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Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by GODSBASSMAN, Feb 24, 2014.


    GODSBASSMAN Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    When I hear the word "thump" my brain thinks "bass drum".
    Wiki says: Strong lows, sound you can feel, low frequency punch. Is palm muting creating "thump" ? Is thump a tone or more of a technique? What are your thoughts?
    Reading about flat wound strings and playing them I never heard a thump but they are referred to on TB as thumping often.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    "Thump" is a subjective construct that will mean something different to every person.
  3. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    I think of it as a percussive low frequency sound with a quick decay, like a bass drum.
    Flats can have thump but they can also have many things on top of it.
    Palm muting does create thump IMO.
  4. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Thump is mostly the result of playing style. Turn the amp down and pluck the strings harder. That gives you a big loud pulse on the beginning of the note. Then, the remaining note rings out at a lower output level. It's an aggressive attack curve, in technical terms. It doesn't necessarily mean that the note has no sustain; it just means that the note sustains at a lower volume level than that big initial pulse. That big thump is a big part of the character of an upright bass for the same reason; the strings are plucked much harder than is typical on an electric bass.

    With that said, flatwounds are usually better suited for playing the Thump style on an electric bass. They have a smoother frequency curve without the high end ring of roundwounds. The big pulse is more lows and mids, and the sustain is softer. But flatwounds won't Thump by themselves if you play them gently. You still have to pluck them hard to get that pulse.

    Palm muting can have a similar effect, but it isn't quite the same and it can be difficult to control. It's good when you need some quick temporary Thumping. But you'll get a better continuous Thump by turning down the amp and learning to pluck harder. That usually means a higher setup on the bass and different plucking technique.
  5. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    52-110 Labella Jamersons = thump.

    That, and technique.
  6. Jay2U

    Jay2U Not as bad as he lóòks

    Dec 7, 2010
    22 ft below sea level
    To my opinion thump is an almost sustainless low-frequency sound, with muted higher harmonics and a clear attack.
  7. when I use my thumb and mute with my palm , that's when I get the thump.
  8. Fat Steve

    Fat Steve The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

    Exactly what I think of as thump. Nailed it.

    GODSBASSMAN Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    First time I have ever heard - "turn the amp down and pluck harder". Hmmmm. :eyebrow:
  10. My thump-iest bass is a squier CV 50's p with GHS P flats and Lollar SCPB pup.

    THUMP !

    + 1 to turning down the amp and plucking harder... over the pup (floating thumb in my case) or closer to the neck...
  11. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    I always interpreted thump as being more of an issue of attack and release than tone. Heavy attack with little sustain and quickly muted release. But I'd also say tone as something to do with it, I can't imagine a thump that also has lots of high end zing.

    GODSBASSMAN Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    S. Carolina
    Excellent learning for me here. I think what has been confusing to me is the inclusion of thump as a tone. Looks like it IS a technique expressed in bass low zone just as slap is expressed in bass high zone. :O) "Now I see" said the blind man.
  13. I think you could safely say thump includes both technique and tone... They go hand in hand for me.
  14. phillybass101

    phillybass101 Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    Thump has a percussive thing about it. Tone has more to do with an aspect of the thump.