Live low end on guitar

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I have been struggling to get enough body from my guitar sound at function gigs. It sounds great in my in-ears and also standing next to the amp so its not the mic placement or the amp sound itself but something to do with the way the sound is dispersing and mixing in with the band and PA sound. Its an open back 2x10 combo (Fender Prosonic) so my initial thought is to try adding a 4x12 underneath although this is a big logistical PITA.

I've compensated by boosting the bass frequencies rather than cutting them in the PA but as these are smallish venues the sound off the stage is more dominant than the PA so it would be better to get that going.

Any ideas?

I raise the amp on its flightcase - would you think being on the floor would be better? Or angle the amp to the side of stage?

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 6452
    edited November 2013
    If you're relying on an open backed guitar combo to get a full sound in the room, you're probably doomed to failure. They just aren't designed to project solid low end - in fact, due to the cab allowing "out of phase" sound out of the rear they specifically cancel low end once you're more than a few feet in front of the speakers (that's why a close mic sounds fine - close in to the cab, proportionally you get way more volume from the front of the cab than the back, so bass isn't cancelled).

    Closed back cabs are better in this regard though they are more directional.

    A 2x10 is always going to be more midrangey than a bigger 2x12/closed back cab, but also consider whether you really need more bass or you could compensate by turning down, letting the PA do more of the work, or EQing out some top end so the tone gets subjectively thicker.
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  • Good advice Cirrus. Turning down and boosting the PA sound is the best short term solution for sure. But the bass player will complain that he can't hear me on stage then as he is the only one not on in ears - and is resolutely going to stay that way!

    I didn't know open back cabs were so suseptible to this - have a wisedom!

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 57439
    Cirrus said:
    If you're relying on an open backed guitar combo to get a full sound in the room, you're probably doomed to failure. 
    No… that's why I use a Trem-o-verb :). It's the only combo I've ever owned which genuinely projects full low-end out into the room. Fender Twins a good second, but the bass is too deep and not tight enough to give really solid projection. (And although it's still an open-back, the TOV's cabinet is more closed than a Twin or many other 2x12"s.)

    But the rest is right. Don't try to overcompensate by turning up the bass too far on the amp - that could possibly make it worse, if it overloads the power section. And don't put it on the floor, it will just make it harder to hear. Your best bet for a chunkier sound from the amp is to turn the treble down and possibly the mids (depending on how it's voiced), as well as the bass up a bit (not too much). But for low-end projection there is no substitute for power, mass and big speakers, unfortunately.


    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • Thanks ICBM,<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Good to know that being on the floor won’t help either. I’ll definitely try the reduction of treble on the amp – the EQ controls aren’t massively powerful – they’re cut only I think.

    Sounds like adding a 4x12 or 2x12 underneath is the way to go. I did a few gig with a Fender Supersonic half stack earlier this year and it did sound much fuller….no difference in the in ears but better out front. I may even start using my Orange OR120 head with the 4x12 and leave the combo at home….

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 57439
    Putting it on the floor will increase the bass slightly, but it will also make it much harder to dial in well, and will probably be counterproductive for projection - the sound will be less defined. It will also make it fight with the bass amp more - ideally you do want the bass amp on the floor because you want a deep, dispersed sound which fills the room, but you want the guitar to sit on top of that so it doesn't get muddied by it.

    What you're actually looking for is more low-mid 'chunk' than true bass, really. That's why speakers like V30s are good for bass-heavy guitar styles, because they actually have slightly less, and tighter, bass than most others - so the sound is punchy rather than boomy. If you can get the natural mix right with the speakers and the placement of the amp, you'll get a much better sound for the whole band more easily, the relative volume balance of the instruments will be less critical, and you won't have to do as much with EQ at the desk. Even if you're using a cab, I would raise it up just a bit - even a few inches - so it avoids coupling it to the floor as much.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • Good news about V30s – the Fender 4x12 has those and I also have an Orange 2x12 V30 loaded. I’ll try them when I get more space in the van when the drummer goes back to driving himself to gigs! I’d rather get it right on stage for these small functions as opposed to hyping the low end unnaturally in the PA.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 6452
    I think you'll enjoy having the 2x12 as well. Personally I think that's the perfect size for full sounding guitar In a typical live situation. As for you and your tremoverbs @ICBM... A 100 watt combo with cold biased power section, perfectly voiced low end, and pretty much the most closed back a massively overbuilt open backed cab can be? Yeah, that'll probably do it :P
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 5793

    Any ideas?

    2x12 was always my preference.  1x12 was too focused, 2x10 not warm enough, and 4x12 too difficult to get the projection right for the room.  After years of trying to balance backline with PA I've given up on backline, and now put the guitar through the band's PA, with a powered speaker for monitoring. The purpose of the monitor is two fold, a) so that I can hear myself a little more guitar heavy than the FOH mix, and balance my guitar volume (we don't have a soundman); b) to get acoustic feedback between speaker and guitar.  The monitor is always on a chair, table or stand so that I can hear it, and there's no acoustic coupling with the floor.  The signal I send to FOH is cut below 125Hz to leave space for the bass. Signal above 125Hz is whatever I need to get a nicely warmed sound.
    Known here as Old Misery Guts or the Big Bad Classified's Sheriff. Also guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • Thanks you guys -

    Roland – Its tempting to lose the backline but I like having a clean tube amp being driven by pedals so going direct is a step to far for me at the moment!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

