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How to change bass tone to whatever you want

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassguy74, Apr 9, 2010.

  1. I hear a certain type of tone in a lot of bassists' playing I hear on Youtube (I go there nearly every day! LOL). I always thought that you can get a certain tone just by changing the controls on the amp and also on the bass. However, I've tried doing that with mine and I can barely hear any change.

    I have a Squier Affinity P-Bass that I got used, so I wonder if something in the electronics is broke? LOL I doubt it cuz the bass is in great shape.

    Anyways if anyone can give me any tips I'd greatly appreciate it!!!!
  2. christw

    christw Get low!

    May 11, 2008
    Dayton OH
    I want to be Tesla (tinkerer at Dayton Amp Co)
    What amp/cab are you using? Any effects? What's your playing style?

    Something to note is the abundance of effects, the center frequencies of your tone controls, their overall cut/boost abilities, your playing style, along with a plethora of other things including amp tone, cabinet tone, how it's recorded, blah blah blah... Of course each bass has it's own inherent tone. You can make a Jazz sound like a Precision, but you'll never make them exactly identical with only a bass and an amp's knobs.
  3. Oraflora


    Apr 18, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    It looks like you have a volume knob and a tone knob.
    When you roll the tone knob counter-clockwise, it should take some treble out of your signal, and when rolled clockwise, bring it back to a brighter sound.

    That is all the bass controls will help you with.

    What kind of amp are you using? Some can be very dynamic when adjusting the controls, while others are pretty limited.

    -Also, where you pluck the notes (either with a pic or your fingers) makes a big difference in your tone. Nearer the bridge well give you a note with more "ping" and less "thud", while playing closer to the neck gives you a "warmer", "fatter" sound.

    What tone are you going for? Can you link some examples to Utube?
  4. My amp is a cheap Fender Rumble. That may be where the problem lies. LOL
  5. Here's an example of the kind of tone I want to achieve. This guy is a kickass player, one of many on Youtube! lol

  6. More mids!
  7. And THIS is how it currently sounds, or thereabouts.

  8. Oraflora


    Apr 18, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    That's a tight sound he's got - Look where he is plucking the notes. Over the bridge pickup. On your bass, you might try plucking a few inches closer to the bridge than where your pickups are.
    And like the poster above, 'more mids'. His highs come across as kind of muted, but they are there. His low end is kind of thin sounding, but the mids are what give it that punchy sound. (As always, IMO)

    You might try rolling the bass freq. down on your amp and boosting the mids.

    (Forget about the "smiley face" eq idea....that works for stereo systems, but is usally horrible for live instruments)

    If your amp has tone knobs, and this is purely a guess or jumping off point, try:

    Bass 9 o'clock
    Mid 3 o'clock
    Treble 9 o'clock
  9. Tried all that crap. Didn't even come close to the sound. LOL
  10. THand


    Jun 9, 2008
    Time to buy a stingray, or at least a G&L L2000 Tribute! :D
  11. southshoreconor


    Oct 30, 2007
    The Road
    Endorsing Artist: Fender Musical Instruments, SIT strings
    the guy in your video is also playing what looks like a G&L l-2000 and probably a decent amp/mic or a nice DI/preamp to record. you're playing a squier affinity and a fender rumble. not a terrible set up by any means, but like you said, you're getting a closer sound to the video of the Fender P. a wildly different beast than the l-2000. go figure.
  12. Oraflora


    Apr 18, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN
    This example sounds like a p-bass should, to me.
    If you sound like this now, I'd be fairly happy.

    If you need to sound like the youtube video, you may need a different bass.

    Others may have ideas on pedals and effects that might help, but the only one I would recommend trying is a SansAmp Bass DI - I use it to give my p-bass a little more "punch" or "dirt" when I am playing and don't want the mellow sound exclusively.
  13. HA!!! yeah give me the money and I will. LOL :D
  14. Yeah more punch is what I'm lookin for so something like that might do it. I'll have to check it out.
  15. jschwalls


    Sep 4, 2007
    Savannah GA
    another important and sometimes over looked aspect is your playing environment

    1. if you are gonna play studio.. you want a certain sound...
    2. if you are gonna play in bedroom.. you want a certain sound
    3. if you are gonna play live.. you want a certain sound..

    problem is.. most of us do all 3 ..

    how do we get around this.. thats the real problem

    I have learned, after many years of playing ,running sound and helping to set-up gear for people, is that what usually doesnt change is the midrange.

    Thats where YOUR sound is at... I consider the highs and lows enviromental factors.

    in studio you want low, mids, highs more balanced.

    in bedroom usually less lows cause of volume and complaining neighbors and less highs cause you are usually sitting a few feet from your amp and that much treble well is just annoying.

    in a live setting usually more lows to fill out sound and more highs so tone isnt muddy.

    Live I personally recommend either having a reliable sound guy or one of two other things.. getting wireless or combinig two 20ft cables via a connector and listening to yourself from the audiences point of view.

    Your goal is to have good tone so the audience will enjoy listening to you, so why are so many guys setting their sound about 3 feet from their amp... I call it "bedroom syndrome"

    set your sound 3 feet from amp and then go 20 feet from it and see what happens... it will not sound the same.. now let the rest of the band start playing... what happened to your sound..... GONE.

    You have to carve out frequencies to allow other instruments to be heard and boost in areas that other instruments are now in... the result will be a much different sound than you are used to.. BUT the audience will be able to hear you and you will appear clearer and less muddy.

    maybe it's just me but I think thats the point.

    yet another rambling post by me.......
  16. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    A rumble is a good little amp. You can't gig a big venue or anything, but they don't sound that bad.
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    doggone right! a precision is just never going to sound quite like a musicman or that g&l, but that's quite alright. embrace the precision sound for what it is. it's a great sound that thousands of great bass tracks were recorded with. and though i can't find anywhere to corroborate it, if you listen to the original, you will hear something that sounds suspiciously like a precision with flatwounds played by the great session bassist jimmy williams:

  18. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    That looks like an L 2000 in the OP's clip.

    Also, I dont think anyone has mentioned another important part of a person's tone..... STRINGS !!!
  19. I have decided I'm just gonna try an EQ pedal on the setup I've already got. That's probably the cheapest and easiest way, according to what I gathered from talking to a guy at my local music shop. :)
  20. Madcity Fats

    Madcity Fats Supporting Member

    May 28, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Not to nitpick, but if you count the strings, you'll see it's an L-2500. :smug:

    Ditto on what's already been said regarding type of bass being a major factor here. Fact is, an L-2K series bass can reasonably approximate a decent P-bass tone, but a P-bass is never going to come close to the tonal flexibility of the L-2K. I mean, with the G&L you've got two pickups, an active/passive option, series/parallel option and separate treble and bass tone controls. No bass can cover it all, but the L-2K is more a "Swiss army knife" instrument than a P.

    I second the SansAmp recommendation. Since you've got a pretty specific thing in mind, I'd try before you buy if you can. But the BDDI is an outboard pre, so it's going to broaden your options and get you closer to what the bass in that clip is doing.

    Good luck!

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