Matching the bass to your style.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Chasarms, Sep 27, 2001.

  1. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    I really roll my eyes at the "what bass should I buy" posts, so I hope to phrase this such that it interests you and helps me.

    Right now, I have a G&L L2500 and a MIA Jazz Deluxe 5. I like both of the basses a lot as far as playability and quality. Even the tone.

    For an amp I have a Nemesis NC210 that I use occasionally, but I often run direct with a Bass POD Pro.

    Here's the deal: I have all but stopped playing rock and heavier music. I play in a praise band and we occasionally do rockish stuff for youth camps, retreats and chapel services, but the bulk of the playing is for Sunday worship. That music is mostly of the contemporary R&B, light pop, even a little light Latin flavor. We use a lot of keyboard and even Roland V Drums. It is a very contemporary sound.

    I have really had a hard time dialing in a sound that I like. I am looking for a VERY comtemporary hi-fi sound. Tons of bottom, Very tight. Not much grit or brightness. I feel the G&L is too harsh and the Fender is too vintage sounding.

    Would a different kind of bass help? Like a neck through with active bart soapbars? IF so, I would appreciate suggestions for basses in the $1,100-$1,500 (used and excellent condition) range?

    Do you think it is a matter of building new amp/EQ setups on the POD? I have also considered new bartolini pickups and preamp in one of the basses (probably the jazz)

    Thanks for the advice.

  2. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    My advice:

    Nickel strings on the Jazz

    Start off with the controls flat and the pickups' panpot in the middle.

    remove the POD (for now)

    Set the Nemesis flat, voicing filter(s) off.


    Now, try to figure out what it is about your sound that you don't like. I can give you further suggestions from there but first you need to start from the basics. IME most people don't even know what the basic sound of their rig is because they immediately make drastic tonal tweaks and hardware mods instead of just listening to their gear, flat. Not saying you're doing this, of course... this could be sorted out much more quickly in person.

    BTW Most people complain that the active MIA JD5 "doesn't sound vintage;)
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Barts are pretty dark-sounding compared to other 'modern' pickups, try Basslines, EMGs etc.

    But you'll need an active bass, that's true, but not necessarily a neck-thru.

    A good compressor can help too.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    He's got active basses already!

    I'm with Brad about trying to ID what's wrong and playing with EQ to deal with it.

    On the G&L, I find the bridge pickup in series mode and the right EQ is where you want to be. That bass has more bottom than I know what to do with.

    On the J bass, I found when I owned one that the mid EQ control was the one that fattened up the sound.

    Plenty of guys get the "modern" sound with rigs just like yours, it's in there, brother just keep looking :)
  5. ColonelZulu

    ColonelZulu Not Impressed By Those Who Flaunt “Authority” Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    If you're happy with the bass, the cheapest or at least easiest route may be to try some effects, a different preamp, different amp, or cabs.

    As far as cabs go, look into the BagEnd with ELF, 15". That's "tons of bottom" for sure. I don't think you can get much gut busting lows from a 210 (though I like the Nemesis).
  6. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    If you like the basses and are already used to them, keep them. Changing basses will mean you have to get used to a new bass all over again.

    Try the following -
    TRY AND MUCK AROUND WITH THE EQ SETTINGS FIRST - the "hi-fi" sound may be there already - if you have trouble with this, get another bassist to have a go - another pair of ears do help.
    Consider changing strings (roundwounds, light gauge).
    Consider an external preamp eg. Sadowsky.
    Consider changing pickups to active EMGs.
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Unfortunately we bassists tend to want to throw money at a perceived problem.

    As Brian said, the G&L has tons of lows available and (I'll add) one of the most elegant and flexible preamps around. If you really understand that preamp and still have a problem, it probably isn't for you.

    The Aguilar OBP-1 onboard preamp is a step backwards, IMO. The Fender jazz already has a pretty nice 3 band EQ that cuts and boosts . The OBP-1 is the same style as the original Sadowsky, two band, boost only preamps.

    New pickups? Why? If you can't pin down why it doesn't sound like you want it to sound, you could very well fall into the same situation with different pickups.

