Dialing the perfect metal bass tone on an amplifier

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Seth DuSith, Feb 8, 2023.

  1. Seth DuSith

    Seth DuSith

    Jan 21, 2023
    Hello, I was just wanting to start a discussion on how you guys dial in your ideal metal bass tone in your amplifiers, what is your EQ settings?

    I was trying to find answers on YouTube but it's all amp sims, and I am getting bored of being told "just download this amp plugin for-" and so on as if we all have their exact gear

    I been looking to get that metal clank on my amp, just for practice. I can get some decent tones out of my amp ans garage band, but I just have my mids and treble cranked, with my bass at a 10 o clock position (by my mids are passive). I don't quite have that clank I'm looking for yet

    Is it better to scoop the mids? What do you guys usually do

    For context, I prefer the tones in modern metal, death metal, and such, as opposed to trash and heavy metal. But any discussion is welcome in this thread.

    Do you guys have favourite strings? Or maybe you use a specific pedal?
    Ellery, BEADist and Riff Ranger like this.
  2. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    What bass are you playing? What strings? And what amp are you using?

    we need more info to even hazard a guess.
  3. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    All true, and I would also suggest naming a few players whose sounds come close to what you want. Alex Webster and Nolly Getgood use drastically different approaches toward mostly different goals, though I think they both aim to cut through dense mixes, as do I, and as I suspect you also do.
  4. BEADist


    Mar 24, 2022
    The Netherlands
    My favourite strings are new strings;).
    And low action to have some ratling. And a distortion that doesn't affect lows so it doesn't turn into mud. I am not doing anything special with my amp EQ but I boost 700Hz some into my amp.

    Edit: the sound to use depends on the sound of guitar sound, unless guitarist(s) addapt to your sound (yeah, ..right..).
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023
  5. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    That said, broadly speaking, it seems like you need to find your favorite upper midrange frequency and absolutely crank it. For me it’s right around 1.6khz but if you have a parametric or graphic EQ somewhere in your chain, experiment with a narrow but drastic boost somewhere in the 800hz–3khz range and move it around (ideally in a mix with the other instruments). You might try cutting somewhere in the 200–800hz range as well (for me it’s around 400hz).
    Element Zero, Seth DuSith and BEADist like this.
  6. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    If you’re playing with other musicians and you don’t mind them touching your gear, you could have one of them twiddle knobs for you while you play along with everyone else. That’s how I found my boost at 1.6khz :cool: that way, you’re judging with your ears rather than your eyes.
  7. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    It's a myth that there is one metal bass tone. It depends on genre and what you want to accomplish as a bass player.
    What a guy in a stoner/doom band wants is very different than what a guy in a tech death metal band wants.
    deff, Felix1776, Mastiff_5 and 13 others like this.
  8. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    You will want to dial it in relative to your mix. Sometimes what sounds good in the mix is different than you'd expect. Perfect in the mix may sound a little harsh thin or overly bright by itself.

    The clank is more of a technique than a settings thing. It's the sound of the string hitting the fretboard. The most important part of that sound is hitting the string in such a way that it clanks and grinds on the fretboard. If you arent doing that no amount of plugins can help you. It's easier if the action on the bass is on the lower side. Steel strings recommended.
    ole Jason, BatBasstard, 31HZ and 7 others like this.
  9. BEADist


    Mar 24, 2022
    The Netherlands
    And make the guitars cut some of their lows. They might crank it at rehearsal but when recording/playing live (with PA) the sound engineer will still cut excessive lows on guitars.
  10. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    Exactly... what's the perfect metal bass tone anyway?
  11. alex1fly


    Feb 5, 2008
    Crank the treble on the amp and adjust to taste on the bass. Don't scoop the mids, that's the gut punch range. Not too much lows. At least that's what I do. Little bit of dirt, play aggressively but not so aggressively that you smack the strings out of tune
    SoCal80s, Seth DuSith and BEADist like this.
  12. Obese Chess

    Obese Chess Spicy Big Dad Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2005
    Portland, OR
    As others have alluded to, you should approach this from the other direction - what do you consider to be the "perfect metal bass tone?"
    deff and Seth DuSith like this.
  13. You need the Roger Glover tone, from Smoke on The Water.
  14. As most have mention already that is not a simple question to answer, many factors play into your tone and it is not as simple as set it and forget it unfortunately that is never the case. I could give you amp setting suggestions, and strings I used, but this is your ride, your guitarist may leave sonic space for you in certain Hz ranges mine did not. Take the info anyone supplies and apply it with the likely hood it may or not fit your unique situation. I wish you the best of luck creating your own tone and someday someone else will say I am trying to get Seth Dusith tone he is killing it :)
  15. callofcthulhu


    Oct 16, 2012
    From the OP:
    Seth DuSith likes this.
  16. Seth DuSith

    Seth DuSith

    Jan 21, 2023
    Thank you, this is the type of answer I am looking for

    I am mostly asking you guys, what are your EQ settings you enjoy for your perfect bass tone, I mostly just want to try them out and compare them on my amp, to see what sounds I like most

    I play a Cort action V 5 string through a peavey TKO 80 with my mids and treble cranked and bass at 10 o clock position and gain all the way (could benefit from an overdrive pedal). I am pretty close to the tone I'm looking for, but just wondering if I'm doing an error, maybe metal bass tones aren't as heavy on mids or treble as I thought

    I like Adam nollys tone, Peter steels tone, and Justin chancellors tone, but their tones aren't very alike lol

    Anyway, just share your general EQ settings
    Riff Ranger likes this.
  17. Seth DuSith

    Seth DuSith

    Jan 21, 2023
    As expected, I get vastly different sounds out of my Jackson Spectra 4 string (PJ pick up's) vs my Cort Action 5 string (single coils). I find that I get a better Justin chancellor, or even Peter steel tone from the Jackson but I've been noticing its easier to get the clanky tone from my Cort
  18. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    Peter Steele used a Boss DS-1.

    When I played more aggressive metal, I would generally turn the mids and treble up to 1-2 o'clock and the bass down to 8-9. My usual OD is an old style MXR Distortion +, and I've primarily used SS rounds forever.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023
  19. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    List of EQ frequencies to accomplish diff things on bass?

    Read that thread as a starter. It will not be helpful if I give you EQ points right now. The setup of the instrument is VERY important as referenced above. There MANY metal tones that will work in a studio and live setting. The key is understanding the band mix, frequency slotting, and crafting the final tone with the band.
  20. Ellery


    Mar 25, 2015
    I love death metal, that was what for me into playing in the first place. Years of failure and humiliation on the stage have taught me a few things. For the sake of brevity I will present my opinions as facts: Most important ingredients are mids, mids, then more mids. That's where all the good stuff is (growl, punch, dynamics). Lower your treble (at least to flat), most of that upper range will be masked when mixing with a guitar. Raise the lows to taste, you want heavy but not boomy. Your clank should be present in the original signal coming from the bass, that can be enhanced by technique, string height and string type. You should not need boosted treble to hear the clank.
    Do not scoop. That is for bass forward mixes like funk, you are begging to get lost in the mix if you scoop with distorted guitars.
    If you are trying to achieve the time of a favorite bassist don't let your ears fool you when listening to studio recordings, pay attention to what punches through in a live setting. What works on the record (usu. tons of eq, compression) won't work the same on stage. Even if you are recording, that will all be done in post production, if you present a scooped tone up front they will have less to work with.
    My favorite strings are DR Hi Beams. For more of an old school sound I use DR Pure Blues (nickel).