The Bass-ment

Which of These Bass Sounds To You Like Best?

1

He plays many types of bass. Just curious what you prefer -

2

The Yamaha and the Ibanez 5 string at the end seemed the most suitable for the cool fusion groove of the track yet a Fender Precision is always such a great sound- notice how much harder it can be played without topping-out- lots of the other instruments were tickled by comparison.

The Mid-heavy tone was not entirely flattering to the Hofner or the Rickenbacker. From experience, the Gibson SG is amazing little powerhouse bass- really moves some serious air. This didn't really come across with the tone chosen.

The Arco double bass guitar was terrific.

3

To me, that was a useless demo, because he changes the style of how he plays from instrument to instrument, so no direct comparison is really possible. When he plays the Precision, he's mostly just stabbing at it, which tells me nothing about how it sounds. Also it sounded to me like some of the basses had flat-wounds and some had round rounds, which makes it impossible to compare them tonally.

I switched to playing bass almost full-time little over a year and a half ago, and for me, the Fender Precision with La Bella flats is still the gold standard, and all I have ever considered gigging with. It gives me the sound I want...deep, rich and full! And numerous players, from bandmates to my grammy-nominated bass teacher, Harlan Terson, have complimented the sound of both my P-basses. A good Precision will do everything really well!

I have heard some great Fender Jazz basses, although I didn't like the one in this video at all. And I have an SG Standard bass (what would have been an EB-3 in the old days) and love playing it, and although the sound is a bit too growly for my taste, it can sound good in a band context. And the short-scale is easy to play!

4

Bass players are more accepting of new designs and companies than most guitar players are. However, I still prefer the sound of a good Fender Precision over most other electric basses. I also like the Music Man Stingray basses.

5

Playing bass is a great pleasure. Devising a cogent line, establishing where to drive and where to coast, getting it into pocket, letting it freestyle in places if necessary- all are a beautiful and instinctive process.

Getting the recorded tone is very much a personal and essential part of the game. I like a to record direct with a Mustang Bass (with mutes) both controls full up and then chisel the sound in post- scoop the middle, a bit of peak limit and the magic ingredient which is a little smidge of short room reverb. I use the same treatment for pick or pizzicato style.

Good comments all, we seem to agree on the total might of the Fender Precision.

And what's your method for getting a sound?

6

I prefer bass that's more felt and sensed than heard. In other words, a low, smooth tone rather than a mid-rangy grunt.

7

Definitely concur with that, Duojet55.

8

I want my bass thumpy and deep, which makes sense since I am playing blues, rock'n'roll, and Stax Records kind of soul tunes. Many of the bigger clubs here have a bass rig in place, but if I bring one, it's usually an Aguilar Tonehammer 500 played through a Bag End S-15D cabinet. I set the gain at just shy of 1:00, the drive just past 1:00, the mid-level between 1:00 and 2:00, the mid frequency just short of 10:00, treble just past 9:00, and bass just past noon. I'll wiggle those around a bit to account for the room or outdoors, depending. Last show was at a street festival, so the above are the settings for that.

I dime the volume and tone on the Precisions, and then roll back the treble just a bit (until my screw head on the knob disappears from view!). Fingers play above the pickups, or if there's a cover, just on the neck side of the pickups. Pretty common, I'd think.

One thing I am never aiming for is to try to play bass like a guitar. It's that groove with the drummer I am seeking (and I am still learning much every day). I love bass fills but loathe bass solos. They just suck the air out of a room when overdone.

Ade, you have me fascinated by your mention of reverb. How do you get that effect? A pedal? I have sooooooo much to learn!

I am not at recording level yet, so I can't speak to what I'd do there.

9

Reverb only for recording, Michael. Only for recording.

After it's recorded dry and all the eq and limiting is done, a hair of room reverb makes it bigger and more present so you need less of it in the mix.

Old records almost always have that little bit of ambient spill, whether it's on electric or string bass. Snares rattling on a bass intro or fill when the drums are quiet is a dead giveaway. Heck, even a classical orchestra takes full advantage of ambient space to make the bottom end really rumble. Motown is a notable exception, where the bass (and all the guitars) were recorded direct into the board. The bass is dry as a bone on those Detroit soul songs.

McCartney used to hate it when Emerick would try to do it to his bass and was extremely astute at spotting it...

10

two major factors for bass tone

scale length and type of strings ie. flats vs rounds

a ss mustang or a hofner violin bass with flats is going to sound way different than a jazz bass with rounds

classic fender precision tones of jamerson and duck dunn were with well worn flats

depends what you are going for

cheers

11

Very true Neatone. I like flats on that Mustang- must add that the short scale shows itself up more in a live context than in recording. It records very nicely and is completely even and tight throughout the registers.

I heard that by the 70s, Jamerson still had a really old set of LaBella flats and stiff action on his Precision. The more 'forward' and middle frequency accented bass sounds coming into fashion were showing up serious intonation shortcomings in his setup but he refused to make the transition into the new sound.

12

yes flats are great to record with cause they give you solid fundamental without a lot of overtones...can be very upright bass sounding

jamerson used heavy dulled strings..so hes all fundamentals

duck dunn never changed strings..unless he broke one...he'd boil his strings as well

modern bass playing has veered to more lead instrument realms...6 strings basses with very lively steel and/or cobalt wrapped rounds

cheers

13

Until recently, I had a set of the "Jamerson" La Bellas on one of my Precisions. He used a heavy set with a .110 E-string. Good gawd, they sounded amazing, but they just killed my hand after a few songs! I finally switched back to .105s. Now I am dealing with that new string sound. My other Precision has year-and-a-half old strings, so it sounds just beautiful! And so far, the intonation has held up. Luckily, I do not have acidic sweat, so I don't corrode strings. Even when I play guitar, I prefer really old strings.

Speaking of Duck, a new book just came out last week of Duck transcriptions, with some nice biographical info as well. It seems to have built on Tim Tindall's amazing "What Duck Done," including most of the transcriptions from that, plus another twenty or so. The new book is by Nick Rosaci (with help from the Dunn family) and is titled "Soul Fingers." Lot's of nice pics, plus great info on his gear, playing style and tone. An added bonus is that many of the recorded tracks were done of Duck's original '59 Precision! Great book!

Ade and Neatone, I have never tried a short-scale Fender bass, but now I am curious. I have always coveted an Epiphone Rivoli/Gibson EB-2, but it never even occurred to me to try a Fender short-scale. I think I'll be stopping by Rock'nRoll Vintage tomorrow on my way to the Old Town School!

14

The Yamaha and the Ibanez 5 string at the end seemed the most suitable for the cool fusion groove of the track yet a Fender Precision is always such a great sound- notice how much harder it can be played without topping-out- lots of the other instruments were tickled by comparison.

The Mid-heavy tone was not entirely flattering to the Hofner or the Rickenbacker. From experience, the Gibson SG is amazing little powerhouse bass- really moves some serious air. This didn't really come across with the tone chosen.

The Arco double bass guitar was terrific.

– ade

He plays a Arco pizzicato - ha! (Bass joke)

That looks like a dang cello cello to me. Sounds good. I wonder what the pickup is?

15

I find bass recorded with a backing track hard to really hear the instrument properly. Its hard enough listening to a bass through a computer to get an idea of its sound without drums , guitars etc.. further clouding the sound.

The best way to show/compare instruments on the web is with no backing track - no effects - and play the exact same part from instrument to instrument.

Undoubtedly some basses have greater output so the level on the amp (which should also be the same amp ) may have to be adjusted.

Tone should be straight up the middle - then as a listener I feel I am getting information otherwise as soon as I see hear a video as the one above - I move on.


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