Getting a good soul sound

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mpb13, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. I'm starting a Soul/Funk cover band as a side project from my main band. I'm so used to playing psyc/prog rock I'm having a hard time coaxing a good soul tone out of my gear.

    I use a MIA Jazz (not sure of year but fairly new) and an SVT-CL. I've tried some different EQ settings and turning the tone way down on my bass with some alright results, but I was wondering if there is anyone who plays this style regularly that has some pointers.

    Edit: This is just a fun side project with some gigs here and there. I'm not looking to buy anything to get the tone. Maybe a pedal or two, but that's it.
    Getting a good funk tone isn't an issue, I play with a pretty aggressive tone in my other band anyways.
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    It's all about the approach and technique. In your hands, and in your head.
  3. I've found playing less aggressive helps, but there's still a bit of warmth missing. Basically I'm looking for a Jamerson-esque tone without a P and not very old strings.
  4. try some flats, silly! :p
  5. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Yes, indeed. What he said.
  6. DeluxeRed


    Jun 2, 2009
    In leiu of using flats, I've found that I need to roll off the mids sometimes <0 on my active Jazzes, though I not a big fan of "scooped" sound, it hits the pre a bit easier giving a big-headroom smooth sound.

    Palm-muting (or physically muting) the strings helps bring out "that sound"

    But the main thing I do to go into pure Motown mode is I switch to using my thumb, which is also easier when I'm palm muting. I think that wide attach area, played away from the bridge, with a bit of palm muting, and a tube amp, gets me right to "Just My Imagination". For faster bits, I still use my fingers from the same position, but with the muting (and the tubes, I believe), I get this really nice punch when I do that really defines the note while preserving the buttery sound.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    +1 on the muting. Try using a small piece of foam near the bridge. Adjust as necessary.
  8. You might also want to turn down the tone knob. Playing in 5-9th positions also helps.

  9. Thanks a lot for these suggestions. I'll try the foam trick and turning the tone knob down. I still have to find someone who can actually sing this stuff though. That might be tough.
  10. Flats is the first step. I played in many soul band with a P bass and LaBella flats -- very heavy flats. Ran the bass wide open tone & volume. With a JAzz, I might roll back the treble a bit and maybe even roll back the bridge PUP if you can do so without adding noise.
  11. Flats + flat EQ (maybe a little bass bump).
    Micro-tweezed tones did not exist back then; do not over-think.
    But since most of the tone is from your hands, if they say "psych-prog rock", then that's what you'll sound like.
  12. 1 - Use flats.

    2 - Get a bridge cover and put some felt or sponge under it to partially mute the strings.

    3 - Roll off 60-90% of the treble.

    4 - Pluck or pick--I think you can do both--up near the end of the fretboard.

    5 - Experiment carefully with the EQ on your preamp/head.

    6 - If you decide to spend more money on this project someday, get a pair of Acme Low B-2 cabinets or a Bergantino NV 215 or NV412.

    Bluesy Soul :cool:
  13. Nobody said turn down the volumes on the bass? OK, turn down the volumes on the bass, to halfway or a little more. That will fatten it up, a lot.
  14. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    +1 Turn down the bass itself and turn up the amp to compensate.

  15. I don't think I'll be putting flats on the Jazz. I'll throw some on my Ibanez though. I can't really mess with the tone that much on the Jazz because of my main band. I can't seem to find flats anywhere in Guelph (Ontario) other than D'Addario Chrome Flatwound. Are they any good?

    I'll try the amp suggestions and the foam idea though.