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Old 14th April 2004, 01:53 AM   #1
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Default bass guitar frequency range

I'm just curious, but what frequency range does an electric bass guitar normaly operate within? I once remember someone posting a graph of the frequency ranges of various clasical instruments and the human voice, but i dont think it had anything about electric bass guitars.
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Old 14th April 2004, 11:53 AM   #2
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Low E on a 4 string bass is usually about 41Hz, and the low B on a 5 string around 31Hz fundamentals. Figure another 3 octaves in fundamentals plus another octave or two in harmonics, and the range is actually quite wide.

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Old 14th April 2004, 12:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
in fundamentals plus another octave or two in harmonics,
Modern bass-guitars with roundwound strings definitely generate harmonics above 5 kHz. Only players with bad taste (like guitar players playing a bass every now and then ...... ) don't care about the reproduction of these.

Regards

Charles
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Old 14th April 2004, 09:40 PM   #4
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about how high above 5 khz do they go?? up to 6khz? 15??
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Old 14th April 2004, 11:37 PM   #5
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Slap style bass goes as high as you'll let it.
Plectrum style not too far behind.
Fingernail edge just as high but much lower treble levels.
Fingerstyle takes off most of the top end.

The instrument (electric bass) can produce up to 20KHz.

Played live or recorded its filtered / compressed / limited.


sreten.
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Old 24th April 2004, 08:35 PM   #6
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Default bass guitar frequency range

I think it depends heavily on playing style and the actual instrument. As pointed out, the low end is well defined - around 30 Hz for a 5-string bass tuned to standard pitch, around 40 Hz for a 4-string bass tuned to standard pitch.

My cheapo Fender Squire bass guitar has passive pickups with lots of turns of fine wire, making for lots of series inductance and series resistance. Combine that with the capacitance of even a short length of guitar cable, not to mention the input capacitance of anything it is plugged into, and you have a permanent low-pass filter built into the system which makes it very unlikely that there is any significant output above 5kHz from this guitar. If you play it the way James Jamerson played on all those great Motown songs - the classic fat, round tone - I would be surprised if there was any significant output above 1 kHz.

If, on the other hand, you have a bass with active pickups which are designed with lower impedance and then buffered by the onboard electronics, and you combine that with a heavily percussive style of playing (lots of slaps and pops), you can expect more treble output. I am still somewhat skeptical that there is much output beyond 5 kHz, but then again I've been wrong before and will undoubtedly be wrong again. I will volunteer to eat my hat, though, if anyone shows me a stock bass guitar and playing style that generates significant (defined as, say, 10% or more of total RMS signal) output above 15 kHz!

Put it this way: if you play your bass through a speaker that does not include a tweeter, and you like the sound if it just fine, that means you're probably not hearing much above a kHz or two, and don't miss it. Those big bass-guitar sized loudspeaker drivers don't usually have much output beyond a kHz or two. In fact a healthy 8-inch woofer may not go much above a kHz, and a 12 or 15 inch driver will usually top out at an even lower frequency, though this does depend somewhat on things like cone material and moving mass. I remember measuring an 8" driver that had its first cone breakup mode at 1 kHz, followed by very rapid roll-off except for the odd spike here and there in the frequency range as other break-up modes peaked.

-Flieslikeabeagle
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Old 29th April 2004, 07:37 PM   #7
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Default Re: bass guitar frequency range

True and not true.

Most bass processing removes excessive top end.

But a bass heavy tonal balance doesn't mean no top end.

Playing live excessive top end is generally cut by the speakers.

As with all things a hifi speaker with good high midrange resolution
is needed for high quality reproduction of bass, it needs to be able to
let the subdued midrange clues for the edges of bass notes through.
With such a hifi speaker it is also obvious when bass is rolled off.

To go back to the original question - IMO the frequency range is
irrelevant - nearly every instrument needs clean accurate full
range reproduction to sound real.

And it becomes obvious what recording filtering has been applied.

sreten.
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Old 29th May 2004, 02:56 PM   #8
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Default bass guitar frequency range

Just wanted to add a thought. An artificial harmonic is when you lay a finger on a string at a particular position on the neck without pushing down into the fretboard. At the 22nd fret, on a 35 1/2 inch scale neck, the artificial harmonic rings very high, in the 5-10k range. The absolute bottom end is DropC tuning. Anything below that and it sounds like mud. Therfore I believe the actual "frequency range" is 25Hz-10kHz. The strings themselves are not able to efficiently vibrate any faster or slower. With that, most bassists, like myself only care to play from 35Hz(E-String DropD) through about 500-600Hz(about the 19th or 21st fret on the G-String). Hope this helps
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Old 29th May 2004, 03:58 PM   #9
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Default Re: bass guitar frequency range

Quote:
Originally posted by DogWater
Just wanted to add a thought. An artificial harmonic is when you lay a finger on a string at a particular position on the neck without pushing down into the fretboard. At the 22nd fret, on a 35 1/2 inch scale neck, the artificial harmonic rings very high, in the 5-10k range. The absolute bottom end is DropC tuning. Anything below that and it sounds like mud. Therfore I believe the actual "frequency range" is 25Hz-10kHz. The strings themselves are not able to efficiently vibrate any faster or slower. With that, most bassists, like myself only care to play from 35Hz(E-String DropD) through about 500-600Hz(about the 19th or 21st fret on the G-String). Hope this helps
Well IMO fairly inaccurate.

Artificial harmonics are nowhere near the 5KHz to 10Khz range.
(Your definition also seems to describe normal harmonics)

5 string basses are typically tuned to Low B.(E,A,D,G)

The range of fundamental notes of a bass is irrelevant to the
frequency range of sounds it produces with different playing
styles.

But I agree with ~ 30Hz (low B) to ~ 10KHz.

sreten.
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Old 29th May 2004, 06:16 PM   #10
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Chiming in here as another bass player.

I have tried a lot of stuff with my cabs, eqs, crossovers and whatnot to get a decent sound. "This one time," I did the math to find the highest frettable note's frequency on my Gibson, and then cut anything above that freq out of the signal path. It sounded like mud. Several people here have already said it, but even though a bass guitar's main frequencies are down between 40Hz and 160Hz, if you cut ANY frequency out of the mix, you lose definition. The only time you won't pick up string harmonics that are +10Khz is if you play with flat wound strings like some jazz players. And even then I'd bet they're there, just not at a level you'll hear in the reproduction.

But... A lot of classic bass cabs didn't have speakers capable of replicating those high frequencies. Most modern cabs have piezo tweeters so you hear clearly the pick and slap harmonics that are above 5KHz.

My predisposition though is for simple, non-tweetered cabinets. My home made cabinet will be a 2x12 vented coaxial. My very first bass cab was a Fender 2x15 closed back.

It just depends on what sounds you want to hear coming out of the cabinet. I'm happy with lack of 5KHz+ (I'm sure my current cabs reproduce higher than 5KHz, but the speakers are only rated 50 - 3,500Hz so it probably isn't "clear" like a tweeter would make it).

Oops, tangentville.
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