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Do the views of other people regarding your tone affect your gear decisions?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by ElMon, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I'm just curious how much we factor in other peoples 'outside of the instrument' perspective on bass tone when we think about how he adjust our own sound, via technique or gear choices. I recently started to ponder this after a keyboardist I work with, whose ears I value as being nuanced and developed, told me that he doesn't really care about me switchin basses all the time because he says my definable sound stays the same to him. I asked the singers and they agreed. One didn't even notice that I was slapping on a fretless.

    Also, I just did a gig with a cheap $400 dollar BB415 thru an aguilar rig (DB750/GS212), playing with a few jazz guys who go way back with me. They said I sounded better tonight than I had on the last four basses I'd had, which made me mad, cuz those were as follows....
    MTD 635 (avadoire; maple/rosewood)
    Modulus Quantum 5
    Sadowsky UV70RW5
    Ken Smith BSREG6string

    In short, all expensive basses. Now keep in mind, those basses were all amazing to me, especially in playability when compared to the Yamaha, which is kind of chunky and Ol' School, but this got me to wondering: is the rest of the musical community in consensus with us bassplayers in regards to bass tone? When we equate amazing tone with high end basses, do most other instrumentalists notice and request that instrument, or would they be just as happy with the $400 dollar cheapy.
  2. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Bump for the nightowls, and the west coasters as well.
  3. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    Interesting question.

    I'd say that there's ample evidence that we factor in other peoples' perspective on bass tone WAY more than we should. It always surprises when people come in here and say "which amp should I get" or "which Jazz bass is the best" and that someone might then just list off recommendations. Those people will later pass on that same flawed opinion to others that ask for it.

    I've spent enough time on the home theater forums watching guys arguing about which 600 dollar interconnect makes their CDs sound better to realize how flawed most of our opinions are, and how few of us actually recognize it.

    I had a guy in a music store telling me why my amp sucked and I needed to buy an SWR because it had "tone" but he couldn't explain to me what it was or show me what the difference was when we did an A/B test with a cheapo Peavey. He just could tell it was there or not.
  4. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    I'll adjust my "tone" to fit a certain song, but overall, the sound or "tone" I want to achieve is based on recordings that I wish to emulate in style, sound, and feel.

    In an original band situation, if it's someone else's composition, and they hear it a certain way, I'll work to make an adjustment, and ask them where they think that "tone" originates from in their musical library for a point of reference.
  5. Scott in Dallas

    Scott in Dallas Commercial User

    Aug 16, 2005
    Dallas, north Texas
    Builder and Owner: DJ Ash Guitars
    Well put. That's the way I like to think about it, too.
  6. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Not really. I hear something in my head, and I've been working towards it for a while now...still not sure where it's at, but it appears to be slightly to the left of what most people go for.
  7. I´ve found out that to most people, musicians and non-musicians alike, the sound of bass is just that: bass. As long as the low end is there, they don´t really care about the rest. In fact, when people perceive bass sound as "good", it probably has more to do with proper amplification (whether it´s provided by backline or the PA), the balance of the overall mix and the acoustics of the venue than the bass guitar itself. As long as you are moving enough air for people to feel the bass, they´ll think it´s great.
  8. trog


    Nov 8, 2003

    Most people I know can't tell the difference in sound between basses. In fact, in a band situation, I have trouble telling the difference.

    All changes in tone that I've ever needed could be accomplished through adjustment of technique or EQ.
  9. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    Unfortunately, many fellow musicians who ask us to contribute to the sonic landscape of a performance (from our bass-ic standpoint) have an idea of what we should sound.

    If we had the same attitude, we'd ask the drummer to have the same drumset, set up and sound with our fav drummer; the same would go for the guitar player etc.

    Each person has something that likes more than the rest. Same goes for us, bass players. I like my sound being full and complete accross the spectrum. If anyone asks me to join in, then they know I'm bringing my sound with me. If we all feel comfortable adjusting, then it's ok and things are in harmony very fast. If people are stubborn and bad mannered then they are facing my attitude along with my sound.
  10. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Lakewood, OH
    i think a keys player and singer are going to be biased. the keys player plays a keyboard with built in sounds. he doesn't own a rhodes, grand, clav, wurly, organ, etc. ive found keys plays to not be into gear. singers aren't into gear either, they have a mic or maybe 2. if you asked a guitarist, they would agree, cause they go through the same amount of gear.

    also. the funk is in your fingers, so "your sound" will be audible on any bass. slight variations in tone will be present, but "YOU" will be there.
  11. Well put.
  12. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've always been complimented on my tone, which I like as well... so I guess we're not all out of touch with other musicians.

    However, if they ask for a bit here or there, I'll usually comply.
  13. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Great responses guys. I think we as bassists get SO much more deep in to tone then alot of other musicians that sometimes we might not realize that we already have our own mature sound that will be consistent to a listener no matter what basses we use. The big difference in high end basses IMO is the playability, and this thread kind of reinforces that I need to just shut up and play and not worry about whether or not my cheap BB415 suits me as much as my ol Ken Smith 6'er.
    I'd also like to hear from someone who really hit a bullseye with there gear choice, in that a certain bass/amp just made your bandmates' jaws drop in amazement, and they told you to NEVER get rid of it. When I got rid of my Smith6 (stupid,stupid,stupid!!!) my drummer was seriously angry at me for about 2weeks.
  14. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
  15. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Inactive

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    No, not for me anyway.

    if it sounds good to me, I'll play it.
  16. Not at all. I buy instrument for myself, not for the others.
    It is me, who has to be satisfied with sound.
  17. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Other musicians want a tone that blends into the band.
    The audience wants good songs.
    Nobody cares about your (or my) gear, its brand or the price you paid for it.
  18. In response to the topic... no.
  19. Diggler


    Mar 3, 2005
    Western PA

    I don't really care. I use a GNX 4 guitar processing pedal, that would probably make most bassists run away screaming that it sucks tone out of it... but I love having presets ready to go, and synth bass or distortion for certain songs... I think people in the crowd will notice synth bass or other weirdness and it will stand out more versus a 1967 Fender/First Act comparison. But, then again, my guitarist now owns a couple of the cheap Gibson knockoffs from China, and he says he could never tell them from the two $2000+ Les Pauls he used to have, in both feel and sound, and they pass the five foot test. I would rather buy a pair of 18" subs to add to my PA system than to waste that same $1200 on a bass.

    Flame away.
  20. No.

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