bass Amp Combo with that nice fat Orange Sound. Cool Looks with a great sound and at an awesome price ! Control Panel Gain, Volume, Master, Low, Mid, High Features Headphone Out Power Rating 20 watts Construction Traditional Orange Amplifier design! Electronics Transistor circuitry Model Number CR20B.

Verdict: It’s nice to see an affordable Orange amp, not only does it look cool but it sounds great too, the overdrive feature is a rarity on bass amps and some crave it but I didn’t find it that useful. It may seem a little underpowered for it’s class but trust me, it’s a loud 20 watts.

Peavey Max 110

Wattage: 20

Speaker size: 10”

EQ: 3 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: No

Compressor/limiter: No/No



The MAX® 110 bass combo amp is perfect for beginners. This 20 watt lightweight bass amp has Peavey's exclusive TransTube® circuitry that transforms the tone of this amp from vintage to modern with a flip of the voicing switch while the three-band equalizer allows you to further mix your sound. The heavy-duty 10 inch Peavey speaker is protected by DDT™ technology for extra ruggedness. Convenient features like headphone out and CD player input make practicing a breeze.

Verdict: Good overall amp, nice tone, good volume and as gm_jack says “It pwned hard”.

Warwick Blue Cab 30

Wattage: 30

Speaker size: 12”

EQ: 3 Band

Headphone jack: Yes

External speaker output: No

Compressor/limiter: No/No



The Blue Cab 30 is an amazing bass combo with a bigger sound than its compact size would seem to indicate. This cool bass amp is small enough to easily move around, yet big enough to handle small acoustic gigs and rehearsals. An impressive 12-inch speaker, a ported cabinet and a unique tilt-back feature all work perfectly together to create a dynamic bass combo for the serious musician. There are stereo-to-mono auxiliary inputs on the front panel of the Blue Cab 30 which allow you to plug a CD player or any other similar sound source into your amp and jam along with your favorite tunes. Warwick even added an auxiliary volume control so you can match your levels.

Verdict: This amp offers a little more punch than the rest in the price-range with it’s 12” speaker which is a good feature. Not lacking in volume or tone this amp is a monster for small band practices.

(by indie-bassist)

Last edited by Lendorav : 01-16-2008 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by makuserusukotto
post

nice job, you've proven that you're a jackass.

the FAQ looks good, i didnt have time to read it all through or anything even close to that, but the sections i read looked good. should hopefully limit the annoying repeated questions a bit in here.

Mod edit: Seeing as there's not enough space in any of the OPs, I'm dumping this here. You have no choice in the matter.


Here is some general advice from our very own FatalGear41, mainly aimed at beginning bassists, but much of it can be informative for the more experienced player:

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatalGear41
Here are ten rules to get you started. They may not be the best ten, but they will take you a long way - especially if you are transitioning from bass to guitar.

Rule #1: The bass is not a guitar. It is a unique instrument and you must approach it that way.

Rule #2: Your job is first and foremost to support the song. Soloing at inappropriate moments will weaken the song and probably throw the whole band out of time.

Rule #3: You need to be heard. The bass frequencies behave strangely - just like bassists. Get someone to stand in the crowd area during your sound check jam and make sure the sound guy or girl doesn't bury you in the mix.

Rule #4: There is a lot more to playing bass than eighth notes on the root, or root-five-octave progressions. Learn you basic major and minor scales and modes. Learn to play melodically; rhythmically and in odd time signatures. It will definitely liven up your bass playing.

Rule #5: Playing bass with a pick is not the same as playing guitar with a pick. If you're going to play with a pick, you're going to need a heavier pick and you're going to have to get used to the wider string spacing.

Rule #6: You have to learn to lock in with the drummer. You and the drummer are the rhythm section. You need to play together as a unit or the band will fall apart. That means you need to practice together until you can practically read each others' minds.

Rule #7: If you're playing cover tunes, don't trust tabs unless they are professionally written. A lot of guitarists just write eighth notes on the root when writing a bass tab for a song. There's a hell of a lot more going on in the song with the bass if you listen carefully. If you leave it out; the song will probably sound like crap.

Rule #8: Just because the average bass has only four strings, that doesn't mean you're going to give Geddy Lee a run for his money in six months. Bass is harder and more versatile than you think.

Rule #9: To grow as a bassist, you have to listen to different kinds of music. Bassists borrow from a lot of genres no matter what they play. Metal bands play over funk rhythms; pop bands play over melodic progressions; funk bands play over driving rock lines and jazz players play over everything. If you stick to one genre, you will severely limit your playing and writing abilities.

Rule #10:Chromatic exercises with a metronome are your friend. Use them as often as you can and your playing, speed and fluidity will improve dramatically.

There are a million others, but these are a pretty good place to start.

Welcome to the Low End, my friend!
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:44 PM   #12
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Rejoice! The FAQ is finally up!
Looks great guys.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:44 PM   #13
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Well done to all the others who contributed!

It's nice to have this finally out. I think we started it in the summer lol!
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:44 PM   #14
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RIP Bass forum.

/me throws soil into grave.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:44 PM   #15
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Good one .
Finally somewhere to direct the noobs to (By the way first "Go to the FAQ" post had been done by me.
Take that bitches
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lendorav





i feel bad for doing that now, since he obviously put time into that and it was really well written and informative.

sorry TS, would delete, but it says i can only manually delete and i dunno how
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:48 PM   #17
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click edit

then at the top of the text box (just above it really)

EDIT - thats not working

I reported you anyway so youre just gonna have to let a mod remove it!
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Fender Standard Jazz Bass
Artec Matrix Pedal Tuner
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Boss GEB 7
EHX NYC Big Muff
Ashdown MAG C410T-300
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GAS-ing for:
Boss SYB5
Behringer Intelligate IG9

Last edited by Jonnomainman : 12-16-2007 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnomainman
click edit

then at the top of the text box (just above it really)
jackass.



To delete this message, check the appropriate option below and then click the 'Delete this Message' button.
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ya, not really, so maybe you should look at things instead of just running around calling people name
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:54 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by makuserusukotto
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ya, not really, so maybe you should look at things instead of just running around calling people name

he didnt call you a jackass, i did. at least insult the right person.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:54 PM   #20
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Hey ben, you should put the prices next to the beginner basses, also I would put the Squier VM series there and the SX basses, but just an idea.
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