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What is "growl"?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by icecycle66, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. icecycle66


    Feb 4, 2009
    What is "growl"?

    Can somebody break it down into a frequency or audio texture based description?

    I've played jazz basses, p-basses, various basses of all manner. I know what they sound like, but I don't have a clue on what "growl" is?

    I have a G&L Tribute JB-2.
    If anyone can tell me how to dial in a "growl" on this thing, going through a Mini Mark II, I would really appreciate it. Just so I can know what you are all talking about.
  2. icecycle66


    Feb 4, 2009
    Okay, so there is this thread.
    (I swear I didn't see it the first time I searched for exactly "what is growl)


    The link everybody praises here is just a bass with the treble cranked and clicky strings. Is that "growl"?

    I would still like a frequency based definition of it and help on dialing it in on my gear. I'd like to see what all the fuss is about when playing with "growl".
  3. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs

    Though he doesn't actually address 'growl' in and of itself, adjusting and using the frequency bands in the way he describes them, for me at least, was a huge ear(?) opener. Once you get used to how the bands actually work, you'll be able to make a bass 'growl.'

    As for what it sounds like? Well, not to be snarky, but it sounds like growling. It really is onomatopoeiac. A growly bass has a certain 'grrr grrr' overtone when it's played. Usually growl and snarl go together, I find.

    TL;DR- It's typically in the low mids, 300-600hz depending on the bass, pickup style/position, strings, etc.

  4. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    You'll know it if you hear it.......especially on lower notes.

    Sounds like a growl,simply put.

    No growl:- note comes across as smooth basically.

    Growl:- note comes across as note played....but....there is an audible undertone that sounds like a growl.

    I was listening to guy tune up in a bar band the other night.......first thing I was going to say to him after he hit a few notes "Oh man.....nice growl!".
  5. Thundar

    Thundar Living in sin at the Holiday Inn Supporting Member

    Spector growl....the best kind :bassist:
  6. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    Basically, yes. I've never really understood why that sound is referred to as "growl". It's always sounded more trebley and burpy to me. Ricks are always described as having growl which again to me sound trebley and burpy. And clanky.

  7. The neck pickup is a more smooth sound. The bridge pickup has a distinct boost in the midrange. Not quite trebley
  8. No! You cannot eq growl in. Your bass/pickups do or don't. My P clone, none really. My MIA Jazz has some. I can dial in a bit more or less on it sure, but there has to be a spark. The EBMM HH stingray that I tried today, and will likely buy tomorrow ;), had so much growl I almost blew my pants! It's in the bass. Or it isn't.
  9. TheBear

    TheBear Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Growl is the sound that makes you break into a malicious grin and cackle. True story.

    IMO, it starts in your fingers and technique, and is further complemented by the appropriate bass, effects, amp and speakers. For me it's playing fingerstyle aggressively over the bridge pickup on Fender and Sadowsky into a cranked SVT or 400+.
  10. Martin89


    Nov 8, 2010
    Glendale, AZ
    Unofficial Endorser: Ibanez, D'Addario, Zoom
    Hot pickups and you dig in deep closer to the bridge and with a higher emphasis on the bridge pickup(or solo'd) tends to get you that "growl." If it's a single pickup like the P, usually the height of the pickup is adjusted to make it hotter and the tone is full on so all frequencies from your bass signal cut through. Most amps you run the master volume lower and use more of the gain for volume(GK, Acoustic, Aguilar, etc. known for it) and EQ to taste to cut through the mix and along the lines of what was mentioned by others. Also can boost "growl" by conservatively set fuzzes/OD's/Distortions, in a way it's not obviously an effect but just a boosted signal to aid in breakup from digging in deep. Might be more noticeable with pick but not necessary.
  11. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Just going by the responses here it seems that bassists have a very different idea of what growl is and how to achieve it.

    The clip in the What is Growl thread is what a J bass with SS rounds sounds like in my hands. No boosted treble (if anything, I cut it).

    For me it's a technique thing. In my hands, SS rounds on pretty much any type of bass played hard will get some growl out of it. Certain types of basses have different flavors of growl...P's do it one way, J's do it another, etc.
    Korsie7 likes this.
  12. bswag

    bswag Guest

    Dec 21, 2013
    ... and next, we can examine the complex relationship between "growl" and "mwah" on the fretless ...

    To further muddy the growly waters, I get plenty of growl (as well as mwah) on my ABG w/nylon tapes ... Amp not required!
  13. Korsie7


    Mar 6, 2014
    Growl is that cool tone and sound you get when you play an awesome bass.....