A Quest for (Abrasive) Tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by activa44, Apr 23, 2019.


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  1. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018






    So... some of you might remember me for an infinitely long thread about a comparison of the DiMarzio Model P and the GZR P pickup and I'm kind of returning to that doubt, but now I've got clearer intentions.

    I like the sound of my stock Fender P-Bass (MIM), I just don't like its lack of an inner growl characteristic and its too present/uncontrollable boomy low-end.

    Basically, the sound I'm after is the one in the G.I.S.M. track I linked, but I like versatility. The thing is that I tried everything I could to get that sound, but my bass really has too much oomph/boom in the low-end that can't be exchanged for that clankiness/punchiness/pick attack (or whatever it is) and GROWLING fuzzy lows.

    But I'd like to be able to get that Repulsion sound (the final track, not the demo one) as well. I can get pretty close to it, but it seems like my bass is a little too bright and lacks the huge low-end and the growling beneath the over the top fuzziness of the recording.
    I linked the demo version too to let you hear the same pickup, but without the fuzziness (although you can hear the growl beneath the fuzziness in the final track too... I seem to lack that and the crushing low-end, with my bass... and I use the same pedal and recording method).

    So, what I'd want is basically to have the same brightness but less (MANDATORY) oomph/boom in the lows (and MORE GROWL) with the tone all the way up, but go even a little deeper and darker than I go (while still growling) if I roll the tone knob completely off (for the Repulsion sound).

    I was thinking of trying to change my Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinkies for some stainless steel Roto66, that may be a start (I'm a fan of dead strings, though, so that might take a while). And I was also thinking that maybe the EMG GZR P would help for all of this.

    Also, do you think that the pickups in the recordings I linked were more vintage voiced or more modern? And could one pickup do both sounds?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the wall of text!
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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  2. Bass4LifeRS

    Bass4LifeRS

    Oct 18, 2005
    Norway
    Find out about the bass and pickup used on the recording. Get that, and the same studio eq and such, and then realize you are not that other player so it still doesn't sound like him. Find your own sound in stead of a wild goose chase. :)
     
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  3. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    You're absolutely right, indeed I'm not going exactly 100% for those sounds, but would like to be able to do something close to both of them.

    So what do you think about some dead steel Roto66 and/or the GZR P for those?
     
  4. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    I mean, what I'm seeking it's not the exact tones of those, but I try to mimic them to see if my bass has got the same tonal characteristics as those (which I like). The growl, the low-end, the attack, and such...
     
  5. Bass4LifeRS

    Bass4LifeRS

    Oct 18, 2005
    Norway
    That music scared the hell out of me :) Maybe for that growl go with something of a low mid boost in the EQ?
     
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  6. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

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  7. BOOG

    BOOG

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Hey @activa44 finally getting around to your thread.
    Yeah I have the geezers on my 98 MIM P with DR Sunbeams. With tone up, nice growling mid punch. With tone rolled off, fat middy punch. Playing closer to the bridge and tone up can get nice and funky. Playing over the neck and tone rolled down it gets quite a bit warmer and woody. It’s a pretty dynamic combination that works great for me.
     
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  8. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    Do you think it could be what I need, then (based on the sounds samples and what I wrote)?
    It seems like it is pretty versatile, indeed.
     
  9. BOOG

    BOOG

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Last week a buddy of mine borrowed my bass. I got to hear for the first time what it sounds like in the mix while standing out front. He was plugged into an old crate combo and sounded like that first example.
     
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  10. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    So just put it loud in the mix and play hard, I guess (and combo amps)...

    Thank you, mate!
     
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  11. gfen

    gfen

    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    Look, I’m not some sort of music snob. I think jazz sucks, Jaco’s overrated and Victor Wooten bores me to tears. In other words, I’m not looking down my nose at you.

    But....I don’t think it really matters what the hell kind of pickup you’ve got in your bass. There’s not a damned thing nuanced or complex about what you’ve shared, it’s just simply loud, and I’m the second case, fuzzed to an inch of unrecognizability. There’s no “growl,” there’s just distortion.

    Rather than worrying about pickups, buy a Boss HM2 (or a Behringer HM300), dial it into “Swedish chainsaw” settings, and go nuts playing your GISM covers. Turn the high knob down a bit and suddenly you’re Festering Boils.

