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Here's something I never noticed before

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by pklima, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. pklima

    pklima Commercial User

    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Karoryfer Samples
    Like many of y'all, I'm in a band with a guitarist. This guitarist has an electric guitar with more than one pickup. There's a switch which switches between the pickups.

    I realized today that I have absolutely no clue which pickup or pickups any guitarist from any band I play in is using on ANY song. I mean, I have never noticed that it sounds any brighter or darker.

    I don't know if they really don't sound all that different in a band context or if years of playing in bands with guitarists have honed my guitarist-ignoring skills to perfection.
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Lol. Nice trick if you can manage it. Well played. ;)
  3. Mark Plays Bass

    Mark Plays Bass If I practiced, then life is good! Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2008
    Bronx, NY
    Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.
  4. I used to play with a guitarist who swore it made a difference. I can hear something between either extreme of a Strat 5-way switch but otherwise it's all the same to me.

    Also Mark, my handle on pretty much everything (except for TB, ironically) is PatPlaysBass. Great minds think alike?
  5. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Me neither. Don't really care either. As long as I can groove to it, it's all good! :D
  6. I used to play with a group of friends- not a band- where the two guitarist both had les Pauls. They would agrue amongst themselves on who plays rhythm or lead. And depending on what part they played they would flip the switch to either "rhythm" or "lead". And it was a major sin if you ever played open chords while the switch was in "lead" position. Or vise versa play a simple blues solo while in the "rhythm" position.
  7. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    It's all a matter of ear training, really. If you're not listening that closely too it, you don't really notice the difference. I've played with a lot of guitarists who would switch guitars for different songs. All sounded pretty much the same to me.
  8. kai_ski


    Apr 14, 2007
    Wenatchee, WA
    Can you tell the difference between the bridge and neck pickup on a Jazz bass?

    Can you tell the difference between a Precision and a Jazz?

    I can definitely tell when my guitarist is playing in bridge or neck position, using Les Paul or Strat, etc. Open up your ears, bassists are supposed to be the enlightened ones.
  9. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    I might be able to discern the difference aurally, but I'm listening to everything going on. I might notice a difference sonically, but I definitely wouldn't mentally relate it to a certain pickup on the guitar. I tend to pay most attention to the drums, keys and vocals and where I'm sitting between them and the guitar is just kinda hovering around and inbetween it all.
  10. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    Basically if a guitar solo sounds like "Wooh Wooh Woooooh!" (kind of like 'Hey Joe' from Jimi Hendrix), it's the neck pickup; if it sounds like "Rah Rah Raaaaaah!" (like 'Purple Haze') it's the bridge pickup. lol!
  11. Dominic DeCosa

    Dominic DeCosa Habitual Line-Stepper Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 9, 2008
    Winter Park, Florida
    DiCosimo Audio
    Keep in mind, they're discussing the same thing about us on the guitar forums.
  12. 2behead


    Mar 8, 2011
    I think you have "honed my guitarist-ignoring skills to perfection." :) I don't claim to be able to play guitar for real. I'm a bassist, but I own a few. and I can definitely tell what pick up is being used. Even while I'm playing bass. Its like rolling your tone nob all the way back. The guitarist wont notice but you will. It's where it sits in the mix. Tone is super important I think more bass players need to focus on it. Punch isn't everything.
  13. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    Also, don't feel bad if you can't tell the difference. About 65% of guitar players can't tell the difference either and sadly their guitars are forever set on the bridge pickup.
  14. iovar


    May 7, 2011
    Chania, Crete
    Any guitarist that can't hear a difference in a Jazz Bass when the bridge pick-up is soloed to when the neck pickup is soloed, isn't worth his ears.

    And any guitarist that can't hear the difference in a P-Bass when... oh right... :p
  15. Ronbassman


    Jun 1, 2011
    We should make a coalition to troll their gui**** forums! Hahahaha!

    Joking... :bag:
  16. This^^^^^^
  17. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    I notice when the guitar tone doesn't seem quite right but actually knowing which pickup configuration is being used is difficult. I'm sure guitarists don't notice us unless we are louder than them.
  18. marmadaddy

    marmadaddy Supporting Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    Not too long ago me and my guitar player started switching instruments in the middle of songs once or twice a night. It's a fun change of pace and the audience digs it. One of the first things I had to figure out was what that switch did. New toys!
  19. pocketgroove


    Jun 28, 2010
    My guitarist makes me listen to his instruments and rig so often, and counts on me to provide an opinion on new gear purchases so much that I know guitar amps, pickups, and pickup switches better than most guitarists do. Generally, if the guitarist is educated, they'll use the bridge pup for rhythm, the neck for leads, and the middle and in-between positions for a tele-type sound or for rockabilly and funk type tones.
  20. bolophonic

    bolophonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC

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