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Could an SBMM Ray5 pull off old school jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I listen to jazz and hip hop and I'm hoping to find a bass that can pull off both of those tones. I know that I'm going to put flats on it, but I'm trying to decide between a Squier VM P 5 and a SBMM Ray5. I was thinking that the P bass could pull off the wooden thump to imitate an upright, but I figured that I would need active circuitry to make a sound hi fi enough for hip hop. I'd like to get a 5 string P with an active/passive toggle, but they don't make one as far as I know.

    Right now I'm leaning towards the Ray, but I haven't spent enough time with one to know if it can pull off a warm, mellow sound worthy of old Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley tunes. Anyone here use a Ray style bass for mellow tunes?
  2. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Sure thing, especially if you have bridge mutes (though that isn't on the SBMM ones). You could always try a P with an outboard preamp... have it on for the HiFi stuff, off for the old school thump. As much as I love EBMM stuff, sometimes it's hard to beat a P with flats.
  3. metermech

    metermech SMOOVE ONE

    Mar 17, 2008
    I'm interested in a situation that I think may be similar to yours..I have a SBMM Ray35 with chromes on it and It's been my main bass for about 2 months now. I also have a Squier VM P5 on the way and I plan on putting flats on it also. For 279.00 that's not a bad experiment. I'm looking for that combinatiion thump and modern sound for my gospel gigs.
    The SBMM Ray35 got more tamed when I put the flats on it. I usually just play with drums and keys so I don't compete for space in a mix. I really want to see how the P5 will sound with flats,I'm anticipating some good results.This whole sound thing is so subjective and you can get saturated with information and forget about the most important thing..your ears..good luck
  4. PJ Muzikmansky

    PJ Muzikmansky

    Jan 4, 2013
    Just a thought: Have you considered a jazz bass ?

    I've used both a P bass and MM SR 4 for straight up jazz in the past and seriously, neither sound as good IMO for straight up jazz as a jazz bass (I currently use one with good results). Front pickup for mellow stuff, ballads and walking, and rear pup for jazz fusion-type stuff.

    You do not want a powerful sounding bass when playing jazz, so if using a MM SR, you'll have to mute and use flatwounds to get a reasonably good 'jazz' sound. P Bass is good for big band stuff, but IMO not 'smooth' enough for small combo jazz

    You can use anything for hip hop as long as you have a strong fundamental sound and IMO, mute with your palm. Again the jazz bass comes up trumps in my book. But this time, both pickups on full: thumb style or pick (my favorite sound for hip hop is a jazz bass, played with a pick and palm mute)

    There you go. At the end of the day its up to you. You can get a reasonable sound for jazz out of just about any electric bass if you know how to employ certain techniques, but the jazz bass is my preference.
  5. hsech

    hsech Work hard. My Social Security needs a raise. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    Probably, but not like a Fender Jazz or Precision.
  6. VeganThump


    Jun 29, 2012
    South Jersey
    IMO, a jazz bass is the best choice for ANY kind of music and this is again my opinion but soling the neck pickup on a jazz bass is as close to P bass as I ever need to be.
  7. I'd be looking at getting either an active Jazz or active PJ, that has a passive mode. Give you a huge range of sounds that will cover both hip hop and jazz.
  8. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I've thought about it a little, but I had a 4 string P for a while and I really liked the sound of it with flats. Like I said, a lot of people who have heard my Pedulla say that it sounds like a vintage J when I don't have the mid boost engaged, but I want another bass because I miss having flats sometimes, and because sometimes the string spacing of a 6 is too tight and I'd like to spread out.

    That being said, it seems like there are more options for 5 string Jazzes. Maybe I'll reconsider and give a few Js a try.
  9. PJ Muzikmansky

    PJ Muzikmansky

    Jan 4, 2013
    I use a Fender 2012 American standard jazz and a Sadowsky Metro UV 70 5 string for small combo jazz. Both basses are hard to beat for playing jazz IMO.

    A word on the 2012 American standard . It is the BEST sounding fender jazz I have ever played and sounds superb in a small combo jazz setting (those CS 60 pickups are something else!) I'm not sure if the 5 string version sounds as good as the 4 string but it may be worth a try.
  10. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    I'd buy the SBMM for the hip hop and an upright for the jazz. In all seriousness though given the options you listed and their price ranges I'd buy one of the new Squier jazz basses, drop an audere pre and some Dimarzio Area J's in it.
  11. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Hard to go wrong with the new mia fender jazzes and their punchy but detailed custom shop 60s passive pickups but if you dont mind dropping another $900 u should consider the new select active fender jazz. It has the special select jazz pickups that r only available on that bass and they sound better than ANY pickups fender has on the market imho. Flick the passive to active switch and a kickass 3 band preamp will pump out any new more modern tones you can play. Fender has really upgraded their electronics dept in the last few years and this preamp really sounds good and is highly adjustable. The flamed maple top looks good and gives the tone some extra bite vs all alder. If that wasnt enough for the money, you get the classy 70s looking pearloid blocks and binding set on rosewood with a compound radius from 9.5 to 14.5 down in solo territory. ..and ultra cool nitro coating shot on the headstock giving it an old school vibe. I really cant say enough about this axe aside from "what are u waiting on???"
  12. Mastermold

    Mastermold Supporting Member

    I've found my EBMM SR5 sounds pretty darn "Fendery" with the pickup in single coil mode and the bass boosted a wee bit. Really warms up the tone.
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    If you want to see a Ray in a mellow setting check out Sade, I know the guy playing on Diamond Life (their first record, with Smooth Operator) is doing it on a Ray, it is noticeable to a gear nerd and it sounds great (to me.)

    I should add I am not a hardcore enough Sade fan to know if the original bass player is still with him or who he was.
  14. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Los Angeles
    IIRC, it's a guy named Paul Denham, who has been with her forever, and sounds great with her.

    As for the OP...the MM, with flats, smart EQ and played up by the base of neck, can get a pretty good upright sound, but it's probably easier to get it with a P-bass.
  15. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    It's probably better to get that sound with an upright. Just sayin'.
  16. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    Best to have 2 basses- one with flatwounds, the other with roundwounds. It's not so much the bass (given your two options-either can pull it off) but the strings you use that will lend itself well to the two different types of music you mentioned.
  17. PJ Muzikmansky

    PJ Muzikmansky

    Jan 4, 2013
    Yes...it probably is...but the OP was about whether one could obtain a good sound for jazz/hip hop out of an electric bass (MM SR) not an upright...
  18. therhodeo


    Feb 28, 2011
    Owasso OK
    He's not the first to mention it.
  19. PJ Muzikmansky

    PJ Muzikmansky

    Jan 4, 2013
    It occurs to me that the OP doesn't play upright: The reason he asked the question in the first place...
  20. I'm with this. Why compromise the tone of 2 totally separate musical styles? Pick up an early 90s MIJ P bass for cheap and play the snot out of it.