Is it me or my bass?
I have a Westone Thunder 1a, I brought this new in 1985.
Played in a band, did a few gigs and then put the bass down in the early 90's and didn't pick it up again till 2012.
I started having lessons last year to find out how much I don't know - turns out to be rather a lot. I have no idea what I was doing back in the 80's although at the time other players thought I was pretty good, can't think why.
Although inexpensive the general opinion of the Thunder basses appears to be relatively favourable.
However, I have heard recordings of slap lines played by my teacher and then me. My bass lacks the bright ringing tones that come from the custom Overwater (yes I know) played by the teacher. I don't think its a playing issue as the lines were simple & I do know how to hit the strings cleanly with my thumb. It's not the strings cos they get replaced regularly.
The tone played with my fingers is fine. Is this just a characteristic of it's P bass configuration?
I won't sell the Westone but am considering a Squire Vintage Mod Jazz or a Sub 4. Would I notice a difference to the old Thunder?
Thunders are really nice basses, and they have a sound like .. thunder ;)
But they are more like P-basses, you can go to youtube and search some slapping on P-bass. The sound is rather fat, not bright. It's a P-bass thing.
How's your amp set? I get nice pbass slap tone even if I am playing flatwound... I still have highs on mine except that it lacks a bit of presence. Lesser attack but more mid range focus, it sounds like the slap bass in bruno mars treasure
>>>It's not the strings cos they get replaced regularly.
I wouldn't be so sure about that. Do you and your teach use the same kind of strings?
Just go to a music store and try out a few different models of basses and listen carefully to your tone. Try them out on the same amp with same settings. Bring a musician friend or even better your teacher along as a neutral ear. You'll know for sure after if it is the equipment or a technique issue.
Before you conclude that it's the bass or the strings or the amp settings, etc., it seems to me that you should determine if it's something about your technique that is subtly different from your instructor's. An obvious test would be to record your instructor playing a line on your bass, and you playing it on his.
I think it's too early in the restart process to determine where the problem is. After all you just started playing again after a long break. You should give it some more time. Ask your teacher about your technique. Does he think you are improving and if so, then think about getting a better bass.
Thanks for your views.
I will ask my teacher to play my bass. His reaction when I walked in with it on my first lesson suggests he wasn't overly impressed with the old thing.
I believe he uses Rotosound - not sure what variety. At the time I had D'Addario EXL170 XL Nickel Wound Regular Light (.045-.100)
I go to his place for lessons so we both play through the same setup.
It maybe a technique issue. When I was playing years ago (didn't have lessons, did my own thing) I kept everything very tight, always wanted a percussive sound. This was remarked upon when I had my first lesson.
I will persevere with the lessons and the bass, I am enjoying it a lot. The aim is to get reliable enough to play bass for local band and do a few pub gigs etc.
The most common Rotosound strings are their stainless steels, and those do have a very distinct sound, especially when compared to D'Addario Nickels. If that is what he is using it is a good start to the difference.
Assuming there's nothing wrong with it, that Westone is a decent, solid bass, but a P-bass is not the sound most people hear when they think of slap tone. Of course you CAN slap on one (you can play just about anything on just about anything) but the most popular slap tones are more scooped than the mid-rich classic P-bass tone. And, as FourBanger notes, stainless steel Rotosounds will sound very different from nickel D'Addarios.
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