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Sound Advice

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LuckyPants, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. LuckyPants


    Mar 7, 2008
    Hi forum.

    I realise this topic will have been approached across several threads but I figure it might be helpful to more than just me if I bring it up in its own thread.

    Bas(s)ically I've been playing for 9 years now but I am self-thought and my method of teaching myself was quite simply attempting to learn the 3000+ songs in my iTunes. It sounds dumb but I've turned into a reasonable bassist, with impeccable timing considering I hadn't touched a metronome before last November :rollno:

    Anyway - I'm wondering if someone could pretty much give me a tutorial on getting a good sound, in the simplest words possible. The problem is that I look at my amp, and my pedal and I have no idea what any of it means. It sounds dumb, I'm aware, but I'm clueless. My band sometimes ask me for more/less gain and I've no idea how to do that.

    I want a sound pretty much identical to this:


    Nick Harmer is definitely someone whose sound I'd quite like to replicate, his bass is glorious.

    I have a Fender Deluxe Precision Special, active going through a Peavey 700 Tour bass head (I realise Peavey are more famed for metal but it has tons of settings so is flexible) and a Peavey 210. I also have a Boss ME50b.

    I realise I'm asking a lot, essentially for someone to give up some time to explain some simple things to me. I appreciate any help greatly, thanks a lot guys :)
  2. nitetrane98


    Jan 6, 2013
    I'm a pretty much newbie on bass, and I play clean through the amp, but what I realized years ago was that trying to duplicate a sound heard on a recording is many times impossible to do live. By the time a signal is processed through who knows how many effects and then mixed and compressed by the engineer it's doubtful even the original player could duplicate it live. Guitarists are forever searching for the Holy Grail of TONE only to finally realize it is in the fingers and that you could literally take the guitar out of your favorite players hands and not duplicate his tone. I don't know how true that is with basses but I suspect it is somewhat true.

    But I think I understand what you're getting at. I'll be getting an Eden DC210 XLT soon and am already scared to death of all the knobs, whistles and bells. I won't be trying to copy any particular player. I just want a tight, punchy sound that you can feel in your chest. Fortunately for me that should be sufficient for 95% of the songs we play.

    I would hazard a guess that what you bandmates are really asking for is to feel the thump.
    I'll be following this with interest.
  3. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    For a sound like in the video, I'd go with a P-Bass, played with a pick, tone pot rolled back according to taste. Left hand muting is also a factor in getting the staccato sounding notes. So I guess you're already half the way there.

    When using a foreign amp I always leave everything flat and go from there. I don't know the Peavey head but it can't be that hard to dial in something, can it? Your bread and butter frequencies are in the low mids, 250Hz and upward. Cut some highs for a mellower sound if you like.
  4. LuckyPants


    Mar 7, 2008
    Thanks gents.

    I find it difficult to describe what I want in a bass sound and to be honest I think I get the sound I want 90% of the time but more through random twiddling than actual intention. I like a low heavy bass sound with a little pop. I play in a sort of anthemic indie band with a keyboard player and guitarist who quite like to play up high octaves so I like a low heavy sound to fill that space.

    But when it comes to adding distortion or whatever, I get afraid. The only thing on my Boss Me50b that I use with confidence is "bass boost" which I use to make the lows absolutely dominate when songs reach climaxes, it works really well. But otherwise, things like compression I'm clueless about and the fact that my amp has the EQ sliders, my pedal has 4 EQ knobs and my bass has 3 EQ knobs tends to leave me a little overwhelmed. Should I just set the knobs on two of these things to neutral and use the third thing to adjust sound?
  5. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    That depends on which EQ is the best, which in my opinion depends on the level of detail you can dial in. No harm in using all of them if each works at slightly different freqs but it's lots of fiddling. Personally I take my sound how it comes from the amp without any EQ but ymmv obviously. For starters I'd just use the amp EQ.

    For a nice grindy distortion you may want to emphasize high mids for clarity. I find that's where the grind sits, butq maybe you want more of a wooly fuzz? But maybe the disto in your boss ain't the best.

    Why not go window shopping for a nice overdrive? Most of them are easy to use and maybe the multi effect board is a big part of the problem in this regard. Imo they can do lots of stuff a bit but nothing they do really well but your experience might be different.
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