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Where the your idealized bass sound in your head come from?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by n1as, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    I suspect we all have it - the idealized sound of bass. In our minds we picture a bass tone and then go about swapping gear, adjusting technique, and tweaking knobs trying to get it.

    But where did it start? What was it that shaped your idealized bass sound? Was it a particular band or maybe a single recording? Or maybe a whole genre of music?

    And have you been able to get your gear to produce it for you?
  2. The first one ever that stuck in my head was from the intro to the "Andy Griffith Show"... :)
    fig and n1as like this.
  3. I listened a lot to Jamerson, Jaco, Rocco and Geddy growing up. Mix those 4 together, and that's more or less my ideal tone.
  4. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    For me it is the mellow rock sounds from the mid 70s. Carol King. Ambrosia. Atlanta Rhythm Section.

    Ironically the bass sound I usually dial in is more like a burpy smooth jazz thing than the warm thick pillow from back then.
    Fretless1! and Humbled like this.
  5. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    I know it when I hear it! Actually, "hear them"... I have several ideal sounds in mind.
    ajkula66 and n1as like this.
  6. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I have no idea. I just adjust my amp until I what I think is a decent sound.
  7. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    It seems to depend on what day you ask me.

    I've traditional preferred the nice round thump of the mellow rock stuff (Drift Away is probably a good example). I like the way the nice clean tone site under distorted guitars - the tone differences seem to compliment each other.

    Recently, I've become enamored with trying to emulate the SVT/Mesa thwank, and have had a bit of success. Mostly same gear, just addition of a Tech 21 pedal and a change of EQ settings.

    Each have their places IMO and I can move back and for the with a bit of a twist of my tone knob.

    Who knows what I'll be chasing tomorrow....
    Mvilmany likes this.
  8. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Easy: seeing Charlie Mingus playing unamplified upright bass in a small club. And no gear is ever going to produce that for me. Yel_wink.gif

    But beyond that, I like the idea of every jam or gig sounding different.
  9. bwildt


    Mar 21, 2017
    Wichita, Kansas
    Most people are products of their era. The bass in my head '60s-70s top 40 pop, rock, Motown, Stax. Jamerson, Kaye, Osborne. It's fat, tasteful lines done on a P or a J neck pickup.
    n1as, Fretless1! and fig like this.
  10. Motown sound for me. If my rig can do it, I'm a happy camper. Not for some genres of music I've played over the decades, but that's where my preference is.
    corinpills and RustyAxe like this.
  11. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    I never tried to cop someone else's tone, I just did the best I could with the (mostly) crap gear I had to fit in with whomever I was playing with at the time. These days I want a full good sounding amp and a clean signal from my bass to the amp, and I do the best I can to fit in with whomever I'm playing with at the time.
  12. ajkula66


    Sep 23, 2016
    Pretty much this. I could name a dozen (at least) players whose sound I love, but would never want to sound anything like any of them, since their sound(s) wouldn't fit my music.
  13. rufus.K


    Oct 18, 2015
    No idealized tone here.
    Tabula Rasa each day
    db59 likes this.
  14. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Barney. ;)

    You know, the children's TV show, whose theme music had a certain bass tone, kind of dull and rubbery sounding. I called it the "barney bass tone." For several years I dialed in that tone and left it there, to see if anybody would notice. Finally, someone did. They said: "You have that real book casual gig tone." The jig was up.

    These days, my tone is: Fretless, flats, and p bass pickup in the neck position.
  15. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Chillin' n Grillin' on the Best Coast
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    Way back in the day, in olden times, before FRFR, xmax, hpf, little-loud-low were even a twinkle in @agedhorse 's eyes, we low enders struggled with amps /cabs that were too muddy, boomy and maybe even not too bassy, I heard Peter Cetera on Chicago's first album, CTA, especially on the songs I' m a Man and Liberation.

    Check out Liberation 20s in. Pete plays a glissando down the E string while they're warming up. FYI: if you really want to know why they were known as a rock band with horns, give a listen to the rest of the tune (headphones strongly suggested). :thumbsup:

    Playing with a pick and straight to the board, Pete was probably a P. He got such a clean(even dry) tone that just sat in the mix so well, perfect for a 7 piece rock band with horns.

    Welllll, since I started on guitar I continued playing with a pick, full open pups, closer to the bridge, I did not care for the P bass nut width so I went with Hofner/Kustom 2x15 JBL. Then Fender Jazz/Sunn 2000s 2x15 JBL.

    Always as clear and full as I could get my tone, maybe not the loudest but it didn't matter as I too played mostly in horn bands.

    Btw, the Sunn 2000s carried the low end just fine in a jams or the 3 piece rock 'n blues band I was in for awhile. :thumbsup:

    Don' t get me wrong, I lubz a good P tone but the J was my main player for a a long, long time.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020 at 6:59 PM
    fdeck likes this.
  16. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I have just never gotten over Paul McCartney’s sound and the way it fits so perfectly in the mix. And I LOVE Chris Squire and a Geddy and all sorts of non- McCartney tones, but my heart belongs to that thud.
    terlewine, fig, Stumbo and 1 other person like this.
  17. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, erstwhile reed man Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    All the jazz guys of course, but primarily for me it's the sound of the instrument itself, unamplified in a room with just enough natural ambience.

    For double bass the struggle is to get the amplified output to sound like the unamplified instrument, just louder.

    For bass guitar I'd be hard pressed to say, but I always go direct for recording, and prefer a FRFR sound on stage. I've never wanted speakers to color my sound. I want the full range of expression available at my fingertips.
  18. Put on this album & you'll hear it:

  19. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Bruce THOMAS from Elvis Costello & The Attractions. Pump It Up, This Year’s Girl, stuff like that.

    Plus, the Stax & Volt stuff, 60’s-70’s pop. Herb Alpert, Chicago, the studio players pop from that era.

    Later on, the Southern Rock era of Marshall Tucker, definitely the Allman Bros, and even more recently, the rock revisitation of Young Country from about 2010-2015. Terrific and minimal playing keeping me focused on staying solid & steady w/just enough color to make you play the song twice.
    Jeff Elkins likes this.
  20. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Man, EVERYWHERE. Seriously, I listened to everything from rock to funk to jazz to country and all points in between. It's a struggle, but I try to find a balance between nailing all the DIFFERENT tones in my head, and not being a nightmare for the sound guy. I leave my amp EQ alone. And I usually run passive basses. But one minute I'm using the side of my thumb over the neck, and the next I'm picking near the bridge.

    I wish there was ONE sound in my head. That would be EASY to nail. :D

    That being said, a P bass and an SVT gets me there every time. I can certainly get great sounds out of ither gear. But that's the pinnacle for me.

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