What is tone?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Jrussblues, Jan 26, 2022.

  1. I’m sure this has been discussed before. I saw a recent thread about the age old arguments about tone wood vs fingers vs blah blah blah but I don’t think I’ve seen a solid discussion on what tone actually is.
    I don’t think it’s completely subjective.
    Any thoughts?
  2. jd56hawk

    jd56hawk Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Tone is what it's all about!
    mb94952 and bassballs27 like this.
  3. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    it's like porn, I know it when I hear it
  4. Lowendchamp

    Lowendchamp Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2021
    Shelton WA
    That's what everyone says I listen to and recreate is porno music.
    red_rhino, Holroyd and Killing Floor like this.
  5. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    It’s those boxes with the too bright LEDs, some of which are hand painted.
    HolmeBass and comatosedragon like this.
  6. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    It's all in the wood. :cigar:
  7. https_2f_2fcdn.evbuc_.com_2fimages_2f42366862_2f248723443374.jpg
  8. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Tone is when the bass, the amp, your ears combines with the ease of effort it takes to make likable music and blend with other musicians.
  9. GTHintz


    Jan 9, 2018
    Simply tone is the sound you make with your instrument. Good tone is where you have a set up and technique that works for what you want to do. Bad tone is obviously not having the right setup and technique to pull that off. It doesn't get much deeper than that. After that it's all about certain things and certain philosophy and the expirimentation of those things into the said equation. That equation being what does this sound like and what caused it? Answer xyz...
  10. Rib 13

    Rib 13

    Jun 20, 2006
    One of the three members of an 80s RnB group that all had the same name phonetically but spelled different
    Green Hornet, B-Lo, whero and 7 others like this.
  11. I thought Politics, Religion and questioning “Tone” we’re all banned from TB
    sonojono and Reedt2000 like this.
  12. JW56789

    JW56789 Guest

    Feb 18, 2017
    It's me (or you).

    Put me on a Squier 5-string and a small practice amp, or a 5-string Alembic through a big preamp/power amp/Bag End cabinet mega rig, gimme a few mintues, and on either one (and both), I'll sound like me. Always.

    I've played too many basses through too many amps to not know that this is utterly true. Granted, on nice axes and nice amps, I sound like a better me, but it's always there.

    'Me' is a five-string with nickel roundwounds, good cables, and larger amp with great EQ. I know what I like, and what it takes to sound like me, and that's what I'll steer towards when it comes to buying stuff. Not too much bass, not a searing top end, but enough clear to hear the strings in the mids and high mids. Solid.

    I totally think each of us has an embedded at a DNA level of what we think we ought to sound like. You can have a big pedalboard, buy any bass or amp you want, and sooner than later, we spin knobs until we hear 'me', and like snowflakes or each person's idea of a perfectly-cooked ribeye, it's totally different from player to player, and unique to each one.

    Buy what you want, play what you want, but sooner or later my 'me' or your 'me' always comes home to roost.
    Bassgeer, gaj98467, REV and 4 others like this.
  13. chris_b


    Jun 2, 2007
    Tone is a range of pleasing frequencies.
    REV likes this.
  14. pepj


    Mar 25, 2021
    Tone is making it work.
    So head, heart, fingers and gear are in tune with each other with the minimum of dissonance.

    Frequency is a just a huge variable to the above
  15. LetItGrowTone


    Apr 2, 2019
    Tone is a space in which I search for echos of past happiness in music, as my eyes would search a crowd for someone I once loved.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
  16. I have been chasing (my) tone for over fifty years and it is very elusive. However (my) tone is definitely Fenderish.
    JoePP and Green Hornet like this.
  17. Gonna play Devils advocate. What if you’re a solo musician?
  18. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    A musical or vocal sound with reference to its pitch, quality, and strength.
    Iristone, bassballs27 and Reedt2000 like this.
  19. so style is tone? or does style affect your tone? Or tone affects your style? Or does it all happen at once?
  20. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    May 17, 2022

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