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First rehearsal with church band...


Gruuve

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Hey Folks:

 

Last night I had my first rehearsal with the church band. My first impression personally was one of a little disappointment. I went in knowing all the songs in their entirety, so that part went well. The main problem was sound. They rehearse in another church's facilities, and this particular room has an electronic drum kit and a small PA (Mackie board and Peavey power amp and cabinets). The drummer, keyboardist, and acoustic guitarist/vocalist/worship leader/music pastor all play through this small PA. The electric guitarist brings his own combo amp. I was playing through the small PA as well, and my bass sound was pretty horrible to be honest. I have a very thick tone, and it just was not working through that small PA gear...even touching the B-string resulted in a very distorted sound coming out of the speakers. Yuck.

 

I had constructed a slap riff over the chorus of one particular song that really increased the excitement level of the song. The music pastor had heard it here at my house through my bass rig, and was psyched. "I don't usually prefer slap, but that lick fits so well...very tastefully done...I like it" was his general feeling. Needless to say, that didn't work at all through the small PA...there was simply no attack and no low end came through...I might as well have stopped playing on the chorus because the bass line just completely disappeared. The other musicians were looking at me like "Why aren't you playing?"...then it became "What exactly are you playing?". It was totally unexpected that the bass line would just disappear.

 

Anyway, assuming I continue to do this, a good sounding but not too expensive combo maybe in order. Any suggestions on what to consider would be appreciated.

 

I think I probably need to look at un-thickening my tone a little, or perhaps thickening it by some way other than primarily EQ.

 

So, my first "church gig" is Sunday. I hope that goes better than the first rehearsal!

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Ugh. I know that sound. I'm glad you hung in there, though.

 

If you must continue running through the PA, check first to make sure your level going into the board is not too high. If you are VERY lucky, that's all it is. It's more likely, though, that the PA is just underpowered. Not enough power & bass sounds like doo doo.

 

I'd definitely say you should get a combo. Even if you end up relying on the PA to carry most of your sound, a combo will give you (& others, like a drummer) a good bass reference. And it sounds like you might be better off using it to carry your whole sound, if the PA can't cut it.

 

There are a lot of good combos out there. I have a Genz Benz ML200, with a 12" driver driven by 200 watts & very handy active EQ & signal shaping. (They also make 15" & 2x10" versions.) It's nice because it can be set upright for volume, or tilted back for monitoring. It has an XLR line out. SWR also makes some great combos in their "Workingman's" series (I've been underwhelmed by the "LA" series, though). Ampeg makes some really sweet combos, esp. in the BA series. Not a ton of watts, but plenty loud & they sound fabulous. I don't think that the BA series combos have lines out, though, which may be a consideration, or may not. All of these can be had in the $400-$600 range, which is nice.

 

Do a search, & you'll bring up LOTS of posts on favorite combos for different applications.

 

Good luck Sunday!

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Thanks for the post. The combo would be primarily for rehearsals. I doubt a combo is an option for the actual Sunday gig's, the stage space is VERY limited...they have an pretty awesome PA and I'm using an MXR M80 as a direct box so I've got some tone shaping available to me and should be able to send a good signal. So, a combo for the actual church performances shouldn't be necessary...I guess I'll see after this Sunday eh?

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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So is it your rehearsal space that sucks or the actual performance space. I was a bit confused.

 

I started playing with my church about a month ago. We have a pretty sweet set up. One of the church/band members works at the music store I teach at so the church has a lot of great gear.

 

I bring my bass and plug into a Line6 Pod. We don't use stage amps at all. It's so nice. The mains have plenty of power and run into 18" subs, and a variety of mid/tweeter/horns fo rmids and highs. Two 24 space racks house the power, compression, reverb, EQ, etc. The weakness is the monitor system. We are one power amp short of having 4 monitor mixes. Right now it's ony 2. Once that gets changed, we'll have a top notch system.

 

The coolest part is that it is all on a moveable stage that can be rolled out of site into a storage room.

