Smooth jazz bass tone?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Seriouscat123, Jan 4, 2014.


  1. Seriouscat123

    Seriouscat123

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2013
    I know its kind of broad but does anyone know how to get a smooth jazz bass tone? Most songs I've heard sound really deep and booming. I have a standard p bass and an amp with mid bass and treble, any suggestions? Smooth jazz like the kind that used to be on the weather channel.
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Location:
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    How about Autumn Leaves

    First get the chord progression

    How to play Autumn Leaves is all over the Internet. Search and see what comes up.

    Have fun.
  3. barebones

    barebones Bare Bones Bass Builder Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    He was asking about the tone, not how to play a tune.
  4. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    Hamburg, Germany
    I would think he's asking about tone.

    If I were to play smooth jazz I would play what I play now. P bass with flats, preferrably something with more complex mids like TIs. Roll of some treble (either amp or bass) and adjust the bass's setup to reduce clank and fret noise. Playing less aggressively will contribute to that buttery sound. Adjust low mids and bass to taste on your amp.

    It's not very adventurous but smooth jazz isn't supposed to be. Works very well for all kinds of other music too.
  5. Nick303

    Nick303

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    In reply to the OP I do 2 things when playing Autumn Leaves, a beautiful tune which requires a really gentle bass tone. First roll off the tone about half way or so to trim out the treble. Secondly I position my plucking hand over the end of the neck so that each note is as soft as it can be. Don't turn your amp down or anything, just play it with a soft feel.
    Hope that helps.

    *edit* yeah flats help too, I use em.
  6. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2000
    Most smooth jazz bass tone sounds like active basses. There's an emphasis on lows, flat mids, and some snappy highs that add articulation to the sound.
  7. Cycho

    Cycho

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2010
    Flats, EQ, and technique should get you close.
  8. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Weather Channel? Get a fretless and put way too much chorus on it. Then don't play anything nearly as cool as what Jaco would have done.
  9. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle / Tacoma
    We have the Smooth Jazz station on nearly everyday at work.
    It's a very scooped sound, with a very clean amp, and basses with dual pickups (J bass types galore) for that tight snap.
    If you look up any of the modern bands played on the station, you'll see 99.9% use dual pickup basses. You migh find one guy with a P Bass, but hardly ever. No, they're not using flats either, tons of snappy slap & pop that only rounds give. It's about tight control of your playing.

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