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How do I make my bass sound like this?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Eli J, May 11, 2010.

  1. Eli J

    Eli J

    May 10, 2010
    I am in serious need of help from the gear experts. I know I should be searching for my own tone instead of stealing someone else's (and I plan to do that in the long run), but at the moment I am obsessed and frustrated trying to achieve something close to this sound: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JY31uSLacM

    (These clips are from Andy Nicholson, former bassist of Arctic Monkeys)

    What kind of strings are these? From an interview with the producer of this record, I know that the amp is an Ampeg B-15. I believe the bass is a precision bass played with a pick. This is obviously not a unique setup, but I absolutely cannot figure out the rest of the sound.

    The pick attack sounds to me like flats; it does not have any of that metallic edge you get when picking roundwounds. But, there is also a certain richness to the harmonics and nice sustain that I cannot seem to get out of flatwound strings.

    I suspect that the right answer is either some kind of strings that I have not tried or some sort of extreme EQ settings. It is also possible that there is some other factor that I am missing. Any ideas would be very much appreciated.
  2. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    the recording sounds pretty heavily compressed to me.
  3. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Banned

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    it sounds like rounds with the highs rolled way off... but more like an alembic one rolloff (or acg might have a different preamp.)
  4. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    yeah, that's the sound of a precision with semi-used flats into a 60's b-15 to my ears. i agree it's pretty compressed, too. what are you using to try to cop that tone?
  5. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    sounds like a tube amp too...
  6. bluesbasshound


    Jan 31, 2006
    +1 to the first two posters... here is my guess.
    Try Nickel Roundwounds (XLs maybe), a Compressor set about 4:1 ratio (soft-knee)
    dial down the tone knob on bass halfway or so, and play with a pick.
    That will get you in the ballpark.
  7. Eli J

    Eli J

    May 10, 2010
    Interesting. So does the compression help the flatwounds sustain more like rounds?

    I am playing a P Bass into a B-25 and SVT 4x10 cab. I know it's different than B-15, but I otherwise like the sound and I can actually afford it. I have tried a variety of strings.
  8. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    i can hear the compression swelling on the held notes, so yes, it is adding sustain. and its actually effecting the attack as well.
  9. Craig_S

    Craig_S Banned

    Oct 15, 2008
    Metro Detroit
    If those are round wound strings, they were soaked in melted lard.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    right. no way they're rounds. they're not totally dead flats, but they're flats that have been played in.
  11. Eli J

    Eli J

    May 10, 2010
    The string issue has been the most mysterious part of the sound to me. The biggest reason I was doubting that they are flatwound strings is that sweet singing sustain, but compression would explain how flats can sustain like that.

    I have never heard that compression can make the pick attack of roundwounds sound like flatwounds, so now I'm thinking that they must be flats.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    flats aren't all made the same way. some brands of flats sustain about as much as rounds. he could be using rotosounds since he's from england. they have sustain closer to rounds than flats.
  13. True, Light guage CHROMES seem to sing a good long note to my ears
  14. Tom_RCJ


    Jan 4, 2010
    Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
    Band is sponsored by Trinity Amps and Sennheiser.
    Play around with the hight of your pickups if you haven't already. That'll have some effect on your attack and sustain.
  15. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Sustain comes from many sources. Compression is one, the body material is another. The more dense the body the more sustain. Ash bodies have huge sustain, basswood almost none, poplar is in between.
  16. chiplexic


    Apr 21, 2004
    Arctic Monkeys played this song on SLN years ago "A Certain Romance". The bass player used a Richenbacker bass. Not a 4001 but a small bodied bass (forget the model). It sounded more treble-y and focused. Maybe they recorded the song with it.

    I couldn't find the video on a uick YouTube search but it's there...or was. I've also seen other older live footage where he used that Rick bass. So you should be able to ID it if you search enough.
  17. "Q"


    Feb 9, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    Lots of squish on that. I'd say he's using tapes or small flats. I say tapes because I generally get a more clickity-clack sound from regular flats. As to the bass it sounds more like a jazz to me but then again a PJ or an American deluxe might confound all our attempts at description.
  18. Eli J

    Eli J

    May 10, 2010
    So I was inspired by the comment from Jimmy M about Rotosound flats (as well as what other people had said about them) and I went and picked up a set today and threw them on. After I hit the first note with a pick, I knew they were what I have been searching for. I guess there is still a question about the bass, and the amp in the recording is great, but apparently the strings were the part of the sound that I could not live without. I would be shocked if the recording isn't using Roto flats or something similar. They do indeed have harmonics and sustain similar to rounds, but with the smoother and richer attack of flats when you pick them. This is without a doubt, my new string. I was using Chromes before and they were just not getting it done.
  19. jasper383


    Dec 5, 2004
    Durham NC
    +1 to this.

    Nothing wrong with copying a sound, if it's a good one. :)
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    where the hell can you just walk in and buy roto flats? you're lucky to find chromes around here, let alone rotos.

    glad it worked out for you. i would imagine that b-25b into the 410 would cop a really close tone to that as well. sweet rig.

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