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Better tone

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Skeletomania, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. Skeletomania


    Oct 25, 2005
    hong kong
    I've been tinkering around for a better tone. I just couldn't figure out what im doing wrong with the way im playing. My tone is very lacking compared to my instructor. I wanted to ask for any insights to get a fuller tone from your fingers.
  2. I'd recommend playing slowly, in time with a metronome, and experimenting with your right hand technique. It doesn't matter if you're playing scales or a line, just listen to the tone as you vary your touch, try playing softer, harder, use more of the pad of your finger, just the tip. Leave your amp's eq flat and try this for awhile and you'll start to hear the effect of your right hand on your tone, then you'll know how you have to play to get the tone you're looking for. And don't forget about your left hand either, sloppy fretting is often the cause of bad tone. Slowing down will help both hands.
  3. for a fuller tone, try playing closer to the neck, as opposed to playing closer to the bridge, which will get you a slightly more defines/clearer tone
  4. When I play some of my students instruments they notice that their basses sound fuller / punchier when I play them as compared to when they play them. I play the bass much more physically aggressive than many of my students - I pull the strings harder finger style, pluck harder with a pick, slap harder with my thumb. Lots of basses really open up tonewise when played decisively. Many newer bassists play very tentatively so my advise is dig in and play like you've got a pair!

    Good luck!
  5. Skeletomania


    Oct 25, 2005
    hong kong
    Maybe ill try to play harder, but doesn't others recommend playing more lightly?
  6. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    I think it's all about moderation. Play as hard as you can without makeing the strings hit the frets :bassist:
  7. BillytheBassist


    Aug 18, 2005
    Tone is in the tip's!! :bag:
  8. Yes.

    Like almost everything else, for every point there is a counterpoint with its own believers.

    Do you mean that your tone is lacking compared to your instructors when he is playing the same bass thorugh the same amplifier (thus, the difference being in his fingers/technique?)

    What does the instructor himself have to say about it?
  9. Skeletomania


    Oct 25, 2005
    hong kong
    That's what I'm asking, but I haven't talk to him about this yet.
  10. In every 'beginner' book I have ever seen on bass, the first topic is note quality. The first exercise is training your picking fingers (index and middle) to sound exaclty the same and ensuring the notes are strong and well-stated. This means you don't let up one note too soon before striking the other and so on... So my suggestion is to go back to the basics and start your practice sessions with quarter-note (or even half-note), alternating finger exercises where you focus hard on ensuring that the notes sound the same, are strong and consistent.

    If you get your 'picking fingers' into shape and you don't overdevelop one over the other, your technique with have a more 'solid' sound to it. A lot of bass players make the mistake of favoring one finger over the other and this develops a lop-sided technique.

    Then you work on various 'touches' that involve either a lighter stroke or moving your hand closer to the bridge or neck and adjusting the stroke accordingly.