Tone dilemna

MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Altamira M-01D

I have a frustrating dilemna, I wonder if anyone can help. I play in a GJ trio in Asheville NC, 2 guitars and an upright bass. I play an Altamira M-10 with a krivo pickup through a Fender Blues Jr amp. Obviously from reading about my gear, you can see that I like a tone more like Django's electric years. But in order to get a warm, rich tone for my solos, I end up with a bit too much low end for my rhythm tone. My bass player has gently mentioned it a few times & I respect his viewpoint. When I bring down the low end on my amp, my soloing tone becomes a bit too thin for my tastes. I've thought about an eq pedal, but I dont want to step on a peddle every time I solo, especially during trades. Any suggestions will be appreciated.



  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    Posts: 575

    Just curious, which Krivo are you using, humbucker or Nuevo. I don't play in a band, but like the sound of my Nuevo with my Dupont MD-100 and older Blues Jr. It really sounds nice with my Roland Cube Street, but it is only 5 watts, so I don't know if it would be loud enough in a loud bar. Have you tried an AER or Schertler?

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,868

    @MikeK this is a problem everyone has when playing rhythm with a magnetic pickup. The solution is not to try and use EQ to reduce the bass response but rather, to change how you play. It takes some practice, but what works is to just play rhythm mostly on the top four strings. Don’t change your left hand at all, just strum the strings so that you’re mostly hitting the top four strings. That works for me and I’ve noticed that many pros do the same.

    Stringswingerrudolfo.christTwangJSantaadrianWim Glenn
  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Altamira M-01D
    Posts: 31

    Jonpowl, I'm using a krivo micro-manouche humbucker. I also have a djangobucker, but i have the same issue when i use that one. I havent tried the other amps you suggested, but I'm pretty set on my Blues Jr. I used a Roland AC90 before I switched to tube amps (I also have a Peavey Classic 30), but I couldnt get the tone I was after for my solos with the AC90. My soloing tone is more important to me than my rhythm tone, and the Blues Jr really delivers in that regard. Michael, I appreciate your suggestion to play rhythm primarily on the upper 4 strings. I'll give it a try.

  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 70

    So just to clarify Michael, you mean 4th to 1st not 6th to 3rd? A lot of the voicings I commonly use mute a lot of the treble strings although, heavily influenced By Duved D I'm trying to play more standard bar chords.

    Do you find yourself making a lot of alternative chord choices in order to adapt to this magnetic pickup technique? Chords that contain a lot of unmuted treble strings.

  • Posts: 17

    Yeah I’d have to agree with Micheal. I use a krivo and tend to only use three note chords always excluding the b and e string which are too hot on the pick up for rhythm. As well as playing with a much lighter touch for rhythm playing.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,868

    Yes, the 4th through the 1st strings are what I’m talking about. I’m not really hitting the bass strings at all, or maybe just slightly. I don’t change any of the voicings but of course you have to adjust what you’re doing on the fly. If you’re doing some fast three note passing chords on the bass strings (like min 6 or diminished,) then you have to strum a little more on the bass strings as there aren’t any notes on the higher strings. But once I’m back the fuller voicings, I go back to strumming mostly on the treble strings.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,868

    I was actually saying I do the opposite by playing mostly on the treble strings. The unwound strings are hotter, but there’s another phenomenon that happens when playing rhythm where the bass strings are too loud. That’s the problem@MikeK was having.

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,821

    MikeK, do you mute the chords a lot with your left hand?

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Altamira M-01D
    Posts: 31

    That's an intriguing question Bones. Are you thinking that I would have less low end present on my comping if I muted the chords more with my left hand? If so, I wonder if I could blend that with Michael's suggestion (not emphasizing the bass strings as much on my chords).

  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited March 30 Posts: 2,821

    Actually I've never had the problem that you describe on any guitar playing rhythm so it might just be that you have too much sustain in your comping. Damp all beats including the 1,3. Not just the 2,4. Does that make sense? I think in this style it is generally preferred that way. You want space between all the beats so you get that nice defined pulse.

    Also, do you use an upstroke before the 1,3. If so, try eliminating that too.

    I emphasize the base strings (but I hit all strings for max percussion, remember you are also the drum kit if you don't have a drummer). I don't emphasize the top strings so I don't step all over the soloist's register.

    Maybe post a vid/clip? Hard to say without hearing you but I'm guessing too much sustain/ringing on the 1,3??? I say that because with left hand damping you can vary that to the point of no tone at all so not sure what is going on.

    I hope that helps. Stay safe.

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