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Best clean sound possible

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassbmx, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. Firstly, I wasn't too sure where to post this as it could cover a few different forums (basses, amps, effects, pups) so I hope it's alright in here.

    I've been of a big effects buying spreee recently but decided to do the sensible thing and try to get the best clean, unaffected sound I can before buying any more envelope filters or synthy stuff.

    What I've done so far:
    Put TI strings on my HWY1 Jazz - thinking about some DR Nickel LoRiders

    Swapped the tubes in my YBA200 for lower gain pre tubes and JJKT88's

    I'm using George L's .225" cables from my bass > amp. .115" patch cables

    I use an MXR 10 band EQ to boost the low mids for a little more growl.

    I have some Antiquity II pups along with shielding tape, new CTS pots and a new capasitor on the way this week.

    So, any onther ideas for better overall unaffected tone?
  2. John Wentzien

    John Wentzien

    Jun 25, 2007
    Elberta, AL
    Artist:TC Electronic RH450 bass system (original test-pilot)
    I put "TUSQ" bridge saddles and nut (by graph tech) on my H-1 Jazz..Get a LOT cleaner and more even sound now..
  3. Any links to where you got them from? I've already searched in NZ but could only find the Graphtech nuts, not saddles.
  4. I would try ebay - with the dollar at .79US, it's a very cost effective way of getting what you want (and often can't get in New Zealand). I know a lot of Kiwis are wary of getting stuff shipped in from overseas, but it's worked well for me, purchases under $400 NZ including shipping are exempt from customs, and even if you can get it in NZ, you can probably get 2 of it shipped to you from ebay for the same price as one in NZ!

    (I'm at work at the moment and so haven't checked ebay to see if there's someone selling TUSQ stuff, but I bet there is!).

    And for a good unaffected sound, how about a true bypass looper for all your pedals - simple to make (so I'm told and am about to find out when the switches I bought on ebay arrive) or plenty of places to buy online.

  5. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    This approach to clean sound is probably already well-understood by most TBers, but here goes---BTW, I do this with a passive Jazz, 3 passive P-basses, an active skyline 5, an active Valenti fretless 5, and an active Sadowsky p/j 4. Strings vary. I use Sadowsky bright nickels and steels, DA chrome ultralight (XL) flats, EB light steel flats, Fender medium light steel flats, Fender 7150 pure Nickel round wounds, Nickel TI Jazz flats, and Lakland roundwound steels. :p :p :p

    I run my preamp (an Art Tube channel) with the EQ and the compression defeated (and this pre has nice tube EQ and compression). I DO vary the gain, based on the instrument.

    I try to control my tone completely from the instrument. So far, so good, no? :D

    However, there is another big issue that applied to me: player created "noise."

    IMHO, one can clean up the sound of one's instrument by improving one's technique, in other words, examine your playing for "sonic" flaws.

    Things I have found in mine and have (mostly) eliminated:

    1. Fret clack caused by baring 2 strings with lh third finger while raking downward (a good hard rake).
    2. String squeak from round wounds.
    3. Gratuitous smacking of strings with right hand on syncopated rests.
    4. Need for better muting of open strings by using right hand thumb.
    5. Careful control of the intensity of each attack.
    6. Even more careful control of note duration and phrasing.

    That's it for me. I just try to play cleaner. :bassist: :D :bassist:
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm sorry, but I can't think of a bigger waste of time and money than trying to remove every single bit of grit out of my tone. A lot of what you consider "not clean," I consider "character." Sure, you want a good signal path and good technique without a ton of extraneous noises, but if you clean it up too much, it loses things that make it special and becomes generic and stale-sounding.
  7. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    The best, most clean and balanced tone I've ever found has been with my Dingwall basses. I've bought a lot of basses (40+) and I've tried head to head many other basses at all price ranges. Still Dingwall is my top
  8. CUT, don't boost.
    While adding low mids, you are probably also adding part of the upper lows' band which does not do much for a clear tone. If you want to have lower mids' presence, try cutting other things with that EQ. Let those low mids be the thing you won't eliminate. you should have enough bands to find those unpleasant spots and cut them. Chances are that you will find a more musical setting that is listenable and that doesn't fatigue the ears. few things are more satisfying than a clear, uncluttered, tuneful low end.
    I find that to get a clear tone, I dip the low highs (~4-6k) and the high lows (~120-200 hz). This gives the illusion of a wider bandwidth by letting the lows, highs and mids speak more clearly without our ears perceiving so much of what they already hear most easily, and, also what our gear produces, unfortunately, more efficiently.

    Less bowl, more roll; less chip, more burp.
  9. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    To paraphrase Jim Carr, practice.

    Anything else now will give you diminishing results as per the money and time spent on trying to get a cleaner sound from your rig compared to polishing your technique.
  10. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I agree. It has been driven home to me the ~100 live broadcast recordings I've made that there is "character" and then there are unwanted noises. Unwanted noises can obsure the musical character, IMHO. :cool:

    I think a lot of the noise vs. character judgement is driven by the style of the music and the role of the bass in a given piece of music. I'm often doing straight and simple root and fifth with the occasional country walk-ups. Simple, clean, and dead correct on demand can be hard to do in live recordings, at least for me. :p
  11. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    I agree.

    I use an Ampeg head and Ampeg Cabs with a Bass PODxt (set to no cabinet and very little effects), a Boss Chorus Ensemble set with very light effect, a MXR 10 band EQ to boost my mids and that is it.

    It may not sound "unaffected", but it sounds great IMO with very little effects and EVERY note on the fretboard can be heard when I play it.:bassist:

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