Gear Frenzy

Very active on the performance side these days. Funny, over the past ten to fifteen years, most of my live work was on the engineering side. Now I get to make the sound engineer’s life difficult for a change.

I have been alternating between bass and guitar. My live rig for guitar is quite extensive but the same cannot be said for the bass. I had been using the Radial JDI direct box for connection to the house system and a small Ampeg RB50 as the primary amp/speaker combination. Unfortunately the Ampeg RB50 is not intended for stage use particularly in those areas that seat more than three or four hundred people.

I went shopping a couple of weeks ago to put together a rig for the bass. The requirements were pretty straightforward: exceptional tone and portable. I tried a number of combinations and I settled on an Ampeg SVT-3PRO head (pictured below) and an SWR Goliath III Jr 2×10 speaker cabinet. I tried the unit with a passive bass and it sounded great. The speaker cabinet fits in my trunk and weighs about 50 pounds. Relatively portable.

When I got the rig home I tried it out with 4 different basses: an active Warwick Corvette 5-string, an active Godin BG-4 4-string, a passive Peavey Patriot 4-string and an active Fender Deluxe American Jazz 5-string. The Fender created hum like you would not believe. I had to jury rig a ground from the bridge of that instrument to my body to suppress the noise. I used the Fender on stage and the hum problem was magnified by the stage lighting.

I have refered the instrument to my guitar tech for shielding which, hopefully, will get done over the next couple of days. Even when you spend several thousand dollars on a quality instrument, most manufacturers use very poor electrical practices with respect to shielding and grounding.

I should have done this when I first bought the instrument but I was not playing as much and the small Ampeg combo did not have the sensitivity to make the hum obtrusive. The good news is that the Fender will come back nice and quiet!

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