What's your best recipe for mud (tones, that is)?
Okay, I have been reading these forums for a couple of months, and I have found that (at least!) 90% of the participants want tones from their gear with punch, thump, grind, dirt (of the non-mud-inducing variety), snarl, growl, overdrive, hair, whatever.
What if I don't want any of that? What if I want pure soft, muddy, attack-free notes?
But it's not enough just to develop these sounds, we need gear that projects it out into the crowd in a reasonable sized venue. I don't think this last piece is such an easy task...
But, I do know there are bassists out there who can get these tones, as there are so many recordings which feature such (production tricks, maybe?).
So, what I hope to do is to generate a list of gear (preferably currently available--yes, most of us know about the ancient Gibson EB's and their mudbuckers) which aid in producing mud.
Certainly technique is important--ala, palm-muting--or tricks such as foam under the bridge. But it seems to me that most of today's grind-y amps and bright strings really get in the way of generating a good ooze.
Obviously, (after technique) any bass sound starts with strings. I am thinking most probably flatwounds, right? Labellas, GHS, TI, Pyramids. Those discussions are all over these forums, with many proponents for each.
So, help me fill in the rest of sound circuit:
> Amp head?
Partial responses are fine. But, if you would like to be even more comprehensive, let us know which songs or gigs/venue types worked with all of this.
Strict head bangers, and other non-swamp dwellers need not apply.
For projecting loud venues?
Bass - Epiphone EB-0 or EB-3
Head - Old Fender Bassman 100 or 135, cranked
Cab - Ampeg 810 or old Fender Dual Showman.
Pedals - None, really.
The old Bassman and Dual Showman will do it without the EB-0 or EB-3, but if you have an EB-0 or EB-3 you can get something a little clearer than mud if you teeter the Fender on the brink of mud tone.
You state "old" Bassman.
Is there any specifically known difference from those I can get from MF right now?
I'm setting up a cabinet right now for something along these lines tonally.
One of my fav bassists is Andy Fraser in the band Free, which was an EB3 thru a Marshall 100 stack and Celestion bass speakers...he got that blooping tuba sound that I really like.
I am going to run my Eden Metro thru 2 of my 8 ohm 4x12 guitar cabinets for fun...these cabinets are loaded with Celestions mostly.
The other is a cabinet I have restored which is a Bassman 100 2x15 sealed cabinet from the mid 70's, my plan is to use 2 Eminence smooth cone alnico 15's from the 70's....these are very warm smooth sounding speakers with aluminum voice coils so they can handle some power.
These 15's have a smooth compressed tone being alnico and smooth cones...who knows how this will work!
I can always mix in a ceramic 15 speaker if the alnicos are a bit mushy.
Oh yeah, The Fender Bassman heads from the 70's are pretty neutral sounding really....lots of folks mod those Bassmans for guitar or mod one channel for guitar and the other bass.
Fender with 900000 year old flats. Tone off.
Old Peavey cab and head.
Bass? FENDER P 62 REISSUE PICKUP WITH SOME BROKEN IN FLATS
> Amp head? AMPEG SVT WITH ALL YOUR TONE KNOBS SET TO 5.
> Cabinet(s)? SOMETHING WITH 15'S
> Pedals? NOTHING BUT THE BASS PLUGGED IN WITH A LOOOONG PATCH CABLE.
I don't play live anymore, but in studio (aka my living room) I use my MP Telecaster bass for nice fat, muddy tones (direct into a Trace Elliot pre and a focusrite compressor, no fx).
It's strung with chromes (50-105) and has the neck pickup very close to the neck, and the bridge pick up very close to the bridge, leaving them pretty far apart. I think the spacing helps suck out some of the punch and the flats eliminate any growl that particular bass might have. I play finger style over the neck pick up, and it's pretty fat and warm and really sits nicely in a mix.
the EHX mole pedal can turn a bright active bass into mud.
Passive bass, pickup towards the neck, tone all the way down.
Flatwound or tapewound strings.
Play finger almost on top of the neck.
Look for a low wattage tube amp to push really hard, 15" speaker cab, turn off the tweeter if it has one, push the low mids.
This will get you lows without any kind of definition; hence, mud.
Mud that projects? I don't know about the gear but EQ-wise it's fairly simple but it requires you work with the kick drum eq also. Take out some dB of 250hz - 350hz on the kick drum (4 or 5 is a good start). However much you take out add to the bass. There you go, mud that still has definable notes. And of course roll off highs.
I get mud with my usual roundwounds, just don't pluck as hard.
If I adjust the amp at all I just crank up the lows and mids and take off most of the highs. Amp/cab don't really matter as long as it's a decent bass rig.
The real trick is how you set up volume and tone on the bass, and most of the rest comes from your fingers.
I've been successful at doing some of this in the past. My set up was a Fender Modern Player Tele Bass with La Bella black tapewound strings, played thru a Musicman HD150 amp, connected to a Musicman 115 cab, no pedals or other electronics needed.
IIRC the on-board tone settings were set to bass full on, neck pickup full on and bridge pickup dialed in just enough to give the notes some definition. The amp settings were bass up halfway and mids and highs about a quarter on, bright switch off and deep switch on.
Overall the set up gave a very strong underlying bass fundamental to the mix, very much a background mood type setting, not boomy or thuddy, no clear attack on the notes. I kept my playing very simple, maximized sustain and minimized the number of notes played. The goal was to set a flowing slowly wandering bassline so the guitarist could dabble in short riffs here and there while the female vocalist tripped out on some tangental lyrics. Think Mazzy Star "shes my baby" and you've pretty much got the picture.
Fretless bass. Point speakers away from audience.
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