How do I get this clanky, grindy metallic sound?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    One of my first inspirations as a bass player was a guy named FingersMoran that I found on Youtube about six years ago. He was inactive for a long time, but I happened to be browsing his page and found a song he posted a year or so ago.

    I've always liked this sort of grindy, metallic tone on occasion, though it isn't the best for every single song. Justin Chancellor from Tool also has this sort of tone on many of his songs, and I've been wondering exactly how they get this sort of sound. I know that Justin plays with a pick, and FingersMoran says that he's using a coin as a pick in the first half of this song, but it's got to be more than that, right?
    JRA_BaSsNiNjA likes this.
  2. BenWhoPlaysBass


    Jun 7, 2013
    A metal pick would give you much sharper attack, but I think the main part of his tone is some fresh strings (Maybe steels? Dunno) on a jazz bass and a lotta treble eq'd into the amp.
  3. The coin adds to the grindy sound at the beginning but it doesn't change that much when he switches to fingers. New strings, boost the treble and upper mids and possibly boost the gain or use an overdrive pedal. There's a bit of distortion in there and that can bring out some of the harmonics in the tone you here. Make sure to pick fairly hard too.

    If you don't know them already, check out Chris Squire from Yes, Geddy Lee from Rush and John Entwistle's live sound (The Who). They all have similar tone to this. To hear the bass tone's exposed try out the following songs: Roundabout from Yes' Fragile album, La Villa Strangiato from Rush's Hemispheres album and obviously My Generation by The Who.

  4. I find that D'addario Prosteels 45-105 dropped down to BEAD give the perfect metal tone when used wih a pick.
  5. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Pickboy picks (ceramic alloy), fresh roundwound strings and the tone knob cranked.
  6. In addition to the strings and eq mentioned above, he's playing with a very aggressive plucking technique. The technique, IMO, is a significant portion of the sound. It's why he could hand you the bass and it your playing would sound different, as would mine, as would anyone else's.
  7. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
  8. Fair Warning

    Fair Warning Deliverin' the Goods! Supporting Member

    Warwick Corvette, Thumb, Fortress, Streamer
  9. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
  10. andrew


    May 20, 2000
    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Spector, Regenerate Guitar Works, Tech 21 NYC
    The Hartke VXL pedal is a cheap pedal way to get that sound, and go up from there (Sansamp, Rusty Box, DarkGlass, Sparkledrive, etc....shiny voiced pedals :) )
    JRA_BaSsNiNjA likes this.
  11. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Part of it is very aggressive attack when he hits the string, part is the strings themselves, part is just that jazz bass growl, part of it is EQ at the amp and being generous with mids especially.
  12. phoenixjmw


    Jul 9, 2013

    I was going to ask what causes this type of sound so I could get rid of it... If we are talking about the same thing - it sounds percussive and almost like you are hearing it through a metal can or something.

    I have a heck of a time mellowing this tone out on my bass (Jackson JS2) regardless of what amp I use. Even if it sounds ok while playing, that sound is very noticable on a recording.

    I thought maybe because my bass is not the most expensive but then a buddy's bass sounded exactly the same and he has like a 2000$ yamaha bass. Then thought it was the humbuckers but this bass looks to have singles.

    What say you that have way more experience with these things?
  13. I too love the sound you mentioned. I own both Sansamp RBI and Hartke Bass Attack pedal..both help give me that percussive string sound similar to a chime. Also, strings play a part in it. I play Kalium Steel strings and they shine like no other and last much longer from my experience. I would also suggest dropping some bass off your eq and focusing the sound towards the mids and highs. Usually the bass can muddy up the sound when you're looking for the percussive chime. Hope this helps. Good luck.
  14. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    Stainless steel strings, bridge pickup, a bit more of treble, light overdrive
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