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The P Bass Growl

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Buskman, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Yes, another Precision thread... :rollno: LOL

    Just wanted to get everyone's opinion on what components you feel make up the mystical "growl".

    I'm thinking it has a lot to do with upper mids - am I correct in my assumption?

    Do you find your P growls more with flats or rounds? Fingers, pick or both? What tweaking do you do (if any) to your amp to enhance it? Or do you prefer little to no growl at all & are more of a straight "thump" fan instead?

    Also, feel free to give examples (songs, clips etc) that support your take on it.

    Discuss... :D
  2. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    To me, the jazz bass growls a lot more.
  3. It's the gnomes.
    s4001 likes this.
  4. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    The Jazz definitely growls for sure, but I like to think of it as a different growl altogether than that of a Precision (the whole apples/oranges thing).
    davedblyoo likes this.
  5. peledog


    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    I don't think I'd define it as a growl. It's more of a thump or fart. It's as if the low-mids were hollow. LOL Hard to describe. I think the J bass gets more of a growl.
  6. musicman666


    Sep 11, 2011
    IT IS THE GNOMES!!! I've seen then...they live under the pup covers!
  7. tabdog


    Feb 9, 2011
    I pluck hard and close to the bridge
    and I like low action so the frets
    growl. The settings depend on the
    bass and the amp. Just too many
    variables there,

  8. Bill MacCormick in 801 live, and Phil Manzanera solo albums had that 'growl' you are talking about... A white P Bass belonging to John Wetton... really had that growl and thump in every track... 801 - listen now and K-Scope...
    I think it's the position, split coil humbucker thing that no other pickup can quite achieve ;)

    edit: and Rounds...
  9. depalm

    depalm Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
  10. lorianb


    Apr 10, 2011
    I think the Jazz growls, but the P barks and bites.
  11. paradog


    Dec 25, 2011
    Central NJ
    sorry but what is this growl you talk about? I do not own a p-bass...send me one and I will answer your question!
  12. justinellison3


    Nov 9, 2012
    Anyone who says this has never played a Fender bass...
  13. paradog


    Dec 25, 2011
    Central NJ
    played and own a Fender Jazz....it was a joke:bag:
  14. SunnModelT


    Nov 13, 2008
    I think the "growl" is more an amp thing. A tube amp with the mids boosted. Then season to taste. (I do use flats with a pick)
  15. hsech

    hsech I'm not old, I'm just seasoned. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    I think the "growl" come from the amp settings. I have an American Standard PBass and definitly like the sound. You go from sounding like hitting a wet cardboard box with a hot dog to getting a good blues or rock sound. My PBass just sounds different with different amps.
  16. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    I go for the type of sound Pino Palladino has with his P-Bass... smooth, punchy, sort of a 'pillow' under the band. Not 'growly' really, but he does turn his tone knob way down/off to my knowledge... not to mention the big 'ol Thomastik flats on there. I turn my tone up a bit for more articulation, and use lighter gauge flats, FWIW. I always just think of a P-Bass as 'thick'.
  17. Buskman


    Apr 13, 2007
    Jersey Shore, USA
    Cool - keep it going, peoples!

    I'm actually in-between sets at a gig, and the aforementioned growl is definitely present!

    Fender Am Std P5 through a Markbass 121P combo, D'addario nickel rounds, both fingers & pick (depending on the tune). Nicey-nice... :cool:
  18. kander


    Feb 3, 2007
    I've nailed my personal P growl: stainless steel rounds, low action, pluck with my fingers just behind the pup, boost the low-mids on a SVT.

    The location of where I play makes the biggest difference for me. Playing over the pup gives a kind of muddy sound and the growl isn't as pronounced.
  19. WannaJazz

    WannaJazz Supporting Member

    May 7, 2010
    It's in the fingers.

    The way you attack the string to control the development and decay of the note.

    Also in the fretting hand, a softer pressure there gives a softer, jazzier tone. (Think white knuckles for growl)

    A round wound string is more 'expressive' as well.

    I prefer nickel wounds. They're easier on my wrinkled, aging fingertips than stainless steel wounds.
  20. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    IMHO "the" classic P bass sound is a P bass wearing flats with the tone knob rolled back somewhere around mid-range, a little tube warmth but otherwise very little to no coloration from the amp and cab - or no amp and cab at all.

    I play an Am Std P bass with TI Jazz flats. Tone knob on my bass is set somewhere between 5 and 7 on (an imaginary) scale of 1 to 10. Fingers only unless I'm playing surf music. Ampeg SVT-7Pro or SVP-PRO with mid freq set on the "2" notch and mid level very slightly boosted - about 1:00, bass & treble flat. Fearful 15/6 cab. Or if the house PA is good AND the sound tech knows what he/she is doing I don't even use my amp - I just play through an ART Tube preamp directly into the house PA and enjoy the sound in my IEMs.