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  #1  
Old 04-29-2010, 03:17 PM
funkytoe funkytoe is offline
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Default How do I tame that booming low E?

New member here. After a 25+ year career as a bassist, I have returned to solo gigs with just me and my faithful Yamaha FG-375s acoustic.

She's a beautiful, resonant old girl that I've had for years. As a matter of convenience, I decided to install a Fishman Matrix Infinity pickup in her so I don't need to worry about close miking anymore. I play her through my SWR California Blonde and she sounds FANTASTIC from A to high E. But, that low E just comes out BOOMING. This is a problem, because, as a former bassist, I enjoy playing accompanying basslines on the E and A strings ala old Maybelle Carter. The volume from that Low E is hard to tame and can really overshadow the melody.

Now, the E seems to have perfect balance with the other strings when I play unplugged. Its only a problem when amplified. I've played with the onboard EQ of the Matrix Infinity and with the amp. That helps a bit, but has not satisfied me. I am currently playing DR Sunbeams, medium lights .11

Any thoughts from you veteran players on this one? Do I go with a higher gauge E string? Rub some grease on that E to deaden the string (believe it or not, we used to do that with new bass strings) Any help is appreciated.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:37 PM
chitz chitz is offline
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You could try a piece of paper on top of the pickup and under the saddle, in the location of the "E" string.
Experiment around with something to deadn' it a lil.
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:07 PM
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It sounds like you need the Baggs Para DI or the Boss AD3. I've owned both - both are great. I like the AD3 a little better for feedback control and chorus/reverb, and the Para DI for tone control.
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:14 PM
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Hi funky toe…
First of all, hello and welcome to the forum. We are glad you joined and that you are stirring up your acoustic roots...

Tone control through a PA or amp is a matter of having the right equipment to tailor the sound. A simple 7-10 band EQ would give you all you need.

The ParaDI (already mentioned by SteveS) would perhaps give you a bit more specific control over the individual freq of the string, but most EQ pedals are targeted at specific string ranges as well. Worth a trip to a store where they carry lots of pedals and will let you play with them.

I’d sure consider EQ before trying to pull the saddle and put things between the pickup and saddle, and I’d never degrade the state of a string to make it balance.

Hope you find your answer...

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Old 04-29-2010, 04:22 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Hi and welcome to the forum!

I agree with those above; I think you simply need better equalization, either a parametric EQ or relatively inexpensive graphic equalizer or EQ pedal. Many PA channels have decent parametric EQ built in, which is how I tamed this problem for years, but it doesn't sound like you are using a channel strip.

The old Yamaha 375 is a very decent acoustic. I do hope you find a cost-effective answer to your booming bass...

Regards, Glenn
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:32 PM
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You shouldn't mess with your strings since the balance is good unplugged. It's the pickup/signal chain that can use some improvement.
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Old 04-29-2010, 04:41 PM
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Personally I think you have a problem with the bottom of the saddle not being level or the saddle slot not being level. Who did the pickup install? If you had somebody do this for you take it back and have them fix the problem. I have installed hundreds of pickups and the one thing that is checked each time is the balance of volume from string to string.
When a string suddenly just jumps out at you or just isn't as loud as the rest, there is a problem.
The pickup that you have is a good one.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:28 PM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.Kwasnycia View Post
Personally I think you have a problem with the bottom of the saddle not being level or the saddle slot not being level.
This or possibly a piece of crud stuck under the saddle under the low E giving it preferential contact.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:03 PM
funkytoe funkytoe is offline
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the suggestions. The undersaddle pickup was a professional install by a very competent luthier. The top of the saddle is radiused perfectly with the fretboard. I could pull it out to check, but my experience with this particular luthier tells me it was done correctly the first time. String height is dead on and the saddle sits tightly in its slot. So, it really seems to be an EQ issue. I have used both graphic and parametric eq's in the past, and this is certainly an option. But I really don't like alot of excess gear in my signal chain. The SWR Acoustic Blonde is a fine amp that gives me a sound I like with just my guitar and a cable. I'd like to keep it that way if I could.

Still thinking that swapping out the string(s) is the way to go here. The more I listen to it unplugged, the more I hear some ringing overtones on that low E that could be part of the problem.

The DR Sunbeams were the first new set of strings I put on this guitar in years. Although I really like the tension and feel of these strings, they are a little bright, especially unplugged. So, if no one likes my "greasing" the E string idea, how about some suggestions for different strings? The FG 375s is a Martin D28 knockoff. Mine has a solid sitka spruce top with mahogany neck, Brazilian rosewood back and Mexican rosewood (Ovonkol) sides. Braced just like a D28.

So, tell me. What strings would you try?
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:29 PM
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The luthier should have heard the problem right away and fixed the problem. Like Azliberty has said, there could be a clump of crud under the saddle or pickup itself. Im not saying the luthier did anything bad, just sometimes these things can slip by. If the bottom of the saddle is flat and the bottom of the saddle slot is good then he could have shaved some off of that area to lessen the pressure of the saddle on the pickup.

There is also one other thing, you should have, if Im not mistaken, on that pickup, a bass boost kind of thing. Reach in behind the controls "volume and tone" and you will find a switch, this may also help you out.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:32 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Dennis,

These are great suggestions!

- Glenn
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Old 04-29-2010, 08:06 PM
funkytoe funkytoe is offline
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Thank you Dennis. I will try the switch first. If it persists, I will take a look under the saddle and see what I can see. I really appreciate the prompt responses and suggestions.
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Old 04-29-2010, 09:08 PM
bkharmony bkharmony is offline
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I've had this problem a lot. I basically do two things to address it. One is technique - just learn not to whack it so hard. The other is I change it less frequently than the other strings. About half as often.

I string mediums, and I like to get spare low Es that are lighter than the standard, but that's not always possible.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.Kwasnycia View Post
The luthier should have heard the problem right away and fixed the problem. Like Azliberty has said, there could be a clump of crud under the saddle or pickup itself. ]
He said it sounds perfect acoustically. There was nothing for the luthier to "pick up". It is in the guitar/string/pickup/amp combination not an acoustic issue. As suggested, I would throw an EQ in the chain and reduce some of the bass.
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