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Help! Describe this tone! How do I get it?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by CoffeeLove, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member


    I am trying to put a name to a specific type of tone or effect. I am not sure what effect or processor is being used to get this sound. I would call it "thick" with "extreme growl" or grit. I own a stingray, Ampeg all tube (9tubes) amp, and a great cab and have great tone but looking for something even more intense when it comes to the growl or grit (not talking about distortion).

    I get that many factors go into "tone" but this cannot just come from a particular bass, cab, or amp.

    Could someone please tell me the name/type of tone and how people are getting it.

    Not my style of music but below are a couple links of two modern artists who's bass players have the desired tone. BE CERTAIN to listen to the runs/transitions between verse/chorus because that is where the tone really comes through. PLEASE HELP!

    J Cole (Crooked Smile)

  2. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    Sounds like humbuckers, roundwounds, healthy mids(maybe a LPF), compression, and a well controlled right hand to me.
  3. The Bruno Mars song sounds like a DI'd P-Bass with some really consistent slapping technique. It's got some solid mids to it and the highs aren't too harsh which makes me think that there was a high-end cut or a LPF as previously mentioned.
    I'd say boosting the bass ever so slightly and turning up the mids a tad more should get you pretty close. If you've got it, slap some roundwounds on a P-bass and you should do alright.
  4. capcom


    Mar 23, 2005

    In most types of productions, commercial recorded bass tracks have almost all the time compression efect applied on it and at least you can be 99% sure about compression being used. And the overall song also compressed maybe 2nd time at final mastering process which also indirectly effects the bass track aswell...

    I like to add that some bass heads especially tube circuits have their inherent "compression" type coloration to their overall sound. But it is not as distinct, specialized or adjustable like a dedicated compression effect circuit/device.

    And I also confirm that the second Bruno Mars song in your post is a "neck pickup" type slap bass sound. Most probably a precision or any other bass thats neck pickup is used only. Can also be a jazz bass with only neck pickup used.
  5. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member

    Surprised there is no additional effects. I have boosted mids on my stingray and through the amp EQ (Ampeg SVT II - tube heaven) but do not get that tone. Also have a dbx 163x compressor in the mix that has been set at various levels of compression. I have a Rocktron Blue Thunder (currently disconnected) that can be used as a LPF but have not tried it.

    I have actually been looking for an American 5 string Precision bass in hopes to get some more of that mid/girth feel as an option.

    I get the idea of just using the "neck pickup" on the P Bass to create heavy mids but wouldn't that remove solid lows?

    Maybe it is all in the recording process and not experienced live.

    I just love that tone! Intense

    Thanks for the input guys
  6. capcom


    Mar 23, 2005
    Fiddling with different compression settings may or may not bring solid lows, its also working in conjunction with how its EQ'ed, compression applied before preamp or after preamp is also different. Just need to experiment with different settings. The quest for tone never ends :)

    As far as for "mid/girth" feel I would first experiment on different strings. Different strings nickel/steel, flatwound/roundwound, heavy/light gauges all have their very huge distinct effects on the very same bass.

    For example you may like a bass in the shop just because it had strings that has a very close sound in your mind.

    By the way I envy you for the Ampeg SVT II head and the dbx 163... I wish I had those also :)
  7. CoffeeLove

    CoffeeLove Supporting Member

    Good point on the strings Capcom. I have done very little experimentation with strings. Have always been happy with my tone until lately.

    If you ever have the chance to buy an SVT II (non pro) you will truly be amazed. I believe it to be the only rackmount model that sounds like the old Ampeg heads. Really needs nothing else, so I should just get over my tone issues. The only downside to the amp is the hernia that goes along with carrying it.

    Thanks again guys
  8. capcom


    Mar 23, 2005
  9. P bass. Pretty sure that's what your drawn to here, especially on the Bruno Mars track. A P has that fat, dirty midrange that others just don't.
  10. In the current Bass Player there is an article on Bruno Mars' bassist Jamareo Artis. The ticket, Fender Precision Roadworn '50 with DR Hi-Beams 105-45.
    It will definitely take you to the same territory. Like you, I like this tone and sold my Stingray to get a PBass. :)
  11. Jamareo Artis also frequently uses flatwounds. Treasure is pure P-Bass with flats tone, makes a great slap tone when used in that context. A P-bass with flats will get close enough to nail the tone with EQ
  12. Diaz


    Oct 18, 2013
    I'm pretty sure a compressor with a blend/mix knob would be of help, in the Bruno Mars case. The attack part of it was probably under parallel compression(?). You can meddle with the SP Xotic's attack and release options.
    If the Attack and Release times are fast enough, you could try with a compressor with no mix/blend knob, and dial the attack knob at a slow setting. I'll personally try this in the following days, in case you're interested, with a J Bass and upload the results on soundcloud.
  13. I owned a lot of basses including Stingrays Jazz Basses, Pbasses and you just can't this tone with a Stingray. Period.
    The pickup is not at the right place for this tone. As said, it is simply a PBass with rounds and a slapping technique. I easily get this tone with my Precision. Keep in mind It takes a lot of practice and skills to make slap sound musical and fluid like this.
    I am always amazed at how cool slapping can sound in expert hands and how horrible and obnoxious it sounds when I hear dudes trying basses at Guitar Center.

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