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How do you get that grungy....grindy sound out of a bass?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by DuckSoup, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. DuckSoup


    Dec 20, 2017
    I'm not sure how to describe it, but sometimes I want a nice warm tone from my bass and that's easy to get just adjusting the tone knobs down. However sometimes I want that grungy grindy sound. (Is there a proper word for it?)

    The one example I can find it in this song. (Link goes to the bass line I'm referring to)

    Ignore the video and all that jazz, but if you listen to the bass it has that sound I'm referring too. How do you achieve that?
    Ric5, wintremute and bobbybass85 like this.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Just sounds like rounds played with a pick.
  3. DuckSoup


    Dec 20, 2017
    But as the song progresses it goes back to that punchy warm tone. It's like he switches back and forth. I guess it's possible he switches from a pick to fingers?

    Also, so it's all in the strings?
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Honestly the song was so terrible I couldn't listen to it for more than a few seconds. I skipped ahead to when there were no vocals so I could hear the bass better without all the false sincerity in the way.

    It isn't all in the strings. It's the total of everything. Strings, pickup, right hand technique, EQ, amp, post-processing, mastering, etc.
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    It took me FOREVER to figure it out.

    I tried slight overdrive with a blend. I tried slight fuzz with a blend. I tried all kinds of EQ settings. Then it hit me.....

    Two channels.

    I ran a straight DI from my P bass with the tone wide open. That got me the grindy pick tone that sits on top.

    Use a slightly thinner pick than you might be used to. (I use the orange .60 Tortex for that song.) And just be physical with it. I found that trying to be efficient with my motion made it harder to play it clean. (I realize that's counterintuitive.) Just go for it.

    Then I ran a 1/4" cable from the DI to my amp (Mesa Walkabout or Ashdown LB30 depending on what I felt like bringing that particular Sunday). That's where I got that big beefy pillowy bottom that sits under the grindy pick tone.

    I told the sound guy to start with both channels up equally and then blend to taste.

    The moment I tried it at soundcheck that first Sunday we did it, everyone stopped and was like....... "Whoa, that's it."

    It sounds incredible live.

    Two channels. One for grind. One for beef. Enjoy.
    basscapes, smtp4me, blip and 19 others like this.
  6. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    +1 to pick with rounds : that's 85+% of the tone heard.

    The bass tone does not change, the rest of the band increases its dynamics
    and buries the "grindy" part of the bass's frequencies.
    you hear the "grind" it better when less is going on.
  7. DuckSoup


    Dec 20, 2017
    Ah that makes sense then. Is that sound mostly from the pick or the strings? I generally don't play with a pick, but if that's where most of the sound comes from, then it sounds like I should start learning!
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Oh, and as far as "going back and forth from grindy to warm".... all you have to do is play a bit more gently during the verses. That takes some of the grind off the top. Then when the chorus comes in, let it eat!!!!

    If it's still a little too bright for you during the "warm" parts, use the side of yiur palm on your pick hand to slightly mute right by the bridge. My LB30 is a brighter amp so I have to palm mute a little when I run that one.

    You don't have to stomp anything. Use your technique to dial it back.

    But remember, the key is your tone knob wide open. You won't get that grind with the tone dialed down.
    interp, Marikk, MCF and 1 other person like this.
  9. aldaa

    aldaa Supporting Member

    Apr 27, 2017
    p-bass with a pick. it's going to depend where you're picking. it will sound "warmer" the closer to the neck, and if you're picking a little softer. also, this sounds very "produced", so it's possible different settings, techniques, etc were used for verse and chorus. like others said, 2 channels. peavey t-max has 2 channels you can blend for instance.

    +1 on the band increasing dynamics. it will definitely bury the top end of a bass.
  10. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Actually, if the rumor I heard is true, his bass player is his producer. So that makes sense. :D
  11. slamsinger

    slamsinger Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Coventry RI
    Get a Spector and a pick ..... mission accomplished :)
  12. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    PB + rounds + pick + really good amp

    Dime the PB.

    Leave the amp basically flat with a slight boost on the mids.

    Add a bass player who has good control over the dynamics of his or her pick hand.

    And voilà - apple pie! No effects required.
  13. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Yep. My Euro ReBop gets that same “attitude” right out of the box. :thumbsup:
  14. Yes you definitely should start learning! A pick is just another tool in the arsenal and sounds different than fingers. I use pick or fingers depending on the song. It's a real challenge to go back and forth between pick and fingers in the same song, but I'm working on it. What I do for the verses This is Amazing Grace is use a pick closer to the bridge and the notes will sound brighter, and you can palm mute to varying degrees to make it tighter. Then on the chorus I move my picking hand up closer to the neck and switch from 16th notes to 8th notes, which opens it up more and leaves more space for the synth & guitar.

    A couple years ago I bought maybe 20 different picks from bassstringsonline, different materials, different thicknesses, different sizes. They all provide different stiffness, texture (grip) and sound, and I learned really quickly which picks I like and don't like.
    TrevorR, MCF and Dec1975 like this.
  15. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    Whoa I didn’t know Jake Gyllenhaal was in a band. Sick.
  16. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Just sounds like a J bass played with some attack with a pick to me.

    It's a very clean sound to my ears from what I listened to. But I didnt listen to the whole song. But yeah, a J bass played with a pick. Nothing sounds magical here. Although it does sounds awesome, it's still quite plain so to speak.
  17. Ironbar


    Aug 24, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    Is this another, "Which bass is best for metal?", thread?
  18. TjMetalhead

    TjMetalhead Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2011
    New Mexico
    P bass, rotosound steel rounds, pick, play with an open tone.
    Groove Doctor, Hanss and gebass6 like this.
  19. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    There is no mostly. It is the sum total of everything. You won't get that tone with the wrong strings or the wrong right hand attack or the wrong amp settings or the wrong pickup location. It. Is. Everything.

    Picks are tools, just like everything else. Use them if that's what gets the sound you need.
    Plucky The Bassist and getbent like this.
  20. Gianni "Orlandez" Orlati

    Gianni "Orlandez" Orlati Guest

    Sep 26, 2015
    Exactly ... if you want the top add to this recipe a Rickenbacker 4001/4003 and you’ll be ultra grindy ;)
    spaz21387 likes this.

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