Funky sounding bass.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by suraci, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. suraci


    Apr 11, 2005

    I provided this link of my playing around 1974, to say, although what i am asking can be criticized -" it is in the players hands, not the instrument" - I am nevertheless aware of the other side of the discussion, namely that we musicians are constantly in search of various instruments to enhance our sound, and thus our playing.

    I am not essentially a funk player. I am sort of, kind of a funk player. But I do know this much.. some instruments are versatile and can play quite well any style.
    But some instruments seem to really flower in a particular style.
    I am dating myself, but eg an Ampeg baby bass, is perfect for oldert salsa styles. That bass I used on that recording ( I truly do not recall its identity ) was not ideal for a deep Paul McCartney Hoffner sound nor a Salsa sound.

    As a kid I always favored the Precision "thicker " sound.
    Now let me ask, if you wanted to name a bass that is especially suited to slapping and funk type playing, and was 5 strings.

    An analogy might help.. there ae certains cars designed to do one thing especially well. Whether on a race track where you are only driving in one direction. Or driving Pikes Peak.
    Same idea for a bass that is particularly favoring funk tone, and styles.

    I KNOW it is about the player, but I also know the instrument certainly can help.

    I own a great allaround bass now, a Vint jazz. But I like higher action, and heavier strings and it is 4 strings,

    So please do not argue for the opposite of what I am seeking.

    Name a bass that is just ozzing with funk.. I know there is such a thing. This bass will be set up with low action, and lighter gauge strings and any other add on's I have not mentioned. Strictly for funky playing on a 5 string, oh, and under 1000 dollars.

    If you care to add an opinion regarding amps that favor that style, please do:):bassist:
    Thank you
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
    Basehead, MobileHolmes and Mark76 like this.
  2. 73BLow


    Sep 26, 2017
    Central MA
    Interested in seeing the responses. I was really getting into the music while reading your post.
    Basehead likes this.
  3. hypercarrots


    Jan 28, 2009
    isn't this like asking what's the best bass for metal?
    Mili, MVE and cnltb like this.
  4. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    Stingray5? Can be had for around 1000$ used, occasionally. Versatile also (not to confuse with "chamaleonic", a totally different virtue).
    LoTone and aesopslyre like this.
  5. Mark76


    Dec 1, 2015
    Isn't it, like, 43 years too late to be asking...

    "What's the best bass for Italian Jazz Funk Rock"? :D
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Wow; you played bass for Deodato? Awesome!

    Regarding a 5 for your price point; I would no question be looking for a used StingRay 5. I like the light ones; so, things like that can take some effort. Hands down the best production 5 at that price point, IME.
    Brother Goose likes this.
  7. Mark76


    Dec 1, 2015
    I love the synth sounds on that tune. Proper mono analogue crazy wave forms :D
  8. suraci


    Apr 11, 2005
    Yes I did. But It is time to clarify a few things about that date ( short for what used to be called record date )

    The preceding album ( Deodato 2 was, well, the second of that series .. though I believe he had made many others ) by a super talented man, Eumir Deodato, became a small instrumental hit.
    I think the album was Prelude, and the hit instrumental was Deodato's modernization of an old classical piece by Strauss. I always referred to it as "2001".
    So that first recording date, I was nowhere to be found, what with Ron Carter on String bass and Stanley Clarke on elec bass. Billy Cobham on drums and a slew of first chair session horn and string players.
    I think that was 1973. I never actually loved that song, but anyway, I got called to audition for the road gig. While on the road doing concerts I was introduced to a tune deodato had recorded earlier, Skyscrapers. Deodato wrote out the first 4 bars of it... and i recall it was in sixteenth notes mainly ( which gives you an idea of the tempo)
    I played it for a few concerts and that was it. Well maybe a year later CTI and Deodato are going to make a second album. I had no knowledge of this.. not in the loop.
    However one day in April ( I am pretty sure it was 1974 - impossible for it to be 1975 and 1973 was maybe too soon after the first hit recording ) I get an urgent call.. 'Get down to Rudy Van Gelder's studio NOW'.
    I went; and I recorded "Skyscrapers" .
    Now I am saying this because I have seen the great Stanley Clarke receiving credit for that track. He did ALL the remaining tracks, except "Skyscrapers". But I thought I saw Wiki saying Stanley recorded Skyscrapers for "Deodato 2 ". That was not the case.
    Obviously a proud moment in my life.

    Now about that darned difficult song... What would YOU play on it today? Could you improve on it?
    It is difficult because you have to strike a delicate balance between holding the original line, but also being loose and able to change it up.. but not too much!

    Any who... any other bass nominations. One fellow said a Yamaha TRBX 5 String, what is your opinion?
    And of course the more expensive MM Jazz bass.

    I personally always wanted a Fender with a Jazz and a Precision..

    I absolutely do not wish a chameleon bass. I want a bass that excels at popping slapping and funky tone. Almost too much of a good thing.

    This will be a 5 String with
    low action than I am not accustomed to,
    Lighter strings, which I historically avoid.
    plus learning how to improve my funk lines as well as popping and slapping.
    So I have a learning curve ahead of me.

    For any other kind of gig ( jazz, rat pack, big band ) my Vint jazz with high action and heavier strings is my go to.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
    gebass6, noodler, bucephylus and 2 others like this.
  9. suraci


    Apr 11, 2005
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
    bholder likes this.
  10. andruca


    Mar 31, 2004
    Madrid (Spain)
    If you want a 5er forget Fender, their low Bs suck, a lot, moreso if they're to be slapped (unless you're going the Roscoe Beck Jazz V route, and then again the thick and wide neck ruins it for me). I've always wanted Fender sounds on a decent 5er with a nice slim neck and am currently set on Yamaha BBs (essentially a P/J) for those tasks. Even tho' a PJ can funk, it's far inferior in the funk department (and many others) to...

