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Sound Archives

What Should I Play At Soundcheck?
Ask Damian Erskine

What Should I Play At Soundcheck?

Q: What should I play at soundcheck? I always feel like I should be impressive or something when the sound tech says “okay, let’s hear the bass,” But maybe just pulsing on the open E string is enough? What’s your soundcheck agenda? A: This is the perfect opportunity for me to: a) make a suggestion as to the best use...

Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass
Ask Damian Erskine

Troubleshooting a Clicking Sound From Your Bass

Q: I read your column on active vs. passive basses. I have been playing for a lot of years and am having issues with any Bartolini preamp/pickup combination that I use. I think one thing missed in the article was active vs passive pickups (or maybe I overlooked that). Anyway, I’m hearing a clicking sound. I know what you’re thinking:...

The Lightbulb Moment: Setting The Stage
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Setting The Stage

I’m standing in front of my amp. I’m sure of it. It’s two feet behind me, the light is on, and there’s definitely sound coming out of it – well, at least I’m pretty sure that there’s sound coming out of it. There comes a time in every musician’s life when you realize that a sound check can be an...

How To Play Relaxed While Getting a Good Sound
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Play Relaxed While Getting a Good Sound

Q: When I listen to people playing bass, I always notice two things: 1) They play relaxed with their right hand and don’t use a lot of force and 2) while they do this, they STILL get a good volume and tone. When I play bass, I use quite a bit of force with my right hand (plucking) because when...

How To Get “Your Sound” In The Studio
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Get “Your Sound” In The Studio

Q: I was recently listening to your newer album and was really loving the tone you get. Can you talk a little about how make sure to get “your sound” in the studio? Also, any general tips for recording in the studio would be helpful, too. I’m about to record our band’s first album and want to make sure I’m...

Cutting Through a Big Band: A Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Cutting Through a Big Band: A Discussion for Bass Players

Q: I’m playing in a jazz band of over 40 people in a song featuring bass guitar. I’m looking for a pedal that will make my sound distinct and rise above the band but not distort it. Any recommendations? Thanks. A: Personally, I wouldn’t change my sound much at all. You might leave yourself a little room on your volume...

Dealing with Sound Engineers
Ask Damian Erskine

Dealing with Sound Engineers

Q: I have a question regarding how I might get my sound man to successfully change all the monitors on stage, (5 stage mixes) before a song with a different lead singer and making the original lead singer a backup and not in the musicians mix anymore. Changing to a song that is led by a female while still having...

Should I Use an Amp, a Monitor or In-Ears?
Ask Damian Erskine

Should I Use an Amp, a Monitor or In-Ears?

Q: I want to choose a new rig. I’m quite happy with my basses and my effects I own at the moment, and I am searching now for a way to amplify my signal. I have a very good, portable upper-middle-class halfstack, but I can rarely use it because I often do small gigs and it is a little bit...

Dealing with Different Environments and Bass Tone
Ask Damian Erskine

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...

Learn More About Electronics and Sound In New Music Pro Guide
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Learn More About Electronics and Sound In New Music Pro Guide

So, you’re not a math person. And you really don’t feel like technical electronics tasks are really your thing. However, you need to know some concepts about sound and recording. was written with someone like you in mind. The book, publishing as of Hal Leonard Corp.’s Music Pro Guides series, teaches you how to test cables, use an oscilloscope, and...