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How often should I change my finger position/pick-up blends?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BassMan5k, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. BassMan5k


    Jan 5, 2013
    Hi, I have a Fender Jazz and I've decided that I wanted to be more dynamic with my tone. I've always rolled off the highs Reggae tunes, etc, but I wanted to really change it up more since I'm stuck on a plain jane 4 banger.

    Do you typically stick in the sweet spot or do you change tones per song?
  2. funnyfingers


    Nov 27, 2005
    I have a few changes for just a few songs that really need it and change them on the amp since they are dramatic changes (EQ and volume because of the EQ).

    I don't find the individual volume and tone on mine to be dramatic enough to fiddle with.
  3. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Finger position and/or going to the thumb is my first option, then the tone knob, then pickups and finally the amp.
  4. BassMan5k


    Jan 5, 2013
    Thanks for the input, I'm looking at improving my finger tone overall, but I can get pretty drastic P vs J sounds on my bass soloing the pick-ups
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'm a big fan of stuff like that, plus some in-between positions. There's a whole world of different tones when you experiment with pickup blends. Yeah, sometimes a Jazz will hum when you do that...big deal. More shielding ;)
  6. two fingers

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

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    You change when it is called for. It's as simple as that. Here's the thing. Just play around with it. I am a big fan of "getting to know your bass". What I mean is, my jazz might have a different "sweet spot" than yours. A dead spot might be in a different place. You understand. Just play around with it. Set your knobs on the bass and experiment with moving your plucking hand further from/closer to the bridge. Then play with the EQ on your amp a bit. Then tweek the knobs on your bass again and start the process all over. Let your EARS be your guide. You will find several settings that become your favorites, or "go to" techniques. To me, that is my favorite time after getting a new (to me) bass. I call it the honeymoon. That's when I really get to learn the "personality" of that particular instrument.
  7. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    I read a Marcus Miller interview online once, that I wish I could find again. He said that instead of worrying about having lots of instruments, a beginning player should start by really, fully learning the sound of one bass... this has always struck me as wonderful advice.
  8. SemiDriven

    SemiDriven Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI

    Take the time to know your instrument by trusting your ears.
  9. klaus486


    Jun 27, 2009
    portland or
    sales geek Portland Music co.
    I use different right hand fingering positions all the time! I also use a variety of pickup blends on my Jazz bass. There are so many tones available just doing those 2 things plus the tone knob. If you can't dial up a tone using those items then you aren't trying hard enough!
  10. I play a sterling by musicman ray34 - in most acceptable senses a plain jane 4 string. I can get a lot out of it tonally just with the blend and volume controls. And I'd certainly rather try than run back to my head every interval between songs. I change the blend up a lot, more than I should maybe, but I like trying to make tones that are all my own, and still fit the feel of the song we're playing.
  11. BassMan5k


    Jan 5, 2013
    At band practice, I decided to run both pick-ups full and then just work with finger position. Mainly I switched between the p-bass sounding neck pick-up and the more jazzy/aggressive bridge pick-up.

    This worked great in giving clarity to the busier riffs on the bridge pick-ups (which is definitely the sweet spot for punch), but then then dropping in on the neck pick-ups for choruses, etc when the vocals really shine.

    Can't believe I forgot to think about changing my tone up more!