Your approach to tone

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Drop1, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. Drop1


    Mar 28, 2019
    Just curious. Everyone has their own way of doing things.
    I'm always hunting the next sound looking for inspiration in all genres.
    I find interesting sounds everywhere.
    Could be a synth line in a movie, an old classic, a tuba or piano, or the sound of a jackhammer or side grinder while I'm at work. I love exploring texture.
    My approach to tone stems from the production side of things. I like my instruments to be super clean sounding. As clear and uncolored as possible. Neutral pre amps and bright pickups.
    The thinking is that you can always make it dark, add dirt or distortion, eq or compression. You cant remove those things from an instrument though. This gives so many more tonal directions. Making an ultra clean instrument sound vintage is relatively easy where making a vintage instrument sound modern and clean is a far harder task.
    If most of you picked up my bass and plugged it straight in, youd likely think it was far too bright and boring sounding.
    There no right or wrong. People like what they like. I'm just curious as to how the community approaches their favorite sounds.
    Ampslut and Wasnex like this.
  2. sears

    sears Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2005
    ec, md
    I hope I can use more or less the same tone on every song and work on my technique to make that possible. Especially right, plucking, hand discipline.
    thebreakman, gebass6, Tad and 5 others like this.
  3. bass40hz

    bass40hz Cigar smoker, scotch drinker, American Patriot Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Richlands, NC
    Growl, grind and girth, a big fat bottom end with cutting high mids. No thump or low mids. METAL \m/
    Rock on.
  4. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    retslock likes this.
  5. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    11 o'clock on bass, 1 o'clock on the low-mids, everything else at noon.
  6. Warpeg


    Jun 20, 2005
    1. Define technique needed
    2. Choose adequate gear
    3. Play
    Old Blastard and Spidey2112 like this.
  7. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I don't have a tone. I have always been able to find a sound I like from any amp, and that's what I care about.

    So if I have a tone, it's described as "any sound I like."

    Solid state? Class D? Tube? Hollowbody? Semi-hollow? Solid body? 30" scale? 32" scale? 34" scale? Electric upright?

    I play all of those. The only constant is old flatwound strings, except where they aren't, which is on the electric upright and one of the others - I forget which.

    And I suspect that there are a lot of others whose "tone" simply equals "whatever sound I like that day."
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
    retslock, rufus.K, Troy Eggen and 5 others like this.
  8. AboutSweetSue

    AboutSweetSue Guest

    Sep 29, 2018
    Flats are my tone. It’s the one constant.
  9. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Like I imagine a lot of folks, tone is somewhat of a moving target for me and will depend greatly on whatever my current project is. When I was doing jazz, I kept it real simple. After trying the half dozen pedal approach, I found that streamlining and just having the bass set up for one basic tone that gets modified by how and where I pluck. I used this approach for my last cover band as well (never needed any more adjustments than the tone knob on my P bass, my plucking position and a little EQ.

    Moving to a little heavier cover band, I bringing back a few pedals to gain a little color (kind of enamored with that SVT / Mesa Boogie "thunky" tone right now) and have a couple pedals that approach that sound with my tone rolled up - when I roll the tone off, I get a warmer more "traditional sound so it's still pretty simple, just a little different. I did convert to flats on my Ps moving from rounds, so all my basses use flats now.

    Ask me the question in a few months and you might get a completely different answer - it's just one of those things that is always under scrutiny for me.
    retslock and Troy Eggen like this.
  10. Ric5

    Ric5 Inactive

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    I like full frequency response and some distortion
  11. Mordamir


    Oct 19, 2018
  12. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    I like to start with a relatively clean pallet and then season to taste. Dial it up nasty for hard rock or clean and thumpy for country, etc.
    Old Blastard likes this.
  13. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Forgive me, I was in the wine business for a long time:

    Pallet: A wooden device for moving goods from one place to another.
    Palette: A small board on which painters put paint.
    Palate: The roof of the mouth, also, the sense of taste.
  14. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011

    My approach is pretty similar to yours. I wear ER15 ear plugs when I perform, which darken the sound a bit. I compensate by making my stage tone even brighter. The idea is for me to be able to hear myself as clearly as possible at the lowest possible volume. For most of my career I have used a small cab elevated and aimed at my ears.

    Now the bright tone I use on stage has nothing to do with what I send FOH. Normally I plug my bass into a quality DI and run the tone controls flat. So the audio tech gets a neutral unprocessed sound from my bass so shape however is desired to fit in the FOH mix.

    I generally I work with a full PA that has separate monitor mixes for each musician. If someone needs a little more bass on stage, the ask for more bass in their monitor.
  15. I’m big on one fresh roundwounds and using my hands for tone. As far as the bass and amps I like quality stuff that sounds good with minimal tweaking and that’s articulate enough to translate what my hands are doing. Of course mainly playing heavier music a good overdrive pedal is always nice to have. For me with pedals. Overdrive is a big “tone” thing but other pedals are more so for fun, a little salt and pepper here and there.
    juancaminos likes this.
  16. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I strive for accuracy... I'd rather have someone tell me, "Dude, you nailed those songs!" as opposed to, "Man, your tone is awesome, but...".

    When they leave you hanging, it hurts down to the rounds.
  17. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    The room defines the tone as much as the gear. But the gear comes with knobs & stuff to fix the room.
    retslock, Bunk McNulty and smogg like this.
  18. EQ set: bass 11-12 O'clock, lower mids 1:00, high mids 12-1:00,treble 11:00. Bass tone knob about 90% toward full highs. Finger style from near bridge to finger board depending on tune aesthetics.
    teh-slb likes this.
  19. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    LOL.... I knew that word was gonna bite in the arse but used it anyway. Thank you for the correction.
  20. _Some Dude

    _Some Dude

    Sep 14, 2016
    I go for a signature sound. I generally want the bass to be as important to the sound of a song as the guitar is. When people think the rhythm guitarist is sick I know I’m hitting the mark.

    There’s obviously a time and a place for this mindset, and I have no issue with taking a backseat when appropriate. But, I’m going to try to make that backseat sound as cool as possible while I’m in it.