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Looking for that Juicy, chunky bass tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Lammchop93, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Hey all, I've had one long, and expensive journey into finding the right amp for the tone I have in my head. I have gotten pretty close to what I want it to sound like. Right now I am playing through a Peavey VB-2 and a SWR 4x12 12-stack cab. My tone sounds too sterile, and thin. It is closer to what I want it to sound like than it did when I played through my GK Fusion 550 and 1001RB-II. So I think a tube amp is what I need. I do love the VB-II, which may be the right amp for me. It's the cab I'm unsure of. I am thinking a 8x10 is maybe the trick.

    I want a tone that has a lot of punch and low-mids. The real juicy thick bass tone. The type of punch that just pops you in the chest. I like just a little bit of overdrive to give it that crunch. Is an 8x10 the answer, or is a 2x15 better? I will probably try and get a new cab first, and if I still don't have the tone, I may try and find an SVT-II nonpro and use that instead of my VB-2.

    Any opinions?
    Jbassrockboy likes this.
  2. The only thing the size of the speaker tells you, is the size of the speaker.

    Can you explain your whole signal chain? Strings, bass, effects, and eq too? Before you spend much money on new amplification there may be a simpler solution.
    ebozzz, Winfred and SirMjac28 like this.
  3. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    I like both 2x15's and 810's. They do sound different though. If I had the room in my car and if the venues where I play would be frightened by it, I'd be playing an 810. :D
  4. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Main bass is a Spector Euro 4LX, no effects, then straight into the Peavey vb-2. Usually have the bass at 12 oclock, and the treble and mids at 1 o'clock. Presence at 9 o'clock.

    It may be the room I played in as well. I have a gig in a couple weeks, so I may be able to open it up more there.

  5. You need to boost low mids. Try these two things.

    1. Bass and treble at noon, mid selector at 200Hz and boost mids a fair bit.
    2. mid selector at 600/800Hz with a small cut, cut bass and treble to 10 o'clock or so.

    Additionally, I find that mid range harmonic content will change as you boost your gain. Dont be afraid to plug in to the "high gain" jack, and boost your "clean channel" gain up a lot. It will warm up your tone a lot.
  6. I'm just a deaf old bass fart, but my only "big picture" advice would be to not obsess over the tone thing. The perfect tone where you practice will NEVER EVER EVER be able to be duplicated in a gig venue. PA, room construction, number of slobbering drunks in there... all contribute to your tonal deviations. Just play, have fun, and enjoy the bad dancers.
  7. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I've found this out to, but it hasn't stopped me from finding "that tone"

    I'll have to give the hi-gain input a try. Have never really used it. Thanks!
  8. It is misleading. The "high gain" input is no attenuation, and the "low gain" is -6dB.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Good for you! The NEVER EVER EVER EVER thing is a gross exaggeration, and I've found it highly possible to get your tone in a variety of rooms, including rooms that aren't all that conducive to good sound, unless of course your sound is really bad ;)
  10. Try biasing your pickup balance towards the neck a bit. You didn't say how you run it, but if you run the pickups equal you'll have the thinnest possible tone from that bass. Also +1 to more low mids.
  11. MoeTown1986

    MoeTown1986 Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    SoMD (Mechanicsville)
    I'm just throwing out things I've read/heard... and that is that the VB-2 is a great bass amp with awesome tone, once you swap the tubes out. Maybe give that a try?
  12. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Bridge solo would be thinner than. 50/50.
  13. staindbass


    Jun 9, 2008
    you mean like that led zeppelin thick punchy moose tone ? those acoustic folded 18" will do the job nicely. I'm afraid another/different head will not get what you are looking for. i had one when i played in bars. its nice to pluck a high string and feel it thump you in the chest...
  14. staindbass


    Jun 9, 2008
    completely false. wanna borrow my rig ?
  15. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Similar. What first comes to mind is Robbie Merrill's tone. It's punchy, yet still has plenty of low end and a little bit of growl. Also, the band Monster Truck has a similar bass tone. Here is a link to one of their songs that has a good example of the bass tone . Just thick and in your face.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  16. I knew someone would say that, but hey, depends on your idea of what 'thin' means. Would you say Jaco had a thin tone? If so, you're right. To me it means that lack of mids/tone suck you get with two pickups equal.
    Sartori likes this.
  17. It is a good bass tone, but should not be hard to get with your gear.
  18. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    Just got some time to mess around with the amp and my bass. I actually turned up the gain on the tonepump preamp in my spector, that helped quite a bit. On the amp, I cut the treble way back to 9 o'clock, but turned on the bright switch. The bass is at 12 o clock, and the mids are set at 3 o'clock with the frequency at 200hz. Turned the presence up just a tad, as well as the resonance. Gain is only at 10 clock. I have the P pickup up just a tad more than the jazz. Probably a 60/40 mix. The tone is SO MUCH BETTER. I'm sure having an 810 would help just because the speakers would be at head level and it would give more of a punch feel. But overall, I am happy. We'll see how it sounds at the next gig.
    David Jayne likes this.
  19. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    You're going to be in a bit of a struggle if you're chasing a live sound that matches a studio tone due to an excess of variables. What Jon Harvey gets in the studio is probably a bit different than what he expects to get live, but that being said, dissect what you like from his sound and other bassists like him.

    You like the articulate presence, and thickness of tone and the punch. The articulate presence comes from the hands mainly, but some compression out front in the FOH mix can help with that a bit. The thickness of tone comes from the EQ mainly and in Harvey's case, serious tube drive, and how those two elements interact. His tone is likely more round than it appears to be when combined with the overall mix. The reason for that is because the punch you're hearing is how Harvey's bass tone works to combine with Kiely's kick drum sound to get a really strong punch going, with the heavy tube presence behind it providing the sustain to the punch.

    How much do you work with your drummer on tone? And how much of you is going FOH through the PA vs. running the gig via the bass amp only?
  20. spector_boogie

    spector_boogie No Limit Honky

    Apr 15, 2012
    The Woodlands, TX
    Robbie plays Spector, and I know what tone you're talking about, so I'm curious as to what issues you're having really. That bass just straight into a DI typically is where my "standard" tone comes from (even though I play an NS5, which is a bit different). Most Spector guys like these basses for that reason-they're pretty plug and play and sound awesome.

    SWR to my ears has a pretty "flat" response as far as their cabs don't really have their own overtly colorful sound. I don't know anything about that Peavey but have heard good things. That cab was kinda specifically made/voiced for him too, so I dunno. If you ever consider selling it, PLEASE PM me. Been looking for one for a while.

    You can still get plenty of great tone live, so you can kinda disregard the ones saying you can't and shouldn't work towards it. Robbie sounds great live. As do plenty of dudes that do this for a living... I think he sends 3 signals out- one DI, one mic, and one for the monitor guy.

    Also, I never have met a TonePump pre that I've liked and got it to sound the same as the "normal" HAZ Labs or EMG pres in those basses.

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