How can I get a agressive, punchy and fat bass tone?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by bassisttorock, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. bassisttorock

    bassisttorock Commercial User

    Jan 7, 2021
    I use a epiphone toby bass which has two single-coil pickups and I'm recording my first song with a guitarist friend. But the problem is our song is like heavy metal. My sound is so weak for heavy metal songs and we cannot hear the bass in the song. I tried to fix it with some effects on computer, I tried to use a pick but it is still bad. So, what should I do to get a agressive tone like Gene Simmons' by Kiss or Duff McKagan' by GnR?

    I just have four knobs on my amp ( volume-bass-mid-treble)
  2. BoogieZK


    Sep 28, 2008
    Toulouse, France
    Begin by get some terms right:
    Punchy and agressive is the opposite of fat.

    Punchy and aggressive is a tone focused on high mids between 1 and 3kHz so try to boost this area with your amp or preamp leaving the rest at 0dB.
    If you want some balls with that you can try to boost bass a little or reduce low mids.
    This will result in a scooped sound which with a slight distortion will sounds like Duff Macaladacalagan

    Gene simons is a more mid focused sounds with a boost between 400Hz and 1kHz area.

    As well try to use a slight unbalance between your pickups like a bit more of the bridge pickup for less bass, neck pickup for more bass but less definition.

    Edit: I just read your last sentence... Ok with just bass/mid/treble, try to boost mids and treble leaving bass 0dB.
    For a more Kiss sounds, just boost the mids.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2021
  3. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    It starts with fresh strings and a good setup. Bass players too often think they can get through with unbalanced tone and lifeless harmonics.

    Then the realization that a good bass tone in the mix is entirely different from a solo bass in your bed room.
    Take advantages from the low range of the drums rather than competing with them with too much boost.
    Don't be afraid to severely limit the range of the bass with high and low pass filters.
    Use amp gain or other means of distortion at your advantage. It brings our harmonics and makes for a thicker tone.
    Hi mids and highs are you friends.

    Typically, a good metal tone by itself sounds over compressed, excessively raspy with more mids than lows and harmonics all over the place.
    SoCal80s, nabilhuakbar and Gearhead17 like this.
  4. nabilhuakbar


    Jan 13, 2020
    This. Bass is a weird paradox because what sounds awesome by itself is inaudible garbage in a band setting, and stuff that sounds ugly and horrible on its own sounds great in a mix. Bass makes all these weird overtones and harmonics that either sound pleasant and get drowned out by all the other instruments that make those same harmonics, or that sound nasty and ugly on their own but occupy their own sonic space in the mix so it's the only thing that actually gets heard.

    And as awesome as the low thudding vibrations sound in person, you need to be very very subtle and careful about how they're applied when you play live, because a lot of that is also where the bass drum lives. Crank your mids and futz with your stuff till it sounds awesome when everyone else is playing. It may not quite have the low-end you're hoping for but it's better to be audible and support the guitars and make everything sound heavier and thicker anyways.

    It seems counter-intuitive, but turning down the bass on your bass (or applying a high-pass filter around 40-100 Hz) will actually tighten up your sound a bit. Boosting 200Hz a bit will make your bass sound a little bigger. A little more 400-500 Hz gets you some definition, 1-3 kHz gets your sound to pop out more. Drive is great and gives you some more definition, but distortion will make you impossible to hear. Add some treble if you want some extra string buzz and fret clank.

    Also, when it comes to live sound -- CUT BEFORE BOOST. And cut the opposite (i.e., if you want more bass, cut treble, etc.) before you boost the same. Only boost a little, a little bit goes a long way.
    bste9 and acoustic951 like this.
  5. Pulverizor


    Jun 14, 2018
    New Zealand
    nabilhuakbar likes this.
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