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PICKUPS: What Should a Double Bass Sound Like When Amplified?
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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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The Fine Print:

The information contained herein is based on what's in my brain — and/or my observations and opinions from my personal experiences (and those of Bob, before me) — as of this moment today, and is subject to change. I'm sure that a great deal more information and detail could be added — but the intent of these writings is to present easily understood, quick FAQs, to address common questions and improve the reader's general knowledge.

What's written here is by no means any kind of authoritative absolute answer, for I am not the world's greatest authority on bass (not even close), or on much of anything else, for that matter. So, by all means, get a second opinion, and know that all the information provided here is for general informational purposes only. I am not providing professional advice; be aware that, where applicable, any information acted upon is at your own risk.

I simply and sincerely hope the information and opinions here are helpful to you on your quest for knowledge about the bass and related subjects... that's the point!

I welcome email with dissenting and additional viewpoints/information/updates that help improve my personal awareness and these content pages. If you have a question that you think belongs here, please let me know.

PS: It should go without saying that all of the information here, unless otherwise attributed, was expressly created by us for the benefit of our customers. All graphics, text, data, and other information is copyrighted © 1995-current. You are not permitted to re-use any text, information, or graphical elements on your own website; you may post links to it, or small excerpts, on message boards if properly attributed and linked back to our pages.