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Low action on a P-Bass with flats?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by fourstringdrums, Dec 17, 2006.


  1. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Massachusetts
    I've been curious as to if anyone has experience using lower action on a P-Bass with flats. I have a G&L SB-2 with flats and I've been considering adding some slight fret buzz to my tone and was curious as if anyone else likes this on their Precision's. Would it add more of that P-Bass "fart 'n burp" to the tone?
     
  2. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    My P-Bass has flats on it and the action is very low; however, I don't have any fret buzz. I play a lot of walking bass with it. I can get buzz if I hit the strings hard, but that's not the sound I'm going for. I don't think I would ever set my bass up to have intentional fret buzz.

    Joe
     
  3. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Massachusetts
    Me neither. I guess I'm looking for fret buzz that I can call up when I want a dirtier sound. I've read quite a few TB'ers like a bit of that in their tone.
     
  4. Fret buzz means that your frets are impeding the fundamental vibration of your string, resulting in the harmonics coming more to the forefront. If anything this won't give you more "growl" but less low end and less sustain.

    If you're fortunate (read: walk on water miraculous) enough for all your fret buzz to be at 1/2 of your fretted note's vibrating length, this might be useful in that you'll get a neat octave doubling sound as the first harmonics all jump out on every note....that said, not many styles of music would support that tone, and even fewer basses would have the perfect geometry needed to make it work in the gigging world.

    If you want more growl, try getting a parametric EQ pedal to give yourself a nice low mid boost when you want it. If you set up your bass to do this, you won't have the option of not using it on those slow ballads we all know and love to hold open strings down on.

    IMHO, the only reason to have a "really" low action on bass is if you do a lot of tapping or hammer on type riffs, and even then, you have to strike a nice balance between ease of playing and killing your tone by limiting the string's vibrational arc. On a P-bass, to get more growl, maybe switching to heavy gauge rounds and detuning a bit will help...low tension strings + brightness gives a mean growling tone.
     
  5. I always thought that fret buzz is a key ingredient in getting that aggressive dirty growly tone.
     
  6. Osprey

    Osprey

    Jun 20, 2005
    UK
    As always. we have a problem about what we mean by those words. (growly..). Fret-buzz is pretty uncontrollable: even if you have a perfect neck and fret-job perfectly set-up, you'll need to induce buzz by digging-in just the right amount, and you'll have lost the sustain anyway because that's what fret-buzz is..the string vibrating against the other frets. Unless you want your playing always to sound the same I agree with the previous poster..set your bass up so you can use your hands to modify the sound across the whole range from warm-aggressive (or whatever words we are going to use) and work with the amp or other effects if you want what we used to call a fuzz-bass.
     
  7. Are you talking about fret noise?
     
  8. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Massachusetts
    No a bit of brut buzz. The reason why I'm curious is because there was a discussion about Paul Turner from Jamiroquai and the tone he gets in this video www.handidrummed.com/jamiroquai.wmv and it was suggested that his using flats with low action may attribute some to the "farty burpy" tone he has.
     
  9. king_biscuit

    king_biscuit Supporting Member

    May 21, 2006
    US
    Man I wish you could find another adjective to describe the tone in which you are after.
     
  10. lefty007

    lefty007

    Jan 19, 2004
    Miami, FL
    Flats and fret buzz don't really go well together. The effect is lost and you are missing precious vibrations. With rounds, you can take advantage of controlled buzzing to add expressiveness, but with flats, those characteristics are removed from the sound.

    I used to use bright flats in a modern bass, and I could slap and what-not, but definitely you sacrifice all those little nuance of roundwounds in favor of thump.
     

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