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Best bass for Reggae/Dub/Dancehall etc. ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AuG, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    I was thinking about getting a new bass for Reggae and Dub specifically, any opinions on what would be the best one? I like Capleton, Sizzla, Buju Banton, The Skatalites, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Yellow Man etc.etc.etc. Any help would be appreciated.

    I did run a search and couldn't find a thread for this so here goes. :)

    Edit: I have a cd of some stuff my dad gave me entitled (by him) Chantell Terrors. I'm assuming it's of The Terrors and someone else but that's the sound I'd like.
  2. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    lol you named to many dance hall artist,they use programmed bass or synth bass, :D for reggae P-bass,Jazz,Warwicks Thumb,Laklands Skylines are good choice,too many bass that can fit very well in reggae.
  3. a p-bass with flats would sound good....or basically anything that you can get really bassy, it could be done with a wide variety of basses with just a little e.q.ing
  4. ariwax

    ariwax Insonating the acoustic window Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    sure, anything could do the job. you could use a lakland or a good fender jazz, i suppose. but for something with a bit of personality, i'd say it's the 5-string bongo HH with flats. you hit the low B and it's huge; nobody on the floor can think of anything but moving the booty. it's got the punch and stomach-churning bottom of an 808 sample, but it's all human, baby. king tubby would want one.

  5. Funky Tune

    Funky Tune

    Apr 28, 2005
    Puerto Rico
    uffff a Bongo 5 HH in reggae is a best choice,nice words,Bongo in reggae means GROOVE :hyper:
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Last time I played with the Skatalites, Lloyd Brevett was playing an electric upright.

    Last time I played with Yellowman, his bassist was playing a 'modern' 5 string...can't remember what it was, but it was strung with round wound strings.

    Buju, Elephant Man, Beenie Man are mostly using pre-produced backing tracks for recordings, about 60% of those are keyboard bass. The rest is mostly modern 5 string as well. Capleton and Sizzla (good call on those two), I can't really tell ya. Again, for studio stuff, it's catch all, wether they're playing to current popular riddims or if live, lots of times its pickup bands.

    Everyone will tell you you need an old Fender Jazz...most Jamaican players have moved into the 21st century with the rest of us, and are playing newer stuff, especially since Dancehall and modern 'roots conscious' dancehall rule the roost in the islands...and for that, you'll need a 5.

    When you get down to it, beyond super mid/treble heavy basses, you can get good reggae sound out of most basses. It's all about how you EQ and your touch.
  7. lefty007


    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    I remember reading an article about Bill Laswell a couple of years ago, and he used a modified P-bass with an extra J pickup (like the production Hot Rodded or a current Mexican P-Bass special, minus the active electronics). If I recall correctly, he uses groudwound strings and set the tone pot the bass in the middle. I also think he was using a DBX sub harmonizer or something like that (some kind of rack unit that boosts lows).

    My own recipe (I play dub, reggae and Latin myself) is using flatwound string, mainly with a 5-string bass, because I like to palm-mute playing in the lower register of the B-string, which creates rounded and earth-shaking lows.

    I also use a compressor (a Tech 21 Bass Compactor) where I boost the lows and sometimes a Boss Octave. A compressor is a big part of the recipe.

    Another trick is to use an envelop filter (I use a Digitech EV25 or something like that, the green one) setup with the sensitivity low, so the filter doesn't quite open but stays right at the threshold --this creates subterranean lows that scary people. My speakers take a beatin', but when playing in clubs with proper subs or with any proper P.A., it kicks butt.

    I also use a Rick Turner Electroline and/or a Carvin AC50 -- piezo-equipped basses with flat string can generate some serious low end, even more than any P-Bass, but a P-Bass or J-Bass with fltas will certaily do the trick.

    For a nice setup:

    Bass with flats to Octave pedal, then Envelop Filter, then compressor. Leave all the highs in the middle (zero gain), boost lows generously and boost the mids some (between 500 and 800 Hz). Palm-muting and playing with your thumb (or even with a pick for extra definition) creates a nice sound.

    Obviously, the size and quality of you amp (and the quality and size of ther P.A. of house) will make a huge difference in your perceived sound.

    If I were to recommend a specific bass in a budget, I would think that a Spector Spectorcore will do the trick nicely, since it's got a magnetic pickup close to the P-bass position and it has piezos.

  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    Just a quick note...

