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You play closer to the bridge or the neck?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Chinchano, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. Chinchano


    Jan 18, 2015
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm always curious to see what other players prefer with this. Naturally, it seems like my hand just feels more comfortable when I play closer to the neck pickup and I like a warm sound. But I notice A LOT of people play closer to the bridge. Why is that?
    blindrabbit likes this.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Like most players, I use the entire area from the bridge to the neck to get different tones. :)
  3. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    mostly play more towards the bridge - usually between two pups on the backside of the bridge pup. Get a little more attack and clarity when playing with fingers. The closer to the bridge the more attack. Sometimes right next to the bridge to get real "bitey" - that crisp stacatto Jaco sound.
    When playing jazz on the fretless I'm over the neck pup - gives it that rounder cushy "bloom" sound more like a stand up. Sometimes play over the fretboard to give it a real standup sound (old Gibson Ripper frteless w/ halfies).
    But like Mushroo sez: different placements give different sounds.
    yakmastermax and Chinchano like this.
  4. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    The closer to the bridge you play, the brighter the tone. Depends on the sound you want/need.
  5. Mostly toward the middle or thereabouts, elsewise, towards the neck.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  6. Play with a pick and palm mute so i'm always at the bridge.....
    Thehound likes this.
  7. vmabus


    Nov 1, 2013
    I mostly play over the octave for a thicker tone with more sustain.
  8. My natural preference is playing near the neck (plucking and/or picking), pickup blend 80/20. I like the warmer sound with a slight bite. I play near the bridge for a brighter tone for higher strings when doing octave jumps, so my hand is usually spread out during those times.

    There are songs I'll play near the bridge for a brighter attack, and may blend in more bridge pickup. I'm attempting more of a mid-to-treble-range sound to cut through the mix.

    Slap bass is near the neck with more neck pickup. Just a tone preference. But I'll slightly boost the treble either with my on-board EQ or amp.

    None of these techniques are set in stone, as I'll make nuanced changes depending on my choice of bass, the song, the final mix coming from my band, and the venue I'm playing at.
    nerkoids likes this.
  9. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    On a P, I always anchor my thumb on the pickup and never move from there.

    With my other basses, I play all over the place. Literally from close to the bridge to on the neck and everywhere between (why I love ramps). I play where the song calls for it.
  10. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    End of the neck for boom, over the pickup for punch.
    Matthew_84 and nerkoids like this.
  11. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    I think a lot of players play at the bridge PU because they see others do it and/or like the tone but probably aren't doing it for comfort. YMMV.
    the way a bass hangs, it doesn't seem like my hand falls naturally there; I play over the neck always.
    but the main reason I do it is because of the string flex in that region. stiffness in the string near the bridge doesn't allow me to feel things right.
  12. the_stoot64


    Mar 8, 2015
    I play all over for different tones. Especially since I don't use tone pots, I move closer to the neck for less brightness.
  13. thabassmon


    Sep 26, 2013
    New Zealand
    I use the entire area between the bridge and neck for different tones, couple that with different techniques (thumb, fingers etc) and dynamics and you have a multitude of tonal options at your disposal.
    It all depends on what I am trying to achieve.
  14. Chinchano


    Jan 18, 2015
    Atlanta, GA
    I will admit playing closer to the bridge seems to help out in the mix more
    hintz likes this.
  15. Chinchano


    Jan 18, 2015
    Atlanta, GA
    Naturally my hand ALWAYS falls closer to the bridge. Really just a comfort thing I guess.
    Gnal and Zooberwerx like this.
  16. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    If you need crisp, well articulated notes that stick out in the mix, then play back at the bridge. I use this position when I have to do a run in unison with the band or the guitar player, or I need a distinctive bass line to stand out.

    If you are playing a ballad, and you want the notes to be rounded and full of bass, then play near the neck.

    If you are on fretless, and you really want the the bass to whine, then play at the neck because this makes the string vibrate more against the fingerboard at your fretting finger, creating that mwah sound.
  17. hintz


    Jun 5, 2014
    wahiawa, HI(Oahu)
    I used to always play by the bridge, but now im more in between both pickups most of the time
  18. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Wherever I feel like it.

    You should do the exact same as me.
    ScarfFace likes this.
  19. strictlybass_ic

    strictlybass_ic Mediocrity is a journey

    Jan 9, 2014
    Northern Indiana
    My default/natural is over the neck pickup on your typical jazz layout bass. But, depending on what I'm doing that may shift up almost onto the fretboard, or back to just in front of the bridge.
  20. Most of my basses have two pickups so I typically rest my thumb on the neck pickup and play between the two which would be closer to the bridge. I do play above the neck pickup occasionally when I want a mellower tone.

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