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Need Help Choosing a Punchy Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bassmanchu, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Your advice is really appreciated on this:

    I love my Mexican Fender Jazz bass (c. 2004) for some things - jazz mostly, but despite my best efforts via articulation, I can't get the punchy funk/soul/R&B sound out of it. I've got a nicely balanced Naked string set on it (.45, .60, .80, 105) right now, which helped compared to my old dead strings.

    I play about 90% finger style, 8% slap, 2% pick (only when asked).

    I remember several years ago hearing a friend playing live and I wracked my brain to find out how he got his tone. I noticed that he was playing a music man stringray. Significant time passed and I finally got to try out a stringray at a music shop. Bingo. That bass kicked me in the teeth with punch, even at low volumes.

    Right now I'm torn between either a stingray or a Fender P-bass. I've heard of the P-bass "thump", but I'm wondering if that similar to the "punch" of the stingray. Can anyone offer advice on this?

    Also, stingray can be expensive. Is there a significant difference in the feel of lower-cost models? Which models should I be looking at?

    I've seen a lot of threads about this topic for amps and strings, but nothing comparing these two basses. Thoughts?

    My current setup is here if you're wondering:

    c. 2004 Fender Jazz MIM
    Naked strings (.45, .60, .80, 105)
    Benz Genz Shuttle 6.2
    Eden EX110; OR
    Ampeg Classic 4x10 (depending on volume/venue)

    Here's what I think of when I think of "punchy" bass sound:

    Not over-articulated, not aggressive plucking, just solid, punchy attack. I think he's playing a Fender P actually...
  2. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    If you want punch, I would go with an Ibanez of some sort. You can accomplish punch with a Fender or Sqiuer too, but you would need the right pups IMO. Not always active of course, but a hot pickup for sure. I love my P and P/J but I usually leave them at home for practice, my Ibanez ATK 300 is my go to. I have used them with my band on occasions and the P is balanced in the mix, the P/J cuts just a tad more than the P, but the ATK punches the mix right in the balls. You can hear me loud and clear. Of course EQ has a lot to do with this as does the amount of power you are pushing, the amp and cab youre using. It looks to me like you shouldnt have any issues being punchy with the gear you have, but maybe Im missing something.

    The Stingray is sort of night and day compared to a Fender in feel and def sound. The Ray would def give you better punch. Def! My ATK is along the same lines as a Ray.

    Are those "naked" strings rounds or flats??

    So me, if I wanted punch out of the two basses named, StingRay hands down.
  3. KeddyLee


    Nov 12, 2013
    Punchy = Spector IMO.

    I play a Fender Jazz and a Ric right now but the "punchiest" bass I ever owned was my Spector NS2.
  4. He's playing a 1970's Fender P to be exact.

    I would say go look at Stingrays and P basses and whatever else you can get your hands on. Spend a day to go bass shipping and find out what feels good in your hands and what doesn't.
  5. Hey gregmon - I was considering whether or not to do a new bass or just replace the stock pickups with Bartolinis or something.

    Thanks for the suggestion - I'll take a look at the ATK 300. I had heard some mixed reviews coming from Ibanez in terms of quality of build and consistency over the years, and to be honest I had sort of written them off as a "metal-head's bass": definitely not my style. I'll have to take another look!

    The Naked strings (nickel) are rounds from this site: http://www.nakedstrings.com/

    They seem like a solid strings with a good sound.
  6. I found that in an article about him and the band. Beautiful bass, even better playing.

    Sage advice - I should probably just get myself to a music shop and figure it out myself, but I know there is a sum of hundreds of years of experience on the forum, and many brains to pick, so I thought I'd try here. Thanks for your help! :)
  7. Just found this about the Ibanez ATK300:

    I'm impressed.
  8. bgressman82


    Mar 5, 2009
    stingray hh for sure. it'll do pretty close to a p bass sound with the neck pickup and eq, and of course you'll have the standard stingray sound. don't be afraid to buy used, you can pick one up for 900-1000 usd. still not cheap, but not as big of a hit to your wallet as going new.

    if you absolutely have to go new and don't want to pay for the stingray, the sterling line will come pretty close to a stingray, but you won't get the flexibility of the hh.
  9. Thanks! I'm definitely not shy about used gear, so long as it's in good condition. Thanks for the tip about Sterling! Is Sterling:Stingray as Squire:Fender?
  10. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    FENDER P BASS,need I say more...:D
  11. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    If you get an ATK, go with the ones not made anymore, easily 90's. If you can. They're out there. And not too expensive. Get a maple fretboard as well, it'll be brighter and punchier IMO. Also, if you're using nickels, try steel rounds. They'll help with punch too. Nickels are a bit mellower than steels.

    Also, yes, I think putting Barts in any bass will help with the punch factor IMO.
  12. beebassdude

    beebassdude Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2008
    Sterling, VA
    stingrays or spectors always sound very punchy to me. if those are in your price range id start there.
  13. bgressman82


    Mar 5, 2009

    i've got a stingray single h that i've played for years, and when my local music shop got a sterling model i checked it out. the fretwork was just as solid, finish and feel great, sound was pretty darn close. tuners and bridge were solid, it was a great bass.

    i'd say the sterling:stingray gap is a lot smaller than the squire:fender gap, but let it be known, i haven't tried a squire in a few years, and i've heard that the squire quality has gone up since then.
  14. Gaolee

    Gaolee Outta my way! I'm caffeinated! Supporting Member

    The way CNC machine tools work these days, threre's not much excuse for poor fit and finish at any price point.
  15. Zoa


    Dec 28, 2009
    Stingrays and P's are pretty far apart as far as sound goes. Go try 'em out. From the sound you linked, I'd stay away from Ibbys.
  16. bgressman82


    Mar 5, 2009
    there's more to instrument building than cnc machines. poor neck fitting, rushed paint jobs, rushed fret jobs, bad solder jobs, etc. any aspect of construction that requires man instead of machine can still be done poorly.
  17. ciubz


    Jan 30, 2005
    To me the punchiest bass i have is my 99' stingray 5, the less punchiest is my 62'ri jazz bass.
  18. radioface


    May 2, 2013
    P bass does it for me.
  19. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    You do see that he's playing a P-bass... right?
    how does he get that punch? It's how he's playing. He's a very good player and knows his axe. Period. It's in the hands.
  20. Hi SanDiegoHarry - Yeah, I actually mentioned that in my OP. I also acknowledged that articulation (RH technique) is a major factor, which isn't quite cutting it on my jazz bass.

    My real question is how do Music Man basses and P-basses compare? Any insight you care to share about the basses or pickups would be great. :)