How do I get a better sound?

Discussion in 'Ask Todd Johnson [Archived]' started by skarob0t, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. skarob0t


    Oct 9, 2012
    I've been playing bass for about two years, and the main thing I have problems with is the sound my fingers make on the fretboard. I mean, you could literally hear my fingers moving. It's really irritating. Anything I can do to make that sound go away? It would be greatly appreciated
  2. Try turning your tweeter/horn level down on the back of your cab. Or even the treble knob a little? A grounding issue can also cause hum while touching the strings...Hope that helps!
  3. Exploiter8

    Exploiter8 Demons run when a good man goes to war

    Jan 18, 2010
    Commercial FREE!
    Maybe flat wounds or ground wounds?

  4. kbodonne


    Aug 31, 2012
    Austin, TX
    +1 treble/ tone knobs/ tweeter turn down. If you have an adjustable EQ you can turn your highs down.

    If you're playing with any peddles or overdrive they could cause it as well
  5. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California
    Flats. But you probably don't care for flats. Have you used flats before? Is it a tone you care for?
  6. Funkyjazz6


    Oct 11, 2012
    Have you considered it may be an issue with your technique?
  7. skarob0t


    Oct 9, 2012
    Yeah, in which case I'd need help with haha. I'm a girl, and my fingers aren't that strong, so it could be that.
  8. skarob0t


    Oct 9, 2012
    Yup! The tone is a problem.
  9. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    It sounds like you're just talking about basic string noise. This is a fact of life with roundwound strings, and usually isn't noticable when the bass is mixed in with a band. The previous suggestions to turn down the treble and/or try flats are good ones.
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    Also, has your bass been set up professionally? Or at least by someone who really knows what they're doing? As in, NOT your guitar player.
  11. Funkyjazz6


    Oct 11, 2012

    Todd has an instructional video on his website at which has a technique focus, or you may want to consider taking lessons with him through Skype.
  12. wmheilma


    Jan 5, 2010
    Is your bass active or passive? If you crank the treble knob up on an active bass you'll tend to hear a lot of string noise. It is probably a combination of your technique and how you set the knobs on your equipment starting with the bass itself. Just start trying things out one at a time and you'll figure it out.

    1) Tone settings on the bass
    2) Tone settings on your amp
    3) Tweeter attenuator on the cab (if there is one)

    Good luck! Just remember you are playing the most fun instrument in the whole world and everybody digs a girl who can play bass too! Try this link:

  13. Is the noise a problem when you are playing with a band or just while practicing alone. String noise often isn't apparent in a mix.
  14. Todd Johnson

    Todd Johnson

    Sep 27, 2005
    Anthem, AZ
    Hi Skarobot,

    Sorry I'm so slow....your post got past me somehow. Yikes.... answer your question......First, its really hard to accurately answer "sound" questions via an email....but....Its most likely a combination of tone settings and getting your hands/musicianship/technique together.

    Realize your sound is mostly in your hands.....a good instrument and amp are a big help, but ultimately the sound is in your hands. I would recommend studying with the best teacher you can find in your area.....if not, let me know and we could get you going on some video chat lessons. Its an investment, but a REALLY good one!! : )

    I hope this helps.....if not, let me know and we'll see what we can do.


    Have fun!!
  15. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    If it's the strings try some half rounds or labella Quarter Rounds they really decease the string noise.
  16. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    This (emphasis in bold is mine).

    Obviously if you keep practicing your technique you'll gain better control over all the nuances of your tone, but I wouldn't worry about finger noise too much if you're just practicing in your bedroom. In a full mix you'll NEVER hear that.
  17. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Be deliberate with your hands. Don't let them coax unmusical sounds from the instrument.
  18. You might also want to check into GHS pressure wound strings or S.I.T. silencers. As far as the strength in your fretting hand is concerned you might also want to use this excercise - play a chromatic scale using each finger of your (I'm assuming you play standard position as opposed to left handed) right hand,i.e. 1st finger 1st fret,2nd finger 2nd fret,3rd finger 3 fret,4th finger 4th fret. Do this on each string from low to high,then high to low.It's a good warm up as well.
  19. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Being a girl is not anything that can prevent you from being a great bass player. Your fingers can get plenty strong enough to play bass. You need to work them and get them there.
    Buy a finger exerciser and get to work or just play longer and longer each day to gain strength. You can do it.
    The good news is that you recognize the problem. That is always the first step in correcting it.
    With playing any musical instrument there are no shortcuts.
    Put in the time and you will get there.