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Hey all,

I'd appreciate some help with my current challenge: Filling the position of a bass guitar in a pyschedelic rock band with elka electric organ, electric guitar, and drums. I'm new to mixing electronics with my horn, but I'm eager to learn. The goal is roughly to have the same stability and punch as a bass guitar, but preserve the organic, earthy, full tone of my bari, while being able to balance in the mix.

I'm playing on my MKVI bari, and so far have narrowed down my options to the following set-up:
condenser on the bell
dynamic near the bend in the horn (thinking of using percussion mics, i.e. for a floor tom, to get the optimal frequency response)
both mics routed to a limiter like this (http://www.dbxpro.com/266XL/)
from there to reverb, and volume control pedals
then finally to a bass amp

This is what we think would be ideal at this point, but I am very open to suggestions!

In particular, I'd like to know if anyone has done something similar with their bari before. Also, is anyone familiar with the DBX 266, and do you know if it can be used to change the signal from 4 to -10dB? Also, can it supply phantom power to a condenser?

I'm also curious to know if anyone has used a piezo to mic their sax before, and if that might be a useful alternative to condensers and/or dynamic mics for the purpose of getting a really good bass sound.

Lots of questions, I know. Thanks for your time!

-Sharp Nine
 

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If you are trying to actually use a bari sax to play parts that were conceived for an electric bass guitar, I think you will find that the sound produced by a bari sax is very different from that produced by a bass guitar. Just as importantly, the mindset to play bass guitar is totally different from playing any sax, or playing any other instrument.
 

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There's a reason the rhythm section is comprised of instruments that don't have to stop playing in order to breath. I think you'd be better off finding a new bass guitar player.

You can mic the saxophone in lots of different ways, but none of them are going to make it sound like a bass guitar. And you can't play as low on a baritone saxophone as you can on a bass guitar.
 

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There's a reason the rhythm section is comprised of instruments that don't have to stop playing in order to breath. I think you'd be better off finding a new bass guitar player.
I don't know if I agree with this analysis. Listen to Kirk Joseph playing the sousaphone on this Dirty Dozen Brass Band tune. If you want to sound like a funky bass line it's not always the low notes that do the job - it's the walking and the percussive attack that will do it. I see no real impediment to what you are trying to do but I have no advice on the way to achieve the sound electronically.

 

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I've always liked the Dirty Dozen. And this is an admirable performance and funky in it's own right, but it's not a modern jazz-rock or funk performance. And now matter how hard you try, you aren't going to get the sound of a well tuned bass guitar, with it's harmonics, percussive, and chordal applications out of a baritone saxophone. By the same measure, the bass guitar isn't a baritone saxophone.
 

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I agree the baritone isn't ideal as it's not as low, bass would be better.

The DBX or other compressor will be very useful though in getting some solidity into the bass lines, but no it won't supply the phantom power, you need a separate unit, preamp or mini mixing desk for that.

A bass amp is better than a guitar amp, and if it has EQ this will be your friend however a dedicated filtering EQ might be better. My preference would be to get more low end out of the bari if you want it to function like a bass. This is either a question of boosting the lows or attenuating the highs. My preference as I said might be to use a low pass filter type EQ.
 

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I'm playing on my MKVI bari, and so far have narrowed down my options to the following set-up:
condenser on the bell
dynamic near the bend in the horn (thinking of using percussion mics, i.e. for a floor tom, to get the optimal frequency response)
both mics routed to a limiter like this (http://www.dbxpro.com/266XL/)
from there to reverb, and volume control pedals
then finally to a bass amp
Well, if you're going to be a bass player on the Bari..
- Use a pickup instead of a mic. Just build one into a mouthpiece. With a pickup it's way easier to control effects, and you won't need a compressor. Use an extra mic for the normal sax sound.
- You might want to get an octaver pedal to fatten up the bass sound.
- For clarity in the low end spectrum of the band, do not use a reverb on bass instruments.
 

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Well, if you're going to be a bass player on the Bari..
- Use a pickup instead of a mic. Just build one into a mouthpiece. With a pickup it's way easier to control effects, and you won't need a compressor. Use an extra mic for the normal sax sound.
- You might want to get an octaver pedal to fatten up the bass sound.
- For clarity in the low end spectrum of the band, do not use a reverb on bass instruments.
The above is IMO - the best answer so far, but you can get away with a mic only if you can't spring for the pick up - you'll want compression either way. Octave pedal and little to no reverb. It's a lot of work though to hold down the duties of a bassist on a wind instrument. You'll need some powerful lungs - Don't try it above 10,000 ft.
 

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Octave pedal and little to no reverb.
I agree about little or no reverb (or very short reverb), but an octave pedal is only going to work if you use that signal alone, not the real bari, otherwise you will be playing in octaves and I believe that although there will be plenty of low bass notes, the octave bar notes will in some cases get in the way of the band so be careful.

The octaved bari is may also be likely to lose a lot of the "organic, earthy, full tone of my bari," which is part of the brief here.
 

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I agree with the above. However, want I meant was that if you use just a little bit of the octaver signal, it may just gives the bari a bit more bassy character. After all, many B3 players use an octaved sound when playing footbass. So it can work. Using only the octaver signal will probably not give you enough oomph to the bass sound, especially not if it's a large band that plays in larger venues.
I sometimes use this: Korg X911 guitar synth

or this: Maestro Rhythm 'n Sound


Those may or may not work for you, YMMV.
 

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I too was only thinking to mix in a bit of the octaved sound. I'm working with a bassist some who has an 8 string bass - strung like a 12 string guitar. The octave up is not as much of a distraction as I thought it would be. It's really a pretty funky kinda thing...

Personally, I think the whole idea is nuts though :) It would be so much strain on the player to hold down the bottom with a Bari. Some (a lot) of today's music is bass dependant too. If you shared bass duties with a good keyboard player who could kick bass it might work, but three hours of being a bassist on a bari sax???
 

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Hey guys

Thanks for all your ideas and suggestions. I'm the organ player in said band, and as Fader suggests above we do plan on sharing the bass duties, as well as doubling a lot of lines I imagine.

As such, our goal in micing the bari is not to make it sound exactly like a bass guitar. As some have suggested, we would have just gotten a bass guitar player instead if that was our intention. The bari sound we are looking for, however, is one that can at times hold down the low end, and as such we are trying to figure out a system that retains that earthy organic saxophone sound but also emphasizes the bass qualities of the instrument.

Our working idea for this involves compression, eq, and a bass amp. The condenser/dynamic mic or pickup question is one we are trying to figure out, as well as what compression, eq, and reamp stages we need. Thinking about a reverb and volume pedal too.

Keep the ideas coming though, this is all valuable information and knowledge from your experiences!
 

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I was thinking about Faders comment and I can't help but agree that you will need chops of steel to keep honking out that bari sound through a gig in a bass line type manner. Even sharing sometimes with an organ it could turn out to be a daunting task. Now I am also assuming a gig is a around three hours when you include breaks. That's still a lot of Bari as I'm thinking the bass lines have less rests than a regular bari sax line. I'd love to hear a recording if/when this becomes a "happenin' thang". There is a guitar player in my city that does a pretty neat "bari" sound using his guitar as a controller.
 

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About the Chops of Steel; maybe it's possible just to loop some bass lines with a looper pedal. That would save a lot of energy. Do you have a recording of your band?
 

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Hi guys

We're not really interested in looper pedals for this project. And our gigs will never be three hours. This guy does have chops of steel and the organ has a wonderful bass sound, we are confident that this idea will work. Our question is really about signal chain and effects processing of a live signal, so any help on that front would be appreciated.

Thanks again
 
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