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Author Topic: Sharing frequency space  (Read 3291 times)
JohnH
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« on: May 14, 2011, 09:31:08 AM »

Howdy all!  Long time no be here in Worship Bass!  Hope all are well.

The dilemma du jour is the sharing of frequency space in our worship team (WT).  I play bass, we have drums, a couple acoustic guitars and a keyboard. We've been a "Piano led" WT for years, vs a guitar led WT.  What I'm noticing is that the pianist plays the songs like, well, a pianist - both hands, both clefs. 

Last Sunday I couldn't hear myself at all in the mix, as usual, but the "bass" was booming - even when I wasn't playing!  I finally figured out why.  Between my bass guitar and the pianists left hand there is just too much power and sound in that part of the frequency spectrum.  Hearing that much "bass" provokes the action from the sound guys to turn down the "bass", the bass guitar.  They can't turn down the keyboard as that would turn all of the keyboard down and, I don't think they realize that the "bass" sound is coming from a combination of the both the keyboard left hand and the bass guitar.

Neither of our keyboard players knows how to solve this problem and neither do I.  My question for you all are:
How do you folks handle this conflict in your WT's? 
What techniques or changes can the keyboard players, pianists really, employ to still provide the lead from the piano but not conflict with the bass guitar frequency space? 
Is the use of EQ to dampen the keyboard bass an option?  If so, what of those times when you want that full "piano" sound - does the engineer have to rise that low freq EQ knob?

Thanks!!!!
John
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"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
Child of God
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 06:58:10 AM »

Hi John,

Oh yes .... Been there.  Easter Sunday as a matter of fact was the latest occurance, but it was more due to the venue (new to us) more than anything else. 

Most keyboardists who have played in bands understand this problem.  Generally, they know to use the left hand sparingly (if at all) when they have a bass (tuba, etc.) in the band.  They let the bass player cover it and this frees them up for focusing on melodies and adding "ornamentation."   It just takes a little coordination between the bassist and the keyboardist during rehearsals.  Sometimes, the keyboardist should take it ... other times not.  All musicians need to be aware that just because it sounds good when you are playing solo (alone), doesn't mean it sounds good in an ensamble situation.  Same concept applies for tone settings and effects as well.

The second option is "pre-EQ."  Yes, you can EQ the signal before sending it to the board.  However, this severely limits the keboard's potential and capabilities.  You cannot effectively add those cut frequencies back into the mix when needed.

Best option is #1.  The bassist and the keyboardist just need to work out that piece of the puzzle together.   Smiley

Love from Above,
Carl

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Whom have I in heaven but You?  And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73: 25&26 (NKJV)
JohnH
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2011, 05:55:14 PM »

Very helpful.  Thank you Carl!
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"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
chrisfbass
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2011, 01:02:18 AM »

Carl is exactly right. Last year we had a leading (national level) WL come to our church to give an all-day clinic for all the musicians.
This “overlap” point was high on her list of issues to look out for.  Keyboard players need both techniques – playing solo to fill the whole sound spectrum, or playing in an ensemble where they must learn not to overlap other instruments.  They must also be aware of treble instruments like flutes and violins.
We learnt also that sound engineers should allocate specific frequency ranges to each instrument to avoid too much overlap. Close each channel on the mixer and “e.q.” each instrument one at a time using the parametric tone controls. Find the dominant frequency and tailor accordingly allowing each instrument its own frequency space.
Equally musicians can learn to cover for other instruments where there are gaps; acoustic guitar can cover for an absence of drums with percussive strumming.
Also be aware of the bass guitar versus the kick drum and floor toms if you have a mic’d up drum kit.

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Chris
JohnH
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2011, 06:35:52 PM »

Great!  Thanks Chris!  The parametric EQing is too advanced for us at this stage but, I'll file it away.  The rest is excellent!  Thanks!!!
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"God hears the song in your heart."
"Yeah.  But we have to hear you play."
Why Skill Really Does Matter - Ken Boer and Pat Sczebel
mishicoco
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2011, 01:30:59 PM »

i have run into these issues, and to this day still deal with them. But dont think thats it's just keyboards, sometimes the guitars want to  use every frequency range. the best way for a keyboard player to play accompany is to play the left hand closer to the center of the keyboard guitarist that use root chords would do everyone a favor to learn ,and play more inverted chords and let the bassist do his or her job and hold down the bottom end.
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