Compression for bass guitar in the live/gig setting….

Some ideas and thought regarding the use of compression for the gigging bass player.


Another Live Clip……because…..

This was also from Kensington Community Church.

I had the pleasure of backing up Abbey McCormack o this wonderful version of “No More Chains” by Nichol Nordman.

This is one of my favorite clips from a few years ago. I’ve always like this performance. The simplicity of the song against a moving upper register bassline and the simple guitar solo- the song just sits real well.


Change Up…….

This is actually pretty simple and something I’ve been doing a lot lately.
Let me explain.

What I mean is do something that breaks your norms or usual habits. For example, I play with a pick some times.
Not a lot, but I’d say on some gigs as much as 20%.
Now, I’m not crazy proficient at it, but good enough to do it effectively. So what I did on the last few gigs, was use a pick better than 75% of the night.

It pulled me out of normal habits and “go to” licks and lines I would be very comfortable pulling off finger style, and made me, work more and “play” less ( don’t get me started on the “Less is more” way of thinking…..that’s another topic).

If you gig affords you to be able to switch up, then do so.

If you have a few tunes where you would slap on, try playing those exact rhythms finger style. Or with a pick.
Conversely, and only if it fits in the context of the song, use you thumb. Or use it in a muting style by resting your palm on the bridge slightly muting the strings.

A great song example I’ve been focusing my pick sound off of is “Lunch With Gina” by Steely Dan.
Great groove and killer tone.
Lunch With Gina – Steely Dan

The idea is to make you think differently, because you can’t fall back on the stuff that is comfortable.
There are tons of ways to do this and I suggest doing one for at least a week. And when you do return to your normal way of playing, for a little bit those norms are going to be a bit difficult. Which makes you again, rethink how you approach your playing.

Have fun!
And sorry for not keeping up with posts!

New “Unconventional” bass rig.

I’ve been kinda quiet about a new rig I’ve been testing out. I went pretty unconventional and not using a normal rig.
As of late, I’ve been running through just the monitors at my house gig with cool results. Plus it’s easy setup. Radial BassBone to the board and I’m rocking .

So it got me thinking. I’ve used monitors on bigger gigs, and at a few different churches I play at, I’ve used QSC K12 powered and JBL PRX612m powered. Both 12″ two way cabs.
Both sounded great and gave me exactly what I’ve needed.
One instance on a gig, it was back lined with a SWR head and 410. I was asked to turn down my stage rig all the way. We played about half a tune. I never turned the rig back up. The monitor sounded great and was plenty loud.

So, fast forward to this past weekend……I picked up a JBL PRX615m (15″ two way cab).
All I will say is with my US Spector NS-2 and my Fender Victor Bailey Jazz 4, it sounded awesome.
Music was modern contemporary pop country.

Signal path was TC PolyTune, Demeter Compulator compressor, Radial BassBone DI/preamp into the back of the 615.
All I used it for was my bass. Nothing else. Used it independent of the monitors that were on stage.

It was nutty loud. Maintained its tone from right up on it to about 8-10 feet back from it. It did carry the low end a bit better when I was standing right up on top of it. But to be honest, EVERYTHING is like that.

Now, why we as bass players don’t do this is beyond me.
Unless we have to carry the room with our rigs, I don’t think I’ll be taking a “normal” rig to a gig again.
I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but my ears work a lot better from the front. And my backside doesn’t care how I sound.
And when you think about it, when setting up your rig, you’re always facing it and adjusting the EQ. So, really have it blowing from the front.
The sound guy loved it because I could crank it about as loud as I wanted, and not screw with the FOH mix. (About an 800 seat room).

Another good feature is the drummer could also HEAR me much better. As opposed to just feeling the rumble from being next to my rig.

The 615 held a low B VERY well. If you’ve seen any of my videos, you know that my Spector is equipped with a HipShot D-Tuner that has the optional Double Stop Lever which gives me two drop positions below normal tuning. I have mine set to drop D and all the way down to a drop B.
So when I was playing, I had plenty of times to drop to B and really push this thing. And it held the low notes perfectly fine. Very fine actually.

I had “my sound”. I get more from my bass than I do amps really. Sure a cab and a head are very impactful in your sound, but honestly, no matter how hard I try, dang it, I still sound like me!
I am going to use the line out from my amp and see how it sound compared to my regular cabs.
My regular rig is a TC Electronics RH750 head and a pair of the TC Electronic 112 cabs (12″ with a coax tweeter).
It a given that they will sound different just based on one being a monitor and one being a regular bass cab. But, I know my sound enough to make a pretty good comparison.
For the last set I took the 615 and set it up so it was sitting like a regular cab. And again, it sounded pretty damn good! So, I will run it next to my regular abs in this configuration.

The 615 can also be pole mounted and used as a PA cab. And there are two setting on the back for “Monitor” and “Main”.
The Monitor setting has a sharper roll off of the lowend. Where the Mains setting is more full range sounding.
I preferred the Mains setting.

Again, I really like the sound. It sounded like my bass. And it was right in my face as loud as I wanted without pissing off the FOH. And at one point I turned it up BLISTERING loud.
The BIG disadvantage is that the “master” volume or input level in on the back by the inputs. So, really, once you get your stage level set, you have to wait in between songs to reach around back and adjust it.
Also, not all monitors are the same.
I ran through about 8 or so before I nailed it down to the JBL. The new EV one was equally nice. Just preferred the high end off the JBL.
Also, the plastic molded ones didn’t seem to sound as nice as their wooden counterparts. So I would recommend a wood cab version.

I should add that the JBL PRX615m has a built in1000 watt power amp made by Crown.

I’m gonna give this a run for a little bit on a bunch of gigs to see if it’s something I’m going to stick with.
First impressions are yeah, this is the way to go.
We just need to get a few manufactures to make cabs like this- true monitor cabs and NOT just a cut up version of one of their normal cabs.

So, if you have a chance, give it a shot.