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consistant tone or different ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by crazybassplyr, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. Here is something I have been wondering about.
    Do you (all) stick with a consistant tone, or do you change it up depending on what you are playing?
    I have a standard, "general purpose" tone that works well for recording and playing live with only minor adjustments between the two. I also have a "collection" of other tones that i use for specific songs i.e. more chorus here, less compression there, etc, etc.
    Being in a working band has allowed me to see many other bass players and it seems to me (IMHO) that most bass players in my little neck of the woods have one tone and thats it...they quite often sound the same, almost like all these bands have the same bassist. Am i the only one that finds that just a little sad ?
  2. secretdonkey


    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I confess to tend towards being a one-tone kinda guy. I will dial in the low end of my amp to adjust for acoustics of the room, and use varying right hand position to get different sounds, but that's about it. My approach is to get one great tone that allows the bass and amp to speak in their best voices, and try to use technique to work with that voice. Limiting, yes, I agree -- but it's what works for me!


    Edit: At home, playing with my recording software, is a different story. When I lay down one bass part over another, I usually want them to contrast.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I set my amp at the beginning of the gig and that's it. I tweak volume as needed from the bass and maybe fiddle a bit with the tone knob.

    I get all the tonal variations I need from my fingers. I don't use any effects. In fact, I don't even care if I can't use my amp...if an amp is there at the gig already for me to use, great!

    I can't say I need to have more tones available on a song by song basis.
  4. I say if it works for you, go for it and be happy A.K.A. Live long and prosper.
    I did not intend for this thread to be a "right or wrong" discussion with people saying someone sucks for doing this or doing that, and I hope it does not turn into that.
    Style, tone, gear preferances and so many other topics brought up here are subjective, plain and simple. What works for you is what works for you and thats all there is to it, NO ONE has any right to judge your preferances.
    Sorry to go off like this, but I am relatively new here and I am just catching on to how ignorant and opinionated some posts can be.
    Whew, ok...I feel better now :D
  5. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    I tweek for the room but I have one good tone that I like. Ill play harder/ softer or bridge/neck but Im a plug and play kinda guy. My tone and tastes change with different kinds of bands that Im in (metal, classic, country) and Ill use a different amp/cab set up but thats about it.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    On your fretless, you favour the bridge PU for a "Jaco tone"(makes sense to me).
    On your fretted, neck pickup only, tone almost all the way off...for a "fretted Jaco tone"?
    With that setting on my fretted Jazz, I get a sorta old skool R&B, almost P-bass thang. How you doin' it?

    I like this topic...how/where you pluck is a big factor.
    I'm not a knob twindler. I don't do F/X(maybe an Octabass on those rare occasions; my basses do sound like they have a bit of chorus on them...I don't know why/how). I despise compression(that's for my mate Chris S!).
    I'm squarely in the BrianRost Kamp, though I always keep the bass' volume at "10".
    I may keep both pickups at max for a general tone(while plucking in the 'sweet' spot).
    I may favour the bridge pickup(while plucking closer to the bridge) for a quasi-Jaco thing.
    I may favour the neck pickup(while plucking up near the neck) for an URB feel.

    In the pre-onboard pre-amp/active pickups, etc
    Ya know, back in the Stone Age...my bass had the vol & tone dimed(max'd); my amp(Bassman or Music Man 65) had the bass/mid on "10" while the treble was set according to the life of my strings(I used to be 'anal' about new strings. No more).
  7. I tend to find one good setting, and just leave it there, whichever bass I'm using. Lately with my Stingray, I've found that boosting the mids a little, cutting the highs way back to about 2, and switching over to flatwounds has changed the whole tone of the bass, though the signature Stingray tone is always there. It now has more thump than it ever had, and has a sort of half Jazz bass - half Stingray tone.

    Very nice. :)

    I think too many of us worry too much about tone. Just get a good tone and play. Everything else will fall into place.

    Serious question: Has anyone in your band or a member of an audience ever told any of you TB people out there that your tone stunk? :confused:

    I'm just curious.

    Mike :cool:
  8. No, not yet. But then I am a pretty big guy and have been told that i often look mean or pissed off, so maybe someone wanted to but was scared - lol. I am actually a pretty nice, easy going guy - just don't tell anyone, ok
  9. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Back in my day, IMO...too many were concerned with technique over tone. Just my observation.

    Here's a tale-
    In '96, I'm playing in this originals' band...the "singer" was a Jim Morrison wannbe; this guy was not a musician, he wrote words/lyrics over the grooves we came up.
    I audition, the drummer & guitarist want me, the singer really doesn't. Through the grapevine, I hear he doen't like my tone...
    Here's the kicker-
    We record. Behind my back, he goes to the engineer with a copy of Aja...he tells the engineer to make 'this jackass'(me) sound like Rainey.
    The engineer listens & sez, "...your guy is already there". Fact is, Rainey was my man in the late 70s/early '80s. Duh.
    This engineer told me this nugget a couple years after the fact(he was doing sound for the above band MINUS the singer!)
  10. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Serious question: Has anyone in your band or a member of an audience ever told any of you TB people out there that your tone stunk?

    They're usually nicer about it than that, but yeah, many times. I try to sound different at every gig, and not all those sounds will be pretty. Interestingly, the pretty ones are not the ones I get the most compliments on. My drummer likes my sound to have a lot of definition and cut, but I prefer a bigger, fatter sound many nights. A lot of people in the clubs say they prefer that as well. Sometimes I tweak knobs randomly, just to see where it takes me. Kinda like my note selection...
  11. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
    I'm not sure I can answer this question, because my amp is broken and has been for a long time.
    But I always try to find a good tone, and I think it's usually successful.
  12. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I have been asked to change my tone by band members and Ive been compliemented on my tone at gigs before, but only by guitarist and bassist in the audience and once a sound engineer.

    My tone is a bright quacky mid range driven heavy sound that still has a solid low rumble. I use a hard compression that only kicks in at peaks with some overdrive thats barely noticeable unless its missing.

    I do change it a bit at times but never drastically. I might favor the bridge pickup a tad or roll back the trebble or bass a tad (they're always boosted though) but I still try to keep things fairly flat over all. If I do change my sound its mostly in technique.

  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    BTW, your last post reminded me of that 'backwards' Seinfeld episode when they went to India for the braless wonder's wedding to Peter.

  14. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    I'm a very "set it and forget it" kinda player. The less i screw with the dials and knobs and things, the less screwed up everything gets. :)
  15. For covers, I definitely imitate the tone in some ways. I'll cut the treble for some songs. For originals, it's everything flat baby. Don't even touch that mofo.
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999

    "You can put your sorrys in a sock, mister"!

    I like the Indian-style instruments doin' the Seinfeld Theme.

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