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I'ts about tone, feel, and style

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by IvanMike, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    i got inspired to write this after reading the "do tb people like jpj, geezer, paul, etc thread). Actually i'ts been on my mind for a while.
    Why do some bass players just excite you when you listen to them? I like to hear a virtuoso, It's inspirational and humbling. But for me, what gets me deep down are the tone of the bass, the feel the player has, and their unique (or not so unique) style. Feel and style are those things that make you able to identify a player w/o knowing the song, a fingerprint if you will.
    I guess the big thing that moves me is TONE. Not just the tone of the equipment (bass, rig, & recording gear/technique), but the tone the player creates as well. I guess that's another identifying mark of a player. Tone just gets me. It's funny because i never could get into ampeg gear, but the tone on stp's "core" was from "cranking the s**t out of an old SVT" - robert was ticked they wouldnt let him use his alembic/sans amp rig. Same for the tone on green day's "Dookie" - a cranked vintage svt (from what i've been told). Flipside, geddy lee's tone on rush's "different stages" is all sans amp, parker speaker emulator and demeter di (i think), but man that tone makes me wanna play!!! (of course that jazz he has is the bomb tone wise too). And then there's "live at leeds". Is that a tone or what? Of course there are plenty of non-aggressive tones that are wonderful too. Phil lesh's tone, dusty hill from zz top, SRV's bass player, JPJ's tone, victor, and man that guy from our lady peace with his sadowsky (i think he used a few different amps) - what a tone!!
    I dunno, the older i get, the more tone means everything to me. So what if they aren't all over the fingerboard and/or aren't the best players? If they have a tone that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, it's as good as it gets.
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    wow i guess i'm the only one who feels that way........ :p
  3. While I really appreciate good tone, it's more about the feel and style than tone. Being able to play well within the context of the song is the most important thing. The tone can be mediocre, but the great bassline stands out. For instance, I absolutely hate Bob Daisley's tone on Crazy Train, but that's a great example of a cool, busy line throughout the song. It's not obtrusive, and it doesn't take your attention away from the song, but I believe the song would be less without his lines.

    Tone is subjective, so are taste and feel. YMMV.
  4. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    For me it's intonation more so than tone. Great bass players have a way of making the tone jump out of the bass.. but good bass playing moves me and I think it moves most everyone (non musos) on a subconcious level.
  5. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    It's not just bass, these things are the common for all music. Like the bass tone on "Live at Leeds"? Listen to the guitar some time. Townshend's tone and feel is fantastic and perfect for the "everything flying apart" sound that The Who had in that era. Townshend is no virtuoso, but he sure has great feel, tone, and taste.
  6. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    The tone and the groove is what really gets my attention. In most casses I hear the base line and register the tone, then I focus on the bass line to feel his/her groove.

    As a drummer I really never paid much attention to the tone(unless the bass player was playing a Ric) much but I would feel the groove of a song. I would have to lock in with him/her so I had a very sanitized ear for the bass line and never really felt the soul of it. Things change when you start playing bass yourself.

    I think James Jamerson was a master of the groove. It seems that stuff he did wasn't real complicated just very sweet and soulfull. I'm really into his work right now.
  7. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    well said, sure chops are impressive, but a single whole note with the right tone.... man, that can touch me :bassist:
  8. emor


    May 16, 2004
    I'ts about tone, feel, and style

    I've recently been listening to, and playing along with Blood Sweat & Tears' You've Made Me So Very Happy , which I think displays a nice combination of all three. Nothing particularly virtuosic about it, but quite tasteful and appropriate to the song.