1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

how to get "that" tone??

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by low5_er, May 10, 2010.

  1. low5_er


    May 9, 2006
    So . . . you hear a lot of generalizations about how to get a great finger yone (boost lows and mids around 500 hz), and how to get a great slap tone (both pu's on and lows and highs boosted, mids scooped maybe). But how do those fusion guys get great finger and slap tone, w/out changing settings, that works in a mix? Every time I dial in a slap tone and then go to play fingerstyle, it's not very warm sounding. And my finger tone doesn't have that "presence" when I play slap? How do they do it??
  2. Develop a good finger tone and slap tone without any EQ. Run your amp, your bass, and everything else perfectly flat and practice until you find a tone you dig. After you do that, THEN create different tones with your EQ. You play the instrument, not the other way around.

    This is just me, but I run virtually all of my equipment (Jazz, Precision, Stingray, Longhorn into a GK 700RB) flat(except with my Jag, I boost bass and treble on that bass to give it a huge snarl). If I get in a situation where I'm losing treble, then I boost it. But what happens if you develop this great tone with scooped mids and treble and bass boosted, but you're not cutting through? Will your tone be sacrificed when you bring mids back into the mix?

    EDIT: I lied a bit, I do have MINIMAL EQ and voicing on my GK. I cut treble about 1/16th of a turn and boost low mids and lows at 1/8th of a turn, but that's it.
  3. A lot has to do with technique but also pickups and pickup placement is an issue as well. I usually run my stuff flat on the amp but tweak my onboard preamp a little to dial in specific tones. A good set of pickups will allow you to go from burpy jazz bass tone to a mean, aggressive slap tone simply by where you play at on the strings. If you like a nice, fat fingerstyle tone then you're probably better off playing toward the bridge. Then when you go to play slap, move your hand down toward the neck and play over the last fret. That's what works for me.
  4. FromTheBassMent

    FromTheBassMent Those who can, play bass. Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2010
    Providence, RI
    Nope, it's not just you. It took me the better part of thirty years to figure this out, and I still get sucked into knob twiddling from time to time. When I switched to a Markbass amp, I was all over the VLE and VSOP (or whatever) filter knobs, and having a lot of fun alone in my practice room finding "just the right spot." Got to a gig and after two tunes I had turned these filters all the way off. Now I get the sound I want with everything on the amp set dead flat (disclaimer: I do shape the signal from my bass a bit with a Tech21 VT Bass, but not much... and I could get a satisfactory tone without it).

    On my EBMM basses I typically have the bass boosted just barely off the center detent, and same for the mid... high is flat. The only time I change these settings is when I'm going for an "effect" (one very funky New Orleans-style tune our guitarist wrote needs a really burpy, honky midrange tone to make him happy, so I oblige by cranking it for that one song).

    I don't play a lot of slap, but when I do my first instinct is to turn down the mid knob and crank the bass and treble. It always sounds crap. When I even things out a bit the sound improves.

    I would never say "it's all in your hands," because I think that's a load of poo. But, you can set up a near-flat eq that works for slap, and then warm up the fingerstyle tone simply by moving your plucking hand closer to the bridge and softening your attack.
  5. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Rule 1) Never scoop your mids unless you want to get lost in every mix.
  6. low5_er


    May 9, 2006
    something I've started doing is modifying my slap technique. I do the wooten like strike "thru" the string, and I play over my front pickup so that I don't get my fingers stuck under the strings. I think that's what I've seen him do, is play just behind the fingerboard. I found that this gave me more lowend that reminded me of my finger tone and not so much low mid, like regular slaping. It's the highs that i'm worried about now. I really like Andrew Gouche's slap tone, but how do you get those highs to work fingerstyle?
  7. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene

    I've never had a situation where a scooped midrange worked out for me, even with slapping.
  8. BZadlo

    BZadlo Supporting Member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    A lot of times you hear nothing but the pops or clicking.
  9. Maybe my ears define frequencies differently, but I've never thought of a scooped tone as a good slap tone, IMO and etc. It works for the lead bassists (Vic, Marcus, Stanley, etc) but when I slap it's in a band context and to me scooped just sounds brittle when playing anything heavier than Fusion.

    Once again maybe my ears are wrong, but doesn't Flea have a particularly mid-range focused tone? If I were going for a ll balanced tone for more rock-oriented stuff, I'd try to obtain a similar tone to that, obviously with my own personal technique to make it not a clone.
  10. Lincoln


    Nov 3, 2006
    Here's what I have and how I do it:

    I've got Nordstrand Big Splits, which a j-bass pups on steroids. The are placed more or less where j-pups should be placed to get a good blend of pickups for slap. Then I turn them all the way on. I boost the bass eq and the treble just a smidge— nothing crazy. That yields me a good slap sound.

    I have an active/passive bypass switch which allows my treble knob to become a passive tone roll off. When I want my "Richard Bona" tone, I go into passive mode and roll the tone knob off.

    I keep my amp set flat unless I'm EQ-ing got the room.

    Wood components like swamp ash, maple and ebony don't hurt either...
  11. low5_er


    May 9, 2006
    so what I'm hearing is blended J pups for slap, and for finger tone play back by the bridge, and play lightly. do i have it straight?
  12. Relayer71


    Jun 25, 2009
    I would say finger placement and technique have a lot to do with it. I don't really do any slapping but I usually run eq flat and get anywhere from a really bright tone to deep and dark by plucking anywhere from right near the bridge to right ON the neck.

    I can actually get a somewhat thumpy upright-ish sound by plucking using my THUMB right on the neck. I find that plucking location combined with adjusting plucking pressure, even the angle of your fingers can alter the sound dramatically without having to do much other than maybe selecting pickup/pickup blend.

    Now I don't have as much bass experience as many of you but that's pretty much the same technique I've used for guitar for many years and it works. Guitars/basses are VERY dynamic and versatile instruments and a lot of that is more in how you play than what brand bass you use.
  13. MooseKnuckle

    MooseKnuckle Guest

    Apr 8, 2010
    +3 Atleast leave it flat.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.