Axe-Fx II Slap Tone Help

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Grand Moff Tim, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. Hey, Talkbassists. I know there's a handful of users on here who have an Axe-Fx II in their rigs somewhere, and I was wondering if any of you have ever used it to create a patch for playing slap. I've been trying and trying, tweaking and tweaking, and I just can't get a tone I'm happy with.

    I tried searching the Fractal Axe Change for presets, but it seems nearly everyone making bass presets is only in it to sound br00tuhl or like Nolly Getgood. Did I miss a good one somewhere?

    If any of you have some good slap presets, would you mind sharing? If you don't have it uploaded, then even some preset advice would be peachy. What amp + cab(s)? Amp settings? What effects? Effect settings? The more it sounds like Marcus, the better, haha.

    I realize that's asking for alot of info, but I get more and more frustrated each time I turn the damned thing on and fail to get what I'm after. Help would be much appreciated.

    If it helps, the bass I'm using is a Bacchus P/J Jazz clone, all passive.
  2. Hm... difficult to say. What is your basic tone? Which amp model? For slap I'd probably use some compression and a PEQ to boost certain frequencies (Miller's uber highs :roflmao:)
    Grand Moff Tim likes this.
  3. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    What amp and cab models are in that thing? Is go for something solid state and a 410 like an Eden. Then I'd boost the lows and highs while scooping out some mids.

    Getting a MM slap tone with a PJ is a tough order.
    Grand Moff Tim likes this.
  4. The bass options on it are pretty limited, unfortunately. It's got an SVT, a Mesa, and an Orange of some sort, and a basic assortment of Ampeg-style cabs like an 8x10, 1x15, and a couple 4x10s (with and without tweeters).
    Closest I've been able to get to a slap tone I like so far is with the SVT and an 8x10, of all things. I've tried adding compression, EQ, and even a notch filter to cut out some mids, but I'm still not quite there. It doesn't help that I'm a complete n00b when it comes to compression, so I'm just randomly choosing parameters to tweak and seeing what it gets me, haha.
    I'm fairly happy with the slap tones I get out of the PJ with my live/band practice rig (Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 > MarkBass 2x10), but that rig sits at the practice studio all the time, which leaves me with the Axe-Fx II for home use. It's a fantastic unit, but it doesn't really cater to bassists and I'm pretty new to the bass gear game in the first place, so I need some guidance. I've thought about getting a Stingray as a dedicated slap bass, but EBMMs are so overpriced here in Korea that it's just not worth it.
  5. I use the FAS Bass amp. After long testing, I found that it has the "quickest" and punchiest low end of all and really behaved like a real amp. Do you play into a normal bass amp and then a bass cab? Then you should leave the cabsim out of the signalchain. Or route it only to the outputs 1 (XLR) and use the output 2 (unbalanced jack) to your bass amp or power amp.

    Use the PEQ to find nice frequencies to boost.
    Compression... Ratio to 1:3, and then put the Threshold really high. Then slowly drop it until you notice something happening.
    That leaves you some ideas to tweak :thumbsup:
    Grand Moff Tim likes this.
  6. At home I'm just using the Fractal and headphones, so I need a patch that has amp & cab sims. Live and at practice I'll just be using the four cable method to use it with my Aguilar/MarkBass rig, so I won't need amp or cab sims for that, since I like the slap tones I get from that rig just fine.

    I'll try the compression suggestions, thanks for the tips.
  7. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    IMO, the recent firmware changes to the Amp Block are great for bass. Here's what I do a lot of the time using the SV Bass model:

    • for ultra clean pop/slap, make sure the front end input drive of the Amp Block is set low so that the tone is clean
    • I like to crank up the Master Volume in order to maximize the effect of the output power amp stage, and all of its associated parameters. Lower the LEVEL to compensate for the gain boost.
    • engage the Bass Cut switch, and regain the lost low end by adding with the Depth parameter, or Bass tone parameter. IMO, this helps keep the low end from overdriving the input and keeps things from being too "farty" and more focused.
    • I find the Output Compressor (on the Dynamics tab of the Amp block) to be a very natural sounding compressor as an alternative to the dedicated Comp Block, and a little goes a long way. Raise the threshold and adjust the amount of compression so that just a couple of dB is being lopped taste of course
    • Try engaging the Bright switch...extra crispy
    • for further tone tweaks, try one of the many EQ page variations in the Amp block, and adjust to taste. For simplified tweaks, use a 3 band EQ. To cut/boost with more specificity, use one of the 7 or 8 band EQs
    • Play with the Amp Voicing parameter. You may find that a "Modern" setting is more appropriate for clean pop/slap
    Now, this is where things can get interesting. You may find that a Cabinet Block filters too much of the crisp high end and sub low end from the tone, so try working your tone without the Cab block to see if you like it. If you DO use a cabinet block, the stock cabinet I'd start with would be "#113 4x10+Tweeter SV Bass M88 Mix" IR. In addition, I personally wish the Cab block had a WET/DRY blend parameter, which I find especially useful for retaining the immediacy of the attack of the tone, as well as the full range of the low bass frequencies. But since this doesn't exist, I run a parallel feed from the Amp Block before it hits the Cab Block, and use a VOL block to allow me to mix the pure Amp signal with the filtered Cab Block signal, and blend to taste.

    Try all of these tweaks using the various Bass Amp models and Cabinet IRs, and various amounts of wet/dry blend if you're using the Cab Block with a parallel "amp block only" signal path. Really work with the EQ stages within the Amp Block and the Output Compressor to fine tune the tone and dynamics.

    Just my 2 cents.
  8. Holy moly, I didn't realize that this works this way.
    Thank you, very clever. Very clever!
  9. mrufino1


    Aug 2, 2005
    Nutley, NJ
    For slap bass, try using that switch on it that is labeled "mute." That will help it fit the music best.

    I 'm kidding, although it's often my wish! Depends on who is doing the slapping...;-)
  10. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!" Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    That's right, and it's a huge part of what makes the amp models so interesting in the AxeFx. You get to really cook the virtual output tubes, and in doing so, the impact of many parameters related to output power stages come into play in a much more obvious way, and hopefully pleasantly so.

    Though much of the tips and descriptions on the AxefxII wiki page in the amp section are geared for guitarists, there are some real gems of information that also apply to bass guitar, and the information provided there by Cliff C. (the mastermind behind Fractal Audio), though very technical at times, provides a lot of excellent information explaining how the advanced parameters are supposed to work in the real world.

    Interesting section is the "Input Drive, Overdrive, Master Volume" section of the Amp Block Wiki:
    Grand Moff Tim likes this.