darker tone

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kellikumiko, Aug 12, 2020.

  1. kellikumiko


    Aug 8, 2020
    Hey everyone,

    I just picked up a Tagima TW-66, which I'm loving a lot so far, but the tone is a bit bright for my liking. So far I've been keeping the tone knob at around 50%, so I still get some clarity without getting muffled or aggressively bright. I was wondering what I could do to maybe darken the tone a bit without making it muddy. I want a tone that's rather versatile since I play different genres with different groups. Dark for the angst in my punk bands, but something I can still get sounding soft for my gloomy/dreamy bands. I'm reading about maybe changing the pickups, but I don't know too much about that so it's a little spooky. Current pickups are PJ model. Anybody have any tips or suggestions for this? Pickups? Pedals? Put down the bass and get a real job?
  2. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    If its too bright, thats a good thing. Can't do nothing about too dark. Just turn the treble down on your amp. In fact, does your amp have a tweeter? If it does, that's probably the problem. I never use my tweeter. I hate them.
  3. kellikumiko


    Aug 8, 2020
    Will try turning down treble, I always have it up more because I get worried about higher notes getting lost. Don't have a tweeter- didn't even know what that was until right now haha. Good to know what to avoid. Thanks!
    JeezyMcNuggles likes this.
  4. And I

    And I

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    Strings would be the thing I'd think about first. New roundwound strings? Let them settle in, they'll loose some of the zing. If roundwounds are they steel or nickel? Steels are most often brighter. And different makes of strings will vary greatly as far as overall timbre.
  5. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    The treble knob is not a "high note" knob. It turns up the treble and makes things bright. Your amp doesn't know what string you're playing.

    If you turn down the treble, it makes the click clack go away.

    Pickups are 100 to 200 bucks, and it'll most likely sound the same. Just turn down your treble.
  6. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    EQ pedal. No mods, and works with any bass. A low-pass filter might be worth looking into as well.
  7. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Your amp has EQ; play around with it until you understand how it works and you get a sound you like. This will change in performance situations, and knowing what the knobs do will be useful.
  8. kellikumiko


    Aug 8, 2020
    I've been looking at EQ pedals, but gonna make sure I'd know how to use it before I buy. Gonna start investigating low-pass. Thanks man!
    Slater likes this.
  9. Rib 13

    Rib 13 Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    Darker Strings (like flats) and Time alotted for the strings to break in and lose brightness would be the first thing I would try
  10. jdh3000


    May 16, 2016
    I would boost mids, and not lows. If it's a 3 knob, boost the mid a little and cut the lows and highs equally. 2 knob, just more cut on high and low.
    Graphic work drom each end sloping up and down.
    It's not an exact science talking about it because each amp has its own baked in tone, and each room can affect this. It's a ball park approach, just trust you ears and be prepared to fluctuate your "bedroom setting" when you go play with a band.
    I would cut more then add back in until it sounds right.

    I know it's obvious, but make sure the tone knobs on your bass are set properly. Even I after 40 years playing can wind up wondering what is wrong, then realize I forgot to adjust the knobs... duh... Flat to start.
    kellikumiko likes this.
  11. BurtMacklinFBI

    BurtMacklinFBI Degen from Up-Country

    Apr 3, 2018
    If you’re absolutely set on replacement pickups, EMG Geezers will do the job for you beautifully. I’d follow the advice others have given first though regarding eq and strings.
  12. PotsdamBass8

    PotsdamBass8 Supporting Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    As others have said, turn down some treble, and see what it sounds like when you boost the mids and bass (separately). A lot of times, people have trouble describing what frequencies they actually want more or less of. So don’t be afraid to experiment with the EQ a lot. For me, tone knob on 50% and treble knob on the amp halfway down doesn’t sound crazy depending on the bass and amp combination.
    kellikumiko likes this.
  13. What amp/ cabinet are you currently using?
  14. fermata

    fermata Guest

    Nov 10, 2015
    Put a loading capacitor in the circuit. When a bass sounds too bright, it's generally because you don't find the pickup's natural resonant peak pleasing. Adding more C--capacitance--to the instrument's LCR circuit shifts the peak down in frequency, so the bass sounds darker. It's sort of like getting a new pickup for 50 cents.

    A small capacitor value like .001 uF (or maybe even .002 uF) will do the trick. (A few G&L models use .001 uF.) Wire it in parallel with the pickups--between hot and ground. Across the output jack would work, but ideally, you want a loading cap as close to the pickups as possible; connect one leg to the outer (common hot) lug of one of the volume pots and the other leg to the volume pot casing (ground).

    If you first want to test whether you like the effect (or try a couple of different values), the non-invasive way is to unscrew the barrel of your instrument cable and attach test leads to hot and ground (on the instrument end of the cable); put the capacitor between the leads to hear how it affects the sound.

    Edit: The advice below (post #15)--lowering the value of your pots--is another way to change the value of the LCR circuit. In that case, you're adding more R--resistance--which bleeds more highs to ground. The natural resonant peak remains at the same frequency (unlike when you add more C), but its amplitude is lowered.

    There's a simple way to add more add more R: add a fixed resistor between hot and ground (across the output jack, for instance). A 500K fixed resistor in addition to the three existing 500K pots will bring the circuit resistance to 125K, which is the same as a typical P bass. Or if you go with a 180K resistor in addition to three 500K pots, you'll get a total resistance of 86.5K Ohms, which is close to a typical J bass. In both cases, the bass will sound darker.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2020
  15. mikecd1


    Mar 3, 2009
    New England
    Check your pots on the pickups and your tone cap. If you're using 500k pots, switch to 250k and put in a .1 or .047 cap. Personally, when I want to darken a bright pup I'll use the .1 cap. Its worked every time and I get a lot of use out of the tone control that way. I've never seen a Tagima TW66, but check the pots and the cap first. It will cost you about $15 to change all that. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
    dieselbass22 likes this.
  16. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    You could solder in a very low value capacitor that will take the very top off without affecting anything else.

    I’d try .001 - .009 microfarad values & you can probably buy a few of each in that range for less than $10. Get a couple test jumpers with alligator clips / mini grabbers and you can go through one at a time to see which one knocks off the amount of high end you want to always be gone from your tone. Your regular tone control will still work much the same.
    fermata likes this.
  17. Ellery


    Mar 25, 2015
    ++ for exploring eq and string options. Here's two more that have worked for me:
    -Right Hand Technique. Different basses can require picking closer to the neck or bridge to get in the same sweet spot for tone.
    -Set up: Consider lowering your bridge pickup. Check your neck pickup as well, the bass and treble sides should be adjusted to get the same character out of all notes low to high when that pickup is soloed.
    kellikumiko likes this.
  18. Thegrandwazoo

    Thegrandwazoo Supporting Member

    Sep 8, 2013
    West Virginia
    Adjust EQ appropriately. Turn off/disable any tweeters in your rig. Lower the pickup height a bit. Try a mellower-sounding string, probably not a flat/tapewound if you're after versatility, but I use GHS Pressurewounds to tame my US Music Man Sterlings and Precision-ish basses' harshness. At least a nickel round would be worth trying. Set the bass up with a little higher action if you're not too fussy about it.
    kellikumiko likes this.
  19. Ernie ball cobalt flatwound bass strings. Thatll get you what you want
    gebass6 likes this.
  20. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    Don't worry about it! That is what tone controls are for, and when you play out, much of the high end will disappear anyway.
    gebass6 likes this.