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The truth about your tone and what affects it.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Kwesi, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. I've discovered and proven that without a doubt, air, specifically the chemical composition of air in the immediate vicinity of a bass will drastically alter it's tone.

    The air in our atmosphere is primarily made up of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon, Carbon Dioxide and cat hair. That, however, varies depending on exactly where you are. The CO2 content will be higher in the chimney of a factory than the top of Mt. Everest. The cat hair content will be higher in a pet shelter than in your freezer. But, until now no one has actually attempted to see how those differences could affect tone!

    For the first test I left my car running in the garage and played through my Fender FMT through my Markbass/Bergantino rig. Admittedly, this wasn't the safest method in the world but I think mitigated most harmful effects by tying a tshirt across my face. For the second, I took my rig to a hotel and played on the roof. Granted these were only two environments but I think the results were significant enough to leave it there. In the garage my tone almost sounded like it was choking. It had a very muted high end and the upper midrange sounded strained. Really, only the lows and low-mids were present which made for a very tumpy sound without much definition. I would have continued my test but I think I passed out. On top of the hotel my tone sound much more open across all frequencies. Nothing was particularly emphasized or defeated. It sounded like a much more accurate representation of the bass itself.

    I hope this helps you all in decided where you play your gigs and what to expect of your tone in different atmospheric conditions.
  2. AcidFripp


    Jul 12, 2010
    You're not serious, are you?
  3. Did you even really have to ask?
  4. Humidity and barometric pressure have a bigger influence on tone than cat hair.
  5. TechJunky


    Aug 31, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    Air with dog hair sounds better than air with cat hair
  6. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Awesome post. Sadly, this will probably get closed, yet the other, similarly ludicrous, threads will go on and on and on...
  7. While these ideas could very well be true, they weren't in my analysis so I can't accurately comment on the significance or extent of their effects.
  8. jaibot


    May 11, 2009
    central new jersey
    cough lurking variables cough cough
  9. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    Whats the best air for metal? :)
  10. :eyebrow::D
    In all seriousness though, I have wondered how a change in air would vary tone. I mean, if you breathe in helium, you'll sound higher pitched. :meh:
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Jerzy Drozd is writing a book about this.
  12. hahahaha +1.
  13. Why, 0.0% O2, of course! ;)
  14. BrBss


    Jul 9, 2010
    Albuquerque NM
    And I think Bill has some SPL charts comparing the volume in various gasses ;)
  15. SactoBass

    SactoBass A retired civil engineer who likes all-tube amps! Supporting Member

    As a licensed pilot, I learned early on that cold dry air at lower altitudes is more dense (or "thicker" as I like to think of it) as compared to hot, high, humid air (the three H's) which is thinner. Air that is more dense transmits sound better. This explains why Rush is so good, and southern rock sucks wangus. It's colder in Canada.

    And be sure to check out the thread that discusses which shoes are best for bass (including sole types that enhance the lower frequencies):


    And what type of food to eat before a gig (including which dipping sauce to use depending on the type of music you play):


    This is the kind of information that all bass players need if they want to be successful. If you want to wow the audience, just get yourself an appropriate pair of shoes, eat the correct "bass player" food, and play where the air is cold and dry at lower altitudes. If it's going to be a warm humid day and the venue is up in the mountains, and all you have are hiking boots, and sushi is the only thing on the menu, you will need to compensate by making more radical facial expressions while performing to balance out the show and leave the audience speechless.
  16. Of course, I couldn't account for EVERY single variable but I think my findings absolutely prove the conclusion that I've come to. I had documents and other materials on the specific locations and process including the approximate content of the air in each environment, vacuum sealed air samples, weather and humidity conditions, play styles used and the settings on the bass and amp but a bird on the roof of the hotel must have mistaken the memory card for a blue potato chip and flew off with it :meh:. Needless to say, I'm quite upset that I couldn't share with you all the exact methods and specifications of the experiment.
  17. slaps76


    Jul 10, 2008
    Medford, MA
    And you should also have the right type of fuzz pedal for each type of climate. Which brings me to my question: what is the best fuzz pedal for ME?
  18. lamarjones

    lamarjones Supporting Member

    Aug 27, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    Beer also makes your tone better.
  19. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford

    Feb 15, 2008
    If you play naked, your ton is much brighter.
  20. when you tied the T-shirt over your face, did it cover your ears?

    lol sorry if I had done the experiment, i probs would have messed that up :p

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