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What Sound Are You Going For?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by musicman5string, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    I'm new here at TB, and I'd like to take a poll of the players here about:
    What kind of sound do you go for?
    Are you into Dave Holland's sound? Scott LaFaro's? Ray Brown's? Marc Johnson's? Paul Chambers? How about John Patitucci or Jimmy Garrison's?

    Now, here's the thing: Don't respond "MY sound"....because we're all striving for our OWN sound...but some sounds really speak to us more than others and I'd like sound examples that inspire you...

    For example, I love all the players' sounds I mentioned, plus alot more. But, I decided at some point I liked a steel string sound as opposed to gut, with medium action, as opposed to low or high, and liked alot of sustain on my notes, as opposed to "short" notes. So the sound I describe, to me, is pretty close to the Dave Holland/John Patitucci sound.
    However, I'd give a toe to sound like PC any day. However, when I used gut strings, I still didn't sound like him IMO.

    I guess it also depends what style you play; for me, I play mostly standards and post bop tunes with alot of modern (Shorter/Metheny/etc.) in there. That sound works for that.
    If I was playing in an Ellington tribute big band maybe it wouldn't work so much...maybe it would (I've played in alot of big bands with that sound, just held the notes alot shorter).

    So, what are you going for and why?
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated....

  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My sound... :p

    Hah, seriously I'd be happy with any of those names you mention and I dont see why we can't take parts of what everybody does and try it out...?
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Different groups and styles of music to me call for different sounds from the bass, so i try to play what the music seems to be calling for. That said, in general I prefer a modern sound which is a mix of some of my favorite players on certain records:

    Patitucci on Lynne Arriale's "Long Road Home" album.
    Ray Brown on "The Red Hot Ray Brown Trio" and "Bam Bam Bam".
    McBride on Joe Henderson's "Lush Life" and Benny Green's "Greens".
    Drew Gress on any number of recordings.
    Scott Colley on Luciana Souza's (sp?) "North and South".
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Crap, I don't know. I don't really think about it in those terms. I just want to get a big, round, warm, bouncy sound that projects well and sings, I pretty much feel I get that.

    And I try to get that out of any bass I play. Although I gotta say it was kinda hard to get to on that Englehardt with a thin "fake" bridge and a thin maple fingerboard that I played when I was visiting my buddy Matt....
  5. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I pretty much get the sound that I get and, no matter the setup, I eventually get some version of that same sound. I think it works for about everybody this way. I learned this early on, having a horn player for a father. Every new mouthpiece would change his sound for about 3 days until he'd compensated (against his will) and was back to getting the same sound.

    In a longer term, your taste and the way that you 'hear' your own voice can change. In my case, since I've gotten so heavily into the bow I can get what I need from a darker setup as the vocal element of the sound that is missing pizz exists with The Stick.

    I would like the vocal quality that EM gets with the bow, but not his sound. Just my own version of that 'singing' thing that he has.
  6. Do you mean Edgar Meyer Ray?
  7. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
  8. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Yea me too. Except I'm not there yet.
    Yes. I can see that over the horizon and it's enticing. More time in the shed for me to get there.

    As I consider this question it brings up other questions like "What are my influences and how exactly are they influencing me?" Do I want to emulate someone or are they really more of a roadsign or map position on my path to discovery of my voice.

    In general I gravitate towards a "dead guy" sound (as Nnick puts it). When I hear the sounds on my 50's and 60's Jazz recordings that is the beacon I head towards.

    Sometimes I wish I'd have started playing DB seriously sooner. The distance between the myself I hear and the Ray Brown infected sound I hear in my head is still vastly apart.

    Of course I and those cats live(ed) in different worlds and are influenced by completely different things. My voice is influenced by things that didn't exist when Ray Brown's voice developed. I don't really want to sound like Ray Brown exactly. I want his voice mingling with the voices of the Rock/Country/Classical/R&B voices that have occupied my head for decades. The soup that comes out should sound like Phil with all the ghosts of the old guys rich with the dimension of all the music I've loved all my life.
  9. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Based on pure sonic qualities, I'm really hearing Sam Jones's tone right now. I don't sound like him because I'm not willing to go the gut route.

    As far as playing,

    Ray Brown for walking, Butch Warren for general hard bop ensemble playing (Sam Jones as well), Mingus for expression, composing, arranging and band leadership, Andy Simpkins's, 12/8 feel.John Clayton for soloing, Christian McBride for everything when he behaves himself (by my definition this means leaving the Waahhh pedel at home and playing straight ahead).

    I have a million other influences, but I don't think that was your question. I definitely have my own sound, tonewise, not necessarily because I heard it on a record and found a way to reproduce it, but because I loved my bass when I played it, I picked strings that were the best compromise for me, I settled on the pickup I hated the least and am using the amp that I think is the best portable/affordable/reliable and sonically for me right now, but I'm never settled on these things.

  10. Pcocobass


    Jun 16, 2005
    New York
    Who wouldn't want to sound like Ray Brown?;)
  11. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I can't imagine.
  12. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Did I really write that? I'm to stupid to live.
  13. I wanna sound like Dick Smothers.
  14. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    You mean like the 'Let me show you how squeeze fish' commercial that's running on AM radio right now?
  15. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I definitely go through phases.

    Right now my favorite is Drew Gress. His tone is huge and warm with some serious attitude and edge.
  16. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Listening to a lot of the 50s and 60 records, it sounds like a lot of the best bassists got the worst mikes :-( On the other hand, Mingus played so powerfully that you can almost always hear that gut sound. Ray Brown comes through on a lot of records, too.

    I love the recorded sound Brian Bromberg got on Wood. Charlie Haden, on the other hand, often has a recorded sound that reminds me of a muted P-Bass.
  17. Reuben


    Aug 8, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY






  18. Everyone's mentioning bass players so let me throw in a favourite that isn't - Dex - thick, authoritative and assertive - fabulous and about the only thing I don't want to copy as a bass palyer that is, is playing a mile behind the beat :).

    Although Dex's tone is thick and rich, it's also focussed - concetrated into a narrowish band. If it were more spread it would lose some of its asertiveness. If a bass tone is very spread I think you not only lose that but are in danger of losing hte clarity the rest of the band needs to give foundation to the overall sound if nothing else.

    BTW, I agree with mje that Haden's lauded tone is nothing to write home about in most recordings. Talking of which, Marco Paniscia posted his web site details here - check his tone out!
  19. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I want a sound with some crazy snarly midrange that is still acoustic as hell, but cuts straight to your bone.


    Aug 26, 2005
    Its nice to see someone recognize Butch Warren-- definitely also one of my favorites. IMO, along with Wilbur Ware, Butch was one of the best accompanists Monk ever had--- these two bassists had the same sense of time and space as Monk. And they said as much with their space as they did with their notes....Butch started to make a comeback 2 years ago, working some duo and trio dates around WDC, but he has really been in a very bad way lately. Its a shame.

    I liked Ray Brown for walking too, but Milt Hinton and Sam Jones were also master walkers who employed lots less cliche' than Ray....George Duvivier was in that class too, but rarely is he mentioned. He had a huge percussive sound and was a great inventive soloist. His work with Bean is largely forgotten these days. Ditto his recordings with Sonny Stitt and Nat Adderly