Punchiest-sounding basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by phxlbrmpf, Sep 14, 2003.

  1. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    A while ago, I started getting fed up with my Ibanez ATK 300 (Japan-made), until I realised that it might just be one of the most punchy-sounding basses around! The bass player of a band that played a gig with us a while ago (their music was pretty heavy, and he played a Washburn four-string I hadn't seen before and used a neck-through Warwick Streamer as his backup bass) simply couldn't believe how punchy this "beast" was.

    What basses out there are equally or more "mean"-sounding? I hear the tone of most graphite-necked basses can be pretty gutsy, is that true?
  2. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Punchy = Stingray!

  3. Maybe Warwick

    The tone still puzzles, yet intrigues me.
  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    To me, punchy = stingray or P bass. Warwicks can be considered punchy too.
  5. flywheel


    Jul 9, 2003
    Shawnee, KS
    Everyone on here that has read any of my threads knows I'm a HUGE Stingray fan and this is why...b/c they get that "punchy" tone that really cuts through a live band mix even in a band where the guitar player is always told to "turn down!"

    I've heard some Jazz and P basses that cut through the mix in live settings quite well also but I've never owned either b/c of the "L" bridge that they both have. I feel it yanks all the sustain out of what is otherwise an extremely well built bass. One of these days I'm going to customize a P bass with a badass bridge and bassline pickups and get the sound I desire (I hope).
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
  7. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com
    I think punchy is very subjective. There are a lot of basses I consider punchy and while a stingray is a great sounding bass to me its not one of the punchiest. My point is that everyone has a different idea of what punchy is. Also everyone’s idea of punchy is different because many play through different rigs which are also colored differently and has a huge affect on the end result.

    To do a true test, strip down everything to an amp and flat response cab and plug straight in and play. Even by doing this you will come out with different opinions. Its like asking, what is the best fretless :)
  8. punchy = Warwick "the sound of wood"
  9. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    By doing this, one name will rise head and shoulders above all the rest.

    That name is...SADOWSKY!

    any other opinion is just flat wrong:D
  10. Brian Barrett

    Brian Barrett

    Nov 25, 2001
    Murfreesboro, TN (Nashville)
    Dealer LowEndBassShop.com, Builder LowEndBasses.com

    Very good example of an opinion.

    Because if I chose 5 basses the sadowsky would not be in the top 5 for sure to me :)

    PS. they are nice basses......
  11. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Punchy in what way?

    In some way a Wal can be quite punchy; in another way a Warwick; or you can even say in a third way a P would be the punchiest. It all depends on subjective opinion of a bass or the definition of punchiness.

    Now is PERIOD! :p
  12. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Yea, I couldn't help but notice when bass player mag. did the big "ultimate 5 string shootout" none of their "Pro's" put a Sad. in the top 5 either.

    BTW I'm still lovin' the Tobias Classic 5 I got from you about a year ago. That deal is still the standard of service and trust by which I judge all others.
  13. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  14. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    Punchiest? Who will ever truly know? Punchy enough to be in the hunt? In my experience Stingrays, P-basses, Warwick Thumbs, and at least one Peavey Cirrus I've played rate high on the list. One that surprised me was a Ken Smith I heard a guy play at a local church. I ussually think of Smiths being thick, smooth, and somewhat mellow. This one was "pow!!"

    My Hanewinckel is the punchiest of my five basses. That includes a Fender Jazz that I'd rate third of my five on the ol' punch-o-meter.


  15. todd 4ta

    todd 4ta

    Apr 3, 2003
    If you're talking punchy as in 'punch in the gut', I would say the Pedulla Thunderbolt or Thunderbass with the thunderguts switch on. Whatever EQ point that switch boosts, it's the right one.

    And Stingrays!
  16. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    Hmm, good point. Exactly what is "punchy"? I think I'll just describe what I like about my ATK.

    It really cuts through and all notes are cleary distinguishable from each other.

    I like spicing my bass lines up with deadnotes (even deadnots have lots of "omph" on that thing) and other percussive effects, and the ATK is great for that.

    It has lots of bottom (particulary strong in the lower mids, so I find) that goes well with our drum sound, is great for laying down a solid groove, and has no problems keeping it up with our C-tuned guitars (I use B E A D tuning, by the way.) It never sounds muddy and has more than enough clear highs for brighter stuff and a great slap tone.

    I like to dig in pretty hard, which gives the bass a bit of a "growl" that curs through the mix like a knife through butter, and a unique voice, even when I play very low notes.
  17. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    true :bassist: .
  18. I remember seeing King Crimson on the "Three of a Perfect Pair" tour. Tony Levin played a pre-EB Sting Ray through Yamaha 2x15", Yamaha PB-1 and power amps. That sound almost shook the Pier in NYC into the water!! No one I've seen or heard has come close since. My 1985 G&L L-2000 is almost that good.

    The thing these basses have in common are heavy bodies, thick necks and humbucker pickups.
  19. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I guess this suits my definition of punchy, hence my earlier comment on the Stingray. I guess I've put emphasis on the mids and treble.

    Seems like to others, punchy has more to do with massive bottom end, 2x15"s and rattling houses off their foundations, pant flapping lows that hit you in the chest.

    We should start a poll.........
  20. Another thing to consider is that some of us may be "punchier" players than others. A lot of what "punchy" really has to do with is the way you play the bass. for instance. Plucking with a light touch over the neck pickup and playing notes that sustain a long time, is not a very punchy way to play. Plucking down near the bridge and using a little left hand muting increases the punch of your instrument a great deal.