"Modern" tone chasing

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by heavyfunkmachin, Dec 3, 2012.

  1. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    After years of searching the vintage/krautrock tone I was after (and finally achieving it maily with a jazz bass + fender vintage custom pickups + VT bass) I’m starting a new adventure with a new band… and I need to find a modern tone!!

    I’m not going to slap marcus miller tone away… there won't be any slaping bein g made... It’s something closer to radiohead/portishead/massive attack with a hint of grizzly bear on it! Anyway not after some ultra low dub style tone, something articulate yet modern sounding.

    I’m currently using a Jazz bass with dimarzio Model J and experimenting with series/parallel and whatnot., lot’s of line 6 M9 extravaganza… but I’m still missing a solid, modern, base-tone to work with… Any ideas?

    I want to stick with my amp (ampeg PF-500 into 2x12)/bass (jazz bass with dimarzios model J) for practical ( $$$ ) pourpuses but I'm willing to experient with FXs, strings (currently worn Rotos 66), technique and whatnot... :hyper:


    Aug 1, 2010
    I was going to suggest an amp. You should be able to dial in a "modern", scoopy tone with a good EQ section, but I think the biggest thing is a versatile amp and a well-built cab with a nice tweeter. I've only played with the PF500 for a few minutes at the store, but I was able to get a pretty decent clean, modern sort of tone out of it.
  3. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Yup, an uber clean modern amp and speakers.
  4. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    uhm.... I was thinkng about a programmable sansamp driver to use instead of the VT bass for a more modern tone... but you took my gas away!

    I'll try a new eq in the amp as you say... Any tips?

    I'm thinking turning the highs up and bumping the low mids (220hz) Something like this?


    Aug 1, 2010
    I think a sansamp would dirty your signal more, if anything.

    On my Little Mark amps, what I usually do for a modern alt-rock tone is bump up the low-mids and the highs, cut the high mids, and either keep the lows flat or bump them very slightly. Too much low-end, particularly ultra-low around 40hz, can give you serious mud.

    On my Little Mark, I also turn my VPF up a hair for a little extra scoop and character. Since the PF500 doesn't have that, I'd maybe just shift your mid freq down a couple notches and hit the ultra hi. The best thing is to get a specific sound in your head and just fiddle around for a while!
  6. bigchiefbc

    bigchiefbc Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Rhode Island, USA
    If you want to add some sparkle to your tone to make it more modern, you might want to think about one of those exciters or sonic stomps. They scoop your tone a bit, but that might be what you're after.

    Or check out the EHX Steel Leather or an old Boss EH-2, which are expanders (the opposite of a compressor). They add a lot of high-mid content and gives your signal a bit of a sparkle.
  7. When you say Radiohead, Portishead, and Massive Attack, I think deep smooth bass. I am listening to Dummy right now.
  8. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    Shoudn't I avoid high mids?

    I'm after something Tight and with a touch of glassy, although not soo much it becomes anoying after a while...

    regarding the deep sweet bass.. I can get the low "THUD" tone... I'm after something a bit more articulate...

    EDIT: Those bands I quoted are references of the general band sound (drums + electronic percusion + syths + guitars...) the bass sound is enterely my own thing to develop!
  9. Bakkster_Man


    Jan 15, 2006
    Since when are scooped mids 'modern'?
  10. Sansamp BDDI with a low drive setting, blend at 3:00, bass and treble over 1:00 will definitely get you to that deep, modern scooped tone.

    At least it does with my rig ;)
  11. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I would think 'modern' would indicate hi-fi, or everything a Fender/Ampeg combo isn't.

    Try a solid state or hybrid amp (I recommend a Mesa M6/M9 or Markbass F1) and mess with the mids. Don't scoop em though, that's a 'modern' fuzz/distorted nu-metal skinny string guitarist kinda thing. If you want to funk it up a bit, dig into some low-mids. I use a EWS BMC for that myself.

    Also, consider a 'modern' bass guitar, you know, one based on a design that isn't over 50 years old. Fenders are as old school as you can get without going acoustic/standup. I recommend a Warwick, of course. ;)

    High fidelity, active electronics, mids, mids, mids... don't scoop em... really... don't. Modern bass is more mids, not less.

