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Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3790
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 5:07 am:   Edit Post

No Sonicus I'm not trying to get rid of you my friend. :-)
I have been practicing again today, got to start the new year right, and I have noticed again that any "D" note on my Series I bass has more prominence than any other note on the instrument. It's louder and richer in tone. So I started looking on-line to see what could be the cause and found myself on a site discussing wolf tone eliminators. However these are related to double basses.

Could this be something to do with the resonant frequencies in the bass, standing waves in the room I'm playing in or even my bass rig? Or something else.

I can't honestly say that it's something I've noticed when at a gig but it could be there and I've not picked up on it before as I haven't gigged a heck of a lot with that particular bass.

I haven't checked my other basses yet to see if they exhibit the same sonic properties but will do asap.

Advanced Member
Username: flpete1uw

Post Number: 231
Registered: 11-2011
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 5:57 am:   Edit Post

I always thought/heard/felt this with my Distillate playing the Low B on the A string. My other Basses do not have this issue at least on the B.

(Message edited by flpete1uw on January 03, 2014)
Intermediate Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 193
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 6:11 am:   Edit Post

I think it varies from instrument to instrument and it has a lot to do with resonant frequencies. I had an old Washburn bass 20 years ago that had a C (low one on A-string) that was quite louder than everything else. I'm not a fan of using compression for live shows, but you do what you have to. I just took the edge off, like a 2:1 ratio. It made enough of a difference in volume to help, and it also helps to have a decent compressor.

It's also worth pointing out that it may not be as noticeable for you at gigs if you're sharing any of the same frequency bands with other instruments when you play that specific note. You might find that if you change the EQ, the note jumps out again, in which case, I'd leave it where it is! This is why EQ is so important for recordings and how you get great separation between instruments. If things aren't EQ'd right, different instruments can share the same frequency bands which will muddy up everything. But to me, it's not nearly as noticeable in a live setting.
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3186
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 8:04 am:   Edit Post

Jazzy ,
Yes , the mysterious " Wolf Tones ".I think there are variable's that summon these critters as is mentioned in yours and the posts of others so far in this thread.

I strongly agree with your statement in the second paragraph of your post #193 (above) . I have found this to be very relevant especially with keyboard players with a strong left hand
technique in the lower register who disregard MY " spectral presence and need to occupy the lower frequencies . I call that disregard of my "Sonic Real Estate". :-)
Senior Member
Username: tmoney61092

Post Number: 904
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 8:38 am:   Edit Post

Fretted "A" on the E string on my Gibson Victory Artist bass when I use it at church gigs, but it is SUPER loud, I'm pretty sure it's just the resonent frequency of that room bc everywhere else it's fine haha

Senior Member
Username: jimmyj

Post Number: 494
Registered: 8-2008
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 12:36 pm:   Edit Post

Hey gang,

Usually a "wolf note" on an acoustic instrument is a note that doesn't speak well. It's an issue which they discovered can sometimes be fixed by adding small weights (mass) to the string beyond the bridge. Usually a brass piece with rubber inside. Like this:

All instruments, including ours, are susceptible to this kind of thing simply because any piece of material will have some resonance which will correspond to specific musical pitches.

I have a couple relatively dead notes on my basses (shorter sustain than neighboring notes) but they only appear in one spot. That same note in other positions is fine. I know this is a resonance issue because if I play that dead note while pressing the headstock against a wall, it sustains just fine...

Alembics are famously even and balanced when it comes to the note volume but I think all instruments share this weirdness and you simply need to learn any odd issues a specific instrument might have and then avoid them.

Having said all that ... Jazzyvee, if you are saying that all your Ds speak louder than others then I would venture to say it is more likely your listening environment, like a room resonance - standing wave kind of thing - or even a speaker cabinet resonance. You could try moving the amp away from the wall or even turning it at an angle. Does it happen in headphone?

Jimmy J
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3791
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 5:06 pm:   Edit Post

hey Jimmy It's always good to get your input. I will move my cab when I practice again tomorrow and try again also with headphones to see if it is indeed the room layout. I did try a different alembic today and there was no emphasis on the D at all nor any other note that I could determine other than hearing the harmonic overtones Mica warned me not to learn to hear. :-)
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2100
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 8:37 pm:   Edit Post

Rooms drive me crazy. I am the King of Standing Waves, Resonances, and Random Aural Anomalies. At least I'm not alone. I once read an interview with Joe Osborne where he remarked he rarely liked playing live as he could not hear himself as he did in the recording studio.

Although it does have its' random small joys: I was loud enough today at home to where a few dishes re-arranged themselves spontaneously in the China hutch. Nothing like low D and C . . . .

With the multi-laminate neck and the very hard ebony fingerboards, Alembics wear fewer dead spots than most, but you can occasionally find a spot or two a bit dimmer than elsewhere on the fingerboard. I wish I had mastered compression, as I inevitably swerved between too-little-to-hear-any-difference and that squashed / stretched novocaine'd sameness, and never could find that sweet spot, and wished technology existed where the compression was pitch-coupled instead of only how hard I was bending the needles in the VU's . . . .

Pressing a headstock against a wall . . . . Really? Does Susan know you do this ? ? ? ?

J o e y
Advanced Member
Username: jzstephan

Post Number: 222
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Friday, January 03, 2014 - 8:47 pm:   Edit Post


Senior Member
Username: 811952

Post Number: 2353
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 - 7:58 am:   Edit Post

I have used many a C-clamp on the headstock when recording. As Jimmy says, every instrument has some variation.

Senior Member
Username: hammer

Post Number: 447
Registered: 9-2009
Posted on Monday, January 13, 2014 - 11:07 am:   Edit Post

A c-clamp on your headstock...I hope only a small one is needed (or you always record sitting down). I'll bet anything heavier than a few ounces would create the ultimate in neck dive.

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