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Overall tone, how much is bass and how much is amp

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Helbent Revenge, Mar 12, 2009.


  1. Helbent Revenge

    Helbent Revenge

    Feb 16, 2009
    Pretty straight-forward, how much of the overall tone is from the bass and how much is from your amp? I've heard that your amp is the majority of it and that you should look into buying a new amp before buying a new bass, and that the focus for spending money should be 2/3's on the amp and 1/3 on the bass.
     
  2. allexcosta

    allexcosta

    Apr 7, 2004
    60% strings, 40% everything else...
     
  3. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    Garbage in, garbage out...
     
  4. BiigM

    BiigM

    Nov 11, 2007
    Denmark
    IMO bass is most important by far. No fancy amp will fix the sound of a lousy bass.
     
  5. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Strings and on board electronics are 90% for the blindfolded average listener.

    Bass players are notorious for obsessing over an illusive.

    I've played a $10 pawnshop amp on one night.. $2500 rig the next night... comments were almost the same...
     
  6. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    The amp can only work with what the bass outputs.

    The bass can only work with what the strings output.

    The strings can only work with what the player outputs.
     
  7. IMO only 15% is amp

    that is if you're running a clean signal.. if its fuzzed up the wazoo or something like chris wolstenholm then that number naturally goes up by a lot.
     
  8. dannster

    dannster

    Aug 20, 2000
    Seattle,WA
    I've played plenty of cheap amps that sounded amazing.
    I haven't played many cheap basses that sounded amazing.

    IME...:)
     
  9. mothmonsterman

    mothmonsterman

    Feb 8, 2006
    A good bass can sound like crap through a crappy amp
    a crappy bass through a good amp can sound better
    crappy technique makes it all sound like crap.
     

  10. This has to be the greatest thing i have ever heard!
     
  11. Flintlock

    Flintlock

    Jul 3, 2007
    Southampton
    Depends on what amp and bass you have. The amp will only layer it's colouration over the bass tone, so a distinctive bass (thunderbird, precision etc) will be a bigger part of your tone then the amp in that case, but then a distinctive amp (ampeg, GK) will also do the same.
     
  12. lowselfesteem

    lowselfesteem

    Jun 24, 2007
    michigan
    I think it's worth mentioning that a lot of recording and live playing is basically direct (even without the player's knowledge) almost completely bypassing the amp or limiting it to onstage monitor. In those cases - the bass.
     
  13. yeah...+1, especially that last part.:bassist:
     
  14. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    it depends on the kind of sound you're looking for... some overly-processed or overdriven amp settings can mask the sound of the bass more than a more 'transparent' sound

    I think a cheapish bass can often sound great... but a cheapish amp rarely does.. so I think the 2/3 - 1/3 price ratio is probably about right...

    both have to be right... no point having a great bass and falling at the next fence by having a crappy, tiny amp

    but like the others have said, you can be a great musician and play a terrible bass through a terrible amp... your sound might not be awesome, but your musicianship (the important thing) will still shine though
     
  15. tapp01

    tapp01

    Apr 10, 2008
    Wilmington, NC
    Squier + SVT > Sadowsky + Behringer

    IMO
     
  16. Yeah, it depends just how bad or good the bass and amp are. If you got some very low quality 10w kinda style practise amp that someone had been trying to gig with and had everything on 11 then that'd sound awful with a hand crafted, custom built, 3k bass through it. On the other hand then if you put a OLP Stingray through an Ashdown MAG series amp, both kinda midrange gear, it'd sound a ton better.
     
  17. i'd say it depends on what kind of tone you are trying to get.
     
  18. Old school

    Old school

    Oct 30, 2004
    IMHO, amps are becoming irrelevent in both the recording process and live music at many settings.

    As noted above most of the music we buy was recorded directly to the board.

    Live music, at nearly all pro venues, is delivered from the FOH not the stage amplification, mainly by a DI off the bass and/or effects. This, coupled with use of in-ear monitering leaves the practical need for a stage amp out of the "sound chain" to both the audience and musician.

    I love my amps but mostly I play using a DI and in-ears, the amp on stage is either decoration and/or a safety blanket.
     
  19. Depends what music you play, micing bass amps seems to be having a revival in rock/punk/metal/etc etc music in studio and at gigs.
     
  20. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    UK
    this is why, at every gig where I don't know the sound guy, I seek him out in plenty of time and tell him I can provide him a balanced XLR out from my bass preamp that he can use... and tell him that he probably doesn't have to worry about any 'grit' in the sound, because that's my sound... and I've never, ever had a problem with this... usually they appreciate you making it simple for them and for being prepared

    I consider the sound of the preamp as much a part of my sound as my bass, and I don't see the point getting a great sound from the preamp and then being the only person that night actually hearing it...

    and i'm not some FX-heavy guy, but bass amps and various modelling preamps affect your sound in ways you can't get any other way... those distinctive sub-harmonics that distinguish certain amps from others, the way they compress when driven hard, and how your sound subsequently changes when you you dig in... these kind of things can't be replicated easily at the soundboard with your dry bass signal, a compressor and a bit of eq...
     

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