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OldManMusic

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I used my new-to-me ’88 SR5 for the first time at a gig this past weekend. I’ve been doing lots of practicing in the basement man-cave to dial in my sound and reacquaint myself with a 5th string prior to the gig. I had the sound at what I thought was a good balance at home, but gigs are where you really hear how things will sound.

During the gig, I really had a tough time managing how much louder the B string was than the EADG strings. Using the B string on say the 7th or 9th fret, it was maybe 10% louder and overpowering the rest of the band. The SR5 eq was at the center detent on the low and mids with just a pinch rolled off on the highs. If I rolled off the low below teh center detent, the EADG suffered.

I’ve checked the SR5s pickup height and it’s in specs. I’m using EB Regular Slinkys and run through a Markbass CMD 121 with the eq flat with a Markbass 151 extension cab.

Any ideas on how to tame the wild beastly B string without loosing the power on the other strings? Do some of you 5er guys run compressors to help the balance? I really love this bass and want to use it live but had to fall back to my Bongo 4 at the gig.
 

tunaman4u2

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As you know judging by your collection, the 4 band EQ is pretty powerful. I really like having that on a 5er for the exact reason of controlling the low B tone & volume

I'll be interested in hearing the thoughts here
 

jlepre

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Sometimes I find that I just need to adjust my playing style on the B. Try playing lighter, and closer to the bridge when playing any lines involving the B. Also a lighter gauge for the B might do the trick too.
 

stu42

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I just started playing with a compressor lately and it's definitely helping to even-out the tone and, generally, adding some polish to the overall sound...makes it sound more professional. I got an FEA Labs DE-CL (Dual-Engine Compressor Limiter) which I find to be really great when you combine the Compression and Limiting together as it creates a complex compression slope. I use a fairly low level of compression (fairly mild slope) and I'm really digging it as it helps with the issues you're talking about. For the way I have it dialled in it's also quite subtle and still maintains a really nice "feel" - not squishy or dead. The guys at FEA are also completely Top Notch in customer service.

Here's a link to a bunch of compressor reviews - the guy who's done all the reviews goes by the name "Bongomania" on TB so you know he's gotta be a cool guy!! :)

Compressor Reviews
 

tbonesullivan

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I'd say change your technique, or get a compressor. With some styles of playing a compressor is almost a necessity due to the inherent volume difference on some strings in different fret positions.
 

five7

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maybe it was the room the gig was in if it sounds okay at your house.
 

OldManMusic

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I think it might be time to test a compressor. During the gig, I really lightened my touch on the B, like you guys are suggesting. While it helped even things out some, it wasn't as even as I'd like it. I love how strong the B felt, but even I knew it was too loud.
 

OldManMusic

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maybe it was the room the gig was in if it sounds okay at your house.

We play this place about once a month and use our PA that stays static when we're not gigging. It was the first time for me with this bass live, so I knew it was going to sound different that my other basses. I used the SR5 for most of one set but really struggled with the volume difference when I'd use the B string.
 

[email protected]

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What I'd try:
- lower the pickup on the B string side
- raise the B string action
- use a thinner B string
- try different string brands
 

keko

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If compressor is used carefully, it always can help a little bit at live gig environment, ...but that venue where You played obviously got some serious problem with one or few resonant frequencies which was unwanted for Your 5th B string!
 

[email protected]

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Using the B string on say the 7th or 9th fret, it was maybe 10% louder and overpowering the rest of the band.

You played obviously got some serious problem with one or few resonant frequencies which was unwanted for Your 5th B string!

7th and 9th fret are available on the E string as well. So that's not a problem of the resonant frequencies of the venue. Thicker strings are louder. Either you gotta compensate by string/pickup distance, picking force or compressor.
 

five7

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Next time you have a gig, let me know and I will bring my bongo and my sub 5 and we can compare the B strings.
 

keko

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7th and 9th fret are available on the E string as well. So that's not a problem of the resonant frequencies of the venue.

:confused: :eek:

Hi oli,

believe me, I change venues like underwear, :D ...lot's of problems could be produced because of venue resonant frequency(-es), especially in bass range!!!

Of course all other options about the bass setup should be checked before gig too, that should be done at the first place! ;)

P.S. ...when You quote my posts, please take care where to cut it, ...otherwise other members could be confused!
 

OldManMusic

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Great comments and suggestions. Just what I was looking for. I'm going to try changing the setup and looking in my used string box for something a little lighter. I've got 3 gigs coming up in Nov, so I'll have a chance to try 3 different venues too.
 

Soulkeeper

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My experience is that most B string(setup)s are noticeably different from the other strings, and that you have to compensate with your finger technique in order to integrate it with the whole.

I've played 5 string basses since the day I started playing stringed instruments, and I guess that makes compensating for the idiosyncrasies of B strings come naturally to me.

I never expect the B string to sound like the others out of the box. As long as I'm able to compensate, I'm good.
 

keko

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I never expect the B string to sound like the others out of the box. As long as I'm able to compensate, I'm good.

I expect, ...and it works, ...but only when fresh set of strings are on, ...after a few gigs I have to "compensate" like You wrote above, first B string "die", ...than E string "die", ...other three are more durable and they last a little bit longer...etc. At the end when G string is not useful for slap any more it's time for whole strings set change!
 
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