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How to get this tone... Esperanza Spalding

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Timmy-Watts, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I believe this is a Jaco replica. Maybe strung with Labella flats? Tone rolled back, mids on the amp dimed, pickup blend favoring the neck?

    It sounds either like an amplified upright, or a P-bass. I love it. It's a far cry from what most Fretless players seem to go for.

    Thoughts on getting this sound?

    lowdownthump likes this.
  2. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    At the time she was using the stock Fender flats, which may have been made by D'Addario, but that doesn't mean they're Chromes.
  3. joel406


    Dec 27, 2013
    Wanna sound like that?


    Become her.
    Dr. Cheese and el_Bajo_Verde like this.
  4. I just read somewhere today that Fender Flats were designed to sound like a stand-up bass.
  5. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Is that different from if I were to order those strings now?
  6. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    The current ones?
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    That is the second time I heard Ms. Spalding get a bit out of tune for a second. I am not hating, playing and singing the way she does, it is amazing that she is in tune 99+% of the time.
  8. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    what's a quarter-tone between friends? :cool:
    Timmy-Watts and Dr. Cheese like this.
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    "jazz" hehe
  10. zelig.audio


    Apr 12, 2013
    I was wondering about how to get precisely her tone on this show and found this thread. It's indeed a great tone which gets very close to a P-bass.

    I don't think I'd like to have a fretless that could only achieve this sound, but on another song of the same gig she makes it sing a bit more. It seems to me that it'd be possible to get some mwah had she favored the bridge pickup, wouldn't it?

    Apart from strings (and her fingers), anything important you guys think is needed to get there? Amp? Pickups?
  11. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    I had to check the link just to see. That's the first time I have even read that. Having used them for over 5 years on a couple of my basses, I would never use 'sound like an upright' to describe their tone. I guess I'm doing it all wrong.
  12. Timmy-Watts

    Timmy-Watts I like bass. And airplanes. Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Well, I have found that what folks on this board "sounds like an upright" is far from my idea of that sound.
    TJ Spicer and Turnaround like this.
  13. gwangi

    gwangi Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Forbidden Valley
    From listening to this video, definitely flatwound strings and it sounds like more of the neck pickup than the bridge pickup.
    TJ Spicer likes this.
  14. She's using a TC amp in that video, but at the time I think she was touring with an Aguilar rig, so maybe she was just using whatever was available at the festival. The Fender flats from that time were pretty thuddy and (in my opinion) didn't sound good for very long). They reformulated them so the ones you get now aren't the same as what she was using then.

    I think the main key to her sound is that she's playing a fretless bass, but rarely accentuating the things that make it sound like a fretless. She's playing a custom five string fretless now, and I don't think her tone sounds any different than when she was playing the Fender.

    I think the whole "tone is in your fingers" thing is nonsense, because people clearly get different sounds out of different basses, amps, and strings. But in this case, I think if you play a fretless with not-too-bright flat wounds, and play over the pickups like she does (rather than near the bridge, like Jaco, or near the neck, to accentuate the "mwah"), you're going to be 98% of the way there.
    zelig.audio likes this.
  15. Turnaround

    Turnaround Commercial User

    May 6, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Independent Instrument Technician, and Contractor to Club Bass and Guitar - Toronto
    Fretless. All neck pickup. Flats. Mid boost.
  16. gwangi

    gwangi Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Forbidden Valley
    Yes what you said.
    zelig.audio likes this.
  17. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    Same way you get to Carnegie hall ....Practice!

    (Someone had to say it)
  18. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Feb 24, 2021

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