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Help with plucking sound!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Came12on, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. Good afternoon hombre's. I've been lurking a while since my first post and now I come with another question.

    In our band I mostly play with a pick, my bass is quite prominent for a lot of the tunes.

    Im using a Mexican fender mustang ss. With an ampeg portaflex 500 head and the portaflex cab. I forgot which cab model it is sorry but it is one of those newer medium sized ones with the silver mesh.

    Anyway. I've noticed every time I use the pick and pluck the string relatively hard there is an initial pick sound like a 'baow!' Every time I pluck. I would rather not hear that at all and only hear a deep heavy almost mid-less sound. I've tried turning the mid all the way down but it's still sort of there.

    Does anyone know the sound I mean? BAOW BAOW BAOW instead of BUMMM BUMM BUMM

    And how can I remedy this? The strings aren't too old, about a year, addagio.

    Any help would be great
  2. WBasstrolo


    May 10, 2014
    1. Turn down highs
    2. Try a foam mute
    3. Are you hitting the strings on your pickups?
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  3. Boundary Effect

    Boundary Effect Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2018
    Maryland, USA
    Variation in technique. If you cannot achieve it with a pick, maybe you can without. And there is plenty of variation in how your skin contacts the strings for different sound. I'm still a newbie and learning. Palm muting is a cool sounding technique I'd like to master. That and using a pick. There are sounds I am not going to get until I figure that one out too.
  4. What is a foam mute?
  5. Mingo Sanders

    Mingo Sanders

    Mar 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
  6. Rick James

    Rick James Banned

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    If your strings celebrate birthdays I guess they're flats. I never cared for the sound of flats with a pick. If you like what flats sound like you're probably better off not using a pick.
  7. Jaco who?

    Jaco who?

    May 20, 2008
    BAOW BAOW BAOW instead of BUMM BUMM BUMM BUMM. Which mid position are you using? Not a fan of those heads, I'd rather they assume I'm at least a little bit above average intelligence and can read a frequency sweep knob. Anyway, you might try boosting low mids (200 hz or so) instead of high mids (500-800hz).
    Came12on likes this.
  8. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Turn your tone knob down on your bass. Try a felt pick. Don’t pluck so hard. Pluck towards the neck instead of the bridge.
  9. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    I'm wondering if the nut grooves are worn or you switched to a thinner gauge and the baow sound is the strings rattling in the nut.
    Came12on likes this.
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Technique can make a big difference.

    Hold the pick so that you get some thumb skin on the string to mute the sound. The angle that you hold the pick also affects the attack. The tip vs the side of the pick.

    The type of pick affects the attack as well. Try a softer (such as delrin) pick material, a thinner pick.

    You can also palm mute as you play those passages. This involves picking while slightly muting the strings with your hand or the fleshy part of your thumb.
    BasturdBlaster and Came12on like this.
  11. Rock Salad

    Rock Salad

    Jun 30, 2018
    Tulsa, Ok. USA
    Playing too hard most likely. Or else action is too low, sometimes the truss rod needs adjusting (loosen 1/4 turn ish) when the weather changes.
    Bow bow bow
    Dedit do do Dee dup
  12. JimChjones


    Aug 6, 2017
    SE England
    Could it be false/pinch harmonics? If so certainly technique, but thumb damping might be the issue rather than the cure. But try every thing in the beans post too. Presumably you've tried the obvious stuff like varying the place you hit the strings to see if it makes any difference.
    Rock Salad likes this.
  13. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    "Help with plucking sound!"

    I understand your frustrations, but there's no need to curse.
    BrentSimons likes this.
  14. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    1. Inspect/get your bass set-up by someone who KNOWS how to do it first.
    2. Set your bass EQ flat/mid notched.
    3. Set amp flat/straight up at 12 o'clock.
    4. Adjust amp EQs as close to the tone you are desiring.
    5. Micro/further adjust/dial-in on your bass.
    6. Still getting the sound you report?
    6 a. Cut/adjust your high mids/treble a tad.
    6 b. Consider boosting low mids a tad.
    7. Different styles/thicknesses of picks can give different sounds/tones/effects. Consider getting a few different styles/thicknesses to try out/practice with.
    8. Work on picking technique(s). Palm muting/covering, a piece of sponge placed under your strings right at the edges of your saddles/bridge.

    You write as if you are fairly new to playing IMO, practicing is way more than just learning notes, songs, riffs, or even ear training.
    Oh, and one more thing...RELAX! It can go a loooonnng way.
    Good Luck!
  15. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    I get a great dead upright tone with a old EB-0 with the mute engaged.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  16. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    What kind of pick are you using, and how thick is it? It might be just a matter of finding a different pick -- e.g., one that's thicker/heavier and/or made of a different kind of material. It could also be any of the many other things suggested previously, but swapping picks would be the simplest and cheapest fix to try first.
    Came12on and Turbo Sparky like this.
  17. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Do you get the same result unplugged? If so, the remedy is going to be a technique adjustment. If not, then it's an amp adjustment.
    Turbo Sparky and pappabass like this.
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    maybe you need a different pick

    I have been using picks since the late 60s … This is the best pick for me … I have tried dozens of picks


    The tortex is a more hard rubbery material … not as clicky sounding as a plastic pick. Also I pick back by the bridge and I sometimes I palm mute while picking
  19. Like many others have said. 1, pick felt?
    2. Turn mids down, especially if active bass. Turn down even more. Personally mids sound bad on a bass.
  20. Someone else also said it but try the side of the pick rather than the tip, you get a stronger sound with less click. I used to look for a pick sound playing with finmgers, I used dead half rounds with an SVT with the mid button to the right (forgot the hz?) but it sounded exactly like a pick, maybe try the opposite? A mute would just enhance the pick sound not cut it. Flat wounds also enhance the pick sound.

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