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How much % of one's tone comes from the bass, how much from the amp and cab(s)?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Dragonlord, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. 10%-20% bass, 10%-20% amp and 70%-80% cab(s)

  2. 10%-20% bass, 30%-40% amp and 50%-60% cab(s)

  3. 10%-20% bass, 50%-60% amp and 30%-40% cab(s)

  4. 10%-20% bass, 70%-80% amp and 10%-20% cab(s)

  5. 30%-40% bass, 10%-20% amp and 50%-60% cab(s)

  6. 30%-40% bass, 30%-40% amp and 30%-40% cab(s)

  7. 30%-40% bass, 50%-60% amp and 10%-20% cab(s)

  8. 50%-60% bass, 10%-20% amp and 30%-40% cab(s)

  9. 50%-60% bass, 30%-40% amp and 10%-20% cab(s)

  10. 70%-80% bass, 10%-20% amp and 10%-20% cab(s)

  1. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    OK, the question is: How much % of one's tone comes from the bass, how much from the amp and how much from the cab(s)?
    but it was to long to fit in the subject field. I hope this is the correct forum, I firstly thought to ask only for amps versus cabs but I thought I'd drop the bass in as well.

    Most of you have done A/B comparison of basses through the same rig, of amps with the same bass and cab and of cabs with the same bass and amp. So, how much % do you think that the bass, amp and cab(s) influence the sound? I'm looking for three numbers that would add up to 100%. PLEASE, do not say fingers or player, it doesn't help anyone to tell him that he should change fingers to change his tone.
    I know it's a little silly to ask for numbers, as it's way too relative, but I think it will give a better idea of how much you feel that each aspect changes the sound. Actually, I think I'll add a poll (yes, I know the sum won't always add up to exactly 100%, I just can't add as many options as I'd like). But please share your wisdom with a post as well.
  2. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    BTW I know there is a thread in the FAQs about amps and cabs, but this one also has bass and includes a poll, so I think it might be interesting as well.
    I didn't vote cause I don't feel I have enough experience, I'd say it's first bass then amp then cab, but I couldn't give an approximate number.
  3. spectorbass83


    Jun 6, 2005
    I can't really break it down as a %

    In my opinion, a high end bass will sound like crap through a low end amp. It cannot really make a low end amp sound good. However, plug a low end bass into a quality bass amp and the bass will sound great.
  4. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    +1 indeed, the improvement on the tone of my cheapo washburn when I got my eden/schroeder rig was impressive (ok, it didn't sound "great", but I never thought it could sound this good)
  5. Kasper007


    Feb 9, 2006
    Come on, seriously, I think many people underestimate how bad you can make a good bass/amp sound when you don't have feeling with the bass. If I listen to early recordings of my playing I say "that bass/amp sounds like crap" whereas now I can make my cheapo Peavey sound quite nice actually. Really, if you don't have a feel for where/how hard/with how much contact you should pluck, you can sound like crap on a high end bass through a high end amp and cab. I don't know what exactly you meant, but it's VERY helpful for a beginning player to know this.

    Also, you can change your tone a lot with changing your attack, even on my 'crappy' Peavey with only one bad pickup.
  6. BillyB_from_LZ


    Sep 7, 2000

    But as hard as it is to admit, it's the player's technique that causes the string to vibrate in the manner that it does anyway.

    Have three different players play the same simple riff using just one bass/amp and it will sound different.

    I have a guitar playing friend, who I've known for 30 years that has flat out terrible tone...it doesn't matter what guitar/amp combination he's playing through, it's not going to sound good.

    As they say...it's the magician, not the wand.
  7. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    I totally know what you mean, but that doesn't help someone who wants to change gear. I should also mention that this is not a "what to upgrade first" thread, I mean if someone already has good gear and would want to achieve something different (not better) tonally, what would make the most difference.
  8. Khronic

    Khronic Richard J. Naimish Banned

    Oct 24, 2006
    Grand Junction, CO.
    Sorry, Dragonlord. Gotta go with BillyB on this one. It's the player that makes the biggest difference.

    PEACE: Rick
  9. Yep.

    I think the technique/fingers should be an option.

    I honestly believe it is about 70% bass, 15% amp, 10% cab, 5% technique/finger tone

    But of course that is my opinion. :smug:
  10. Eric Grossman

    Eric Grossman

    Nov 3, 2004
    St. Louis
    Endorsing Artist: Hipshot Products and SIT Strings
    I don't know about percentages, but as far as gear is concerned, the instrument is number one. It all starts with a bass that best fits the player. Everything else is secondary. In large venues, amps mean nothing, as the crowd never hears them. I've done major tours with great rigs, and I've done them using only wedges. To me, as long as the bass sounds great, I can work with any situation.

    In small venues, the importance of your amp increases, since it very well may be what the audience hears, so a good rig is important. It doesn't have to be an Aguilar, though, as long as it's reliable, and doesn't limit you.

    Keep in mind that this is just my opinion, but I've been at this for a very long time.
  11. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Too much hip thrust
    Are you trying to make a decision on what to invest in next?
  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Not true in either case IME. For example, I played a couple of my "high end" basses through a low end Behringer combo and it sounded nice, relatively speaking. If the basses didn't already sound good, they probably wouldn't have sounded any worse through that combo.

    There are also high end basses that don't sound very good... no matter what they're plugged into. Can't blame the amp for that.:D

    Same is true for a low end bass. If it doesn't intrinsically sound good, it won't sound great through a nice amp. Amps aren't magic. GIGO.
  13. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i won't vote in the poll as it is vert subjective.

    iirc there are some great linked threads in the faq about this.

    #1 is you. Your style and technique (good or bad) will shine thru everything.

    IMO, the cabs tend to have a larger impact than the amp only as they are the last link in the chain and often put the largest thumbprint on your tone. After that it really depends. some basses have such a character that they have major impact on the tone, others seem to be more affected by the electronics afterwards.
  14. It depends on the basses and amps used

    If i run a cheap bass through a high end ultra clean head, the bass will sound like crap

    If its a cheap bass through a high end highly coloured setup, it'll sound 100 times better!

    Totally depends on the setup and sounds
  15. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Agree on the player first. The player hears what they hear and adjust to make it sound better. Some do this unconsciously - they just do it.

    Just my opinion follows:
    The bass is just a signal generator, this goes through signal processing which is the second highest contributor besides the player.
    The amp/speaker should be transparent. So you can plug into any amp/speaker, including DI to a sound system, or recording gear and still retain your "sound".
  16. 905


    Jul 23, 2006
    I confess, I'm a total noob.
    What's a cab?
  17. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I disagree completely. these aren't keyboards we're playing, they're stringed instruments and can easily sound different handed from one player to another. Ignoring that is what doesn't help anyone.

    You've obviously spent some time putting this together but I agree... it's silly. Way too relative. Really silly.:D
  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That should obviously not be true. Amps/speakers and many other signal chain devices can and do color your sound. Neither is transparency always desired by the player.
  19. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Their hands.:D

    Anyone who truly believes this shortcut will make finding whatever they think they need easier is... I don't know a kind word for it;)

    Plus you have 9% gaps between each level... the answer might be in those gaps:eyebrow:
  20. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin Banned

    Dec 11, 1999
    Someone once asked Matt Garrison what he would sound like if played an Ibanez (as opposed to his signature Fodera) he stated "just like Matt Garrison"

    I have to agree with all those who said it's in the player - their hands, their heart and their soul


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