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Username: jeramaya

Post Number: 15
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 1:21 pm:   Edit Post

Hello everyone,
I have a bit of a tone conundrum that I'm hoping someone could help me with. I play an Epic 4-string in a punk/metal band. I've been plugging into a Catalinbread SFT overdrive pedal, then into a GK 1001RB-II head which is powering a Mesa P1000 cabinet. When my band is playing, I usually get lost in the mix when I play on the higher strings. Basically, when I don't play on the E-string, I tend to disappear. I have several ideas that I want to try, including changing the EQ on everything (one piece at a time, of course), lowering/raising the bridge on the treble side, and if this doesn't work I'm going to use a different bass. But I don't want to since I love my Epic! Haha

Here are my current settings:
Epic: volume all the way up, pickups each at 50%, bass at 50%, and treble anywhere from 50% to 75%
SFT: basically everything is straight up, although I sometimes bump up the overdrive between 12 and 3 o'clock.
GK: everything is at noon, except contour is off, low-mids are at 3 o'clock
Cab: tweeter off

And here are some rough recordings my band did:

Now, as difficult as it may be, try not to pay any attention to the bass sound here. I actually used a different bass on these recordings. But you'll hopefully get the gist of the style and some of the guitar sound. Thanks so much for any and all help. -Jeramaya
Username: nnek

Post Number: 69
Registered: 8-2009
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 2:17 pm:   Edit Post

Just listening to the type of music I wonder if your bass sound is blending into and getting lost behind the crunch sound of the guitar by using the SFT. Try a little clarity to to get some diiferentiation and if you want "huge" maybe what would work is an Aurelex exciter with "big bottom"?
Username: nnek

Post Number: 70
Registered: 8-2009
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 2:25 pm:   Edit Post

oops , That should be Aphex Aurel xciter.... Aurelex makes those foam things...
Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 523
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 3:08 pm:   Edit Post

Jeramaya -

I think your tone is OK, it's just too low in the mix.

The overdrive will tend to add harmonics to your tone, which will tend to get lost in the "wall of guitar" here. So backing off will help you be a little more distinct, although you don't want to back off so much as to lose the edgy tone that you're going for.

The way that this would normally be address would be for you to consider using a compressor to raise your typical level a bit and perhaps EQ your tone at the board so that it's more distinct from the guitars - that means boost the bass for meat, cut the mids so they don't conflict. You might want to boost the highs so you get more definition, but that may or not work with what you're trying to get.

If these recordings were with mikes, part of the issue is also that the low response of the mikes won't be very clear on the bass relative to the mids. You can fix that by adding a direct in from your bass, although this makes mixing a lot harder.

The other common issue is that the best band sound may be different than what you'd do if you were setting your own sound. I don't think you have that problem though.

David Fung
Username: stout71

Post Number: 26
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 4:46 pm:   Edit Post

I will second the compressor idea. It's nearly crucial for the type of music you're doing. You can get a basic foot pedal or a complete effects board (I use a Boss GT-10B - awesome). Set the compression ratio at about 4:1 with a fast attack and a slower release time. It should smooth out the level and yield a really solid bass line that doesn't get lost in the mix. If I've just lost you, those settings should be pretty apparent on any compressor. (Ratio, attack, release, threshold). Unless you're running the front mix, you won't have much control over it, so best to do what you can to control the signal before it gets out there.
Intermediate Member
Username: oujeebass

Post Number: 186
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 6:26 pm:   Edit Post

I would suggest running seperate clean signal into a seperate channel, or amp. You could then balance to 2 to make up the loss in the the other.
Username: jeramaya

Post Number: 16
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 8:35 pm:   Edit Post

Apologies for the length, but I appreciated the many responses. Good suggestions. And fast!

Nnek: yeah, I think our crunch sounds are definitely competing. It's hard for me to back off of it, but I may have to in order to be heard. I've never come across one of those Exciters before. I wonder if there's one locally that I could rent...

David: Agreed. I couldn't be around to give my two cents with regards to the mix. I was disappointed with the turnout and vowed to be there at all costs when we do further recording. And I see your point about getting lost due to the added harmonics.

As for compressors, this has been a consideration, but I don't have a ton of money to spend. I haven't heard of nor have I researched fairly inexpensive, decent compressors, if they exist at all. Also, I kind of thought with the overdrive pedal that my signal was already compressed. And to be more clear, I'm not concerned so much about the recording quality as I am the live sound. That's where I really am getting lost.

Stout: thanks for the recommendations. I just did a minor search and found a ton of reviews by a guy at Seems to come recommended for that type of thing.

Oujee: now that's what I'm talking about! Haha. One day I definitely be doing this. It's going to take a little time.

Tonight I took out the SFT and went back to my old sound for now. Straight out of the Epic and into the GK. It has bite, but it doesn't get quite as nasty as I'd like. I may need to look into either a different GK head (one with less power, I'm thinking) or something tube-oriented. Ah, the quest for tone is a sleepless journey. Cheers
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 414
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - 10:52 am:   Edit Post

Get an old Ampeg SVT and kick some %$$*%. Talk about punch!
Username: jeramaya

Post Number: 17
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - 6:46 pm:   Edit Post

Recently in the local Craigslist pages there was one and...I didn't act on it. Hindsight!
Username: wfmandmusic

Post Number: 6
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Monday, January 09, 2012 - 10:29 am:   Edit Post

I agree with dfung60. Sometimes you have to eq around the guitar,but the guitar is way over mixed in the recordings. It's drowning out the drums and bass both. Gtrguy says get an old ampeg svt and I could not agree more. It will give you enough tone control and if you drive it hard enough (which I am guessing you will need to)you will naturally overdrive it to an amazing gritty punk tone. Run it straight up when you are recording as you can always compress and eq it later in the mix. Hit them with an old school square back 8/10 ampeg cab to go with the svt...
Username: jeramaya

Post Number: 18
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Friday, January 13, 2012 - 1:42 pm:   Edit Post

With regards to the compressor, I need to do more research and find out exactly what I want/need. It seems that with a slightly higher ratio and the right threshold, I should be able to even out the volume of my strings. That, I think more than anything, is the real issue I've always had when using the Epic in a band with a loud guitar. I'm excited about the near future, even if the present frustrates me. Again, thanks for all the help.
Username: the_schwartz

Post Number: 66
Registered: 1-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 11:05 am:   Edit Post

The 4:1 compression will definitely help. If you're concerned about sounding too compressed, you can always try parallel compression, i.e. split your output signal, compress one of the splits, and mix the compressed signal back in with the uncompressed signal. Adjust the level of the uncompressed signal to "fill out" your tone.

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