A bass for all styles? Help me....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mebusdriver, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. I play in a band that covers everything from Van Morrison to Stevie Wonder, Chicago, James Brown, Steely Dan, several Motown artist, all the way up to KT Tundstall and Christina Aguilera (sp?). Here's my dilemma. There is such a wide range of tones required to cover these tunes that it's driving me crazy. I need a recommendation for a bass that can go from fat Motown roundness to TM Stevens slapping it up on Living in America. To make it even worse we also have a jazz and blues combo.

    I'm guessing I'm going to need something active to have this much tone control. And active basses are great for that, but I haven't found one that can pull of the vintage tone. And unfortunately I can really only carry one bass to a gig. It's a military band so space is limited and I really don't have time between songs to switch basses. We play for about 3-4 hours and don't really break between songs. Any recommendations on a really versatile, comes close to doing it all, McGyver bass?

  2. OnederTone

    OnederTone Aguilar Everywhere Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2002
    Thornton, CO
    Lakland 55-02 or 55-94 if it fits the budget. Versatile is it's middle name.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    A lot of that comes from the player just changing up their technique.

    I'm in a similar situation and use all kinds of basses to get the job done. My favorite has been to ol' P bass...which according to everyone is a one trick pony. A Jazz would be a great option as well. G&L L2K's have tons of tones in them with all of the switching options too.
  4. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Key West, FL
    Musicman Bongo can cover a wide swathe of musical genres. But really, you could grab a J bass and be fine.
  5. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    Ibanez ATK200
    Tobias Growler
    Both have lots of tonal versatility.
  6. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    Carvin SB or B40/50....get it with the passive tone knob that works at the same time as the active EQ does.
  7. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    I feel like I can cover "all the bases" with my 80 jazz bass. It has EMG active pick-ups in it, and depending on how I combine them and use the tone, I think it is pretty versatile. It is only a 4 string, and I am thinking you might need a 5-er for some of that stuff. I use this bass in everything from 80's influenced thrash to jazz band, to pit orchestra gigs.

    I also have a p-bass, but it is passive with the original pups. I do use it for multiple applications, but it almost always sounds like a P bass...which I am NOT complaining about

    my $.02
  8. MoEllis

    MoEllis Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    jazz bass
  9. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I think any 5 string solid body instrument will be able to cover what you need it to.
  10. First thing that came to my mind was "See my signature below".

    Then I thought that might be rude, so here's a useful suggestion. Something with two Jazz-type pickups, 9V 3-band EQ, and active/passive would probably be your Jack of All Trades.


    Either that or a G&L L-2500, which has a 9V 2-band EQ, active/passive switching, AND a series-parallel switch. L-2500s can be had for pretty cheap used, and the Tribute can be found cheap used or new.


    Lastly, G&L recently released an "updated" version of the L-2500 called the M-2500 which has an 18V 3-band EQ with no active/passive or series/parallel switches.


    Since the Am. Dlx. Jazz V and M-2500 are relatively new on the market, you won't find too many that are used. As I said, the L-2500 and L-2500 Tribute are quite easy to find sub-$800.

    Hope that helps!
  11. RedMoses

    RedMoses Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2012
    Any Fender style P/J 5 active 5 string shoudl do it.

    -Bolt On Punch'
    -Fat P pick up sound w J by the bridge
    -Active Eq w passive switch
    - 21-24 fret to

    Sadowsky, Lakland, Lull...
  12. chef wong

    chef wong Banned

    Sep 15, 2012
    I'd just go with a good Fender Precision, maybe try some different strings. Stick to the same gauge/tension, cause it sounds like you're confused enough.
  13. jasper383

    jasper383 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    Jazz Bass of some kind.

    For extreme versatility, a 5 or 6 string 2 pickup active-EQ bass like a Lakland 5501 or 5502.

    But when you get down to it, it can all be covered well with just about any bass.
  14. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Let's all repeat so we don't forget:

    Versatility comes from the PLAYER, not the gear!
  15. Awesome! Thanks guys. I've tried passive and active ps and js for the last two years, and even a Nathan east sig 5 (didnt like the soap bar pups) but they haven't really gotten the sound I want.

    Definitely gonna need a 5'er and a 3 band EQ. Haven't tried the Lacklands so thanks for the advice. I really wanna find a Reggie Hamilton sig to try out. I've heard nothing but good things on them. Thanks again!!

    Don't some major retailers carry some of the "low end" Lackland models?
  16. I'll agree with most here, one bass can do it all, it's just a matter of technique.

    On a different note, (E#?) why worry about copping someone elses "tone"? Find your own and stick with it, make each song yours. You will drive youself crazy trying to be someone else. I've always been of the philosophy "There are a lot of bands that sound just like the original, and they struggle in obscurity. Be unique, and you will be noticed."
  17. willsellout

    willsellout Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2002
    Key West, FL
    People say this, and to a certain extent it's true, but it's not universal.
  18. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Count me this school. I would think that any good bass with a bit of EQ could cover what ever you need. Not only can the player make the difference, but in reality, most people can't really tell a difference as long and the note is clear and correct.

    I've played for a lot of Music Directors and I used to ask what kind of tone or equipment they prefered. Most didn't have anything to say about it. I learned to let sleeping dogs lay.
  19. I usually agree with just about everything you say. Haha. But I can't get Babbitts muted sound on Midnight Train to GA and TM's slap sound back to back from one bass. And if gear meant nothing, we'd all just plug straight into the PA. It makes a difference. If only a little. And if only to make things easier on me. And my ear!! I'm working on palm muting that whole tune tho. It's just all over the place!!
  20. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Another thing to keep in mind with drastic tone changes is that is can affect the whole band if those changes don't work well with the EQ's of other band members.