question about tone and other things
I've been a guitar player for 50 years, as of this year. I've got quite a bit of vintage guitars and amps, and I know how to get a great tone out of most all my equipment. Due to arthritus 2 years ago; I have almost completely switched to bass now. I haven't broke out a 6 string but once or twice in almost 2 years.
I've got a nice Jazz bass, and a 2010 4003 Ric, and I just bought a new 62 avri P bass. The only real bass amp I have is an Acoustic 200H with the matching 1x15 cab. I've got a 65 Showman but it has the D130F in it instead of the D140 used for bass, so I haven't used the head or cab for bass.
My issue is; now that I've been playing for a couple years; I'm really soured on the tones I'm getting. I've got LaBella DTB Flats on all my basses except the Ric which has Chromes flats on it. I have a small studio setup in my house, but have been working too much to do much recording yet.
I won't be playing out any, or much, so I just want a nice sounding setup that will do to jam with, or play a small gig maybe. I've bought a Sansamp BDDI and also a Zoom B3 as well as a Boss bass EQ, but still can't get a sweet tone. Just relating to equipment; do any of you have any suggestions?
I know the tone is very much in the fingers, but equipment wise, what do you think? Are the speakers more important than the amp with playing bass? Thanks for all your help. I have been a tone freak with 6 strings all my life, and now I'd like to cop a good bass tone as well.
how about trying some different strings? i use the rounds that came with my roadworn Pbass and roll off a little on the tone. I get a rich warm wonderful tone.
Out of curiosity, why all flats? You might find something closer to what you're looking for without flats (not rippin on flats or anything, they're awesome just not for everyone :) )
I recently switched over to Fodera strings, and don't plan on looking back ever again. haha the tone and response with them is unreal.
The speakers definitely aren't more important than the amp you use, but are also a pretty big factor in your sound. I play a six string bass, and have noticed that when I play through a 15" speaker (as opposed to a 10" or 12") my tone is much more even and balanced across all the strings. On that note, I'm a huge fan of Aguilar amps (there's a lot more I'd like to experiment with, but they're really at the top of my budget right now haha).
Sounds like you've some cool gear; if you don't mind my asking how is your space setup? That could also be affecting your tone (insulation, parallel surfaces, physical space, etc.). I'm not an expert on this kind of stuff, but have noticed the impact it can make.
Everything matters... Amp, speakers, bass, technique. My SVT doesn't sounds nearly as good through my 2x10 & 115 or my 2x15 cabs as it does through my 810. By that same token, my Micro VR doesn't sound as good through the 810 as it does through the 2x15. Same bass, same technique...
That said, your basses sound like they're quality so I wouldn't worry about doing anything with those. Some newer heads I've tried that I like are the Orange Bass Terror and the Ampeg Micro VR. As far as older stuff goes I'm a huge fan of the old Bassman heads, I play through a '76 SVT, and my old guitar player used a V4 that I'd play through on occasion and dug a bunch. Cabs are all over the place... I'd just try em out & see what you think.
If you have the head only, perhaps take it into a local place with your bass and try it out with some of the bass cabinets. Try a 2 or 4x10 and a 1x15 to start with and see what you get. It's worth a shot. If it's the combo, I don't remember if there's an external speaker jack on it or not. But if so, still try it.
The Rick especially will work well with the Showman's voicing (or basically any guitar amp), with some overdrive. You'll get a not bad at all Lemmy sound with it, especially with the bridge PU soloed.
Otherwise, you may have to spend some bucks on a dedicated bass amp. But before you shell out large bucks, try just using a bass cab with the showman and see how it works.
I've had to use guitar amps in this way on one or two occasions back when I was gigging and it was sort of OK. So it can be done.
Maybe we can help more if you can describe what kind of tone you are trying to achieve.
I play at a church that has the Acoustic B200 combo...it's very easy to get an old-school rock tone out of that amp, if that's what you want. Also, with a Zoom B3, a BDDI, and a Boss bass eq, you should be able to get a variety of tones, but with the Acoustic 1x15 cab it will be more difficult to get a full range modern tone. So if anything, I might be inclined to get a more full range setup and then use the Sansamp or Zoom B3 to simulate the old-school sound. Something like a GK 1x12 or 1x15 and RB400 (or MB500).
I agree with the "why all flats?" You'd have more tonal options if you'd put rounds on one of them.
One other thing...a "good sounding" solo/bedroom tone is much different than a live with band tone. Just keep that in mind when trying to find your sound.
Thanks for the in-depth help guys. I'm going to try the Showman with some different cabs. As far as the strings I'm using being all flats; I love the clarity of the rounds, but I came up in the 60's to early 70's, and I love the Jamerson, and McCartney tones, and I know they both used flats almost exclusively.
The room I'm using is rather packed with equipment, and my bass amp(acoustic 200b/1x15 cab) is about an inch away from the wall, and surrounded with electric piano, and other blackface cabs and heads around it. I'm crammed into the room I'm in basically.
There is a video on youtube where Burt Bacharac(sp?) is doing all his hits with Dionne Warwick, and the guy playing bass is using rounds, and they sound beautiful. I guess I just always assumed I'd need flats, and never really gave rounds a fair chance. Thanks for jogging that idea loose for me.
Great answers, and suggestions from you all; thank you, and I'll post back with results. Of the basses that I mentioned that I own; which of them would you suggest that I string with rounds to try them out? Also; are the rounds that came on my 62 avri p(stock Fender strings) good enough strings to get a taste of rounds, or should I get another set of rounds for best results?
I would say try the rounds on the avri p. P basses generally have a warmer sound anyway. I would not try rounds on the Ric at this point. That would give you the very antithesis of the Jamerson/McCartney sound. Try nickle rounds first. I doubt you would be happy with stainless at all with the description of what you like.
I would try getting very familiar with your Zoom B3. I use EB Flats on My Ric and I can get a tremendous range of tones when incorporating the B3. ie; I use the Brit Hard Rock Patch and add some extra highs and get very a Chris Squire like sound. I dig in pretty hard with my right hand too though.
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