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Let's talk about tone.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Schpector, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. Schpector


    Jan 31, 2012
    Macon, GA
    Obviously a rather general title, I know. But I would just enjoy discussing what you guys seek in tone and the gear you use to achieve it.

    I, personally, play a wide variety of alternative rock. My two main basses are a Spector Performer and a Peavey Grind. I only use Elixer strings because I like the longevity and the metallic, clunky tone. I use either an Ampeg PF-500 or a Hartke HA5500 head through either a Fender Bassman 4x10 or a Peavey TVX 4x12. I mix and match a bit, but I find the best tone to be the Ampeg matched with the Fender cab and the Hartke head with the Peavey cab. The Hartke/Peavey combination can get ridiculously loud and low, so I save that for bigger gigs.

    I usually leave the amp set flat with a slight low mid boost. I will dial in a little more or less treble with the tone knob on the bass depending on the song. For slower, clean songs I prefer a smooth "purr" with the tone knob rolled back. On harder, heavier songs, I have the treble slightly boosted for more of a clunky, aggressive rock tone. I consider my tone to be a growly, grinding tone, kind of like Alice in Chain's bass tone on their first album Facelift. I always get compliments on my tone and other bassists ask me how I get such relatively middle of the road gear to sound so good, haha. I guess the equipment is just a good combination together. I've always enjoyed mixing brands to see what kind of sounds I can come up with.

    But what about you guys? What do you go for in tone? What's your favorite gear with which to achieve it? How do you set the EQ on your amp/bass?

    I look forward to reading your responses.:bassist:
  2. I like to turn the treble and bass up for that clunky sound you were describing, since I'm in a br00tal Death Metal band.
  3. Schpector


    Jan 31, 2012
    Macon, GA
    Cool man. What kinda gear you rockin'?
  4. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    My tone is hard to describe with words, but in a nutshell, a good mix of old school fat and warm, with enough modern punch and clarity to give every note plenty of definition. I use a few pedals between bass and amp, which add to the flavor, a compressor set for a very light squeeze, and an eq pedal that adds more bottom. I prefer to use one of my own basses, but sound the same even when playing someone elses's's.
  5. crap_052.

    Hartke Kilo with Hydrive 4x10. The bass here is my Schecter Hellraiser Extreme 5, but I also use a Yamaha BB 604. The amp sounds amazing but I only got it a couple weeks ago and my brother sleeps during the day so I haven't tried it out too much yet:meh:
  6. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I have five main basses and three amps.
    I get the tone I need to get the job done.
  7. I have plenty of different basses and I like to you use different settings for different songs/bands. I love the zingy highs and huge low end when playing pop and R&B. I use mainly two rigs - an Epifani UL502 head and a 4x10 UL II cabinet and also an Acoustic Image Focus 2R Series III head with a Schroeder 1210 cabinet. The settings on the amps are usually pretty flat except the lows which are turned on about 20-30%. But my basses have always new strings so the sound has always cutting highs.
    But... I recently purchased an old Ibanez, put on the flatwounds and wow... it kills me with the warm and growly low mid range sound. Here's a small example of how it looks and sounds (PS! it isn't a masterpiece playing wise but you can get the picture of it's sound):
    No effects were used. The setting on the bass is 100% bridge pickup vol, 30% neck pickup vol, 70% tone. The preamp is set just to flat.
  8. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    after years of od research i now play as cleanly as possible using my g&l basses through my mesa tube head, kind of a finger style piano thing going on i guess, i leave the wild distortion or extreme od to the guitarist, the tone is much more forward and punchy according to listeners in the audience
  9. Generally passive basses. Generally full on everything as far as knobs go. I'll roll off the tone to about 7 on some P-basses that are a little hotter than others (like my BB1000). I run my Reverend in series, but my G&L L2K in parallel. I dial in a tiny bit from the single coil on my SB-2 w/ full vol on the P.

    Ampeg gear: Bass @ 12:00, Mid @ 2:00, Treb @ 11:00. SVT/810 is the tone for me but I use these same settings on my Micro & SVT 210/115 setup as well

    Fender: 4/10/2 gain around 7 & vol wherever it needed to be. I loved my Bassman when I had it but it wasn't loud enough for my last band. Going to buy another one someday.

    I pretty much always play with a pick these days. .87 Dunlop Nylon.
  10. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    I love the tone I'm getting right now. I'm using a PF500 through a pair of PF115s live (actually, usually just one is enough). In the studio, I am trying to get the same tone from the Ampeg simulation by Amplitube. I run a hybrid Geddy thing that I bought from a guy here on TB. It sounds pretty good, if I say so myself.. you can hear it on the track that shows up below.
  11. hampulator


    Feb 10, 2012
    Warwick German $$,swamp ash body. With the actives set on full vol.,treble and bass on full. And then set on single coil neck and Humbucker bridge.Then thru a GK Mb115 combo with the mids scooped and the tweeter on=Kick ass slappin tone!If you never tried a Warwick do yourself a favor,they really kick some butt.
  12. Schpector


    Jan 31, 2012
    Macon, GA
    I really want a Warwick. I love my Spector and I know the tone is similar. Some of my favorite bassists ever play Warwick, and their tone is unmatched.
  13. My tone is pretty warm, I'd say. I use a 5-string Jazz-type bass with D'Addario Tapewounds. Usually run the tone knob around 3/4-7/8 of full tone.

    When I use an amp, my settings are as follows:

    Horn off
    Contour off
    Bass, Low Mid, High Mid, Treble all straight up at 12 o' clock ("flat")
    Gain, Boost and Master adjusted to taste.

    Pretty simple. However, I just got a new Ibanez AEB5E acoustic. I plan on stringing it with D'Addario Tapewounds and plugging it into my GK, same settings as the 5er, and then adjusting the 2-band EQ on the Ibanez to taste.
  14. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    I loooove the old school 80's jazz type tone ,,,that being said i prolly dont have that cause i play a growly ibanez sr500 ,, rhrough a rumble 350 with a crate 410,, just to round out the gear i also have an esp ltd,, on the guitars im almost full up bass, and highs w/half mids but that changes where ever im set up ,,, pretty growly burpy but it cuts through well ,, the amp changes alot cause its new but i really like it,, i know some dont but i just do.
  15. bigchiefbc

    bigchiefbc Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Rhode Island, USA
    I play hard rock/metal covers in one band, and industrial/electronic stuff (usually with fuzz and a bunch of FX) in my originals band. For tone I want dirty, nasty, cranky and pissed off. I have a Ric 4001 that i run with all knobs full open and a G&L L-2500 that I run full up in active/serial mode into an overdriven all-tube amp. I use a bunch of FX, as well. I love my tone, and everyone in the place can always hear it.
  16. Let's talk about that thing we talk about all the time. Seems we haven't talked enough about it ;).
  17. Would be nice to get more sound samples! :)
  18. Sometimes it's not the result that counts but the process. ;) It's more like therapy talking about the bass stuff than getting information.
  19. Schpector


    Jan 31, 2012
    Macon, GA
    Let's contribute to the thread before I drive to Maryland and whoop that ass. :hyper:;)
  20. I generally prefer my ass unwhooped, thank you very much, lol!

    As far as tone goes, I'm simple. I like jazz basses. I grab one then EQ to taste (usually boost the bass and low mids a tad). I'd like to thing my sound is somewhere between Meshell Ndegeocello and Uriah Duffy.