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If you could give one piece of advice for passive basses....

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Muckaluck, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. Muckaluck


    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario

    So I'm honeymooning with my passive Warwick. It's my first passive and I'm pretty amazed at the dynamics in sound this bass can get from just barely contrasting the volume and tone knobs.

    I'd like to reach out to the TB veterans and dip into your knowledge. If you could give one piece of advice for passive bass playing what would it be?

    A few questions that have jumped out to me:

    - Should strings be kept newer and changed more often than actives?
    - Should bass/mids/treble be typically cut or boosted on the amp with passives as opposed to active basses?
    - Do you play your fingerstyle close to the bridge (Jaco style) or further away (Entwistle style)?

    .... and of course the shameless, latest pic:


    Any advice would be appreciated,

  2. zazz


    Feb 27, 2004
    i think the rule is that there are no rules....but starting off on active for me is a little odd. If you use dead or new strings i just adapt my technnique ...its really up to you.

    ps..cool bass by the way.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Too much thinking getting in the way of your playing? That's the opposite of what passive is supposed to do. Just play, dude. You'll sort out all the rest in time.
  4. Over the last year I've steered far more towards strongly preferring the passive tone. I found playing more dynamically with your fingers can be the most powerful thing. Before when using preamps all the time, I played a lot more constant.

    I really believe that playing passive has substantially helped me become a better player and more dynamic in approach.

    Sounds weird but I think it's true.
  5. What ever sounds good is good.
  6. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Get one of the ART Tube MP units. Costs about as much as two sets of strings, and will square you up with any amp out there.

    Oh yeah, I like mine with a nice 5751 in it.
  7. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Yoyo's Hurt When You Crank It Into Your Face

    Feb 18, 2007
    Cleveland Ohio
    im also a 100% passive.

    I also agree with I like older strings when there brand new I just dont like the zingy high end.. So I prefer them to wear in some for the perfect tone.

    EQ tip, never add anything, cut what you dont need.

    I float on most of my basses as far as fingerstyle but I am usually on the neck pickup or inbetween. I hardly play back by the bridge again its because I dont like that zingy tone.

    Finally PLAY PLAY PLAY now you got no reason to fiddle with a 100 knobs :)
  8. Muckaluck


    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario
    Yes, I knew this would afford some inside tips!

    So from what I hear so far this is the general consenus:

    1. Get my butt off the internet and play more bass. It seems passive is less about screwing around and more about playing music.

    2. Much of what has to do with sound is subjective - Whatever sounds good, keep doing it.

    3. Consider opening up the tone in a band setting to cut through. (I could see that working)

    4. Cut from the amp, don't add (I like that advice)

    5. Fingers are probably the most important tool (something I'd never considered). What you do to the strings is translated much more authentically to the amp with a passive.

    Awesome tips, thanks. Keep em comming if you have any more.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    1. True.

    2. True.

    3. While cutting through is cool for some music, I've personally gotten away from the more trebly cutting tone and I'm more into a flat tone with an emphasis on lows and mids around 750, which beats and claws its way through the mix rather than cuts. But whatever kind of tone you want, the best place to arrive at it is in a band setting. Everything changes in a band setting.

    4. If you do add, make it slight. I'll occasionally add a little 750 rather than back down the other frequencies because I'm lazy, but don't go cranking the freq's all the way up or it sounds false and overamped.

    5. I don't know about that. I know of a lot of bassists who use active to boost frequencies and they're great. They usually only give them a slight boost because of #4, but they use them. I'm not against active at all. I have a couple active basses. But I prefer passive.

    Oh, and you were wrong about fingers probably being the most important tool. There's no probably about it ;)
  10. Muckaluck


    Oct 11, 2005
    Whitby, Ontario
    Yes, I can appreciate the low mid cut through. The best sound I've ever had out of a bass in a band setting is when I finally accomplished having a growl without the boomyness. Playing the bass was effortless and it still 'beat and clawed' it's way through the mix. I'm hoping to get to that point with this bass.
    I agree with you on the other hand too. Too trebley and the natural organic sound is just lost.

    The hunt for the perfect tone continues.... :ninja:
  11. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    It has been my experience that something positive happens tone wise to a passive bass on that last nudge of the volume pot. Probably some sort of pickup loading issue so,

    Always play with the volume pot wide open.

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