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How Many Tones Do You Need?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    I totally agree with this. Joking aside, lately I have been recording with a very demanding song-writer/guitar player who has a specific vision over the way he wants his music to be heard from the audience. His knowledge of bass tone is pretty limited, so initially he gave me some poor examples over bass tones he liked for a song of his. I nailed the tones, but still he was not happy over the overall tonal vibe of the tune. THEN, he gave me complete freedom of choice. After trying 15 basses and several many different positions, he opted for tone of the F#-D Dingwall Prima Artist of mine (Thank you Sheldon Dingwall and Skip, Circle K strings). So, unless all are happy with the tone of the bass (and most importantly, myself) the quest for tones goes on. So several many distinct tones are needed by me. And that justifies the majority of the basses I keep in my herd (at least for myself)
  2. maxbass


    May 22, 2002
    Milano Italy
    P bass with a pick
    P bass with fingers
  3. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    L2K with Chromes in passive with the treble rolled all the way back for my vintagey tone-bass 1/3 up. Cirrus with rounds with treble rolled back (bass and mid flat) for my "modern" tone. And a SR with the treble rolled halfway back (bass and mid flat) for something between the above. Amp is usually set all flat. it all makes perfect sense to me... ;)
  4. Dave Vader

    Dave Vader

    May 18, 2009
    Devon Uk
    4, Pbass with tone rolled right off, Pbass with tone up a bit, Pbass with tone all the way up, and Pbass played with a pick.
  5. P Tone full
    P Tone rolled off
    J Both Pups, Tone full

    >> Ampeg (or VT, LMII etc)

    That works for everything i do. I just wish i could afford it, im not quite happy with any of my tones at the moment.

  6. I use two on stage, my primary: slightly neck pup biased passive J tone, 2.) a Pbass like tone for some old soul songs we do ( all neck tone, rolled to almost 0), and 3.) a very modern tone ( think Fodera) for nodling around at home.( my passive J's dont quite nail it - my ATK did!). My J's all have AERO pups, which is part of my "voice".

    Thinking of doing some SUBurban gospel as I just canned my rock and roll gig ( due to abject boredom I'm afraid) , and wondering about tone. May end up being a bridge biased passive J.( or preamping my Valenti)

    Although the Ken Smith's I hear kinda of nail the "gospel" tone I have in my head.

    Burp. Gas. 'SCuse me.
  7. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Basically, 2 tones for me...

    Both P with flats, with fingers and with pick.

    When playing with fingers, I tend to crank the gain on my tube-amp to make the sound dirty, but still soft (roll back the treble a bit).

    When playing with a pick, I use less gain, but I switch on the additional 8" speaker I got in my 1x15" cab for added high-mids.
  8. How many do I absolutely need?

    Two. Bridge pickup (for loud, rude sounding bass), and neck pickup (for softer, more polite bass).

    I also use my fretless ABG with my folk band, but I could use the neck pickup tone for that, too, if I didn't have an ABG.
  9. freakfingers12


    Mar 28, 2010
    Well, 2 of my favourite tones are:
    1. Bright bass heavy tone with low mid end
    2. Flutey sounding j tone that cuts in any mix
  10. Tonegasm


    Mar 22, 2010
    Jazz Bass and Precision Bass cover a lot of sonic ground.
  11. mrjim123

    mrjim123 Supporting Member

    May 17, 2008
    I play both pickups for most songs. For songs where I want a deeper tone I switch to the neck pickup only. Easy and quick.
  12. bigou


    Mar 17, 2008
    Mont St-Hilaire, QC
  13. Kromwarp


    Sep 16, 2008
    Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Master Luthier: Ironclad Bass Guitars
    I'd say 2, a slighty overdriven midrangey/trebley tone for most of my workload, then a fatter, more full tone for a couple of slower tunes
  14. Double Agent

    Double Agent

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    I think the only TRUE answer for everyone, excluding session bassists, would be that you only NEED one tone. I could definitely get by with only one good, solid, well-rounded tone. Thankfully, I don't have to. Right now, I have a MIM P-bass w/ flats for the old-school Motown stuff, a MIM P/J with rounds for standard rock/pop tones, and a Peavey Cirrus 5 for my modern tones which could range from smooth jazz & neo-soul to prog-metal. I have had situations in the past 6 months where I've had the opportunity to use all 3 different tones on different gigs and I enjoy being able to switch it up like that.

    If I had to narrow it down to one bass, the Cirrus 5er w/ nickel rounds could get it done. But, it will never get the P-bass w/ flats tone as well as a P-bass w/ flats will. Why have an approximation when the real thing is available? So, I'm glad to have as many tools in the toolbox as I am able to have. I may not always use them, but it's nice to have them when I want to use them.
  15. WaskoDS


    Nov 22, 2009
    Allentown, PA
    Jazz with bridge pickup full, neck pickup off, tone off
    Jazz with neck pickup full, bridge pickup off, tone full
    Jazz with neck pickup full, bridge pickup full, tone full

    Everything else is all in the technique.
  16. How many different tones???
    As many as it takes!
    Roland V-Bass.......every bass in 1!!!;)
  17. Scatterblak


    May 12, 2007
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Endorsing Artist for Low End bass guitars, DNA Amplification
    I need three. I play in a Heart tribute named Little Queen, so for now, all I have to worry about is copping the tone from Heart hits and a few zep/who tunes. I use a stingray for 90% of the show with a 5 position switch and an eden metro - switch to the neck position and twiddle the mids a bit, and it sounds like the classic late 70's 'Straight On' tone. Middle position, flat EQ, and it's good for the 80's pop stuff, like 'Never', 'Alone', 'There's the Girl', etc. For the rockers like 'How Can I Refuse', 'Mistral Wind', etc., all the way down to the bridge position and dial the bass in a bit, and maybe roll out some mid. Since it's a Heart tribute, it's all about the girls - the important part for the bass is to blend, match the original tone, and lock in with the drums like a machine; if my drummer wasn't as meticulous as he is, I'd probably roll back a bit more and hide in the mix a bit so as to not detract any attention from the girls up front, but he's really done a great job nailing all of the parts exactly, so we can (as a unit) pull the rythm section up in the mix and shake some booty without distracting anyone from the girls with off notes or frequencies that don't belong. So, for the current gig, it's all about blending, sounding like the original artist. It's a fun fun time, too! :)

    Peace, love, etc!


  18. Boombass76

    Boombass76 Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    BassCollect Blog & Shop (founder)
    Basically, I think one tone should be enough, but...

    I have always been a 'Jazz bass' kinda guy, but I have also convinced myself that I absolutely need a P-bass in the arsenal, and a P/J, and a Musicman, and a P/M and a J/M, and... it never ends. (stupid GAS).

    Oh, and I need all of the above as fretless, too :help:

    In reality, what I absolutely need is a good J and a good P. (I almost always take a J for gigs and, recently, I have found myself preferring a P in recording situations.)
  19. OK then. 1 for point Mike. I can't afford one of those, however.
  20. need I'd say 3.

    1) mid scooped slapped jazz bass ala Marcus Miller

    2) well rounded flat-EQ jazz bass

    3) bridge pup growl similar to Tom Kennedy

    However, the tones that I want are a whole 'nother thing ;).

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