The concept of getting a good sound is changing
By Jon Liebman
Week of May 10, 2021
When learning bass, in addition to knowing how to play the instrument, it’s important to know how to get a good sound.
I’d always assumed that that mostly meant knowing how to get a good tone from your amp. These days, though, that may not necessarily be the case.
I wouldn’t exactly call it a new trend, but it seems increasingly commonplace these days to find amps being swapped out in favor of in-ear monitors.
Is the bass amp going the way of the megaphone?
I got to thinking about the subject during a rollicking conversation I had with Weapons of Anew bassist Stefan “Reno” Cutrupi for this week’s FBPO interview.
When the subject of amps – and in-ears – came up, I can’t say I was totally shocked at what Reno had to say, but given his band’s hard rock culture and persona, I was a little taken aback.
Not so long ago, having an amp was a given, a necessity for every bass player. In today’s world, amps aren’t always required, or even desired. In Reno’s case, “it turns out that the way our studio was set up, I just don’t really need them more.”
The same can be said for live performances. Traditionally, especially in rock, you’d expect to see a hefty backline on the stage, regardless of the type of venue. “I’m so used to it blasting at my face!” Reno says.
But that sentiment may be changing. After all, if the job can get done just as well, or even better, with a “schlep-free” alternative, why not go for it?
“I don’t really need a rig right now,” says Reno. “I don’t need to carry 9,000 pounds of speakers and big 8x10s anymore, or the heavy frigging amplifier.”
I think we can all relate to that.
So, are amps going away? It seems that more people are finding that the feeling of using in-ears is surprisingly good.
Reno concurs. “On the last tour,” he continues, “I got so used to playing with ear monitors, which I didn’t think I was really going to dig.”
And he’s growing to like the change. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I have a little bit of everybody,” he says, “’and I turn it up and down as I need.’ It’s kind of Prima donna-y, but who would’ve thought?”
What about you? How do you feel about in-ears versus amps? Do you like the idea, or are you old school? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Reno here.