This is the 14th installment in guest blogger Steve Lagudi’s series on Guitars & Bass in a Live Setting – if you missed his three-part series on bass, you can read the most recent post here.
Ready for the next show.
I want to take a step back for a moment. I mentioned pedals before. If a player has pedals and you want to go with the straight-up DI sound, make sure to get the DI after the pedals – this way you actually hear when the player engages a pedal. So keep a few extra ¼-inch cables around, because chances are you’re going to need them. Also, make sure the DI is after the tuner pedal, this way when the player tunes, it cuts off the signal and you don’t have to hear them tune up.
Also on the topic of pedals, one band that I work with, Napalm Death, Shane, he uses a distortion pedal. It is actually a straight-up guitar distortion pedal. I should not fail to mention that he does not use a bass amp nor does he get bass in his monitor – weird I know – but he relies on me doing my thing from FOH. For Shane, I like to use two DIs, just straight up, not the SansAmp. I take the clean from the first one and then I take the second right out from the distortion pedal. Now I have total control and can create my own blend between the clean and the dirty signals. To tell you the truth, mixing Shane’s sound has been the most difficult bass sound, and yet he tells me that in 25-plus years, I get the best bass sound. GO FIGURE! Why is it so difficult? Well, he uses a guitar distortion pedal, so it lends to the upper-mids and highs you get from a guitar. This makes it very difficult to separate the bass from what Mitch is doing on guitar. Napalm Death does not have a lot of the typical low-end that you expect from a bass, partly why I think Shane is an awesome player, but like I said, for me, it took a bit of time to find the sweet spot to get him to sit in the mix properly.
Now let me touch on gating for a second, since I mentioned Shane and his distortion pedal. Shane leaves this pedal on all the time and, let me tell you, that thing is loud and feeds back very easily. So I have to gate this channel all the time. This is, yet again, another reason why I like to carry my own gates. Having the ability to use the filter section, I adjust my gate to the right response so when he plays, the gate opens and closes properly. I roll the filters to focus between 800 Hz and 2 kHz. I have a medium hold time with a fairly quick release – not too quick as it cuts totally off, I let it close off nicely. The range is set all the way up so that it cuts off completely.
Check back next Wednesday to read Steve’s next blog installment!