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Smooth jazz bass tone?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Seriouscat123, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Seriouscat123

    Seriouscat123 Banned

    Jun 26, 2013
    I know its kind of broad but does anyone know how to get a smooth jazz bass tone? Most songs I've heard sound really deep and booming. I have a standard p bass and an amp with mid bass and treble, any suggestions? Smooth jazz like the kind that used to be on the weather channel.
  2. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    How about Autumn Leaves

    First get the chord progression

    How to play Autumn Leaves is all over the Internet. Search and see what comes up.

    Have fun.
  3. barebones

    barebones Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2005
    Denver, CO
    He was asking about the tone, not how to play a tune.
    Groove Master likes this.
  4. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I would think he's asking about tone.

    If I were to play smooth jazz I would play what I play now. P bass with flats, preferrably something with more complex mids like TIs. Roll of some treble (either amp or bass) and adjust the bass's setup to reduce clank and fret noise. Playing less aggressively will contribute to that buttery sound. Adjust low mids and bass to taste on your amp.

    It's not very adventurous but smooth jazz isn't supposed to be. Works very well for all kinds of other music too.
  5. Nick303


    Jun 9, 2013
    In reply to the OP I do 2 things when playing Autumn Leaves, a beautiful tune which requires a really gentle bass tone. First roll off the tone about half way or so to trim out the treble. Secondly I position my plucking hand over the end of the neck so that each note is as soft as it can be. Don't turn your amp down or anything, just play it with a soft feel.
    Hope that helps.

    *edit* yeah flats help too, I use em.
  6. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Most smooth jazz bass tone sounds like active basses. There's an emphasis on lows, flat mids, and some snappy highs that add articulation to the sound.
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  7. Cycho


    Nov 30, 2010
    Flats, EQ, and technique should get you close.
  8. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Weather Channel? Get a fretless and put way too much chorus on it. Then don't play anything nearly as cool as what Jaco would have done.
  9. Caca de Kick

    Caca de Kick Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    We have the Smooth Jazz station on nearly everyday at work.
    It's a very scooped sound, with a very clean amp, and basses with dual pickups (J bass types galore) for that tight snap.
    If you look up any of the modern bands played on the station, you'll see 99.9% use dual pickup basses. You migh find one guy with a P Bass, but hardly ever. No, they're not using flats either, tons of snappy slap & pop that only rounds give. It's about tight control of your playing.
  10. Smooth Jazz Player

    Smooth Jazz Player

    Nov 4, 2014
    wow, i been asking and wondering myself how to get that sound. one guy on Youtube said to turned down the mid really down or off. have you received any info on the question, if so can you please share them with me?
  11. Smooth Jazz Player

    Smooth Jazz Player

    Nov 4, 2014
    wow, i been asking and wondering myself how to get that sound. one guy on Youtube said to turned down the mid really down or off. have you received any info on the question, if so can you please share them with me?
  12. If you know the names of specific guys who are playing what you like, you can email them or contact them through social media and a lot of times they are happy to answer your questions. I've corresponded with several high level players on Facebook, email etc. My drummer set up a lesson with Will Kennedy of the Yellow Jackets just by talking to him after a gig and then emailing him. They are "generally" not unapproachable... Especially the jazz players. They want to see the art grow and are willing to help you in most anyway they can.
    Oldschool94 and SteveC like this.
  13. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    "Caca" nailed it...
  14. bass12

    bass12 And Grace, too Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    A lot of smooth jazz guys use basses equipped with soapbar pickups (think MTD or Smith).
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  15. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007

    Scoop the mids out of the amp. You can get pretty close with just about any kind of bass
  16. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Mid scoopy. But forget EQ, just get a jazz bass (70's pickup spacing) with rounds, play over the neck pickup. That'll get you there.
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  17. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Nathan East (Fourplay) would be a great example of "smooth jazz" tone. He uses an active, dual pickup, 5 or 6 string bass. I'm thinking there's a bit of compression going on as well.

    They are quite approachable. I had a lesson with Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets) and he was totally cool and down to earth.
    Oldschool94 likes this.
  18. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    Personally,I prefer the tone one gets from listening the the History channel, which is second only to the Food Network.
  19. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    They need money, now that there is no more Smooth Jazz.
  20. AndrewFord


    Aug 11, 2012
    Los Angeles area
    Endorsing Artist: Line 6, TC Electronics, Yamaha, Elixir Strings
    Having played a bunch of it with many artists I would say Marcus Miller is at the root of a lot of contemporary smooth jazz bass concepts, also more recently Alex Al who both use primarily Fender Jazz style basses with preamps, any number of high fidelity amps will suffice, primarily with cabs using 10 inch speakers with horns. A sound SWR created but many have reproduced
    Oldschool94 likes this.