How do I get GROWL?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Sabertooth, Oct 16, 2003.

  1. Sabertooth


    Oct 16, 2003
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Hello everybody. I have a question about growl :D

    It seems I have finally figured out what tone I strive to get. I've always wanted bass to stand out in the mix, and so I pinned hopes on overdrive. But in fact I was never satisfied with overdriven bass. It is always too fuzzy. It completely ruins the original harmonics. Maybe it's just because I've never played through a real overdriven tube amp, and of course the ODB-3 failed... But I also tried a SansAmp (I couldn't get a BDDI, so that was a GT-2) and, disappointingly, the result was pretty much the same: it was rather "bzzz" than "grrr" if you know what I mean :) So... I concluded that the low-mid growl that I like has more to do with the bass itself. Every bass has it to a certain extent, but what can bring it to the front? Or what makes one bass growlier than another?

    An example of the growl I'm talking about may be Papa Roach, especially their 1997 and 2000 albums. Well, it does not necessarily have to be hard rock, I just can't think of other examples. The idea is bass that remains bass but growls and cannot be drowned by distorted guitars (IF there are any).

    So, the first part of my question is what produces the growl? The wood, the pickups (placed closer to the strings), or the amp?

    And the second question is - what bass should I get to get growling tone? Currently I own an Ibanez EDB600, a nice bass for the money, but now I think about upgrading, partly because of the EDB's gasoline smell :D partly just to explore new tones. Alas, there are very few bass brands accessible in my parts :( Of course, Fender, Ibanez, Yamaha are there, but no MM, no more exotic brands. Luckily, a Warwick dealer appeared recently. I heard about Warwick's reputation of growly tone, and I liked what I heard in the store, but all I can probably buy now is Corvette. Does Corvette share the Warwick's characteristic tone, or is it a more all-around budget instrument? I think I might also consider some Fenders and Ibanezes (e.g. SRX 700). What is your advice, where should I look for growl? In my limited conditions...

    Sorry if I'm sounding dreary, I believe in your patience ;)
  2. superphat


    Sep 30, 2001
    for me, when i need growl i reach for my fender jazz bass.

    there are others that do the job well too... musicmans, ken smith, etc...
  3. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I have a MIA Fender Precision. When I play it through my solid state rig with a Berg 210 it sounds smooth and nice. When I plug it into my SVT-CL amp it becomes growly. I would say its a combination of bass and amp. I would describe a jazz bass as growly...
  4. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    P-Basses growl, when played near the bridge.
  5. Geeze, this again?

  6. Jack


    Sep 6, 2003
    Northumberland, UK
    Fraid so, people really should search.
  7. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    Favour the bridge pickup and really dig in your fingers, wenge necks are nice too. The ultimate growling rock/funk tone I've ever heard is Timmy C on Evil Empire - hard plucking over the bridge pickup on a maple neck Fender Jazz through two Ampeg SVT rigs, one overdriven, one clean, with a mix of DI'd and miced sounds from both rigs.

  8. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK

    evil empire is such a cool album...

    year of the boomerang and roll right are SUCH nice tracks

  10. I get a nice growl out of my Ibanez EDB400 with the bridge pickup cranked, Boost your mids up a bit (Or crank them like I do)and favor your bridge pickup and play near the bridge. Also try raising the mids on your amp. I've usually noticed that for growl its big time in your hands by playing agressively by the bridge. If you are going for anouther bass, I would suggest a P-Bass, Warwick, or similar brands. I'd also suggest a Ibanez BTB, they have very nice mids to them and growl. Very light distortion can help a bit but use it sparingly or else it will sound like more of a buzz then growl.
  11. hyperlitem

    hyperlitem Guest

    Jul 25, 2001
    Indianapolis, IN
    im pretty sure timmy c played a stingray on evil empire. Im not sure if he played ampegs at that point either. I know for self titled he used a stingray, and i forget what other amps he used to play. Timmy's jazz was far from stock though, he had different pickups and whatnot in it. I have a stingray into an all ampeg setup, that does the job nicely.
  12. Sorry, I didn't look at your profile.

    Welcome to TB and I still gave you a couple links about growl!

  13. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    Kick your neighbor's pitbull in the butt. This should do the trick. Make sure the dog's chained before, though, and that you can get out of his reach pretty fast. :D

    Seriously, it depends on many factors, but one of the most important is your bass. I had a StingRay5 for a while and got rid of it because of its lack of growl.

    Second most important I would say is your technique. A medium-hard touch (plucking hand) is required.

    Third, a good amp will help, even more if it's using tubes.

    But I think growl has various definitions, depending on each individual.
  14. steve-o

    steve-o Guest

    Apr 17, 2002
    maybe a tobias growler bass? no really..

  15. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Attn Treena and others who roll their eyes when they see a post that was already covered: there are new people joining the family every day. Let's have a little patience. Truth be told there is a finite amount of stuff we can yack about; repetition is a foregone conclusion. You can also do what I do when I see a thread that bores me..... Go to the next one. Just a little love is all we need.
  16. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Mids are where growl comes from.

    On a budget, a MIM Jazz gets decent growl. For a little more, replace the pickups with something better and get a lot of growl.

    If you have the money, a Wal growls like no other bass.
  17. Prahainspring


    Oct 22, 2002
    New Jersey
    Speaking of which, For the poster of this thread: Have you heard the song Roll Right? IS that what your looking for? The Fender Jazz through a pair of Ampeg 8x10's might do the trick. But some of that growly comes from how he plays his bass too.
  18. metron

    metron Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    I couldnt agree more!!! Its a good point that should be made more often Fo'!

    About fizz vs grrrr... Ive found that preamp distortion from my ampeg svt amounts to fuzz or fizz. The power amp tubes distorting at higher volumes amounts to a whole lot of grrrr! :D
  19. Jontom


    Mar 11, 2002
    New York
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned another important "growl" ingredient...your string choice. I personally use LaBella SuperSteps that have an exposed core which lends the tone toward bright,and piano-like tone. I use these on a '96 Warwick Corvette(EMG J's, full wenge neck, swamp ash body)so basically all the tone that is produced by the string is not lost in the bass, but sent through the pickups and on to the amp. As long as you have a hot enough signal(not overdriving to the point of distortion)you should be able to have your pre-amp section of you amp add some warmth and "growl".
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