Go-to pickup selection/tone knob/EQ for specific sounds/styles.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by MikeCanada, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    I tried searching for this, but couldn't find what I was looking for. It might be buried somewhere in the "I want to switch out my neck pickup" or "what's the difference between a P and a J pickup sound?" type stuff, and if anyone has a "this has been done a thousand times before" and could link me to that, I would greatly appreciate it.

    I have been playing electric bass and double bass for about 12 years. On electric I play anything from jazz to folk to rock to world music, and have occasionally ventured into fusion/funk, worship music etc. I have gigged with classic rock bands, big bands, I currently have an Afro-Latin Polka project and would say that my technique is very strong. Because I am mostly a double bass player, don't use effects, my amp EQ stays pretty flat, and I'm not very technologically inclined, most of my tone/sound changes come from my technique. I'm interested in getting into and understanding effects as well, but that's a different topic.

    I play on these two electrics:
    Hagstrom HIIBN (passive, two humbuckers) usually with both pickups on 10 and the tone knobs all the way on or off depending on what I'm looking for.
    Ibanez SR605 (two Bartolini MK-1's, three band active EQ) usually with volume on 10, both pickups blended equal, and the EQ flat.

    I know that solo neck or bridge pickups sound different than both, but I don't know how to "apply" those sounds. I understand the basics of "if I don't like having that much treble, I can roll off that knob" but other than that, I am pretty clueless.

    My questions:
    Can someone describe, and maybe provide some examples of typical sounds/uses of solo bridge or neck pickups? Keeping in mind I've got double passive humbuckers and double Bartolinis at my disposal (not two J's, a PJ, MMJ etc.)
    I've heard of "scooped mids" for slap stuff, but what does this mean/why do you do it?
    What are some other go-to EQ settings on a three band active bass, and why do you use them?

    I have tried "just experiment until you find something you like" but because of my classical/double bass background and aversion to technology, I am a lot more comfortable doing this by altering my technique. Things like a harder or softer attack, playing closer to the bridge or neck, using my fingers vs. a pick have all given me quite a few different options, but I'm looking to expand on that. I just keep coming back to wide open and using different techniques because I don't understand what changes are being made with the pickups, and how I can use those changes to my advantage.

    Thanks guys.