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Gear Basics Archives

Ask Damian Erskine

Is There a Right Way To Set My EQ?

A reader sent Damian a question asking about all the knobs on his bass (and even more on his amp). The specific question is: “Is There a Right Way To Set My EQ?” Check out what Damian has to say.

Ask Damian Erskine

Using an Active/Passive Toggle on Your Bass

Q: I’ve got a toggle on my bass for passive and active. I hardly use it. Could you explain the benefits and drawbacks of each? Do you ever toggle during a gig? Thanks! A: I’ve more recently become more enamored with the sound of my basses in passive mode. For me, it partially reflects a change in my stylistic preferences,...

Ask Damian Erskine

Setting Up Your Bass: String Height, Intonation, and More

We’re switching things up for this column: with some talk on setting up your bass. In this video, I show you how I go about changing my strings, adjusting my string height, and tweaking my intonation at the bridge.

Ask Damian Erskine

Curved vs. Flat Fingerboards on Bass

Q: Why are some fingerboards curved and some flat? Is there any benefit to one over the other? A: The curve in the fretboard is called a radius, and there are varying arguments I’ve found for the reason. Many people agree that a radiused fretboard works best with the natural curvature of the hand. This is especially geared towards guitarists...

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Dealing with Different Environments and Bass Tone

Q: In 25+ years playing, one problem has plagued and perplexed me the entire time… from one band practice to the next I swear the tone of my bass changes. One day my bass tone sounds like it’s dialed in right where it needs to be the next my strings sound dull or my amp tone isn’t punching they way...

Ask Damian Erskine

Bass Cabinets: On Speaker Sizes and Pairing Them Up

Q: I read the blog of a musician explaining that combining bass cabinets based on speaker size makes a big difference in sound. He also said that combining two 410 cabinets is better than combining a 410 with a 115. I was under the impression that a 410 cab combined with a 115 cab was a great combination, and because...

Ask Damian Erskine

How and Why Woods Affect Your Bass Sound

Q: Experience and all instrument makers tell us that the choice of wood affects the sound of a bass. Of course we know and feel the difference of alder vs. ash bodies, ebony vs. rosewood vs. maple fingerboards, and so many other differences. But, do we know why exactly this affects the amplified sound? What we deal with are metal...


Bass Pickups: A Guide to Formulating Your Sound

There are a number of variables to consider in the search for your ideal tone. To date, we have discussed options relative to amplification. Key among the variables that impact bass tone is pickups thus this column concentrates on pickups. While there are many things that contribute to the timbre and tone of your bass (tone woods, strings, etc), pickups...