    A Stingray5. Ticks all your boxes. I use the lowest of setups possible on mine, buzzing low, usually on .040" nickel string sets. It has THE MOST comfortable neck on a 5er ever (nimble, Ibanez SDGR thin AND narrow, 17.5mm spacing at the bridge). And as with any Musicman bass funk (either slapped or fingerstyle) is probably it's top thing, even tho' you can see SR5s used for many music varieties (from punk to reggae, it's THAT good). No 5er in the price range (and even some 2x the price) can come remotely close to it.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  11. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Strange coincidence - I've been playing a Deodato riff since the mid-70s but I have no idea of the name of the tune we stole it from. Dm Bb C, basically, with a groove. Goes like dum dum da dum da da dum dum. :D
  12. Stingray 5, you can find them used around a grand sometime. Great fretwork lends itself to lower action and I ran mine with 40’s vs 45’s and it always sounded funky.
  13. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    I'm gonna be the dissenting voice here... I think stingrays are fine instruments and can excel at slap-style funk but imo, they're not great as an all-around funk machine but since you mentioned that you specifically want an over-the-top slapper, the yeah maybe you should go for the Stingray. That said, my personal fave 5-string funker is the Fender Marcus Miller... It has the single best feeling 5-string neck for my hands.

    Tangentially, I don't believe the idea that often gets floated around here about PJs not being great for the genre. There are a ton of players that funk like mad and use PJs - myself included. They don't sound exactly like a jazz but they often get close enough as to make almost no difference... Much like the way the neck pup on a J can get pretty darn close to a P sound. Most ppl wouldn't notice the difference, especially in the mix with other instruments. I use a PJ as my main performance axe and get have never had a person tell me that it didn't slap, pop and fingerstyle funk as good as any other bass.
  14. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    First off, great playing, I was really getting into the bass playing on your link above. I was about to say before you mentioned it in your post, it sounds like the bass on this had that string action set high with higher tension ala James Jamerson. Pretty cool.

    For a bass that excels in funk with action set low, there is one bass that stands out above all others in my mind, the Stingray. It's got the aggressive tone for slapping and all that empty space to make it a funk player's dream. There's nothing else like it.
    To get one within your budget, a used EBMM Stingray, if you want a new one, maybe a Sterling version.
  15. suraci


    Apr 11, 2005
    Yes the synth sounds are cool. I do not know what was used in studio. Well, I know a Fender Rhodes Suitcase 88 was used! But on the road I recall an Arp Pro Soloist. I think that is correct.
    And just for hiitstorical perspective, I will never forget one session where there were fully, FIVE Fender Rhodes suitcase 88's in the Studio at the same time!
    This shows you how exacting the production standards can be.
    I also recall a RHodes guy, devoted to improving the Rhodes- certainly the action and likely the tines.
  16. Maxdusty


    Mar 9, 2012
    Michigan USA
    I agree with your comment. PJ Basses are terrific for all round funk - I prefer it over a jazz, it's got that P pickup for that deeper bass sound with that jazz pickup you can dial in for definition. But yes, the Ray is the ultimate funk slapper bass.
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  17. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Great story!

    I think your playing on the track was well thought out and played. Would you or some other player approach it differently today. Probably; but that has zero to do with the suitability of what you did. Well played.

    Regarding your instrument question, I would be looking for a light used StingRay 5. Great bass; and NOT just for slapping. They now have the dual pickup variants; but, even the mid-90’s single pickup versions, which actually had Sterling pickups and electronics, did the pizz and plectrum tones really well. Much more versatile than the initial eyeball test suggests. One has to actually get them out on the gig to appreciate what they can do. And, the necks are to die for.

    Edit: forgot about the Sire. I would definitely check out one of those at a shop somewhere.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  18. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    Making it a 5 limits this a bit. I'll go with the flow and say Stingray also.

    Ideally, for me, that slap/funk sound comes thru best with a Fender American Deluxe Jazz (active pickups). But I agree with @andruca , Fender B strings leave something to be desired. I've played an Elite 5 Jazz and I think they've gotten better with the B there, but it's out of OP's price range.

    Lots of love on TB for the Sire basses. Might want to check those out. You'll probably have enough left over for your amp pursuit going that route also.
  19. Brother Goose

    Brother Goose The Process IS the Reward! Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    Syracuse NY
    God Is Love
    CTI baby! I'm good friends with the late great Gary King's son (who is a wonderful drummer and human being) and just love all of those awesome recordings!

    My suggestions for a funk-worthy 5 would include any sort of Warmoth product (you can upgrade hardware/pickups to meet your sonic needs- I have an exrreme bias towards Gecko basses), an MTD Kingston bass, any of the Sire basses, or even a high end Ibanez (especially the one with a reverse nordstrand P in the neck a la Spector).

    There are a lot of great basses being made offshore these days...

    The main variable for thumping (for me) is string spacing (wider is better) and plenty of space between neck and front pickup. My alltime fav. are the Ken Smith basses with "turbo" style pups that cop an MM + mutant jazz tone.

    Let us know what you come up with!
  20. Ash body jazz, maple board, fresh stainless rounds. Boom!.
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