     

    Can I ask you all, what would you choose to gig with if you were me in this situation (i.e. playing functions for 100 odd people with a QSC K series PA (12s and a Sub) from the list below:

    Heads:

    -          Fender Supersonic 100W

    -          Orange OR120

    -          Vox Night Train 15W

    -          Mesa Triaxis and Simulclass rack 2x90W

    -          Marshall JMP1 and 9100 rack 2x50W

    -          Marshall JMP 1987x 50W

     

     

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  • MikkiMcMurdererMikkiMcMurderer Frets: 341
    edited November 2013

    Continued:

    Cabs:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    -          Fender 4x12 straight or angled with V30s

    -          Marshall Straight 4x12 with Greenbacks

    -          Marshall Angled 4x12 with G75s

    -          Orange 2x12 with V30s

    -          Mesa 1x12 with Black Shadow – ¾ closed back

    -          Marshall 1912 – fully closed back

    Combos:

    -          Fender Prosonic (30W in Class A mode)

    -          Vox AC30 CC with Blue Celestions

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 57439
    All of it?

    :D






    Too sound and music-style dependent to be able to give a really good answer, you may have to just try several combinations.

    Me personally - I'd probably take the Pro-Sonic (although I probably wouldn't run it at 30W), and the Orange 2x12 if it wasn't beefy enough by itself, although the Fender Supersonic and the Marshall 4x12 with Greenbacks would be tempting too. But I like reverb, so that limits the choice a lot.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 3350
    Me? the marshall 1987x and a pedal or two. Cab wise the orange 2x12 for comfort or the 4x12 with greenbacks for umph.

    The right answer is probably the prosonic and a small pedal board. At functions big amps look loud and spark cries of "it's too loud". Little amps miced up don't illicit the same response in my experience.

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 6452
    Out of that list I'd take the ac30CC but plug it into the 4x12 of greenbacks. That'd be a pretty girthy rig, especially if you used the normal channel!
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  • MikkiMcMurdererMikkiMcMurderer Frets: 341
    edited November 2013

    ICMB – all of them would be immense! How many ground loops would you have to break though?! Music style is the rock end of covers standards like Sweet Child o Mine, Living on a Prayer as well as the mandatory Killers and KOL. The 80s rock is what really needs the chunk! The Prosonic in Class A is a very sweet sound so yeah I’d like to keep that in the rig if possible – so maybe that with the Orange 2x12<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    ESBlonde – my problem with the 1987x is that I get all my sounds from pedals and to get a clean sound you have to use your guitar volume so it kinda only works in the set up you describe, which isn’t mine – I have a stupid big pedal setup – the kind of laughably stupid type…

    Cirrus – The AC30 is a great sound – I should try it with the 4x12 – would be difficult to get into some venues though!

     

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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 6965

    For function bands the JMP-1 is killer if linked up via midi to a gt10 or similar. I've been using one now for about 6 years, got patchs for Killers, Jovi, KOL.s . One stomp changes the amp and the effects

    I know everyone likes to do things differently but in my experience you get a better, more controlled dare I say commercial sound as a function band if you keep the amp on the floor behind you, mic'ed up and you let the PA do the work. Whole band on ears (bass player will come around) no wedges, no backline beaming through etc. It can sound like a giant Hi Fi clarity wise. 


    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • Hey Danny - Yeah reducing the direct sound somehow would be an option but in a small room its going to disperse and mix with the PA sound - best to get it right. I think I may go for a Supersonic head and the Orange 2x12 for the next gig and see how I get on.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 57439

    Music style is the rock end of covers standards like Sweet Child o Mine, Living on a Prayer as well as the mandatory Killers and KOL. The 80s rock is what really needs the chunk! 

    That actually sounds more like Marshall territory. (I know the guitarist in the Killers uses Fender and Hiwatt.) The JMP-1 and the power amp should get you that, and is probably the most versatile apart from the Mesa Triaxis.

    You can surprise yourself though - not all gear responds the same to your own playing style as it does to what you're trying to copy. I use Mesa amps and I don't play metal… I love Neil Young's tone but I can't make a Tweed Deluxe sound that good.

    How 80s/Marshally is the drive channel on the Supersonic? I've never played one.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • RolandRoland Frets: 5793

    ... what would you choose to gig with if you were me in this situation (i.e. playing functions for 100 odd people with a QSC K series PA (12s and a Sub) ...

    JMP1 to give a range of sounds, 9100 because if you need more than 50w then IMO it should be miked through the PA, and the 2x12 because a 4x12 take up too much space in the car and in small performance areas.
    Known here as Old Misery Guts or the Big Bad Classified's Sheriff. Also guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
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  • Ahh - but you see I don't use the amps for the distortion sounds - I use pedals like a Riot or Crunchbox so the drive options of the amps for me are moot - I just need a clean channel that takes pedals well. Having said that, the Supersonic drive section is very nice as is the JMP-1! The Triaxis is bloody fiddly to dial in but once you get there its nice.
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  • martinwmartinw Frets: 2143
    tFB Trader

    I use a 20W valve amp, coupled with 2 stacked 1x12 open-backed cabs.

    I can get all the bass thud, chunk, bottom end, whatever you want to call it from that. In fact my biggest problem has always been keeping it down. All the drive pedals I use have to have bass controls for that reason, as it can get too much, especially in a function band.

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