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Where is the source of grind?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Visirale, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Let me preface this by saying that I am happy with my current gear and I don't really plan on selling anything. I am not opposed to adding something else, be it a bass, head, preamp... whatever. I'm just after another tone in addition to my current one.

    Ok, first here is an example of what I'm talking about. I know the music isn't going to be up a lot of your alleys, so just fast forward to 0:09 in. It's a perfect example of what I'm looking for.

    What is the source of the grind? Liam Wilson (the bass player from the song I listed) did an interview with Bass Player a few months ago and he was using an Ampeg SVT-VR with G&L ASATS and Spectors and a sansamp BDDI. In the interview he attributed most of the growl on their latest album to the spector.

    I'm happy with my head and I can't wait for my 810 to go with it. It nails warm, tubey, and distorted if I want it, but still not too much grind or growl. Is an all tube power section needed for the grind? I wouldn't mind adding a Mesa Bass 400+ into my arsenal.

    Do I need a grindier bass? Would I be closer to the tone I'm looking for with a Spector, Rickenbacker, Thunderbird, or otherwise "growly" bass?

    Perhaps that grind comes from the Sansamp. I had one before and didn't care for it too much, but maybe I didn't play around with it enough. Maybe an RBI or RPM in the effects loop of the titan?

    I am pretty sure a big part of it is playing with a pick, so I guess I'll be picking that up soon.

    Sorry, I know this is a lot of questions, and not all really deal with amps, but I know you guys the best and value your knowledge!

  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Everybody's got their own ideas about it. Overdrive, roundwounds, heavy plucking, boost to the mids or upper mids, etc. or any combination of those.
  3. If you throw some nice steels on your Stingray, you should get close to that tone. just boost your highs plenty and you'll be there :)

    oh, and digging in hard always helps!
  4. Rick Auricchio

    Rick Auricchio Registered Bass Offender

    And he conveniently ignores the mountain of processing that the studio engineer can apply to get the bass tone on the album? Engineers have all kinds of tricks, including running the recorded track out to an amplifier and re-recording the result.

    You can never assume that you'll ever match your live tone to what's on an album. Everything is different: your bass, your technique, your amp, its speakers, and your band mix. Once you get to band volumes, even the room is an integral part of the sound.

    Good luck, but don't hold your breath.
  5. new strings (Ernie Balls more so than others IME) and a pick.
    I've inadvertently achieved that tone too many times to count now with:
    2 P basses
    2 J Basses
    1 Thunderbird

    Because of that I don't use Ernie Balls anymore, (switched to DR high beams) but I don't play as much either so I can afford to use more expensive strings with far fewer string changes.
  6. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    Have you tried the sadowsky modern, played hard with a pick, through the titan with some grind on it?

    That tone is what I always think of with a spector through an SVT, but the Sadowsky modern + Titan isn't that far off. That tone has tons of high mids (2k range), attenuated high highs (5k on up), fret grind caused by playing roundwounds hard on a low action, and plenty of compression.

    The first thing to try if you're not getting it is a BDDI.
  7. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    I have never thought of using a pick with the modern. Didn't even think of that... it's supposed to be all clean and pretty and Ken Smith-esque. But I kind of see how it could work.

    I really need to look into a compressor. Apparently it's a huge part of a lot of sounds I like, but I can never seem to get one to really alter my tone that much...

    Thanks though, that gives me a great starting point.
  8. bnutz


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles
    The tone on the recording sounded to me very SVT-like with some compression added in the studio.

    You shouldn't have too much trouble getting close with your MusicMan. I've got a '75 SVT and have gotten similar tones with my MM and also my Jazz bass.

    I wouldn't worry about compression too much if you're thinking about it purely as part of your live rig, but you may also want to check into an overdrive pedal. I use a Fulltone Bass-Drive and have been really happy with it in to get tones from mildly grindy to super crunchy overdrive.

    I love the tone my amp overdriving (the best OD I've ever heard), but live, it's generally impractical- To get the sort of grind I like, the SVT would have to be running close to ear-splitting levels (or at least levels that would piss off the rest of the band and the sound guy).

