Want Unique Tone to Complement P and J Basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bgavin, Aug 31, 2002.

  1. I recently picked up a sweet Stingray 5. I was hoping it would offer a very unique signature tone very different from my P and fretless J basses.

    As it turned out, the SR5 is very "well behaved" in its tone. It sound like... well... a bass. It isn't a P, nor is it a J.

    Anybody got any suggestions?

    It does not have to be a 5-string. I'm kinda leaning toward going back to all 4-string basses.
  2. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    An SR4 should have a bit more "edge" as the pickup is closer to the bridge.

    Also, I think to get the typical Stingray sound, you have to crank up the bass and treble controls on it. Not sure though.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Stay away from alder/maple woods and single coil pickups. Look for something with parametric mid controls on the preamp


    How about a semi acoustic? or piezo's? Lightwave?

    have a look at basses central nw and alone and see what they have as they all stock exotic basses


    Failing that get a SR5 they are the bestest ever

  4. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    With your knowledge of amps and acoustics, bgavin, my suggestion is to get in contact with Larry Pollack at Aero Custom Pickups. Obviously, changing woods/construction aren't viable options.

    From my conversations with him, he seems kind of bored making pickups that have the "popular" tones that are the "currency of the realm" on recordings. Not that Aero wouldn't do a wonderful job, but doing something a bit different is always engaging.

    He told me that their clients don't order what are actually their best pickups in terms of giving you purity across the tonal spectrum because they sound "foreign" to most people.

    Larry may tend to get rather "techie" with your spec's.....(he may bring up "wraps", "wire type," etc). But I think you know much more than I and even I wasn't really intimidated.

    What do you have to lose since Lane Poor appears to have left the planet, anyway???
  5. extreme


    Mar 20, 2000
    Get a Warwick. Streamer Stage's are nice, the Thumb has a great modern tone, or the Jazzman models could also be cool...
  6. A regular guest bassist at my Thursday gig has a Warwick 5-string. Not sure of the model, but the tone leaves me cold. YMMV.

    I guess what I'm hunting for is to see if those more knowledgeable than I can bring up the name of another big tone monster. The P and J are very distinctive... I'm hunting for another one that is very distinctive, and fundamentally different from a P or J tone. Or, does that not exist?

    I was thinking the MM might be it, due to its pickup being in an altogether different location than either the P or J. Or... is the MM simply in the "well behaved" position?
  7. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Lightwaves, my friend. Lightwaves.
  8. bgavin, what do you think of Spectors? Or, Wals for that matter? Both unique, very identifiable, most definitely not P or J.

    As for the SR5, they can get pretty raunchy, though I find them to be rather nasty sounding when played hard - my favourite SR5 tone can be found on Steely Dan's _Two Against Nature_ - Tom Barney uses a SR5 with a maple fingerboard (is yours maple? I much prefer maple to rosewood on a SR5...) on some of the tracks, my favourites being "Gaslighting Abbie", and "Negative Girl".

  9. The Music Man 4's. The only other really distinctive tone in the pop world is a Rickenbacker. You can get a P bass to copy almost anything else (Dig up your copy of "Live at Leeds" to get an idea of where you can go with it). But a Rickie is a Rickie, and only a Rickie can do it. You might get an Alembic series 1 to copy a Ric, but only in a certain context, and it's still not it. Rickenbacker is all you have left, man. Might as well deal with it.

  10. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    old skool- he means Rickenbacker
  11. SPECTOR! I love my Rick, however, I think if you already have a P and a J, you've got the passive sounds covered and it would be good to add an active bass to the stable. Spectors can dish out some killer pop/rock tones.

  12. Well, active is a good way to boost the tone of your bass, to bring out a particular apect of it. But what the instrument has "in it's soul", or it's own integral sound, is the more fundamental issue: What does it sound like acousically, and when delivering it's straight-up, unenhanced inducted signal? Once you have a fundamental sound, you can do a lot with it! IMO, a Ric has "that other" classic sound- very distinctive and it's own self.

  13. barroso


    Aug 16, 2000
    i say you are ready for a rickenbacker!
  14. Well that's a pretty subjective one B!

    But I think your on the right track, I chose a Stingray 4 myself with those very same thoughts in mind. It turns out becoming my Slap stick, a role it plays v.well. Both the Fenders, well the Jazz, does a good slap impersonation but (for me) the flatter board on the SR (11 inch) just makes it easier to play in that style. As you well know, there are a zillion instuments out there claiming to be unique, but to my ears, it's a Pee Bass, or a Jazz Bass, then maybe the SR (for slap) and maybe something like the Ric's that are not for everyone, but do have a unique tone. Beyond that Bruce, it's all in the fingers anyway!!

  15. I suppose you could end up thinking of a bass as an unfinished pencil. Let's look in our pencil-box:

    Leo's pencils are Fender (so many!), G&L, MusicMan...
    Then, Rics
    Travis Bean
    S.D. curlee
    Burns of London (Ampeg)
    This list is too long. You'll run into something.

  16. Mine is a 1999 model Stingray-5, maple board, translucent purple finish over ash (pretty sure). Strings are a fresh set of EB Slinky, standard size. Fresh battery.

    I have not yet learned to slap, but would like to do so. I'm also thinking about moving entirely back to 4-string basses so I can downsize my stage rig to less cabs and less power.

    Last November I attended the Dude Fest and had the privilege of seeing and playing more high end basses than could ever be gathered in a single shop. I played them all through a Pandora headphone amp, and found the Wal and the Rickenbacker Tuxedo to be the most in-your-face tone. I had my RB5 at the time, plus numerous other J's, Wals, P's, etc to compare.
  17. I too am primarily a 4 stringer B,

    My Stingray is a Trans Teal with a rosewood board and does a super job as a slap stick. That style is fun and was interesting to learn. It's obviously very percussive and dynamic play a large part. There are a few tricks you learn along the way that give you that "that's how they did that" feeling when you discover them. The key (for me) was to play the lick or groove as slowly or rather only as fast as I could do it cleanly, then slowly increase the metronome or drum machine till I could bring it up to tempo.
    Warwicks Bass Survival 101 http://www.warwickbass.com/basssurvival101/
    has some good tips like the rake, etc....that will help you along as they have a short video showing what the instructor is taking about.

    Also B about the downsizing of the rig!! Same boat for me, I'm 47 and have used almost everything out there at one time or another. I just purchased an EBS HD350 and 2 Bergantino HT 112's Very Sweet!
    One works great, 2 are a Mini Monster stack
    Have fun!
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    If you think a Stingray isn't that much different from a Fender, then I suspect you won't think a Rick is all that different either. So, I would suggest a graphite-necked instrument... the Modulus Quantum IMO is very different from a Fender. As mentioned above, for an even more radical departure, combine the graphite neck with Lightwave pickup... Zon offers LIghtwave/graphite, and I believe Modulus does too.