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That sound in your head...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bassdude15, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    I am experiencing continuous frustration at not being able to produce the bass tone I hear in my head, getting close, but never quite nailing it!
    Have any of you achieved your tonal Nirvana?? What is it like??

  2. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    It is heaven I went through so many amps and cabs looking for "that" sound but the very first time I plugged into my Mesa it was like whoa!! that's it fell in love that second.
    jazzyvee likes this.
  3. RumbleSteve


    Dec 3, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    I get close, but not completely there. My best advice would be to explore not only combos, amps and cabs, but also strings, effects, and basses. Really, finding that sound in your head comes down to finding the combination of gear and EQ. I have always found that the sound of new strings brings me closer to what i want, but has too much twang, as they ware i adjust my EQ to make up for loss of twang. All in all, I'm in the same boat, still looking for that perfect sound.
  4. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    I don't pay much attention to tone, honestly. I know that's not a good thing, getting my technique fine tuned is a much bigger concern for me. I figure once I'm happy with that, then dialing in the tone is a cake walk.
    organworthyplayer337 likes this.
  5. lw319111


    Feb 17, 2014
    I always think that as well, but when I play a gig and listen back to it. I find the bass sounds better than I though. So keep that in mind

    Lucas Willeford
  6. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I hear voices in my head!
    But seriously? The sound I aim for has always been slippery. It has as much, or more, to do with the sound I am trying to blend with than an 'ideal tone'
  7. Slade N

    Slade N sunn #91 AZ Bands #?

    May 28, 2005
    the sound in my head is tinnitus
    FronTowardEnemy likes this.
  8. zakedodead


    Sep 8, 2013
    Sometimes if I move my head around too fast I can hear a faint rattle
  9. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I've achieved the tone I like, and it's in the fingers more than anything. It's mostly technique in my case I guess.
  10. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    I'm tempted to say that if you have good equipment which is capable of covering a wide tonal spectrum, then finding Nirvana is more a matter of getting The Sound from your Mind to your Fingers. This would entail having the fingers follow the mind, so if, for example, you always keep your right hand in the same spot- well, let that sucker wander! Left-hand variations might also ensue. (Swap if left-handed!)

    Recording introduces a whole different sack of woe to the picture; my attempts at home recording convinced me that there's very good reasons for engineers and producers to be well paid, and for dedicated recording studios to exist.

    Still, perhaps the key is having The Sound You Want firmly in mind (allowing for your technical abilities at present), and to just keep your fingers looking for it (including any technical advances)- if you've got The Tone in the head-bone, it's got to leak out the finger-bones eventually! Meanwhile, you may discover some other tones you like too, and the sound of The Tone may grow richer as a result.

    It's not always a matter of buying more stuff. Jimmy Page got some awesome guitar tones by putting a little Supro amp in a hallway or whatever- and by, you know, being Jimmy Page! Which do you suppose was most important?

    YOUR tone is in you- keep playing till you get out of its way!

    [Apologies if MY "tone" here is insufferably pseudo-Cosmic Debris/motivational-speaker-ish, but you get the idea.]
  11. Clef_de_fa


    Dec 25, 2011
    I find it futile to reproduce a tone you heard on a record ... God knows how many things they did to that bass track ... which is so ridiculous at some point that completely kill my interest for the tone of any instrument as long as it doesn't make my ear bleed.

    I find it more important what you play and your emotion than the acutal sound used to make that music come alive.
  12. Bassisgood4U

    Bassisgood4U Banned

    Jan 30, 2014
    I've found tone heaven. I like a burpy, but clean sound from what I play through. The easiest way for me to get this at home, is Q switch off, bridge pickup solo with tone set at about 3...then switch to both pickups on when I think it starts sounding too squeaky.

    The amp I play through(Peavey TNT160)..I have most of the highs cut off. You don't need them as much with an active bass...especially an Alembic. The bass eq is on about 7, while the mids are a little over 6. This way, there's absolutely zero noise from my setup..while still achieving the tone I want most.

    If I ever need a bigger amp, it will most likely be another Peavey, but with more watts. The TNT160 can keep up with a 100w tube head and 4x12 cab, without distorting.

    What's best about this setup...is that I can plug my active bass into the high gain with no electrical overload. Maybe that's due to the amp and bass both being low impedance??? I don't know much about all that.
  13. Amara

    Amara Fumble-Fingered Beginner

    Jan 13, 2014
    Yes, but it's my playing, not my equipment, that's the barrier.
  14. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Tone heaven for me is easy - a passive Jazz bass into a Sadowsky pre. Done.

    If it's in a band with distorted guitars, I add some distortion on the end for some grind.
  15. There are two sub-threads here for me. With my GB STM-900 and GK Neos, I am very close to getting a live approximation of "The Tone In My Head". For those interested here it is (just try to ignore the provocative pics, and focus on the bass...):

    Curse you Alan Anton and (probably) your engineer/producer, as well!!!

    The last obstacle to TTIMH is the grind/"clangy-ness" of the E-string on my Midtown. It's actually not too bad on the higher frets. I stuffed some foam in the bridge, but it's still not TTIMH.

    I am told it's just a matter of time until the GHS Flats age properly (less than 2 mos. old). So I have cranked up my practice time (good for me!).

    Meanwhile, I actually had given up on TTIMH. When I bought the GB, I decided whatever I could get out of it would be "My Tone".

    Anyway, I have realized that what is TTIMH, is not necessarily the tone in my band-mates' heads. With either of my basses (Trib L2500 or Gibson Midtown) I can dial up a variety of decent tones which are different from TTIMH, but still good.

    At this point, I'll just work on my technique, play whatever I can get from it, and be happy with it. "Don't worry, be..."

  16. Bassdude15


    Feb 26, 2013
    I would say my "tone heaven" is rich,deep, and thick, but still maintaining clarity, and TONS of growl. Something like an old Thunderbird with TI's into a nice tube amp-only problem is Thunderbirds don't have enough frets(26 is my preferred number). Arghhhhh!!!
  17. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    I had the same experience when I bought an alembic and my trace elliot felt like it was strangling the tone out of my bass. I found a mesa boogie rig at a shop. set all the controls flat and bingo I could hear all the tone I wanted from my bass. Now I'm pretty confident I can find any tone I feel in my head when I need it. It's a great feeling when you sound just like you want to sound.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  18. Nope not consistently there are a lot of factors involved especially locking it down live. acoustics of the rooms are different everywhere. Sometimes I think I have it nailed in that room one night and the next time I head to my phone photos( I keep a amp settings photo for each rooms acoustics) and what sounded amazing a month ago sucks tonight. Then I throw in the fact that I am playing 10 different basses. So in my quest I have now started taking shots of what bass sounded great with what amp setting. 46+ years playing bass tonal Nirvana is all smoke and mirrors ha ha ha
  19. jazzyvee


    Aug 11, 2012
    United Kingdom
    In responding to my own posting, I might add that the above is true when I'm using my own gear. So do have issues getting my tone when the back line is provided by the venue or the PA company which for most gigs is an ashdown bass rig which is not good for me. Over the past year I've started carrying my own bass head in these situations to give me at least a fighting chance of getting what I want in terms of on stage tone.
  20. OldDirtyBassist


    Mar 13, 2014
    I saw that youtube vid on all the different Jazz basses(MIA MIM, MIJ), heard the sound of that '95 MIM and just had to seek it out. Found one, and sure enough the same tone was there. Thank you Fender.

    Now I need a burpy sounding reliable amp to run it through.
    toberoo likes this.