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How do I get a Mellow Tone?

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by bass2020, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. bass2020


    Aug 27, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    How do I set my EQ for a mellow jazz tone?
    I have an Ampeg B328, If that helps.
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK

    tone is about way more than just your amp - your technique, your bass and your choice of strings will also effect it.

    As a general rule, depending on what your amp is, I'd normally suggest running it pretty much 'flat' - all the EQ controls in the centre position. If your amp seems 'deficient' in one area, then boost that a little, but generally, the more extreme your EQ, the harder time you'll have keeping what you play consistent as you move around the bass...

    For a 'jazz' tone, flatwound strings are not a bad idea (though of course, it does depend on what you think of as a jazz tone - players like Jaco Pastorius and Jimmy Haslip get a very 'jazzy' tone, but use roundwound strings...) - for my own preference, I use flats on my fretless...

    I think the biggest factor though is going to be your technique - turn up your amp and play softer, so you're not pounding the strings into the frets and thus getting any unwanted fret-noise, and experiment with whereabouts along the string length to pick - you could work all the way from picking over the 12th fret to picking up by the bridge and hear how it changes your tone.

    if your bass has two pickups, experiment with the pickup blend control, and see how that sounds.

    with your picking hand, experiment with how much 'flesh' you are using on your finger, and whether your a 'squeezing' the note out, or hitting the string... most of these things are rather difficult to describe accurately in text! :oops:)

    but as far as your amp goes, start from flat and only boost what is deficient from that sound...

    hope that helped,

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