 

Hang in there. Playing in church is very rewarding.

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Originally posted by SteveC:

So is it your rehearsal space that sucks or the actual performance space. I was a bit confused.

 

It was the sound reinforcement in the rehearsal space that was sucking.

 

Over lunch, I went and tried out a Crate 25 watt 10-inch combo. Yuck...just doesn't handle that B-string at all (which I kind of expected). I'd imagine I'm going to need at least 100 watts and a 15 to even sound good at low - mid volumes with a 5 string bass, eh?

 

Thanks for the posts guys. I'm expecting the performance Sunday to go much better in terms of sound. I believe they have sufficient gear for 4 monitor mixes. We'll see I guess...

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I just got the Pignose Hog 30 and love it as a practice amp and bringing it to the beach.

 

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/tn/48/489056.t.jpg

 

Cleeeeeck!

 

Runs good and long on the battery which comes in handy when at a place with limited power sources.

 

Anyway, my two-cents worth.

 

ATM

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My church band has a pretty decent PA, but the bass and guitars (not acoustic though) use combos for monitors.

 

I find a 8 inch 15 watt Crate to do the job on a 4 string, though there's a definite loss of definition (hehe) and a bit of distortion. I'd think a 12 inch combo would work about perfect (by the way, we use electric drums too). Maybe even say a 30 watt 10 inch would be good. I've heard good things about the Roland Cube's, by the way.

 

Good luck with it!

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Check out the Ampeg B100R combo. Small, 15", 100w, good tone shaping, 1/4"line out. I use mine for practices and small venues/spaces.

1974 Fender Jazz

2003 Musicman StingRay

2006 Gibson LP Studio VM

Carvin DCM1000 amp

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Ampeg B100R

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Like Danno, I have an Ampeg B100R. It's killer...open "B"...no problem. All I do is mic it if I have to, for larger gigs this side of a arena. It sounds great for the size and money. I just don't tote a rack, and 150 lb cab around, if I don't have to.

Vince

 

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." ~ Pablo Picasso

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Hey Folks:

 

Well, did the gig in church Sunday (has taken me this long to post about it since I'm out of town). Things went well, everything sounded good...I feel like there was a good feeling of synergy between the group members playing. I definitely felt better about this experience than the Thursday rehearsal. I had fun at this one, and I believe I have the motivation to keep doing it. I guess that's good since I'm on the calendar again for Nov 14. :thu: Apparently the music minister has already made his decision...???

 

Anyway, this now means that I truly do need a combo amp. I had considered the idea of perhaps just getting a very small but good sounding cab and dragging my SWR head to rehearsal, but then then I'm really hip on the idea of making one trip in and one trip out...that is, carrying my bass in one hand and the combo in the other. I'm finding that, however, a small but good sounding combo is a challenge.

 

I've tried the Behringer 60 watt and 120 watt kick-back. The 120 watt combo sucks. I think the 60 actually sounded better, but it still left lots to be desired. I'm finding that most of these just crumble with an open B-string on a Musicman Stingray5, even at a low-volume. I've tried the crate 20 or 30 watt amp too...what a joke. I've tried the Fender Bassman 25...what a pleasant surprise...it farted just a little occasionally with the B-string, but overall it did surprisingly well for a 25 watt bass amp...I was pleasantly surprised. I tried the Fender Rumble 60...in my opinion it sounded like crap compared to the Fender Bassman 25. That was an unpleasant surprise. I've tried a used Fender Bassman 60, and it sounded only marginally better than the 25 for finger-picking...it has a horn, so slap sounded much better (although slapping the B seemed to bottom-out both combo's drivers). Finally, I've tried a Yorkville 50 amp combo, and I was quite pleasantly surprised by that one. I'll have to revisit, but I think it sounded as good (maybe better) than either Fender Bassman (however, I didn't have a Musicman Stingray5 available...I tried a Schector 5 and a Dean Markley 5-string with it...it didn't fart with either, although it might with a MM 5-string). Finally, I've read some good reviews on the Ibanez 65 watt bass combo, and I'm looking to give that one a whirl next. I also appreciate you recommendations on the Ampeg 100 watt deal...I may very well give that one a try too, but I imagine that it's a little large/heavy for the "bass in one hand, combo in the other" approach. But, it's definitely worth a listen.

