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How do I get a better sound?

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson' started by skarob0t, Oct 9, 2012.


  1. skarob0t

    skarob0t

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Location:
    Vegas
    I've been playing bass for about two years, and the main thing I have problems with is the sound my fingers make on the fretboard. I mean, you could literally hear my fingers moving. It's really irritating. Anything I can do to make that sound go away? It would be greatly appreciated
     
  2. thebandcircle

    thebandcircle

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Location:
    (Santa Cruz)
    Try turning your tweeter/horn level down on the back of your cab. Or even the treble knob a little? A grounding issue can also cause hum while touching the strings...Hope that helps!
     
  3. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 I'm no gynecologist but I'll take a look. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Location:
    Midwest
    Disclosures:
    Commercial FREE!
    Maybe flat wounds or ground wounds?

    X8
     
  4. kbodonne

    kbodonne

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    +1 treble/ tone knobs/ tweeter turn down. If you have an adjustable EQ you can turn your highs down.

    If you're playing with any peddles or overdrive they could cause it as well
     
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  6. neebs

    neebs

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    Location:
    Manteca, California
    Flats. But you probably don't care for flats. Have you used flats before? Is it a tone you care for?
     
  7. Funkyjazz6

    Funkyjazz6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Have you considered it may be an issue with your technique?
     
  8. skarob0t

    skarob0t

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Location:
    Vegas
    Yeah, in which case I'd need help with haha. I'm a girl, and my fingers aren't that strong, so it could be that.
     
  9. skarob0t

    skarob0t

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Location:
    Vegas
    Yup! The tone is a problem.
     
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Non Serviam Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Location:
    Scotia NY
    It sounds like you're just talking about basic string noise. This is a fact of life with roundwound strings, and usually isn't noticable when the bass is mixed in with a band. The previous suggestions to turn down the treble and/or try flats are good ones.
     
  11. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Non Serviam Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2012
    Location:
    Scotia NY
    Also, has your bass been set up professionally? Or at least by someone who really knows what they're doing? As in, NOT your guitar player.
     
  12. Funkyjazz6

    Funkyjazz6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012

    Todd has an instructional video on his website at http://www.toddjohnsonmusic.com/store.php which has a technique focus, or you may want to consider taking lessons with him through Skype.
     
  13. wmheilma

    wmheilma

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Is your bass active or passive? If you crank the treble knob up on an active bass you'll tend to hear a lot of string noise. It is probably a combination of your technique and how you set the knobs on your equipment starting with the bass itself. Just start trying things out one at a time and you'll figure it out.

    1) Tone settings on the bass
    2) Tone settings on your amp
    3) Tweeter attenuator on the cab (if there is one)

    Good luck! Just remember you are playing the most fun instrument in the whole world and everybody digs a girl who can play bass too! Try this link:

     
  14. leegreenman

    leegreenman

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    Farmingdale NY.
    Is the noise a problem when you are playing with a band or just while practicing alone. String noise often isn't apparent in a mix.
     
  15. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Location:
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi Skarobot,

    Sorry I'm so slow....your post got past me somehow. Yikes....

    So....to answer your question......First, its really hard to accurately answer "sound" questions via an email....but....Its most likely a combination of tone settings and getting your hands/musicianship/technique together.

    Realize your sound is mostly in your hands.....a good instrument and amp are a big help, but ultimately the sound is in your hands. I would recommend studying with the best teacher you can find in your area.....if not, let me know and we could get you going on some video chat lessons. Its an investment, but a REALLY good one!! : )

    I hope this helps.....if not, let me know and we'll see what we can do.

    Cool???

    Have fun!!
     
  16. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    If it's the strings try some half rounds or labella Quarter Rounds they really decease the string noise.
     
  17. NKBassman

    NKBassman Nerd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    This (emphasis in bold is mine).

    Obviously if you keep practicing your technique you'll gain better control over all the nuances of your tone, but I wouldn't worry about finger noise too much if you're just practicing in your bedroom. In a full mix you'll NEVER hear that.
     
  18. Anonymatt

    Anonymatt

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Be deliberate with your hands. Don't let them coax unmusical sounds from the instrument.
     
  19. Willie Dizon

    Willie Dizon

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2000
    Location:
    Virginia Beach ,VA USA
    You might also want to check into GHS pressure wound strings or S.I.T. silencers. As far as the strength in your fretting hand is concerned you might also want to use this excercise - play a chromatic scale using each finger of your (I'm assuming you play standard position as opposed to left handed) right hand,i.e. 1st finger 1st fret,2nd finger 2nd fret,3rd finger 3 fret,4th finger 4th fret. Do this on each string from low to high,then high to low.It's a good warm up as well.
     
  20. Itzayana

    Itzayana

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Location:
    Oakland Ca
    Being a girl is not anything that can prevent you from being a great bass player. Your fingers can get plenty strong enough to play bass. You need to work them and get them there.
    Buy a finger exerciser and get to work or just play longer and longer each day to gain strength. You can do it.
    The good news is that you recognize the problem. That is always the first step in correcting it.
    With playing any musical instrument there are no shortcuts.
    Put in the time and you will get there.
     

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