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Marcus Miller says . . . .

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by LaBassGuy, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. LaBassGuy

    LaBassGuy Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    "A lot of the newer basses today sound too hi-tech for me. Really thin sound with electronics supplying exaggerated lows. On the other hand, these basses sound great when you're soloing or playing by yourself - the notes seem to jump off the bass unlike the older basses where sometimes the notes seem too thick when you're soloing."


    Do you agree that modern basses have a thinner sound more appropriate for soloing? Is the tone from, say, the MTD535 or Roscoe 'thin'?
  2. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    the rest of his answer his way more interesting that his taste in basses.
  3. Wallace320

    Wallace320 Commercial User

    Mar 19, 2012
    Milan, Italy
    I'm on Marcus Miller side, way before knowing which side he actually is

  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    I know that when I use an instrument with hyped, active electronics I always sound like I4m trying to take over the band, rather than blending in and making it sound better.
    I don't want to battle against the sound of the band so I prefer older instruments.
  5. bottomzone


    Oct 21, 2005
    As he states at the end of his comments, "In any case the most important thing is to settle on a bass then commit to it. Do like you said, "Get to know your bass inside and out and play it in every situation you can"!

    I concur, sir! And I'm sticking with my Ken Smith!

    A Groove is a Terrible Thing to Waste! :cool:
  6. He isn't talking about basses, but rather the tone that many slap-type players got back then (and even today, although that style of playing is pretty much dead) . Funny that Marcus actually has one of the more 'active' tones out there that actually drove a lot of guys to the 'scoop' (even though Marcus's tone is wonderful to me).

    So, I think it is that 'scoop' that he was talking about, that Gospel sort of 'rumble and click' that you hear from so many slappers who are influenced by Marcus. That has little to do with the bass, and much more to do with (poor) EQ choice.
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    The most important lesson anyone can learn from Marcus Miller is to try to work as hard as he has done to be a great musician. As much as I love gear, and talking about gear, gear is a almost a diversion. Whether you sound super hi tech like Andrew Gouche or if make a living serving up P-bass thump like the late, great Duck Dunn, practice hard, be on time, and learn your set list inside out. If you do that well, punters will talking about your tone, no matter what it is.
    MSIMSBASS likes this.
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I think he's talking about Jazz basses (not basses like Smiths, MTD, Roscoes, etc.) and I tend to agree. His bass sounds massive in comparison to other jazz basses. I had to ditch the stock electronics in my jazz in an effort to beef up. I have a full Bartolini setup and while it doesn't sound as massive as Marcus' bass, it's way more that I had when it was stock. I get a ton of compliments on it's sound!

    To me, Marcus has the perfect tone for slap and finger style. Melvin Lee Davis has a very similar sound......just massive! And in case y'all haven't heard Marcus' new cd.....get it...NOW! I think it's his best yet! But watch your car speakers! Bass is so massive just might blow a speaker if you crank it too much!
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I agree to a point but there's nothing worse than playing and feeling your sound just sucks!
  10. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    The sound that I really don't care for (IMO) is that "ultra-Scooped" sound, takes too much away from the natural sound of any bass.
    Now granted, the scooped sound was very popular among old school funk, but some these days are more exaggerated than others.
  11. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    Very true!
  12. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I agree 100%, but I think too many players get caught up in tone concerns instead just trying to be better musicians.
    MSIMSBASS likes this.
  13. number11


    Jun 17, 2010
    Its misleading to take one line from an entire interview, out of context, and present it like that.

    To me, passive basses always feel lacking, and i have to dig in too hard to hear myself, and to get what I need in terms of responsiveness
  14. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    That really depends a lot on the bass. I've played several Jazz 64 custom shop Fenders and a few Lakland US Joe Osborns that sounded positively alive. They were as hot and even sounding as any active bass. But they were well built basses with good woods.

    I do suspect that with a fiver your need active in a majority of the cases to get the job done. But their is no substitute for good construction and set up when it comes to even tone.

    I suspect in this case Marcus is referring to many of the "modern" hippie sandwich basses which sound great solo'd but tend to get lost in the mix. Part of the problem with those basses isn't that they are scooped (although they can sound scoped in the mix live). Its that they are too big sounding in terms of frequency response and almost too even and natural.

    In a loud pop music setting its redundant, the bass drum drowns out all your low end and it becomes mush, and every other instrument drowns out the high end and all you hear is click. The best basses for most pop type gigs tend to exaggerate the low mids (punch) this is why you can hear them, and they sit in a natural place (around the floor toms) in the mix.
  15. "modern basses" is way too big a group to lump everthing into.

    having said that... while Marcus is a legendary player and crazy good - tone is subjective. Just because he's a King bass player, doesn't make him King on tone. Nobody is.

    But I get how a comment he would make could seem like gospel to some... just play what you like. Who cares what other's people tone preferences are.
  16. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I think active electronics are often detrimental to an instruments tone.So I'd say that I agree.
    I guess somethig's got to give if 'versatility' is such a big thing for many these days.
    But to my ear his is one of the more synthetic sounding tones, displaying what he seems to critizise, so I find it interesting for him,of all people to make such a statement.
    Gotta read the whole thing now I guess :).
  17. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Strange , isn't half the body on a Marcus Miller pre?

    /storms off gruffly

  18. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Michael Rhodes made a similar observation about a bass revealing itself to the player only over time and use.
  19. See, as much as I love a Stingray Bass (neck feel ,sound etc), it feels like I struggle to control all the power it has, like it's working against me.

    A Standard P-Bass?

    Feels like a loyal mutt, that couldn't step out of line if it tried. :)
  20. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    You can tweak a 3-band EQ and blend to make a two-pickup bass sound like just about anything you want. I think it depends on the electronics, though.

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