What Should a Double Bass Sound Like When Amplified?

It's really a philosophical question.

Which bass do you want to be heard? The one that sounds like you're only two feet away, or the from one across the room? Or, do you want to project a close-miked, recorded sound, or a blended, round-bottom bassier personality? Or a little of both?

Past attendance at jazz festivals has me convinced that many bassists don't truly know their projected sound — the majority of the players I heard would have had a fit if they'd heard themselves from the audience's perspective. I know my personal view has changed over the past few years — I thought that thick rumble echoing back at me from my amp sounded like my bass. Wrong!

Sure, a lot depends on the type of music/band/bass you're into, and its needs. You'll find that the pickups I sell are full-range units; the nature of the sound is heavily influenced by their location on the bridge. The philosophy is to give you ALL the frequencies, and let you make adjustments to your personal needs, 'cause thar's highs in them there basses!! Initially, this hi-fi sound can be a bit of a shock, and then often an eye-opening (and ear-opening) experience.

If I can be so bold as to make a suggestion - you may want to reconsider the tonal character you have, or want to project. Double basses sound so different as you move from 5 to 100 feet away. And so do amps. Having tried lots of different methods over the years, several pickups, and the use of more "hi-fi" amps — it made me completely rethink my approach to the sound I've been projecting. Getting another bassist to play my instrument/pickup/amp combination, so I could get away from the acoustic sound of the bass and listen to the amp, was the first step. And that was a good thing, since it helped me develop a better stage sense of my sound, knowing its affect on how my tone was perceived by the audience.

Just my .02 for your consideration. Happy Bassing!

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