 

Like I said, I'm out of town, and I can't think of anything better to do each evening that scope out the music stores in this city and try out combo's...maybe I'll stumble onto a used jewel, who knows! ;)

 

Dave

 

With that in mind

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Dave - glad things worked out for the better. I assumed you had the "motivation" or you wouldn't have showed up in the first place!

 

Minor technical correction - The company that makes the bass you played is Dean. Dean Markley is a string/accessories company (I tried and liked their Love Potion polish).

 

As to the combo, I'm not surprised that you are having this sound problem. The range of products you are looking at work well for practice or very small groups. You'll need to step up. There are Ampeg models, and the venerable SWR WM15 that will be more to your liking (among others).

 

But I'm going to suggest that you don't buy a combo. You mentioned that a main concern is the "one trip" issue. I've played in churches (and a few other places). Face it, without a helper, there is no easy one trip. You have to put down the combo to open the outside door. Then again to open the inside door. And so on. If you get a gig bag, that goes on your back. Then a small hand truck can hold your small cab with your current SWR head on top. That's your easiest way. The cab+gigbag+wheels will cost around the same as the type of combo you need.

 

Or see if there is locked storage. Then buying a combo and leaving it in church makes sense. Then consider a used SWR WM15 and leave it. I'm lucky - my church has a 4 channel Roland (old KC300) that we all use, so I walk in with just the bass.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

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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Yeah, you know, I have considered the idea of just picking up perhaps a really good 115 cab w/horn, and dragging it and the SWR head to rehearsal. The fact is that I could likely get a great 115 for the same price as an OK combo.

 

I've looked at some reviews on the Ampeg BA-115 (100 watt) and BA-112 (50 watt) that you guys mentioned above. I think I'll add those to my list of combo's to try out. The BA-112 might be a good compromise of sound quality, volume, and size/weight. I still think 15 inch combo will just be over my arbitrary "cumbersome size" limit, but I might very well end up going with a 15" combo. But then, when I reach the 15" size, it almost makes to just get the 115 cab and use the SWR head. I guess one advantage of the combo is actually having two bass amp rather than just one, however. I don't know...anyway, I'll keep searching and trying 'em out as long as I'm enjoying the search...right? :thu:

 

Thx,

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Yeah, the man upstairs (two posts up) is completely correct. One trip = gig bag on back with a handcart pulling your amp. You could have a gig bag on your back and carry your decently heavy and awkward shaped combo in two hands, but durnit is that uncomfortable. Yes, it can be done, but I personally think it shouldn't.

 

I'd definitely opt for the handcart. If you only have a 4x10, get a 2x10 or a 1x15 cab. You can get some good used one for like $300 or less, so just search. If you're still keen on the combo, there's some decent one (well atleast spec wise) at bassnw.com for about $400. Any of them'd be decently heavy.

 

Good luck though!

In Skynyrd We Trust
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Unfortunately I don't know all the names for the speakers/subs, but maybe I can offer a little help.

 

I started playing bass at my church about 8 months ago and we've gone through quite a few changes with our sound system.

 

First we ran everything into a mixer, then into a huge bass amp and somehow hooked that up to the sound system in the back of the church that regulates the bigger speakers hanging from the ceiling towards the congregation. (Our church is a small, 70-80 seater church).

 

What we do now, I believe, is run the bass, acoustic guitar, and electric drums through their own DI box and then into a mixer. We use little speakers for monitors pointed towards us. Then, that whole setup is hooked up to the back again, along with the vocalist who doesn't bother to go through our system but rather straight to the sound in the back.

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