Marcus Miller J: Does it get the "Miller Sound"?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Mud Flaps, Dec 14, 2003.

  1. The Miller J really does get the "Marcus Miller sound"

    6 vote(s)
  2. His sound resonates more with the Vintage J's

    4 vote(s)
  1. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Yesterday, I went to the mall and I bought my first Marcus Miller CD: Marcus Miller: The Ozell Tapes Official Bootleg. I was blown away. Song after song of amazing slap lines, matched with one of the most beautiful tones I have heard out of any bass.

    I was listening to it and exploring the jewel case when I came across his equipment list. It said that through the concert, he primarily used his 1978 Fender Jazz Bass (I think it was '78). It definatly sounded like your classic vintage J. I've heard Miller before, I always think of his "signature tone" sounding like fast slap on a vintage J.

    So my question is, does the Marcus Miller Jazz Bass achieve the tone that we associate with Marcus Miller? Or do you think that his sound lies in the basses of old?

    P.S. If a mod wants to help me out by eliminating some of the excess verbiage, please feel free to do so.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Pretty much any J bass with that wood combination and active EQ can get you close to that sound - if you got the technique down. ;)
  3. dwjazz54


    Jan 21, 2003
    Jersey City, NJ
    It's no big deal, but his Jazz is a '77, not a '78.

    But nobody really gives a damn.
  4. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    I disagree, I think there is a huge difference between the sound of a vintage J and the Marcus Miller J. I think there is even a big difference between one Marcus Miller J and another Marcus Miller J, but that's besides the point.

    But you do bring up another question for me to ask: Is Miller's vintage J active? I was under the assumption that it was not being vintage and all. It didn't occur to me that maybe he modified it.
  5. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    He put an active EQ in it and a custom pickguard. I'm not sure what EQ it is, but my guess is it's a Sadowsky EQ.
  6. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    It's a Bartolini two band pramp. BadAss II bridge. Modified pickguard. The rest is stock.

    Get a good solid Ash body and Maple necked Fender Jazz and it'll most likely get you in the ballpark. The rest is in the shed.

    I have a stock 78 that nails it, without mods.
  7. narud

    narud Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    santa maria,california
    first off the eq in marcus' bass is a bart.

    second a marcus sig can sound just like his bass. you need a heavy one. a friend of mine has a lighter marcus sig and its not quite as thick.

    third, not every bass with an ash body and maple board will get you that tone. mainly because most high end builders want to use the lightest swamp ash they can find. 70's fenders are boat anchors and thats where a lot of the sound comes from. you also need the 70's pickup spacing with the bridge pickup closer to the bridge than standard

    my alder ebony fodera sounds a lot closer to mm's bass than the swamp ash,maple lull modern 5 i had so the wood recipe isnt going to automatically get you there.
  8. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    The sunburst MM I had for a few months could nail the tone. It has a U-Retro pre-amp in it. Others here at TB have owned and/or played that bass, so maybe they'll chime in. Of course that opens up the possibility that they might say I'm smokin' crack for thinking it nails the tone ;)


  9. boogiebass


    Aug 16, 2000
    Yes, it does. At least the one I own does. Of course, the "Miller Sound" resides in Marcus' technique as well but the signature bass will definitely get you there if you have the chops to convey it.
  10. Mike


    Sep 7, 2000
    Hey, how does the MM model sound in passive mode? Traditional jazz or not so good? Anybody? Thx.
  11. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    Out of the store off the shelf No. The MM bass runs through the a flat preamp in passive mode and that's pretty much what you will hear. There is a preamp modification on harmony central I think that has a wiring diagram that bypasses the preamp in passive mode so you get a truly passive bass. I have done this mod and not only did I get pretty much a 77-78 jazz bass (no tone control) but it doesn't kill batteries anymore.
  12. soularis


    Jul 3, 2003
    Illinois, USA
    is that what "Tomy" recommends to do? can you please provide a link of some sort to an explanation of how it's done. thanks man
  13. I think he is one many bassists that have that can only get with his hands.

    But,the same bass does help;)
  14. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
  15. pyrohr


    Aug 28, 2001
    Pakistani compound
    OH, I forgot to add that I run my MM bass passive (no tone controls) and use a aggie 924 outboard pre-amp. Now it nails the MM sound real good! :bassist:
  16. Amoilbasso


    Apr 22, 2000
    I've looked for th Marcus's tone for years:
    the REAL one can came only from ONE OF THE FEW "houge sounding" 70's J-basses, with ash body, maple fingerboard, badass bridge and a sadowsky preamp.

    The best alternative is a Sadowsky standard 4:great bass and very close to the Marcus's tone, but not so "houge sounding".

    The MM signature is a nice, honest bass but very very far from the real one
  17. Clarification between MM (Marcus Miller) and MM (Music Man) could be helpful here.

    Without it, the above posts sounds like you've modded a Music Man for a passive J sound and then added an outboard pre to get back to the Music Man tone. :confused: :meh: :D
  18. I've got a Marcus Miller Jazz Bass and I replaced the preamp with a U-Retro. It comes darn close to nailing the tone, but the rest of it is all Marcus' technique and touch.
  19. BustinJustin

    BustinJustin banned

    Sep 12, 2003
    NYC, LI too
    well this is where i make enemies.

    I own all of marcus's cds, even soundtracks he's played on, and I think he's no big deal... at all.
    His bass sounds generic, his tech is oh so repetitive. Granted he is a good player, pro without a doubt, but his playing is boring... to me.
    I am a fan of slap bass and can hold my own when it's called for, but marcus isn't an influence to me at all.
    To me, IMHO, he holds no flame to Vic W, Stanley C, and so on. Just my opinion...

    oh and the vintage sound is much better! if thats your thing...yawn....

    sorry guys
  20. BustinJustin,

    What I don't get is that you say Marcus is no big deal at all, yet you still own all of his CD's and some of his soundtracks.

    That, and you also rag about him on a thread discussing the sounds of his signature Jazz Bass. :confused: