Tones That Are Sought After

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Russell L, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Now, before ya's go and beat me up, I'm not here to bash any brand, especially Ampeg. But, it's the Ampeg sound that I hear so much talk about all the time, everywhere I go. There's a reason, I guess---folks like it, including me. BUT...aren't there other tones that are also sought after as much? I know there are for me. I love my Markbass tones, including my Markbass speakers. I love my Fender tones, my Trace Elliot tones, and my SWR tones.

    But, now, as far as tones from the distant past, surely not all those recordings were Ampeg tones. So, what else is REALLY sought after by others? Any discussion on that? Be nice, ok?
  2. bertbass666


    Mar 6, 2009
    If you go back far enough then for studios here in the UK, Wallace was the No. 1 choice.
  3. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    A ton of old recordings is a bass into a mixing board. But those boards had a character all to them selves. Maybe some slightly overdriven tube mic pres are what we hear in classic records.
  4. A good chunk of those old recordings would be "into tubes and onto tape", which is certainly going to include aspects of compression, often to the point of overdrive. There are a variety of ways to get those tones.
  5. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    I love the vintage acoustic tone, think jaco and john paul jones.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Gallien Krueger seems to be fairly sought after
  7. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    Thats true, a lot has been debated about james jamerson's tone and the ampeg b15n. And I have no idea what jaco used in the studio.
  8. Jaco and Jamerson both recorded primarily direct, most of the pros did and do record direct; it is the superior sound as far as I'm concerned. :)
  9. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Well, I thought this might be the kind of responses. do we connect, say, the Ampeg tone, or GK tone, or whatever to what we've been listening to on recordings? I admit that what got me started on this thinking is when I hear so much talk of Ampeg. Then, I got to thinking that it must not be the only tone that is coveted. But, if so many recordings were done direct, what is it that we are trying to emulate?
  10. The Ampegs you see on stage are basically being used as monitors so the players can hear themselves. Tone is in the hands. :)
  11. Boot Soul

    Boot Soul

    Feb 10, 2009
  12. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    Endorsing Artist: VF Cables, Dirtbag Clothing
    So are you using a 100 watt crate combo ? May as well if tone is in the hands right ?
  13. 100w combo would not be loud enough to be heard over the other musicians in my band; YMMV.

    Nothing wrong with Crate.
  14. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Yes, yes there is!
  15. Well some artists do mic their amps. But in general, don't fall into the trap of thinking Person X plays amp Y therefore I will buy one to sound like X.

    Amps have characteristics in EQ, compression, distortion and then a range of tones dependant on its features (EQ, gain structure, onboard effects, etc..) A certain amp will give easy access to a range of tones. A certain brand will share characteristics of those tones. Other amps will have a lot of cross over but have its own sonic palate. Effects pedals can help one amp emulate the characteristics of another. VT Bass being a great example. Put one of those before a "transparent" amp (one with minimal distortion and flat EQ) and you'll get reasonably close to "the Ampeg tone".

    Its an interesting question.
  16. I've played Crate as provided venue backline, and it was fine.

    The audience heard my bass through DI into the PA.
  17. I absolutely loved the tone of my Bassman 135 & Fender 215.

    It's a shame it couldn't get loud enough for my band, but its sale did help finance my SVT & 810 purchase so I guess all is not lost.
  18. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    No Crate (owned by SLM/LOUD) could ever be as good as an Ampeg (owned by SLM/LOUD) ;)
  19. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    A'right now, no fussing, ya'll.

    I have never owned Ampeg. But, I get to play a bud's vintage VR and 810 once a week, and sometimes on a gig. By itself, it's one of the nicest tones I've heard. Then, one night I played my Little Mark III through that 810. Well, all I can say is it was awesome. But, it still had the same vibe, surprisingly. It's all about the built-in mojo of that cab, I think. Oh, it did sound different, but the cab adds a lot of its own vibe, too. I didn't expect that. Comparing that whole Ampeg rig on a gig, in a mix, to my Markbass rig (including two 151P cabs) was a different story. I had a hard time getting the Ampeg to cut through, whereas my Markbass rig did it easily. Of course, some of that is due my better familiarity with my own system. Nonetheless, it was interesting. At another gig with the Ampeg I was able to hear it better.

    Going back some years, my old Peavey Mark IV head had a good bass tone, as did my Combo 300. Probably the best tone came from my Trace Elliot, until I got my Markbass. Although, the Markbass is different.

    A big surprise came one day when I played a friend's son's cheap Ibanez bass through a Peavey TKO combo. Heh, heh, dang thing sounded nice and thumpy.

    Even my Fender Bassman 25 has a good bass tone.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that we each have our preferences, and that it is interesting when some things seem to be more popular, as in the Ampeg tone thing. I see it and hear about it so much. Not complaining, just that it's interesting. Oddly, at least on this forum you don't hear as much praise for, say, the modern sound, or the midsy sound, or many other things. Any lurkers in the background out there?
  20. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    Folks here seem to think I have a midsy tone based on my rig, but I find it nice and even. I find most other bassist's tones too flabby, so perhaps relatively speaking mine is midsy, although I've seen many a mixing console live and in studio with the bass guitar's mids pinned up, need it to sit in the mix right. With mine the DI needs a little mid boost because the cab is a little snotty, but I've noticed most techs don't eq the cab mic much at all.

    Getting back on point, I maintain that most of the signature Ampeg tone comes from the SVT preamp, the rest can be substituted for cost/weight/size etc and still have a compelling vintage tone, which is exactly how I roll. My preamp is as much my instrument as my axe, I play to its saturation and break-up characteristics.