    I've also used the SansAmp BDDI, but feel like the Fulltone is a little more natural. Although in a live situation, I run the Bass-Drive into the BDDI direct to front of house (if the sound guy won't mic my cabinet) because of the amp simulation feature of the BDDI.

    Hope this helpls some.

  9. anonymous278347457

    anonymous278347457 Guest

    Feb 12, 2005
    My Spector sounded like that when the strings were still new and I played really hard.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    "Huge" is dependent on perspective and context. If a recording engineer is describing what made the biggest difference from their perspective, they might indeed say the compressor they used was a "huge" part of the sound. But generally speaking it's not compression per se that alters the tone, it's the coloration and frequency emphasis/de-emphasis of specific compressors that can alter the tone "audibly" or "usefully". Most of the time you can expect disappointment because most compressors do not provide enough tonal alteration to be even a minor part of the desired sound. Check my FAQ for details.
  11. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Yeah, that's the vibe I get whenever I actually try out compressors. I can't tell enough of a difference to justify the expense. Many people say it's a big part of Stuart Zender's tone (about as polar opposite from Liam's as you can get) but even when I'm doing that kind of playing... I just don't see it. Maybe I just need to understand them better before I can reap their benefits fully :). I've read your FAQs several times (great job, BTW) just never come out of it thinking "Man I really need a compressor now!"
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, I've gotten a lot of people asking which comp to use for Zender's tone, and outside of some super-high-$$ studio comps like the Distressor, the closest I've gotten was actually a Yamaha Magicstomp modeling some of those studio comps- the modeling was super exaggerated in its tonal coloration.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    That really shouldn't be all that difficult to cop. Sounds to me like your typical overdriven tube amp with a treble boost. I'll bet I could match it with a VT pedal and a two-pickup bass.
  14. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    In that clip I hear him really digging in very hard on those roundwounds. that has a lot to do with it.
  15. Geddy Claypool

    Geddy Claypool SX J-75/Traben Neo 4 -> SVT-CL/SVT-810E

    Aug 3, 2008
    That sounds a lot like a Sting Ray signature tone.
  16. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    if it's dillinger it's a g&l, so your stingray should be able to get that tone no problem. adding a 400+ isn't going to accomplish that. hell, if i could get my 400+ to sound like that i would have never sold it.
  17. +1. Also, boost the treble.
  18. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Cool. I need to try out the VT pedal. I have a store credit at bass central... and it would help me cop the ampeg sounds when I need them!

    Looks like it's time to put rounds back on the ray.

    Thanks everyone for the advice so far, I'll try some of these things out and let you know how it goes. It sucks that my amp isn't at my apartment though :(. Once the 810 gets here I'll leave that at the practice space and leave the 212 here and just move the head between here and the practice space.
  19. Thats a really nice grindy bass tone! Really like that.... there were bands getting this tone in the 80s/early 90's.....reminds me of that sort of shellac/jesus lizard tone (which I believe is down to a traynor solid state amp from the 80's) - theres no rocket science behind it....no boutique equipment.

    Active bass treble eq cranked would help get this...but I'm sure this sort of sound can be obtained with passive basses....as other have mentioned, fresh bright strings, a pick, and crank 2k and pull out 400k on a gritty amp. Maybe even look at good guitar amps.

    Also, really piano like basses (perhaps some higher end ones) may be less suitable that some old beater with grimey sounding pickups.

    My main bass is a spector and it is aggressive. I'm playing a lot more with a pick now to get tones similar to this because of the attack.

    I'd be interested to know what the actual signal chain was on the recording (including mics etc)
  20. levis76

    levis76 Seconds from getting ba...

    Apr 14, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    Some compression will help keep things even while your really digging in on those strings. Use a fairly stiff tortex pick and let it grind against the roundwounds just a bit. Drive the tubes a bit and boost the high mids. You won't match it exactly, but close is good. :bassist:

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