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Has Your Concept Of What Your Sound Is Changed Over The Years?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BostonJazz72, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. BostonJazz72

    BostonJazz72 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2010
    My parents bought me my first bass and amp when I was in sixth grade. The bass was a Gibson SG knockoff and the amp was a Peavy TK065. Being that it was my first instrument, I was totally psyched to even have something to play on. At that time I just had a general 'idea' of what a bass could sound like. However, it was over the years that this concept has changed over time. In high school, I was totally into the Music Man sound and then in college I loved the sound from Modulus basses and the Eden Stack. After college it was a vintage Fender J bass and Epifani cabs. I won't bore you with all of the details but essentially I have gone through many basses and cabs to find the sound in my head which has changed over time and probably will change change. What has been your journey?
    CallMeAl and shoot-r like this.
  2. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Funny of the timing of this thread. I kind of thought that I was done searching for "my" sound. For the last 5 years, I've been trying just about anything I could get my hands on, just to see/hear the options and determine my preferences. I've always struggled with a lot of string noise with bright strings and after trying most styles of strings (rounds/half rounds/flats/ tapes), I eventually settled on 100% flats on everything and have been running flats on my fretted and fretless exclusively for about 2 years now. I just love the sonic hugs I get form the warm tones the flats produce.

    A few weeks ago, my band (classic rock/outlaw country) made out a list of new songs to learn and a couple of them were begging for a more aggressive tone than I could produce with any of my settings and without getting it dirty, so just for giggles, I put some rounds on my P.

    Surprisingly, I'm having a ton of fun with the brighter tone - my technique has improved enough over the last few years that the unwanted string noise is much more tolerable. I'm even finding that I do have the ability to produce a little, still very crude, slap/pop noise (something I've been struggling with for several years. No, I wasn't expecting any magic slapping flats, but could barely make any noise when playing around with it). I'm getting enough positive feel out of it that I can now devote some time to really working a skill that I had all but written off. Unfortunately I'm now considering opening the GAS tank and getting a fretted jazz bass (both of mine are fretless).

    We have a couple of songs in our playlist that I really don't like on the rounds, but over half sound better with the rounds - at least at home. I'm going to bring the rounds to our next rehearsal to see if the tone pushes through the mix and may convert back to rounds on my fretted Ps.

    The "funny timing" relates to the fact that I've been musing a bit about how many folks go through these transformations after feeling they'd settled in on something.
    CallMeAl, shoot-r and BostonJazz72 like this.
  3. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    BostonJazz72 likes this.
  4. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    I think the idea of a “my sound” regarding timbre and sound effects is as silly for any instrumentalist as “I don’t need to learn music theory”, but moreso for bass guitarists.

    If your “my sound” is only regarding note and dynamics choice... still, kinda silly. You’re either serving the song or using the song as a tissue to whack off on.
  5. BostonJazz72

    BostonJazz72 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2010
    I am only speaking from a gear perspective. Thus, at this at this point in your playing carrier do you like playing bass A over bass B because bass A just sounds better to you personally. Same applies to amp/cab.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
  6. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    There's a good bit of truth to your statement, but I think we all have a preferred tone - based on our preferred genre (s). Guess I have no way of proving that though...

    Supporting the song is the ultimate goal, but unless you have a very restricted playlist, it's just not practical to have all the tools you need to be truly loyal to every song on a gig.
  7. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    My sound when I started around 1978 was all-in Entwistle and Foxton. Today it's the polar thumpety-thump opposite.
  8. No. Still, I want to sound like ______________ (insert a fave here), but I still sound like me. This never changes.
    CallMeAl and BostonJazz72 like this.
  9. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007

    My journey.....

    51 years ago my uncle had a country band that needed a bass player.
    I'd never touched a bass at that point in time and so had no equipment.
    He rigged-up a old Ampeg Gemini II. guitar amp that had a 15" driver in it and made it into a bass amp by stuffing it with some insulation and then screwing on plywood across the back.
    He had a Gibson EB-O bass he'd picked-up from somewhere.
    I learnt while I gigged with his band with that amp and bass for rough-fully the next 3 years.
    While gigging in the band I saved up enough money and bought a Kustom head and Kustom 215 cabinet, kept using the EB-O that my uncle had now given me.
    (Looking back that set-up was horrible, but I didn't know any better, had a GREAT time though!)

    Few years later (1972) I graduated High School and my parents gave me a used, 8 year old Fender Jazz bass as a grad. present.
    (I still use that bass today.)

