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Basses sound different?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Syxx870621345, Mar 23, 2002.

  1. Ok, yea I know basses have their own individual sound and everything but, how do you find out what each one sounds like. Other than going and playing them all, ofcourse. Is there a website that would explain all of these basses and what they sound like? If so, please inform.

  2. Sofa King

    Sofa King

    Aug 20, 2000
    Rowlett, TX
    The problem with something like that would be is the fact that basses sound different between people, also. What someone might describe as bright in clear, someone else might say is tinny and harsh. And what someone might think is deep and warm, someone else might think is muddy. If you really want to know what a bass sounds like you do have to go and play them.
  3. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Besides, you could have two Fender Jazz basses side by side, and they could sound different. There are so many factors which contribute to the sound.

    The wood, how it was processed, how old it is, the pickups, the strings, the neck&fretboard etc. etc. etc.
  4. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    And even then you will have the factor of different strings...
  5. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I think it takes time to be able to really distinguish between bass sounds. At least in my case it did. I thought most basses sounded pretty much the same except for a Rickenbacker.

    I think a good way to get an idea of what basses sound like is by listening to lots of people and seeing what they play. The older Chili Peppers albums gives ya pretty good idea of what a Stingray sounds like - Jaco you can hear what a Jazz bass could do - Ramones will show you the power of a P-bass - the list goes on and on.

    I think there are a few generalizitions that can be made that are more often true than not. P pickup will lean towards being dark and punchy, 2 J pickups will give you greater variety, more top end, and probably more growl, MM pickups sound funky and fat (have that cool farty sound if ya want them to). Heavy woods tend to make a bass sound deeper.... blah, blah, blah.....

    Playing lots of basses, listening to lots of bassists - and time - will make the distinctions clear.
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I really like the wise responses that have been given so far.

    Just to add to the futility of what you're looking for, Chris;

    - The sound samples of various basses should have been recorded through the same model amp or at least some that are very comparable in performance. For grins, let's say the samples were.

    Then it would be reasonable to wonder if the samples were recorded with some $3k Neuman mic or directly into the board in some megabuck studio.

    FWIW, the online sound samples of effects and basses that I have tried out in person or owned bear little resemblance to the real deal, (for better or worse; usually worse). The recording conditions, (including the amp), varied and/or sometimes sounded very enhanced.
  7. There are some very bad samples that are available at the Fender and Gibson websites. You have to look carefully at the page for each bass but there is a little icon that links to a streaming sample (low and high quality).

    The only thing I hate about the samples though is that the samples play different things so you can do a direct sound comparison.

    But Bgavin's link is pretty good too. I went there and listened to all of the sound samples.
  8. There's why I bought one - anyone can hear it and instantly identify it!

    It's got major personality!

    I still want a Wal some day though, they're really distinctive too.

  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I wish there were more like it.

    One great thing about it is that it underscores the main point being made here - there are just too many variables to conclusively show how a given bass sounds. especially on the web, (just compare those samples he has of the Jazz!).

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