Help me bring out the beast in my bass!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Javy, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    I'm prersently playing a Stingray5 with Ernie Ball nickel Slinkys through an Ampeg B2R head and two Aguilar GS-112 cabinets. I was hoping for a crunchy, growly, gritty sound like I've heard Stingrays do on a number of recordings but it just sounds kinda tame, a little too smooth and round. If I turn up the mids on either the bass or the amp, it gets too middy and "buzzy" and still doesn't get that rough, gritty sound down low. And the lower I play (E and B strings), the smoother the tone gets. Playing with my fingers closer to the bridge just brings out the mids and doesn't make the rough growl I'm after.

    I got rid of a Lakland 55-02 because it was too smooth and round sounding for my taste. Now I'm having to try hard just to keep this Stingray from sounding too smooth. It is rougher sounding than the Lakland for sure, but not like I've heard Stingrays sound on various recordings.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  2. my bass also sounds smooth and ungritty for the most part, which i like, but i know what your after

    i normally play with my fingers, but if i play with a thick/hard pick, the sound becomes far more gritty and what some would call unpleasant (if it was played in the wrong setting), but the sound of it clunking and scratching against the string gives it a course sound which really makes it sound like a completely different instrument, (more nirvana like and less pop-song-smiley-eq) :eek:

    well anyway if you try it and it doesn't work you've spent less than a dollar so its nothing to get upset over!

  3. What recordings are you using as your benchmark for tone? Just curious.
  4. red40


    Mar 25, 2003
    Wilmington, DE
    This is going to sound dumb, but have you tried playing with a pick?
  5. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Face it, you're just a smooth dude! :D
    I'd like to echo Zoombay's question.
  6. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    ZoomBoy, I have two tone examples in mind. Check back in a day or so and I'll see if I can post a couple of short mp3 clips.

    One is from Rascal Flatts, though I can't remember offhand which track or CD. The other is from SonicFlood's SonicPraise Live CD.

    Concerning the suggestion from somebody else about using a pick, I know for sure that's not what I'm after. I'm not much of a pick kind of guy---not on bass anyway.
  7. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    If you're goin for Jay [rascall flatts] remember that he uses a pick & a line 6 bass pod pro i believe and that could add some texture. I've got Melt and find that his bass tone on it sounds great to my ears. If you saw them when they played the concert on CMT i think he went into some grit for a few of those songs but he also went for a great slap tone. Thats all
  8. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    FenderJazzCam, I've never seen Jay's rig, so I wouldn't know if he uses a POD, but a POD would help to explain the grit I'm hearing. I have, however, seen him play; it was a Rascal Flatts concert in Los Angeles (I think) that aired on CMT a month or two ago. It must have been recorded a while back, though, before Melt came out. Anyway, he used his fingers (no pick) on most if not all of what he played. He could have used a pick at some point, but I saw mostly fingerstyle. Great tone...on Melt, that is...the live concert didn't do his bass justice.
  9. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    In this thread and the next three are the samples I said I'd try to post. (Let me know if there's a way to attach more than one file per post.) As far as I know they're all Stingrays, but each one sounds different. You'll need good headphones or good computer speakers to hear the bass details because the other instruments mask the bass parts quite a bit. In reality, these clips may be too short to really reveal anything.

    The sound I'm looking for is represented in part by each of these, although I'd be happy to achieve a sound like just one of these samples.

    The first clip is from a praise and worship band called SonicFlood. It's just a short slide up the B string, but it really growls!
  10. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    This clip is also from SonicFlood. It's not so growly but it sounds rough, textured, and tight (if that means anything).
  11. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    This third clip is very short. It's from Rascal Flatts. Here the bass is also very rough and growly.
  12. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    This last clip is from another praise and worship band, Delirious. It shows a bass that's not so growly but really tight and punchy. I'd like to get away from the smooth, loose, flabby sound in favor of something more like this. Maybe compression? Any suggestions are welcome.
  13. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Perhaps you don't apply enough force when you play fingerstyle? I exclusively play fingerstyle, and I can make my Ibanez ATK (which is nothing but a Stingray clone) sound as aggressive and gritty as I want so I can compete with any downtuned, distorted guitar.

    Have you ever considered switching to stainless steel strings?
    Also, you can get a great, clicky sound if you pick the strings near the neck.
  14. kroth


    Apr 6, 2003
    I like a low action for some fret noise and grind when i dig in and play hard. not so low that it chokes off the tone, but low enough to get some grit, especially with a chunky Jazz with the bridge pu solo. try cranking up the pre gain a bit and lower the master to avoid unwanted clipping
  15. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I don't know if he actually uses them live but it says on i think the CD liner notes for Melt that he uses Line 6 Bass PODs [probably Pros] & EBMM Basses only or something to that extent. Thats all
  16. Javy


    Sep 15, 2000
    Interesting. Thanks for the info. I'd like to check out a bass POD.
  17. Halftooth

    Halftooth Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Tri-Valley, NorCal
    What's worked for me is dropping the action and raising the p/ups just a bit. Adding a bit of overdrive will help bring this out as well. I played through this little Sans Amp unit once that gave me a pretty sweet growly/overdriven sound. It wasn't a distortion or overdive pedal, but it had a gain knob that I turned all the way up to achieve the overdriven sound.
  18. I run a B2R head and I second or third the idea of cranking the preamp gain up. I usually set mine just below clipping and then if I boost the active pickups or dig in I can achieve some nice overdrive. I run a compressor so this doesn't cause mad clipping on the poweramp end of things.
  19. Try some DR strings (Hi-beams or Fatbeams), and remember to use the bridge position on the PU switch. And as others has said, lower your action so it growls if you dig in. But really, strings has alot to say in this matter I think, - although this is the wrong forum for that discussion... ;)