    Right after graduation I joined my first rock group.
    A few weeks later, after blowing out both drivers in the Kustom, I went to a Acoustic 360.
    The Jazz and 360 was a GREAT sounding, LOUD, combination, it was also around this time I discovered round wound strings.
    LOVED the round-wound equipped Jazz and 360 sound!

    In 1976 I was lucky enough to stumble into a road job with a touring country/rock act.
    They convinced me I "HAD" to play Ampeg.
    Went to a 300 watt SVT tube head and 810 cabinet.
    Absolutely hated the head.
    (Undependable, heavy, a real PIA to load under a tour bus, "it was probably undependable because it was transported under the bus!")

    1984, came home to stay and play locally, traded off the SVT head and went to a G.K. 800RB head into the Ampeg 810 with the Jazz.
    That was the combination I used for the next 29+ years.
    Just like the 360 combination, the G.K./810/Jazz/ round wounds combination really worked for my ears.

    2007, I found TalkBass and GAS set in for lighter, smaller, better, ect., ect.
    I won't list all the class "D" heads I've went through, the cabinets, the money spent trying to recapture what my ears liked in the past.

    2016, bought my first brand new bass, a Fender 4 string Jazz Bass Elite, (still have and use the old one too.)

    2020, I'm close to what I've liked in the past with two separate rigs.
    The old Jazz bass strung with Dunlop Super Bright Nickel Round Wounds into a Sans Amp BDDI into a G.K. MB-500 into a Bergantino NV610.
    (And my favorite,) the Elite Jazz bass with Dunlop Super Bright Nickel Round Wounds into the Sans Amp BDDI into a Mesa Subway 800+ head into two Avatar B210 Neo cabinets stacked as a vertical 410.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2020
    Luther and BostonJazz72 like this.
  10. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    Just as you can haul a big ol boat with nearly any ol truck, those who know what’s what know to not bother with a 6.0 Ford- any bassist worth their pepper can get a better than good-enough sound out of anything but try to stay away from Peavey TKO’s and Ampeg HLF410’s. Rays, J’s, P’s, soapbar basses, T-Birds, and EB-0’s all can work just fine in competent hands.

    I do “personally” stay away from stainless strings in most circumstances as they don’t get along with my skin very well as compared to nickel.
  11. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I was pretty much raised on Jamerson/Babbit Motown so the sound of a P Bass with flats or nylon tapes still suits me just fine 50+ years later.

    Now I get that tone from a variety of basses. The best P tone for me now is from my Fender Mustang PJ LE using only the P pickup and nylon tapes. I've found that the tapes help me get a suitable tone from a variety of basses.
    CallMeAl likes this.
  12. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    any sound i've had in my head i pursued with practicing, i think, on whatever ax/rig i had at the time. i don't remember making purchases looking for a sound --- they were more about, "will it do the job?" that said: i've been pleased enough with certain instruments and equipment that they were a part of 'my sound' for years at a time. if i can play the parts = i can get a "sound."

    for me it's all about the feel of the instrument while i'm playing (and the feel of the music, too!). so i'm a "feel chaser" not a 'sound chaser'.

    it sounds ( :D ) like we have two different points of view! i think sounding good (or ideal) is easy... if i can play the damn parts. :laugh:
    CallMeAl and BostonJazz72 like this.
  13. ClusterFlux

    ClusterFlux Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    My concept has changed a little bit -- previously I preferred the good ol' mid-scooped sound. These days I tend to go for a more well-rounded and warmer tone.

    What has really changed, IMO, is the ability to produce great tones with gear that offers more functionality, is lighter, and is less expensive.
    BostonJazz72 likes this.
  14. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    While I know my sound has evolved a lot over the ~46 years I've been playing bass, due to equipment choices, improved technique(s), and conscious attempts to either achieve a goal or avoid a pitfall, the one part of my "concept" of my sound that has evolved most recently is the moving away from having a bass sound that cuts through an ensemble and more towards a bass sound that sits under an ensemble.
    Luther likes this.
  15. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I've never been too concerned about “my sound”. My job is to be the bridge between the rhythm and the front and that sound changes depending on genre, instrument, amp, etc. my goal is to be the best fit for the group with whatever equipment i’ve got at the time.
    CallMeAl likes this.
  16. CallMeAl


    Dec 2, 2016
    Ithaca Ny
    I don’t think my sound has changed a whole lot. What’s changed is my control over technique, and how to utilize strings, pickups, EQ and the like to get to where I want. I can get “my sound” out of a bigger variety of gear.

    I’m also a hobbyist, and I don’t need to have a wide variety of sounds on tap to be marketable. I bring what I bring, you can take me or leave me. That said, I can still use different strings, EQ and technique to fit into different projects.
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 27, 2021

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