    Whatever pickup you have in your bass won’t matter once you’re done mangling the gain like that.

    Also, fwiw, GHS Pressurewounds are a great imitation of dead rounds out of the box.
     
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  12. BOOG

    BOOG

    Dec 13, 2016
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I think the key is the Sunbeams combined with middy pups
     
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  13. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    It isn't really as simple as that.
    Of course they're not very ''pickup-driven'' sounds, but every component of the gear helps shaping the tone.

    Actually, I have the BOSS HM-2 and it's my main dirt for guitar, but I hate it for bass.
    And in more than a year of playing around with the HM-2 I've learned that even when the amount of gain is really high the pickup makes a difference (and that's why you'd never want to try getting good HM-2 tones using just an EMG 81...). Of course they're less evident than in other genres of music, but the nuances in the sound are still there, if you can hear them.

    About the ''growl'' I hear in Repulsion, I don't refer to the over the top fuzziness (which I can achieve) but to the huge low-end and growling tone you can hear beneath... I don't think it was recorded with a dry and a wet signal, but still it sounds like so. Maybe they raised the low-mid frequencies of the bass take in post-production? I don't know...

    And about G.I.S.M., I tried with the same amp and a ''similar'' pedal but it's really hard to get. It's clanky and bright, but hear how much low-end it's got when the other instruments enter the mix... (I'd probably have to try things in a mix situation as well, before jumping to conclusions...)
     
  14. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    The trouble with having over-driven sounds AND low-end is that most amps will strip the low-end when in overdrive.
    I've got a little VOX hybrid amp that solves this nicely. When over-driven & the compressor is on it mixes in some clean signal to maintain the low-end.

    High Gain is definitely not the only part of the solution & pickups do matter.
    If I plug some "vintage" pickups into a high-gain amp I'm going to have a difficult time getting pinch harmonics, in comparison to high-output pickups.

    Here's another set that might do what you're looking for, DiMarzio makes great pickups:

    Split P™ | DiMarzio

    This particular set would also sound good wired in parallel, which would bump up the resonant frequency, filling out the mids.
     
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  15. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    The Repulsion one is done with the dirt pedal straight into the mixer.
    I have no idea how the hell they managed to make it sound so huge and growling... maybe there's actually an amp+pedal track beneath, but I don't think so. Maybe they boosted the low-mids in post production?

    Anyway, why do you hate the GZR so much, mate?
     
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  16. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Terry Butler is a great guy, but I'm not sure how he manages to get his sound with those awful pickups.
    I guess that Ashdown he's using is really something!

    There was a guy on here who tried the GZR pickups straight to the output jack & there was no increase in high-end. Something is wrong with those pickups!
     
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  17. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    I hear them being very much praised, though.
    And I've tried a friend of mine's bass with the PJ set (of course I tried just the P one) and it sounded good.

    Just not that different from my stock bass.
     
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  18. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    I stopped listening or reading what others think about stuff a while back. I got led astray too many times.
    I've also come to realize my tastes are not like most bass players. When folks think an amp has enough gain, they're usually wrong, at least from my perspective.

    When folks claim bass X doesn't have neck-dive, but I've experienced it myself, well you know I just stop reading or listening.
    Just this morning someone was claiming a Ibanez SRX is nothing like a StingRay. Au Contraire!~
     
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  19. activa44

    activa44

    Dec 17, 2018
    My taste and style are also very different from the average bass player, so of course what I think sounds ''good'' is always hell to others' poor ears. But the GZR seems to get a lot of love from pretty much anyone.

    I tried it briefly and at low volumes, unfortunately, but my only complain would just be that it's not that much different from a stock MIM Precison pickup. But if it's got more of what I need and less of what I'd want to be able to control better, then nice.
     
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  20. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Every clip I've heard of the GZR pickups tells me they are not abrasive or aggressive.
    That's been my experience in the flesh with EMG pickups, as well. I was just playing a Peavey Millenium last week loaded with EMGs & it was alright for that middle-of-road sound, but I was much happier playing my own bass at home a few minutes later. Nice aggressive sound!
     
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