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"First Position vs low string" tone...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by nofrets5, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. I'm not certain just where this would be best posted, but this may also be something other bassists have wondered about.

    I find will often jump up the neck to grab certain notes on the D and A, and sometimes E strings, because to me, I like the girth an F# has played on the A string more often than playing it in the first position on the D string, unless it's an open string pull off or something. Now, I guess I could dim the treble/high end on the amp to sort of fatten up those high first position notes, but then I feel I will sacrifice clarity and or definition when I get down low. I play a very high quality bass, which sounds wonderful to me, and it is not a polepiece or volume thing...but I have noticed other players get nice fat tone in the first position on the high strings, yet seem to have clear low E's and Bstring notes.

    So, is it my technique maybe or is this common to other players, or has it at least made you wonder the same thing ?

    It is almost like I wish I had heavier G and D strings, thinking the mass would get the sound I get by playing higher up the neck. Anyone ?
  2. Phantopeth


    Jan 10, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    I do the same thing myself. It's one of the main reasons I enjoy my new 5 string; I can play that low E, Gb, etc on that B string up above the 5th fret, and get that much "meat" in my tone. How to fix the problem, I have no idea
  3. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I do that pretty often too, and also use a 5 string. I think you get a meatier sound and a little better control over the string vibration. All the bands I've played in use alternate tunings (drop B, C#, drop C, drop D) and I've never changed my tuning. I prefer the intonation of fretted notes.
  4. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I could be wrong, but I believe what you're referring to is "timbre". I'd stick with whatever works for you...

    You could always alter your tunings, but sometimes that's more of a pain to get right than it is worth.
  5. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    I played in a band for a few years where I was 'strongly encouraged' to play in first position almost exclusively. Blues & roots rr trio. If I got above the 5th fret for too many notes i got the evil eye. Made for getting a huge groove though.