1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

When did "growl" become the new marketing word?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by zenrad, Apr 3, 2009.


  1. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    I'm pretty sure we didn't talk about growl 10 years ago, just about positive it wasn't mentioned 15 years ago. Nowadays all kinds of musical products are marketed that address growl in some way, from guitar pickups pickups (Gretch PUPs that have "just the right amount of growl") to bass PUPs, basses, amps, etc etc. No one ever told me that a GK head was "growling" in the 80's and 90's. Everything "growls" today.

    I'd love to know where this originated, where was it first printed. There are appearances of the words "bass growl" in older literature describing a dog's bark and soldiers' yells, but I can't seem to find anything before 2000 referring to instruments growling.

    BTW - none of my instruments have ever growled - they may have some low-mid presence with some upper-mids and sometimes even-order harmonics but they haven't before, nor will they ever growl. :smug:
     
  2. HooBass

    HooBass

    May 27, 2003
    NC
    I can't say when it was used in a "marketing" context, but I used it in 1983 when I described Geddy's tone on Moving Pictures. I have always presumed that others have used it before during and after that time, because it had (IMO, but I understand it varies from person) a natural fit with the sound characteristics being described.

    I personally have no problem if it's being used by manufacturers to describe the characteristics of their gear. As one who WANTs that characteristic, I'd like to know if the manufacturer thinks it delivers. Then I'll go try it for myself and see if they mean what *I* mean. Thus I can make an informed decision about what gear to try and ultimately purchase.

    HooBass
     
  3. There are many bass tones that do, in fact, GROWL!! I've used that term on more than one occasion.
     
  4. I use the term, but IMO it's overused lately(like the past couple of years or so). Additionally, it's another one of those ambiguous words that can mean one thing to you, another to me & that guy over there hates it & only uses it sarcastically.
     
  5. I don't use growl since it's such a vague term any more. I remember I was playing a Rob Allen at a guitar shop and some dude tells me, "whoah, dude, that bass totally growls like a Warwick!" I'm not bashing Warwick tone, but I can't think of any similarities between Warwicks and Rob Allens.
     
  6. peabody

    peabody Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2002
    La Crosse, WI
    It became popular after the phrase "plays like butter" was proven to cause heart disease because of high cholesterol content. "Plays like margarine" just never caught on....
     
  7. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Man, I remember talking about the growl with Rotosounds and SVT's back in the 70's.

    I do agree you hear it used more in sales materials for bass amps recently. My feeling is the term 'growl' is used more today since there are less and less people interested in using all tube amps (due to weight, price and availability) and there are now solid state amps that attempt to replicate that 'aggressive tube growl', which for some is seen as a possitive.

    When I hear an amp company talk about how there solid state amp 'growls', I know to stay away from it personally:D

    Just guessing.
     
  8. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I believe I have always heard the word Growl used to describe Rickenbackers.

    My P bass Barks, but I'm just not sure that that'll catch on.......
     
  9. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Racine,Wi
    I dont understand the term and I never use it. I've never heard a growl from anything sound like I want a bass to sound.
     
  10. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    WI
    Yeah, I never heard those terms until I joined TB. I have also heard rumbling bass. For me, I want my bass to sound tight, low, deep with a touch of high end. I don't want my bass to growl or rumble.

    blue
     
  11. stflbn

    stflbn

    May 10, 2007
    Nashville
    I think the trend to use growl regarding other instruments, amps or electronics started when genre's of music became so reliant on 'vocal growling' being 'cool'.

    And it's just another buzz word.


    .
     
  12. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    I don't know when it originated, but personally I've always associated that term with Warwicks.

    At the same time, it's just another example of why talking about tone is (to borrow from Elvis Costello) is like dancing about architecture. I've seen that term used to describe so many different products, tones etc that it doesn't have any meaning.
     
  13. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    Maine/Vermont
    Same here.
     
  14. thumpbass1

    thumpbass1

    Jul 4, 2004
    I think we old geezers have been using ' growl ' for a long time. I know I heard it being used in the 70's to describe the sound of the J-Bass among other terms such as 'singing mids'. I guess it does mean different things to different people, besides the notion that the definition also may change with each new generation of players; who even then find such descriptions of how something sounds to be elusive and more of a personal nature.
     
  15. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I distinctly remember being in a music store in Boston (on the east side of Mass Ave in between Boylston & Newbury, but not E.U.Wurlitzer's) in September or October 1978 -- so that's 30+ years ago -- and having some salesman tell me that if I was looking for a fretless bass with the best "growl" I should check out a Kramer.

    Irrespective of the wisdom of his advice, the term was around back then.




    I saw a recent post in another internet forum asking what the best guitar amp for growl was. I had no idea guitarists were even interested in "growl", and, considering bassists can barely agree on what it means I'll be damned if I can even hazard a guess what guitarists mean when they ask for "growl".

    Stupid words and their meaning...
     
  16. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ

    Exactly - while I don't doubt that the word was mentioned over the years here and there, it's now become a new marketing "feature". There's even a new MXR pedal with a "growl" knob on it :)

    And yes, even guitars growl now...

    "Now, with the TV Jones Classic, the vintage twang and growl are once again yours"

    "FRED humbuckers take the PAF Pro up a notch with more gain, mid EQ and overtones. It's a sound with more crank and growl. "

    "(DiMarzio Red Velvet ) More punch comes from the bottom-loaded Power Plate, the sting from custom coil-winding and the Blue Velvet magnet stagger, and a unique mid-range "growl" that's a result of a hand-calibrated magnet structure. "
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    "Jazz Bass Growl" - was a commonly-used term from the late 1970s onwards - it is only in the last few years on here that there has been any ambiguity about what it means!!

    If I had asked any bass player in 1979 - then there would have been no doubt what was meant by growl - and it only applied to Jazz basses - although you can get it on Tobias,Laklands,Sadowskys etc. as well as Fender! :)

    Much as I hate to do this - it's mentioned here :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Jazz_Bass
     
  18. dean owens

    dean owens

    Sep 23, 2008
    pittsboro, nc
    i've never heard the term until coming here a few months ago. and i've been trying to figure out what it means. apparently everything growls. and if everything growls, then i'm not really sure that anything does. it's an odd way to describe a bass tone to me.
     
  19. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
    Right, the point is not "was the word growl ever used to describe a musical instrument"

    but rather, when/how did it become the latest marketing buzzword?

    My question was:

    "I'd love to know where this originated, where was it first printed. There are appearances of the words "bass growl" in older literature describing a dog's bark and soldiers' yells, but I can't seem to find anything before 2000 referring to instruments growling."

    I don't remember seeing it in printed product literature before then. Yes, we used all kinds of words, I've heard growl, snarl, skronk, etc. but there is no "skronk" knob on the new MXR pedals :meh:
     
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam


    Well I was answering this part specifically - but growing up with the specific concept of "Jazz Bass growl", from when I started playing bass - I can't now think of it as being anything else! :p
     

Share This Page