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How do I get that growl?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by AlexK, Jun 5, 2001.

  1. AlexK


    Apr 10, 2001
    I was wondering what kind of wood or pickups I should use
    to get an aggresive, growling sound?
  2. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    On what bass?

    It'd help if you filled out your profile...;)
  3. AlexK


    Apr 10, 2001

    I'm thinking about getting a Dave Pushic custom bass.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    What a coincidence! Dave just e-mailed me to say he is going over my spec's in detail.

    Aggressive? (I never understood the "growl" adjective in relation to basses. My dog growls. But I never had a bass get anywhere close to that).
    The following suggestions for body woods are based on the research of as many sources as I could find about tone woods. They ARE NOT what I chose for mine, so I'm NOT doing the "what I chose is best so you should want it too" rant. The concept for mine was a little different from yours.

    - 1/2 of the "sandwich" would be Mahogany ; mahogany is known to really cut through the mix; thick, pronounced, and powerful mids with clarity. Koa shares these properties with mahogany, except it is brighter. It is also more expensive as good koa is becoming increasingly popular and scarce. It only grows in Hawaii and there just aren't a lot of koa tree farms there.

    - Northern US hard or "rock" maple would be my choice for the other body wood, (quilted or flamed for the top, if you like that; it doesn't really offer anything significantly more to the sound than plain northern maple, but it is beautiful, IMO). It is very "alive" sounding and balances the mahogany with it's "clean" sound.

    In this case, koa has more pronounced mids than maple, but I would think a koa/mahogany body would be too "middy." It would seem that adding two woods with similar characteristics would add up to more, but usually, they cancel each other out. Balance, or woods that complement each other, is important.

    Some folks go for these multi-laminate bodies and necks, but all those glue joints detract from sound. I chose a two-piece body and a three-piece neck for this reason, instead of 3 + 7.

    Another combination that a luthier tried was US southern swamp ash with quilt maple. He said the end result sounded "overdriven". That may suit your taste, too.

    A pau ferro/rock maple bolt on neck would help the "aggressiveness." Or, just a neck with either one.

    Fingerboard - I'd go with rock maple or ebony.

    Pickup - The word "aggressive" is often used with Seymour Duncan Basslines MM style pickup.

    A bridge with some aluminum in it would help raise the "aggressive" factor.
  5. MJB


    Mar 17, 2000
    I think growl is more a matter of technique than gear. I get it with finger vibrato, the lower the note the better.
  6. ToMMyGA15


    Nov 27, 2000
    The bass to probably try is the Gibson Thunderbird Bass because the boddy is thick in the middle and the humbuckers give it a bassy type crunch so you could do that
  7. Ummm...
    aren't Ric's often associated with that 'growl', as well?
    Then again, I don't do my research on these kinda things. If I wanted to, I'd probably try out a bunch of basses until I found a growling tone that I liked, then look up the specs on that bass at the company's web site or something. ;)
  8. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    if you want a bass that GROWLS i suggest you the gibson thunderbird.
    the rick growls too, but in a complete different way, its suond is more thinner than the t bird and more oriented to mids and highs

  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Rick's are usually associated with "Clank"! ;)

    The most common usage for "Growl" is that sound associated with the Fender Jazz bass, although a lot of other basses can get this. I agree that it is also to do with the way you play the bass.
  10. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    You can try a warwick! But iam not sure what people are talking about when they talk about the warwick growl? I have a custom 97 warwick corvette pro-line and i think it has a growl kinda a very slight distortion and i like it alot!
  11. Warwicks have that woody growly tone I think more than most bass's
  12. My Warwick definitely has growl.
    Maybe some eq. tweaking helps too.
    Boosting mid's at around 500 Hz.
    Just don't let the growl turn into a bark.
  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    My thoughts exactly.

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