Any cool bass effects for jazz playing...?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Socks, Dec 13, 2002.

  1. Socks

    Socks Guest

    I'm a budding jazz player, and have been always wanting to hook my axe up to an effects machine just for kicks. Are there any effects that could be used in jazz that no-one would notice, or should I keep to the straight no-noise jazz playing?
  2. Keep it straight. I don't think too many people regret the demise of the effect-laden bass sound in jazz, given how much effects were (ab)used in the period ~1970-85.
  3. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Peter hit it dead on. Although I greatly appreciate the use of effects in Jazz (/Fusion) in 1970-85, Jazz can definately be great without it, and only when you are no longer budding, and perhaps know what will work better for you, should you experiment with effects in Jazz.
  4. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    Well I would not bust out the OverDrive on "All the Things You Are"...
    Used judiciously, a flanger or a chorus can add a nice depth or ring to certain basslines.
    Not only fusion or riffs, but a pedal or walking line can be enriched & made interesting and congruent with even a jazz trio if the bassist knows when to hold & fold so to speak.
    I play in a jazz trio backing a vocalist (w/guitar & drums)-Lots of brushwork, Gershwin, Cole Porter, "Real BooK"
    I take pride in getting a woodsy acoustic tone on a fretted 4-string P-Bass + I am very much a purist when it comes to that particular style.
    It can be done; It can sound very good, and there is no need to draw perimeters or put labels on music. If it works, it works...
    You're the Bass Player-You do what you need to do-
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think you need to emphasise the "no-noise" thing - so most cheap effects add a load of noise which really sticks out like sore thumb in an "acoustic" Jazz setting with quiet moments and more space.

    So - I would say the primary requirement in Jazz is to be able to play quietly and not drown out any subtelty with hiss!
  6. am I the only one that doesnt seem to have a huge problem with noise with my effects chain... I used to think that my tone was being destroyed and i was adding all this hiss to my sound until I finally hooked up a true bypass a/b pedal... my tone is nearly identical both ways and yes while there is hiss there, its almost completely unnoticable unless you really listen for it... its about as much hiss as turning up the treble knob one more notch... I still use the bypass pedal because im a perfectionist and like being able to turn on and off many pedals at once but since I have used it I have realized most of those problems with effects chains were all in my head...
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think it depends what type of music you are playing - in Jazz where most instruments are acoustic, then in a small group any hiss really stands out - I even had to change amps. So I had a Trace Elliott combo that was fine for rock/pop, but got load of comments about - what's that hiss etc.

    I even have rack effects that are fine in electric situations ( I use them on keyboards) but in Jazz are useless as they add so much noise.
  8. i understand that in jazz hiss will stand out but im saying that (atleast with my setup) the hiss doesnt stand out WHEN IM PLAYING ALONE! It seriously barely noticable at all unless you are an absolute perfectionist (like me)... the other members of my band cant even hear it (and this is when there not even playing). My ampeg bass causes more by itself than when I play my stingray through my entire effects loop.
    I am not trying to cause a huge argument here, all I am saying is that I think we all go a little overboard with small details with our sound sometimes and we dont even realize how silly it can be.
  9. ah yes i recently bought a bass chorus and its awesome it can make u sound like yer floating through space and then make it sound like its two basses at once then i kick in my overdrive and the chorus going at the same time and bam you've got instant cradle of filth going bass chorus is the thing to get just for ****s and giggles of course ;)
  10. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    I'm assuming you are playing electric; that said, here's an old trick to "approximate" an upright sound in the absence of a real one that may add flavor to some of your tunes. (DB guys, don't flame me; I did say "approximate"!) Take a piece of foam and put it under your strings in front of your bridge. The foam needs to be thick enought that it contacts and mutes all your strings. Add a touch of reverb, and you get a passable effect of an upright bass. I know it's not a rack or pedal effect like you asked about, but it can give you a sound option that makes you a little more versatile, especially on jazz standards.
  11. LarryJ

    LarryJ banned

    Dec 12, 1999
    Encino, CA (LA)
    If you get hiss or noises in your signal chain, then fix the problem, don't eliminate the enhancement that can be added with the PROPER useage of an effect.
    Jazz is such a wide-open term anyway-let's not go there- But Pat Metheny as opposed to Louis Armstrong- Gee, which jazz style might be enhanced by a flanger e.g.? (Hint- It ain't "Hello, Dolly")
    Anything can be overdone-
    I've added judicious use of a (NOISELESS!) effects chain to pure jazz trio playing and have received many accolades, most important of which is my own satisfaction with the sound!
    Go figure!
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Of course, I have heard electric Jazz groups and cross-overs, where effects have been used well and can enhance bass solos - I am partial to a bit of digital reverb on mine.

    But I was just picking up on a point made by the original poster and that especially in acoustic-type Jazz, cheap pedals that introduce noise are going to be a definte no-no!

    I must say that I have heard people do the foam thing on basses in Jazz workshops/jams and to me it just sounds "rock 'n roll" and as far away from what you want in Jazz as possible!!
  13. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Come on, Bruce! Maybe you just need someone to show you the right way to do it! ;) :D

    Seriously, though, I should have mentioned that I've used that on a fretless electric. I guess it would be a little too percussive on a fretted bass. It's not meant to take the place of an proper DB. I guess if a lot of your playlist calls for the DB sound, get a DB!
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    It wasn't me doing it - I would always just use palm muting and the side of thumb - far more organic!! But the last incident I remember was on a fretted bass and the guy was doing it because he had got blisters from playing too hard for a week....!

    But he was apologising to everybody for the sound. ;)
  15. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    BTW, I know this is off the original topic, but on the promo photos I just saw for "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", there is Bob Babbit, Fender P in hand, with a large sponge wedged under his strings!:D
  16. I know this is totally useless, but here it goes.

    Many people (Including myself) consider Marcus Miller to be a great Jazz Bassist. And on a few tracks, none of which i have names for, he uses effects (I believe a chorus, flanger and possibly light synth) and it sounds freaking amazing. So I guess it's all about the effects you're using, and how you use them.

  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    And was he playing Jazz....? ;)
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Although I have no doubt he could play what he likes - he mostly seems to play funk/ hip hop crossovers these days and I've never really heard him play anything that I would call straight ahead Jazz.

    Of course - funk bass has a history of effects use and this is where Marcus Miller is coming from not really Jazz.
  19. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    Bruce: As was mentioned, off the original topic!;) I was just referencing the sponge thing with Bob. Uhh...sponge...uhh...Bob Babbitt...SpongeBob!