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Explain "grind" for me as it relates to tone

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Sparkdog, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    I hear this term tossed around a lot on TB but I confess that I don't really know what folks are referring to.

    I'm trying to solve a tonal problem with a bass where I hear "grind", which to me is a sort of distorted edge to the tone, similar to what an overdriven tube amp sounds like.

    I really want to clean this up.

  2. Corevalay

    Corevalay Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2009
    New Jersey
    To me, it's a completely subjective term. Sort of like "growl". I know EXACTLY what I mean when I say growl, but it probably means something completely different to someone else. Pretty much like grind.
  3. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    high mids, If its to gritty or has to much grind it in the mids, specifically high mids.
  4. Ditto on the upper mids.
  5. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    My idea of grind is an upper midrange/lower treble sound caused by a string set into a large vibration and slightly buzzing against the fret as the note sustains and dies. IMO grind isn't caused by amp distortion, but it can be enhanced greatly by it.
  6. TomA1234


    Jul 27, 2009
    Fareham, England
    Yeah, aggressive mids and I would also say slightly gritty sounding
  7. Upper-mids or buzz i call it. New strings, low action, play hard...!
  8. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    Overdriven (distorted) mids
  9. Sparkdog

    Sparkdog Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Burbank, CA
    OK, so that's pretty much what I was thinking.

    So how do I get rid of it? I hate that sound! :)

    I suspect this may be new-thread fodder, but I'm wondering if I can address this issue with different strings. Here are the details:

    The bass is a Fender Jazz with Dimarzio Model J pickups, 500K pots. It's strung with D'Addario 45-100 Chromes. I can give amp info, but I've now tried this bass with 4 or 5 different rigs and the sound is essentially the same so I don't think it's an amp thing.

    What I'm hearing is a gritty slightly distorted edge to the notes, and it's most apparent on low F on the E string and C on the A string. I had my tech go through the wiring on the bass and he says it's textbook perfect...no bad solder joints, no scratchy pots, etc. He did say the Model J's are quite hot and he lowered them down as far as they would go. That reduced the grind, but didn't eliminate it.

    I love the tone of the bass and when the music is loud I can't hear this problem, but when it's quiet I can and it drives me nuts.

    Could different strings solve this?
  10. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    I'm afraid not. As a long time Chromes user, I don't think it is directly string related. One of my basses with a single coil J-type pickup tends to go 'grindy' if the volume controls are wide open. Reducing the volume to about 75% cures the problem. I guess there's too much signal coming from the pickup(s).
  11. avvie


    Oct 12, 2010
    Maui, HI
    Interesting topic...I wonder if one of those multi-band distortion units can control this? Does the Source Audio one do that?
  12. karl_em_all


    Jul 11, 2013
    Dimension X
    Grind. First thing comes to my mind is what Rex Brown would lay down when Dimebag would solo.
  13. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    Frets / action / setup ?
  14. AdamR


    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Could be the 500K pots ? Try turning the mids down on the amp a bit or rolling your tone knob down

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