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How can I get an upright or P-bass sound without actually owning one?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by StrudelBass, Oct 3, 2002.


  1. StrudelBass

    StrudelBass

    Jul 6, 2002
    California
    How should my EQ be set up for an Upright or P-bass like sound? I really want that punch but I don't exacty have an upright or p-bass at my disposal. I've decided to resort to EQ settings.

    So... what should I have?

    How many Lows?
    How many Mids?
    How many Highs?
    Bass' tone knob to treble or bass?
    Defret job possibly?
     
  2. Forget about all that stuff....just get a block of foam and wedge it under the strings right up against the bridge. That'll give you that "thump", and you can vary the amount of "thump" by trying different thickness's of foam.
     
  3. you don't even have to have foam, you can just use a sock. What I usually do is either mute the strings with my left had and play way up on the neck, or I mute the strings with my left hand and palm mute the bridge (will lee does that a lot).
     
  4. StrudelBass

    StrudelBass

    Jul 6, 2002
    California
    You're not serious are you?
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Dead serious. Y'know those ashtray bridge covers on the old Fender P basses? They had foam rubber mutes on them. That's one of the classic Motown sounds: a P, Flats, and Mutes. Foam, socks, hands, I myself use a small block of foam (well, when I use one)
     
  6. Actually, a bump at about 800 hz can go a long way towards at hinting at a P-sound.
     
  7. StrudelBass

    StrudelBass

    Jul 6, 2002
    California
    well...how big should one piece of foam be?
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Big enough that it'll wedge itself under the strings (again this is right after the strings leave the saddle) it sould be of sufficient size that the strings holding it down will be enough so that it will be held in place firmly, withough being attached in any way.
     
  9. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    The palm-mute works best for me anyway;) Also good for reggae:D
     
  10. agreed. I love using my p-bass and palm muting for fat reggae tones. I also use muting for jazz and bluegrass (similar to thumpy stand up tone). and of course it always works for motown.
    sometimes it takes away some volume, but if you boost your volume it is the punchiest tone.
    using foam would be the 'real' way to do it, but when you're changing techniques within one song it could be weird, but if you just want a bass with that tone- then put foam in there. no matter what method you use, the goal is to stop the strings from vibrating after you pluck.
     
  11. When you're talking about palm muting, are you talking about playing with a pick? I love the palm muted sound on bass and guitar, but I can't seem to get it to work while playing fingerstyle, unless I'm playing bass like fingerstyle guitar...Quite frankly, my hand/wrist doesn't bend in a way that allows me to mute right at the bridge and still play with any speed or accuracy. Am I the only one with this problem?
     
  12. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Roland V-bass anyone?:D
     
  13. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    Silentstranger.....do you hang your bass low?
     
  14. Matthias

    Matthias

    May 30, 2000
    Vienna, Austria
    With palm muting or using foam you can achieve a sound which is well suited for some music styles, but to my ears it will always sound like a muted bass guitar and not even come close to the sound of an upright.
    first of all because an upright doesn't sound muted unless you mute it or have a weak left hand. second because a block of solid wood will never respond the same way as huge hollow body.
    Just my limited experience with my cheapo plywood upright which I unfortunately don't play anymore because I have too little time for practicing.

    Matthias
     
  15. you are absolutely right matthias- but the general audience won't notice. with muting you are just trying to get the idea across. upright is a different instrument, there is no way to make a bass guitar sound just like it.

    my palm muting- resting the side of your hand near the bridge and plucking with your thumb and first finger. I'm sure there are other techniques for palm muting. you can't have your bass really low, you'll get wrist problems from regular playing with a really low strap anyways.
     
  16. Nope. I actually wear my bass higher than your average rocker, closer to a jazzer position I think. I was sitting while trying to figure out a palm muting technique, which essentially placed the bass even higher still. WWP's technique (thumb plus 1st) is the only way I could get it to work, but I still lost a lot of speed and accuracy.
     
  17. it's slow at first, but the more you do it, the faster it becomes. watch the david letterman show and look for will lee playing bass, he does that technique sometimes. that's where I picked it up.
     
  18. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    Hawaii
    Marcus Miller also uses the palm mute alot!
     
  19. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Forget sounding like an upright without playing an upright...that's like asking, "how can I dunk without being able to jump?". The other replies in the thread are right on about getting the old school P sound.
     
  20. StrudelBass

    StrudelBass

    Jul 6, 2002
    California
    Well I just wanted at least that P-bass sound. Thanks for the input all, now I just have to find me some styrofoam...