    New amp? Sure, that could change things but not necessarily fix the problem... if you don't understand how to EQ to get what you want. As far as EQing goes, here's some simple advice: make small adjustments. The majority of people I've seen use EQ don't really understand it, as evidenced by people who take a 10 band EQ and push all of the sliders up:rolleyes:

    The suggestions I made are FREE. Until you know that YOU are not screwing up your sound, buying anything as a fix is pointless.

    I know guys who buy ridiculous amounts of gear trying to get "their" sound. Buy it, bring it back or sell it, buy something else, bring it back or sell it... it's a neverending cycle.

    Two major things to always keep in mind (IMO)

    YOU are the main source of your tone. That's not Zen, it's just seems to be true. Your practicing and becoming really aware of what you can do, simply with your hands will take you much farther than any gear you can buy.

    Don't look to gear to "fix" a personal deficiency. I've had guys ask me how I slap and pluck so cleanly and talk about how they rely on compression to clean their sound up. That's a "crutch" mentality. Learn to play... it's actually a lot of fun.

    What some of us have laid out here is a basic plan of attack to figure out whether you can get the sound you want with what you already have. With what you have and what you've described I can't see why not.

    BTW Chas, great question.
  8. rickreyn


    Jun 16, 2000
    Lutz, Florida
    I have the same issues. I play in the same setting and play the same kind of music. I've always thought the bass was the issue, so I've gone through quite a few and used my share of effects. I finally got a good piece of advice from another guy in a praise band. He said go with the EQ on the most expensive piece in your system (the amp). Everything else should be essentially flat. On board controls can be used for tweaking on the fly, but use the amp to get the sound you want. All that being said, with guitars of varying kinds of woods, varying kinds of pickups, varying kinds of EQ, factoring in playing style and ability, and house sound issues and acoustics, there are a myriad of other factors to consider. So I think your quest for the HiFi sound will include finding just the right guitar, but will not be limited to that. E-mail me for other horror stories.
  9. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I pretty much agree with what has already been posted about trying to get the sound you want with what you already have, but...

    ...When I hear (read) the term, "Hi-Fi bass", the first word that pops into my mind is "Alembic".
  10. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Right now, I have a G&L L2500 and a MIA Jazz Deluxe 5. I like both of the basses a lot as far as playability and quality. Even the tone.

    For an amp I have a Nemesis NC210 that I use occasionally, but I often run direct with a Bass POD Pro.

    Chas, Brad and rickreyn put all the essentials in place. Just one more thing:

    There may be in issue of using two amp sets. That way you will have some serious trouble to find a pleasing sound on both!
    I can't see any shortcut on this, but......if you go through the POD into the Nemesis as well as direct, you should be able to save the settings - right? Which would make your life easier in the longer run.

    And don't quit a good bass that you like, just for another sound! Definately not when you have all invented tone tweeking facilities already available!
  11. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Thanks to all for the advice and replies. As for the POD, I do use it all the time. When I use the Nemesis, I plug the POD into the effects return and just use the power stage.

    I have to get the sound I want from the POD. I work ALOT direct with no amp and so the POD has to give me the sound I need or I need to go with something else that will.

    As for the L2500, yes it does have tons of bottom. But it isn't as focused as I would like it. The bass in the MIA JD5 is whimpy in my opinion.

    But I will take the advise of my well-respected collegues here at TB and go another round with EQs and tweaking before I consider switching guitars. It may also be that there is a better model in the POD and I need to discover it.

    Thanks again,

  12. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Inactive

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    Is there a bypass mode on the POD?;).

    The POD may be part of the problem. What good are amp models if you don't like the sound of your bass. You'll still have the sound of a bass you don't like coming through an SVT or SWR or Eden, etc. IME the POD could be contributing to the problem.

    Most of my comments weren't aimed at you in particular, Chas, just general comments based on people who I've seen chasing their tail trying to get that most elusive of things..."their" sound. I know how to get my sound and it's pretty easy... now;)

    Other things to consider: How hard or soft do you play? This can drastically affect the sound.

    "Where" do you play? This can also have a major affect on your tone. Playing near the bridge can sound much tighter than near the edge of the fretboard.

    How proficient are you at muting?

    I've gotten some amazing results playing live with a stock JD5 and with my G&L L2000E. Remember, when it comes to a focused sound, you are the one who decides when the string vibration starts and stops;). With better than average control over dynamics, you might be amazed at what you can get away with.

    I just wish someone had told me all of this, years ago:D