Great Tone!

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by MarkMcCombs, Mar 15, 2001.

  1. After reading many of the boards here, I think I have some things to consider before I can get great tone....

    active vs. passive
    Precision vs. Jazz
    EMGs, DiMarzio's, Basslines, or Bartolini's
    single coil vs. humbucker
    9volt vs. 18 volt
    outboard vs. onboard preamp
    5 string vs. 4 or 6 or 7 or 8
    5 strings vs. Drop D on a 4
    defret or to to defret
    MIM, MIJ, or MIA
    Rosewood vs. maple vs. ebony
    stomp box vs. rack
    stomp box vs. multi-effects
    string thru or not
    18, 15, 12, or 10in. drivers
    Combo vs. head/cab vs. rack
    tube vs. solid state
    Groove tubes vs. Svetlana
    Chinese vs. Russian vs. English tubes
    roundwound vs. half-round vs. flat round
    stainless vs. nickel-plated vs. pure nickel
    wireless vs. cord

    OR, I could use the time spent investigating all this crap and actually PLAY OR PRACTICE, that might be an avenue to tone...hmmmmm.

    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate good gear, but don't you think a lot of us get a little carried away?

  2. lol


    a LITTLE carried away? ;)
  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Agreed, some do, sometimes.

    Practice will always take you infinitely further than gear. Unfortunately, at times, your playing "plateaus" for a while, (mine, anyway :rolleyes: ).

    And gear will only take you so far, too. But without fail, you see featured bassists in Bass Player always getting asked and/or mentioning what gear they use in excrutiating detail. Hell, they used to show diagrams of the guys' signal chains!

    Almost without exception, these luminaries mention loads of gear. I can't remember offhand anyone saying, "I run a stock (insert bass name here) through an off-the-shelf (insert amp name here)." They almost always have GAS and even then, some of their stuff is tweaked by their techs.

    TB, to me, is an excellent way to MAKE more practice time, since I can avoid running around trying out gear, e-mailing individuals/retailers for info., or waiting till someone knowledgeable is available to ask questions related to practicing/playing.

    But, as I first implied, it does get obsessive at times.
  4. what's TB?.....tuberculosis? I guess if I did have that then I'd stay home from work a lot and therefore would practice more, but I probably wouldn't feel like it.

    checked your, you got lots o gear! But I'm sure you're an accomplished player who actually earns money with that gear. Profile says you play in Midwest a lot, email me if you get to Kansas City, I'll come hear ye! Sounds like your music might be like Liquid Soul....ever heard those guys? Awesome. Where in the vast midwest are you? (here in KC, we don't consider states east of the Mississippi to be mid-west.........just kidding).

  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Will do! Haven't booked this year, but in past years, it's been The Hurricane on Broadway and the Beaumont Club, at least with the R&B/Jazz/Rock band. I guess the sound is close to another "soul," Collective Soul, but walk in five minutes later, and you might think it's Average White Band.

    Thanks for the offer to give us a listen!!!
  6. sint


    Dec 24, 2000
    The Netherlands
    Good gear can never replace good practice and musical feeling.
    In the end, music springs from you, not from your gear.
    Good gear can only add to the sound, not create it.......
  7. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    Agreed that we can sometimes get obssessive about gear. But the other side of it is it really sucks fighting bad gear and trying to find the right sound.

    I mean, I don't know about you guys, but it took me YEARS to find a sound I really liked. It's all very subjective, equipment is inconsistent, and tastes change over time.

    I agree that musicianship comes first, but I think you have to agree that gear plays an important role. If it didn't we'd all play basses and amps from the Montgomery Ward catalog.
  8. I know I'm guilty of promoting GAS.The thing is I've been "poor" alot and when I did get blessed with a good paying job,the first thing I did was get some new bass gear.Then I finally used my brain and started to buy instruction videos.You're probably thinking:Wait a minute,I've seen your profile and it looked like you've owned alot of gear in the past.That is true.Some of it was given to me and some was sold to pay bills.Easy come easy go!!
    And yes,I do plan on getting carried away.I'm goofy like that.
  9. One of the best quotes I've read ont this board was, " I got two tone controls, and both of them are on the ends of my arms.". :D

    (it went something like that)

  10. Very well put.
    I saw a local band the other night, everybody in the band was using at least 3 or 4 pedals (even the drummer had 'tronic drums to suppliment his kit), and they still sounded like crap!
    I've heard the guitarist play acoustically without any f/x and he is a great player, but it got buried under all the distortion and smoke machines the other night.

    An effect should be just that- an EFFECT.
  11. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Yeah, I seem to remember an article with Nathan East (I think) who when asked about a particular switch on his custom bass revealed that it didnt actually do anything, he put it on cos he was sick of sound engineers going we need such and such (insert sound/effect/whatever here) from the bass so he'd stand up ago "oh yeah hang on I'll just flick my (insert sound/effect/whatever here) switch on" which he did and then played as normal, 9 times out of 10 the guy(s) would give him the thumbs up and say "yeah thats the sound we want"

    ("sure didnt our Lord himself pause to have a nice cup of tea..or cake..or whatever they had in those days"__Mrs Doyle, Father Ted)
  12. BassistJ


    Mar 20, 2001
    Hemet, CA USA
    I kinda concur with the whole "get the tone in yoru hands, stupid" outlook. I just run my basses straight to my combo amp for pretty much every gig. I sometimes agument my setup with a Boss Digital Delay and Parametric EQ depending on the room and whether I'm going to be doing alot of solos that night. My advice, keep it simple, because a pedalbaord can't crap out on you onstage if you don't have one. : )
  13. I used to own several effects.I had a Mutron Phaser II, a Dunlop bass wah and a Boss bass distortion.Those toys made cool sounds but after awhile I got tired of setting up the extra fluff and eventually gave all of them away...It was very liberating.I found more satisfaction with a simple set up.
  14. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I think that what is being said here is partially true. I would hate to try to simlulate a flanger sound without a flanger. How in the hell would I do that with my hands?

    Effects are tools. Nothing wrong with that. I guess a moderate viewpoint would be that you create the music. Effects are to enhance it a bit. The old icing on top of the cake thing.

    Effects, toys, gadgets and gizmos are worth talking about because how in the world can we all go out and try every last thing that was ever invented for the bass. The whole purpose of this forum is to share our knowlege and experiences so that we can all be better bassists. Part of that would include knowlege of our tools.

    (I mean effects and stuff you silly) :D
  15. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    The do nothing toggle switch on the bass was Lee Sklar's invention
  16. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Murf- That is really a hoot, because I was looking at this Yamaha NE1 Nathan East box the other day. The description of it called it, "this magic box :rolleyes: ." All it is, as it turns out, is parametric equalizer for mids.

    Sounds pretty hokey to me. Between my control-crazy amp heads and my SansAmp Bass Driver, I have more friggin' controls for my frequency ranges than NASA has for the Space Shuttle.
  17. ASR


    Apr 2, 2001
    Houston, Texas
    I have one effects processor. It is one of the most expensive cable connectors I own. It is always there, plugged in, ready to go on a moments notice, just in case, but it stays on "Bypass" mode the entire time. So, really all it is a way to connect 2 cables together!