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King of punch!!!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Boldaz-Lepton, Jul 13, 2004.

  1. Hi, I`ve been a TB member for a while but this is the first thread I start so here it goes....

    I always read threads about the growliest bass, basses with the "fattest" tone, piano like tone etc., but I`ve never seen a thread about punchy basses, or about what makes a bass punchy. For me, punch is a major part of the role bass in music, so I`d like to hear about some basses that pack major punch, and about wood combos that might increase the "punch factor".

    I already did a search and didn´t find anything useful

    Thanks a lot and excuse my english (I`m writing from Venezuela :D )
  2. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Ash/Maple usually gives a fair amount of punch, coupled with either a Humbucker or 2 Single-Coils.
  3. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    Hello, and welcome to Talkbass!
    In my experience (15 years of playing and 34 basses owned) the growliest and punchiest basses I've come across are the Reverend Rumblefish, my custom-made Curbow Jazz bass, and the Warwick Thumb. The Reverends have composite-wood bodies that are semi-hollow, which really gives them a lot of bite and punch, even unplugged. My Curbow has a swamp ash body and a rockwood neck & fretboard, which gives it an extremely punchy and deep sound. The Thumb bass has the best tone I ever got on tape, but it balanced so poorly on a strap that it was useless in a live setting. I had to play it sitting down in the studio.
  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Welcome to TB!!!

    IME, your amp is really going to determine the "punch factor" much more than your bass.

    I don't know what you have because your profile isn't filled out, (not a good move if you ask gear questions).

    But, high wattage in a good quality head/power amp so you have lots of headroom is the #1 factor in my book.

    Secondly, having high quality speakers that don't distort/fart-out is crucial, too.

    In the instrument, harder, heavier, woods typically deliver more punch.
  5. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    Warwick thumb
    corvettes are nice also

    a nice set of jazz pups and proper teqnique goes a long way, closer you play to the bridge, also if you use a muting sponge you can get a nice punch of a tone, but no sustain.

    i swear the punchiest bass ive herd was a 70s fender P bass that was all frankenstined parts, with 2 year old roto sounds and a muting sponge in the right hands.
  6. Thanks guys... I already just filled my profile Rickbass :D (sorry about that)

    I Understand that the amp/speaker configuration does play a large part in what I like to call the "punch factor", but still I feel that having a punchy rig AND a punchy bass is better...

    I really like the vibe of Reverend basses although I`ve never had the chance to play one...

    I`m also concerned about the relationship between punch and sustain: does punch come at the expense of sustain? can you have a lot of both or do you have to choose? :(
  7. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    I don't think you have to choose at all, because it's just the way of things. I don't think you'll worry too much about punch in notes that you're trying to sustain for very long. Think about the word "punch" and what it means. Punches don't sit out there forever, they hit you and then there's gone. A sustained note can be punchy initially, but after that it'll just be a note, you know what I mean?

    I dunno, I could be wrong. I also think that one's aplification package has as much as or more to do with punch than one's bass (although I'll admit that some basses have more punch than others).
  8. I totally agree!!. but I still would like to know if, say... a hollow or a semi hollow would have more punch than a solid body instrument


    I don´t get that about that "foam under the bridge" thing I gess it mutes the strings a bit, right? If anyone has a picture of a bass like that I`d love to see it, because i have a MIM J stringed with flats and that might do the trick :bassist:

    (edit) I meant "SPONGE under the bridge"
  9. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Different folks mean slightly different things by "punch", but for me it generally means a strong, almost percussive attack and also good solid lows/low mids. There is sort of a connection between punch and sustain, in the sense that a strong initial attack has to decay a bit very quickly to have that percussiveness, but the notes may well have a reasonable amount of sustain after that--I don't necessarily equate "punchy" with "thumpy", though they're similar.

    In my experience, though, the basses of mine that had extremely long sustain (like the Modulus, and the all-Rockwood Curbow) tended to have sort of compressed-sounding attacks as well, so they weren't all that punchy, whereas the instruments that felt a little more resonant (MTD, for instance) seemed to have more punch. Heavier weight can sometimes help, but I think that has more to do with the solid lows/low mids--you can't (IMHO) get punch with a scooped tone. Certain pickups with exposed polepieces, like the Wal, also seem to emphasize the attack and therefore the punch of the notes.

    That's my experience, anyway.
  10. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    to my ears punch is a Fender P bass with maple neck.
  11. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    Get a sponge or some non-dense foam packing and stuff it under the strings right where they go into the bridge. You can then adjust the amount that you use by adding more or taking some away to achieve the desired amount of muting. Sounds good with reggae and things where you want the bass to really thump, versus having any sort of serious aggressive growl.
  12. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    The Pedulla Thunderbolt. Maple body/maple neck/maple fretboard/Bartolini soapbars. One of the punchiest basses around. :D
  13. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    It's probably painfully bright, too. Talk about sizzling highs.
  14. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    My Bongo has one hell of a punch!

    When I was at the New England get together everyone who played it was amazed by its sound. I believe it was Wrong Robot who said it was the punchiest bass he'd ever played. Not that his word is gospel or anything but you may want to ask Wrong Robot, Funkster & Thor what they thought of my Bongo.

    The dual humbuckers and awesome preamp really pack a wallop! :bassist:
  15. i played a gibson thunderbird once, and it was the only bass i've played that gave my reverend XL a run for its money in the punch department.
  16. PasdaBeer


    Nov 2, 2002
    Santa Rosa California
    SandStorm Designs
    take some toilet paper, stuff it under your strings, you can just sorta wad up and stick however much ya need under it

    gives it a very cool "motown" type muted sound, without having to figure mute much
  17. Thanks a lot for all your replies... you`ve all been very helpful.. :D
  18. AJ Love

    AJ Love

    Oct 8, 2002
    Madison WI USA
    I love the punch of a Sadowsky J bass when slapped
  19. adrian garcia

    adrian garcia

    Apr 9, 2001
    las vegas. nevada
    Endorsing Artist: Nordy Basses, Schroeder Cabs, Gallien Krueger Amps
    I don't know, but i would not think a hollow bass would be as punchy as a solid body.. however, i have never played a Reverend, so I may be talking out of my butt...

    Venezolano, tu Inglés esta perfecto!
    tu amigo Cubano, Adrian.
  20. i think it has a lot to do with the pickups. and revs aren't totally hollow, they have a thick chunk of mahogany going straight down the middle, so maybe it's a best of both worlds thing. whatever, all i know is that it works.