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How to get that Jazz tone from an Electric Bass...

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by vastur, May 3, 2004.

  1. vastur


    Dec 21, 2001
    Vasco Asturiano
    Hello all,

    For quite a while I've been trying to find a decent way to make my playing tone fit more into a standard Jazz combo tone.

    I know a Bass Guitar will never sound like an Upright (never it's a very long time, but...), but I was wondering if anyone out there knows some tricks for faking it a little and make the Bass tone settle into the band better.

    Specially when playing a Walking Bass line in a Swing tune, the tone really sounds like it's out of context. It seems to have too much 'growl' and not that 'punch-mute' characteristical tone of an upright.

    The gear I'm using now is a Warwick Stage II going through a Sansamp Bass Driver DI, into whatever amp is available on the session.

    I found that playing closer to the neck pick-up with the pickup selector going about 75% to the bridge side helps a little, as well as boosting a little bit on the 1khz freq., but still it's far from optimal.

    All feedback is good. EQ tweaking, Tube/Solidstate preamp, playing position/technique, FX, pickup type?...

    Let me know what tricks you have under your sleeve for pulling this one...

    Thanx plenty,

  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    I sometimes pluck with the soft pads of my fingers almost parallel with the body.
  3. Try plucking with your thumb even further up (ie. actually over the fretboard at around the 15th fret or so).
  4. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    maybe, you should just let me take that streamer off your hands.... ;)

    Other than that, some good flats might round it out a bit. I have also seen and used this little trick: Put a rolled up polishing cloth under the strings at the bridge. How tight you put it in there is going to soften up the edge quite a bit. Kinda like the mutes on a ric, but it doesn't throw intonation out.
  5. GooseYArd

    GooseYArd Guest

    May 15, 2003
    piezos are good sound for that, although they give you more of a jazz guitar tone than a double bass, its kind of a hip sound.
  6. Throw on some flat wounds, put a mute behind your strings (like on the 1950 fenders, with the spounge behind the bottom pickup) and pluck with your thumb close to or on the fretboard, and presto! You got a semi-double bass tone.
  7. g4string

    g4string Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Melissa, TX

    This is what I do when I am looking for an "upright" tone. In addition to were I am plucking, I attack (pluck) the string like an upright bass player. You will find out that a lot of EQ adjustments can be made with your attack and the way you fret -vs- adjusting your EQ knobs.