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Warwick tone settings


Barks

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I have recently been playing a Warwick Streamer LX 4 string in my covers band, and was wondering if anyone could give me some advice regarding the best use of the bass's eq or perhaps some of their favourite settings on this type of bass for various sounds. The band play a mixture of music from Chic to Bryan Adams to Motown and it would be nice to try to vary the bass sound through the set. So far I have tended to leave everything flat and hope no-one gets bored of the same tone!
'The most important thing is to settle on a bass then commit to it. Get to know your bass inside and out and play it in every situation you can.' Marcus Miller
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As always, do what your own ears dictate. After that, ask the band you're working with what they think!

 

If your PLAYING is up to snuff and you have a good tone, no one's gonna get bored.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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If the following seems like talking down to you, my apologies. It's just that you're new & so I don't know much about what you know & what you don't.

 

But the first thing that occurred to me was to make sure you know how works an active preamp. I know that when I got my first active, I approached it like a passive--everything up as default, & maybe back off this or that from there. On an active, the EQ bands have a center, & on one side is boost & the other cut. That means you should start with everything set flat.

 

I'd begin by putting the volume all the way up, the pickups evenly panned (if more than one pickup is installed), & all the EQ set flat (i.e. in the middle of the sweep--should be a detente to let you feel when you've hit middle). Then, try experimenting with different combinations of MODEST changes. You should surely be able to get all the tones you need for a good night of covers.

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OK, two more quick things.

 

One is that the best place to start adjusting tone settings, imo, is by altering pickup pan/balance. Dammit, the Jazz Bass was a hit for a reason, & this is a lot of it. Alter the pickup balance first, then tweak the EQ, if you even still need two.

 

And the other is the REAL key: mind your hands. Probably the biggest factor in altering tone is how you play: where along the strings are you plucking (or whatever), and how? With the very same settings on the bass, you can achieve huge tonal variations just by how you play.

 

So here's the formula, I guess: start with technique, then pickup balance, then EQ. (And of course there's all the outboard stuff after that, but really the tone must start HERE.)

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I'm not a Warwick owner but I have several basses with active preamps (EMGs and Barts mostly) and I usually set up with them all flat (no boost or cut) on the instrument - I tweak the amp and FX-loop gizmos to get my fundamental tones.

 

I also try to play offstage (using either a wireless or a 50-ft. guitar cord) to get an idea of what it sounds like from the audience's POV.

 

The onboard controls come into play in the middle of a set, say when I need to boost for a solo or if someone from the crew yells "mo' bass". Using them all the time defeats the purpose of having them available in a pinch.

 

And, of course, those controls work both ways. Sometimes it's better to cut a tone/frequency notch to let something else cut through.

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I play a fairly similar Warwick Streamer - it's an old neck-through model with the same pickup configuration as the LX.

 

I'm not keen on how the EQ is voiced on the MEC2 preamps - the highs are too low and lows too high. Consequently a little high cut or boost goes a long way, whilst the lows can be boosted all the way without ever sounding really deep. As a default setting I'd leave the highs flat and add a smidgeon of bass boost.

 

The pickup arrangement responds really well to changes in technique. Pluck relatively hard up near the neck and the round throbbing clangy P-pickup comes roaring through like 21st Century Jamerson. Soften up and crank the gain and onboard low EQ and you can get a fat but tight reggae sound. Dig in near the bridge and you get a really snarling Jaco sound, with the P-pickup adding in the lows and warmth that the very close to the bridge J-pickup lacks.

 

If you find that the change in technique doesn't produce a big enough change in tone, pan the pickups to favour the one you're plucking nearest.

 

And on your amp keep the EQ as flat as possible so you can really hear the tonal changes your hands are causing.

 

Play, listen, react. Rinse and repeat.

 

Alex

 

P.S. Useless fact - I was born in Derby.

 

P.P.S. Welcome! Nice to have someone else on the right side of the pond!

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So if I'm hearing you guys correctly, those with active Warwicks tend to leave 'em mostly flat. Thus obviating the use for active tone controls.... I'm glad I didn't spend the extra $$$ required for an essentially useless feature.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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What it the ONE TRUE WAY that is approved by all good mothers and even has a good housekeeping seal to prove it? And also is hip? Guaranteed to get you laid more, and never get scowled at by the guys, and will get you corporate sponsorship?

 

...I just twist the knobs when I need to in order to hear the sound I want to hear. It's that simple. If more than a couple people tell you that you are wrong you maybe should probably go get your ears checked. I usually use a subtle amount if any at all - but sometimes pouring the knob on into overdrive/distortion really fills it out and makes it speak or sparkle (depending on which knob choice).

 

Rolling on a knob from center detent is also a great way to increase note duration at the end of phrases, sections, or songs.

 

You might have someone's mom glare at ya then, but that's the price ya gotta pay.

.
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Thanks for all the ideas and advice. I have been dipping in to the 'lowdown' on and off without posting too much so far, but I am pleased to find everyone so happy to answer questions about almost everything! My band do like the sound of my Warwick so I am trying to fall in love with it. Contrary to some posts I've read about Warwick basses mine is not heavy at all and balances great on a strap or on my lap. I've just about got used to the extra stretch to the first position on the neck and now I'm just going to get on with it and play!
'The most important thing is to settle on a bass then commit to it. Get to know your bass inside and out and play it in every situation you can.' Marcus Miller
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