    Much like the fact that there's no crying in baseball, there's no compression in reggae bass. While there's no doubt that from the above posters description, palm mute, envelope and compression probably work in that setting, if you're looking for what you'd get in a Reggae/Dancehall/Dub setting, you won't find much in the way of any of those things. Keep it clean, low and natural sounding. I've seen both singers and bass players rip the sound guy a new one for putting compression on the bass out front (I've been known to make my views known too.

    In traditional dub, it's basically remixing of the original studio track, so no palm muting either. If you listen to your Tubby, Pablo, Scratch, etc, you'll see that usually the bass is about the only instrument that remains 'clean'.

    Bill Laswell does use a lot of stuff with his bass rig, but his dub/reggae isn't really the same thing...it comes out of jazz,funk,electronica/and ambient.
  9. AuG


    May 22, 2005
    Fort Collins, CO
    Wow thanks for all your comments guys. I had figured that most of the Dancehall uses pre-backing tracks or keyboard bass, but I do like that Dub sound. Now just to find a bass that is clean, low and natural. I do like my LTD it sounds pretty good, more of a metal tone to it so I was looking at Lakland for the most part. Of course there's always Sadowsky....... :D
  10. notrt


    Jun 29, 2004
    :hyper: Find yourself one of the old PRS 4 stringers---the one with the dummy pickup in the back. Incredible booty if you want it! :smug:

    RC a/k/a "notrt"
  11. wingmanborge


    Apr 12, 2012
    I know this is old but just have to say that you are so very spot on.
  12. winston


    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Interesting thread. I did sound on the California world music festival circuit for a couple years for lots of great reggae acts including Dezarie, Midnite, and Fully Fullwood. The bass really doesn't matter as much as the player. When you do it right, you're not playing reggae, it's playing you. Almost everyone except the established old-timers...Family Man, Fully, Robbie Shakespeare--played an active 5 string with roundwounds.

    I heard great deep bass tones from active and passive Fender, Steinberger, Yamaha, Ibanez and Music Man basses. I don't want to generalize too much, but I didn't detect much gear fetishism from 3rd world musicians--Africans and Caribbean islanders. They used what they had and sounded great and authentic. Very few, if any, effects, everything into a Countryman direct box and whatever backline was there (usually Ampeg).

    I did see Bill Laswell play with Tabla Beat Science on another stage one year. It was the highlight of that era for me, and his fretless, FX-laden approach stood out against the traditionalists.
  13. pnchad

    pnchad Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2005
    if you can swing it, Sadowsky

    their preamps rock the booty like nothing else - the bass can get so extreme it's cartoonish

    plus it cuts in any environment

    I've also enjoyed the smoothness of a fretless - you can play tight when needed or greasy as whale s%^t
  14. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    I once used a kala u bass with a line 6 bass pod set to "sub dub"....I could have easily used that sound for reggae....it was deep!
  15. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    I let Family Man use my Precision Elite II for a show when the truck carrying his gear broke down. He was gushing over it. Afterwards, he kept repeating how much he liked it and how nice it is. Full, deep, rich. With the tone open awesome aggressive rock and slap tone. Roll the tone off and get a fantastic warm roots/dub sound.
  16. winston


    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Wow, great story! Got any pics?

    Precision Elite II..that's the 80's Fender with 2 P pickups and gold fine-tuner bridge? Those looked groovy!
  17. deeptubes


    Feb 21, 2011
    You know, I never even thought about getting pics. My dad was doing sound and gave me a call, letting me know what was going on. Just grabbed my bass and rig and headed out the door. This was in 2001(?), didn't even have a cell phone and didn't think to grab a camera. Time was of the essence, so I kind of rushed.

    My Elite is transparent emerald green and has chrome hardware, and yes it has a fine tuning bridge. Some are gold, don't know if it was standard with some colors/finishes or an option. It weighs about 13 1/2 lbs and the tone is fantastic. Everywhere I take her, the responses are either, "Wow! I haven't seen one of those in a long time" or "Wow! I've never seen one of those". Rarely play her anymore. Haven't pulled her off the wall since I set her up this past spring. My other basses have J necks, and my short fingers have gotten used to them.
  18. brandau


    Jan 30, 2008
    Any ideas as why no one uses or has mentioned a Gibson EB0 or EB3? Those basses have such huge lowend... Seems like they'd be perfect for Dub and Reggae.