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Useful onboard Electronics


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Lately I´ve questioned how much good onboard EQ actually does. I guess it really depends on what type of music you play and what your bass sounds like passive. I just think that most bands could benefit from bassists not having bass and treble boosting.


I mean some jackasses absolutely DO NOT understand the concept of SITTING in the mix. Everyone wants to be heard over everyone else. We all know guitarists are usually responsible for volume disputes, but guys let´s not contribute. ¨


Anyway, with this in mind I started checking out alternatives to the traditional 2 or 3 band onboard EQs. I stumbled upon Bartolini´s EZQ, a parametric filter. Look for EZQ about 2/3 of the way down . I guess it makes sense that Bartolini would make something this cool.


Correct me if I´m wrong but using this one could cut out useless low end frequencies to tighten up low end and/or cut out high frequencies that make distorted tones harsh. If so, that´s what I call uselful electronics.


Also, instead of always boosting bass frequencies (which if I understand correctly sucks a lot of juice from power amps since a 3dB increase requires 2x the power) why not mess around with the midrange ONLY. Cutting and boosting the right mid frequencies should make dialing in good slap or rock tones a snap. I think :confused: . EMG makes one such tone control.


I just thought I´d share this "revelation" with y'all. Did I just make a fool out of myself or is this actually worthy of one of these :idea: .

Does it hurt?


Only when I'm awake.

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I like having tone controls on my bass. My amp isn't always so easily accessible, and there are definitely 2-3 "sounds" I use during a gig. EQ and pickup blends are right to hand.


I understand that I risk being just another idiot that blasts through the mix, but I try to make sure if I boost something (like the low end), I trim the volume a bit.


I do feel that many preamps/pickups are harsh. My Demeter onboard changes tones smoothly when I turn the knob.




Acoustic Color


Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Good call, robb., on the Villex. It's an option on Modulus basses and there was a BP review of a Modulus Flea jazz 5 with Villex pickups/electronics a couple of years ago. The BP folks really dug the Villex passive system.


I think about my on-board EQ as a way to tweak my sound if necessary on the fly. I use my amp for overall EQ, and then only use the on-board for different styles -- e.g., I may set my amp EQ for fingerstyle playing, which I do most commonly, and then use the onboard EQ to adjust for slapping or a pick (which I rarely do). This is probably why some on-board systems have a "slap" switch of some kind, that scoops the sound to make it more slap-friendly.


On-board active EQs, like any other of our tone shaping tools, need to be used thoughtfully with an understanding of how the whole group sounds. There are fools who EQ poorly at their amp, or use an EQ pedal without listening to the results, or...and so on and so forth. On-board EQ is no better or worse than any other tone shaping tool, just different, and still needs to be used conscientiously.



Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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My Lull basses all have a Bartolini preamp in them with bass, mid, and treble controls. The mid range frequency is switchable via a 3-way selector switch (I keep mine at 250Hz). The knob that I adjust the most when playing is the mid range knob. It helps give the bass definition in the mix, which is what a lot of bass players are severely lacking in their sound. So, as a result, they crank the hell out of their rigs to be heard. Not a good solution.


We've actually sort of had this discussion before. The secret to good tone and cutting through is mid range. Having tons of low end is good for shaking the building off it's foundation, but it's lousy for having definition in your sound.


Ultimately, you should be using the tone control on your bass to make minor adjustments and corrections to your sound. Your preamp/amp should be where 99% of your sound is dialed in.

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I've always been a cutter; lately, the three band EQ on my Thumb 5 doesn't get much love. I uusually play flat, and even my Demeter rack preamp is relatively flat (slight bass boost, slight mid cut, SLIGHT presence boost). And, my Acme cabs are FLAT.


I tend to stick with one timbre, but I change hand position and attack to mix it up. When I need something more drastic, I'll cut frequencies on my bass, usually the highs.


It doesn't get much use, but I'm still glad it's there; just in case.

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