    See my sig: my sound is about as 'modern' as you can get on bass without a computer simulator. I actually have to dial down the articulation (mid-mids, @ 1000Hz) whenever I want to sound 'vintagey' (which isn't often).

    Of course, I only barely know what I'm talking about with regard to guitars and amps designed half a century ago, so read the above with a grain of salt, as it were. I like to think I know 'modern' though.
  12. willbassyeah


    Oct 9, 2011
    I think the edge activator by daring audio is what you want, check out daring audio website.
  13. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    +1 on the Steel Leather great pedal for adding some clanky top end sparkle I would also look into a Rusty Box when I play "Creep" I use the Rusty Box, F Bass Big F Booster and the Fuzzrocious BDPG I can get a nice grind sound with a smooth full bottom.
  14. heavyfunkmachin


    Jan 21, 2005
    I think some of the "scoop mids" idea comes from hearing that a "modern bass sound" has deeper lows and clearer/hi-fi highs than a vintagey bass tone...

    So while I'm after a modern tone I'm not talking about slap or a "clanckity clank" tone... I'm after a tone with deep but tight an focused lows ( I get closer to this with a bump at 220hz...) and an articulate sound in general... without getting in fretnoise and "clank" territory... I'm searching for examples but quite franquily I'm trying to do my own thing... or at least trying! ;)

    I'll check out the suggested pedals, but what I find confusing is how much disparity is among the answers regarding EQ... (scoop, bump high mids, and what not...)
    Due to financial reasons I'm stuck with my amp: Ampeg PF-500 + GK MB 212 and a Ampeg Classic SVT with 810 fridge.
    I still believe I can do something modern without changing my amp... and it's not like I have much options...I keep the gain low and so far I got close with a bump at 220hz and the ultra highs activated... but I'm still trying out things.

    In the bass department I have 2 jazz basses... one with vintage pickups and the other one with Di marzio Model J... this second one get's me closer with the neck pickup in paralell and the bridge in series...

    But instead of obsesing with my gear I want to try to find out the secrets of a modern tone so I can experiment wtih different ways to get there... anyway... great ideas are being trown around, Just wish there was mre consensus regarding EQ and timbre in general :D
  15. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    hmmm... perhaps focusing the bass is the way to go then. I know a [sfx] Micro Thumpinator does this, but selective eq'ing may be a more cost effective, though not necessarily better, solution.

    Cut all frequencies below 30.87Hz (or 41.2Hz if you're using a 4 stringer), and then boost the crap out of the lows with a center frequency of @ 150-250Hz, like you've tried already. Removing all the uber lowend content will help tremendously in focusing the bass.

    I've played around with this a lot (owned a Thumpinator for a bit too). My amp (a very modern design) naturally cuts frequencies below 30Hz (this feature can be selected out too, for full bass response), so ultimately I didn't need the Thumpinator really (though it would be great for a 'straight to PA' setup), but it was good to experiment.

    A Micro Thumpinator may be the 'effects solution' for you; but failing that, selective eq'ing should do the trick. Then, you can add/subtract whatever midrange content you desire to get the tone that suits your taste.
  16. JBNeedsBeer

    JBNeedsBeer Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New Brunswick, NJ
    You could also try a FEA Labs Dual Band Compressor. You can dial in a different amount of compression on your low end for a "tighter" feel. Unfortunately, they're fairly rare and pricey with a long wait time to get a new one.

    Also, keep in mind that everyone's idea of "modern" tone will be very different.
  17. jg42


    Jul 12, 2012
    For me, personally, "modern" tone is active, usually dual coil. If I had to give an example - EMGs and Delano are very modern and Nordstrans are very retro-sounding.
  18. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    non overdriven mesa tube head and a L2k in active
  19. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    I would suggest using very bright rounwounds such as Rotosound RS99's or Dean Markley Blue Steels, cutting your treble, boosting your bass slightly, with your mids all the way up. Add some compression to your lows. And a DI box would be better than an amp.
  20. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    I think the term modern is pretty vague and relative. How about a Sadowski DI or a Tone Hammer? Something to effectively make your bass active.