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Cheapest Amp ever - TB Exclusive!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by George Dennis, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. Let me say from the outset that this is a little embarrassing.

    For all I know this could be one of those stories told a thousand times when I just happened to be out of the room. But neither TB search or Google has helped find out if this is a well known life-hack for bass.



    There I was, just practicing unplugged, as I imagine we all do time to time, though at that moment I was also comfort-testing some earplugs.

    I was hunched down so rested the point of my chin, slack jawed, on the top horn of my p-bass.

    Suddenly ... instant amp :woot:
    Just add earplugs!


    I'm aware of the physics but was still amazed by the clarity and volume of the sound.

    I then tried this trick on a few other basses (Warwick, Rick & Jazz) and it worked for all of them, and even more remarkably, each one kept its own distinct tone.

    So TB brothers and sisters, I need one or two of you to check this out or tell me if it's a "thing", or has been a bass hack for years and I'll go quietly - back to my earplug bass amp.

    Either way, this is your chance to try the world's cheapest bass amp, (almost) free and exclusive to TB.
    ElMon and Count Bassie like this.
  2. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    it's all well and good until your chin develops a short.
  3. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    This is a variation on a trick I used to use when touring and I didn't have a small practice amp I could play in a hotel room. I would stand and put the tip of the headstock against the wall. The wall board became the speaker.
    TolerancEJ, Qlanq, vickerekes and 7 others like this.
  4. Winslow


    Sep 25, 2011
    Group "W" Bench
    Bone conduction is a fairly well-known phenomenon (there have been threads about it here & there). I could see a benefit to the earplugs helping to reduce the ambient sounds, and let you hear "more" of what's going through your chin.

    Either way, hey, if it works, then good on ya! :thumbsup:
    TolerancEJ and Count Bassie like this.
  5. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    The only issue here, I think, would be that someone passing by might think, "I didn't know Quasimodo played bass."
    George Dennis likes this.
  6. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    I used to do this when I would take my bass to work and practice at lunch. Works better for me with fretted basses. But yeah, terrible for posture.
    George Dennis likes this.
  7. Yep that's the tone I've chased my whole life to be able to play and record with.

    I had hoped piezo or lightwave was going to capture it, nope and certainly not regular mag pickups either.

    It really is a magical, compressed and almost distorted sound with huge presence.

    Oh and by the way, this also gets the natural sound of the bass very well, they will all sound unique with this technique.

    It's also a great way to tune in a pinch with no amp.

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I think you immediately need to check the bias setting of your jaw, possibly change the capacitors (aka: tooth fillings) and clean the grille cloth (shave).
  9. I am so grateful for the responses and to know it's not just me! I want to feel like I'm special for other reasons. :rolleyes:

    I think it has less to do with blocking ambient noise and more to do with the earplugs closing the ear-hole and resonating to the frequencies in the jaw/skull. The overwhelming sensation is that you actually "hear" the bass (that is, it sounds "amplified").

    Go on @Winslow you know you want to try it!
    I'm sure you can get your hands on some earplugs; even in Arizona!
    Winslow and Count Bassie like this.
  10. I'm definitely going to try this with the fretless (slight complication is that the fretless isn't yet a "Significant Other Certified" member of the collection)

    I'm slightly disturbed by how well you know the inner workings of my brand new amp! :wideyed:

    TolerancEJ, viper4000 and Pilgrim like this.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Ha!, yeah, it works a little. I play sitting on an old wooden chair sometimes and the way it's shaped the bass or guitar will sometimes rest against the wooden wing of the seat. It's not bad. Maybe that's the way to get the ultimate woody tone.
    George Dennis likes this.
  12. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Shoals Indiana
    Make sure you use only a genuine Neutrik chin for the best results.:D
    Winslow, George Dennis and Pilgrim like this.
  13. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK

    The ‘Pbass’ of jaw position IME. Can really hear every note.
    9c1ny and George Dennis like this.
  14. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK

    My compressor
    TolerancEJ, Winslow and George Dennis like this.
  15. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK

    Synth pedals
  16. Another fun way to go ampless is to place your headstock against the wall (assuming you have drywall or wooden walls). You can get your neighbors riled up pretty quickly if you do this in an apartment.
    ElMon and George Dennis like this.
  17. Hey @Dirk Diggler love your description of the tone.
    For me this is the musical equivalent of holding a b&w photographic negative so the light reflects off the emulsion to glimpse a positive image. [Cue "Cheapest Film Print ever" thread];)
    Now we just need the picture of Dirk using his custom fanned-fret 6-string bass with earplug amp in the Quasimodo position way up past the 12th fret.

    If we're taking votes on band names, let's start with "Quasimodo and the Belles".
  18. JKos


    Oct 26, 2010
    Torrance, CA
    How about a stethoscope?
    Bahjark likes this.
  19. I do this all the time when I’m listening to something on YouTube and I want to quickly pick up my bass and figure out a tune.
    George Dennis likes this.
  20. Nice idea @JKos
    I could see how that might work ... but have no idea where you picked up your stethoscope cheaper than a pair of earplugs :eek:
    Let's just say, I'm glad I'm not the patient!
    ElMon likes this.

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