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Basses for Folk/SingerSongwriter Music?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by xJasonSmithx, Sep 26, 2004.

  1. xJasonSmithx

    xJasonSmithx Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    Denver, CO
    Im looking for sugestions for a cheaper bass to use on some accoustic projects I have comming up w/ some friends. Last time I recorded anything like that all i had at the time was my Stingray 5 w/ Maple neck. The sound was definetly too overbearing for the music. What im looking for is something that has a deep full sound that is kinda mellow at the same time.

    So bassicaly, what type of basses are you guys using for this type of music?

  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I find my Yamaha BB404F with TI flats to be GREAT for this purpose. I use the following settings -- Bridge volume at 10, Neck at 8, Tone at 3 or 4 (it's a passive JJ config). Very mellow, fat sound that fits the music. Sounded great when playing DMB - Crush with someone else on acoustic guitar.
  3. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    The Stingray will do just fine. Just get to know your tone pot, and maybe use mutes if your Stingray has them. Otherwise try a foam sponge under the strings by the bridge. Play with your fingers closer to the neck or pick softly.

    It'll sound as close to a P Bass as possible, which is the goal, assuming you want a Simon & Garfunkel/CSN bass sound.
  4. xJasonSmithx

    xJasonSmithx Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    Denver, CO
    I will definetly try putting foam under the strings.

    Any other singer/songwriter's bassists out there?

  5. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    I don't do the folk thing much anymore, but do often gig with my band's singer and either the quitarist or the keyboard player in a stripped-down setting with acoustic guitars and not drums. I usually use my Lakland Skyline hollowbody strung with flats, and it works great for that--just enough thumpy resonance to fill in the low end without sounding out of place. To be honest, though, I suspect a set of flats might get you a long way towards the tone you want even on the SR5. They're not normally my string of choice, but in some settings they just seem to work.

  6. xJasonSmithx

    xJasonSmithx Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2003
    Denver, CO
    I would like to try flats on my sr5 sometime but I use it w/ roundwound strings for my hardcore band which at the moment is more important that the acoustic projects. I have been thinking of maybe something like finding a cheap p-bass to string with flats for times like this.

  7. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    That'd probably work. Another thing you might think about is one of the many semi-hollow basses around. One thing I like about the Skyline is just that it's something totally different from all my other basses...

  8. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002
    There is something about a hollowbody or semi-hollowbody that really goes well with the music you are talking about. I use my Carvin AC40 hollowbody, but the Casady would also do well. I'd string either with flats, maybe even Labella tapewounds. The P bass is what was used with CSN, but they also used a lot of electric guitars and played huge venues. For a small room with acoustic guitars, a hollowbody is great (but I don't think an acoustic/electric cuts it. Others disagree).
  9. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    Whenever I play an acoustic gig I play a Larrivee' acoustic bass with Elixer strings. If you are on budget I would definitely suggest checking out the Micheal Kelly acoustic basses or get a Rogue copy of the Hofner "Beatle Bass" from MusiciansFriend.com and set it up with flatwounds. Looks cool is very easy to play, sounds great and will only set you back about $400
  10. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    I did a recording project that was pretty close to acoustic and used my Danelectro DC. It is semi hollow and has a nice springy tone to it. Some say it sounds like a Hofner. My 57 P RI is easier to play and cuts through a mix better but if i was doing another quiet kind of thing i'd take the Dano again.
  11. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Most anything strung with flats would probably do. I'd say a Precision just because that's probably the easiest of all these to find.
  12. I'd say a Tacoma Olympia acoustic. I think they are just as good as the american models and can be found at great prices. They are loud unplugged. Also a fender P bass would do the trick. Even a jazz with flats (yummy!).

    I agree that a stingray isn't the best bass for folk. They are too monotone for my tastes, but I'm sure some of the best folk bass players wouldn't sound bad on a stingray. It just wouldn't have the same vibe or character as a fender or acoustic IMO.
  13. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    My Alembic S1 shortscale does just fine. Not exactly cheap though.
  14. RunngDog


    Jan 22, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Any Rob Allen bass is good for what you're seeking. I like the fretless Mouse w/ 30" scale -- nice lows, but not booming and so not overwhelming in an acoustic context.
  15. Another vote for the foam under the strings. If that provides too much muting, just thread a handkerchief through the strings right in front of the bridge. I often do this. It has the added bonus of being very handy if ya want to blow ya nose while on stage.......
  16. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I'd just use whatever bass I normally use and adjust the tone accordingly via EQ or fingers.

    I've heard everything from upright bass to Jacoed-out fretless to hip-hop bass sounds on singer-songwriter recordings.
  17. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    To use an old and tired (but true) quote, "the tone is in the hands".

    Get to know your instrument and you'll save yourself some money.
  18. A used Fender P?
  19. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    Most definately a P-bass. Mexican or even Squier when strapped for cash. Something passive anyway (I know: Jimmy Johnson plays an Alembic behing JamesTaylor).

    Or an Acoustic Bass guitar, but a cheap one can sound quite crappy.
  20. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    I believe you can use any kind of bassguitar for playing singer/songwriter or folky kinds of music.
    I play in such a band myself and I use a Status bassguitar, a 'modern' sounding instrument that was particular popular during the eighties. I think, comparing with a 'vintage' instrument, the music really improves with the long sustain that is typical for my bass, very nice to sing over.

    I think all I'm trying to say is that there is no typical bass to use in this kind of music. Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits are both singer-songwriters, so I can't really say: buy a 52 P bass, or so. I believe it's in your hands, but your amp is also important (a 15 speaker helps, I believe).

    You can check out how my bass sounds:

    (although the bass is a little too sterile sounding here and there...it's that damn bass pod we borrowed for the recordings)