Bass Tones and Techniques 101 | The Canadian Guitar Forum

Bass Tones and Techniques 101

Discussion in 'Bass' started by Dorian2, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. Dorian2

    Dorian2

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    Hi. I'm new to Bass and I want tones and some techniques. The last couple of days since I've started looking into Bass just a little further is the first time I've listened to Bass players with the same ear as for guitar. That's the only way I can explain it. So I thought maybe a thread on Bass guitar tone, electric or acoustic, would be something that might be helpful. All depending on the contribution level.

    A few things I'd like to see mentioned are fingers vs. picks, placement of right hand (for righties, left for lefties) with regard to pickups. Soft and hard picking techniques you've come up with. Amplifier setting. Big Bottom guitar settings and tones you've come up with or have a good example of from a known or less known player. All that kind of stuff. I didn't want to keep it specific because I'm finding the skill transfer quite easy between guitar and Bass.

    Right now I'm using finger style which is nothing for me because I started that over 30 years ago with Classical. I'm starting to find the sweet spot around the 1 pickup the guitar has.

     
  2. Budda

    Budda Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, Ontario
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  3. Dorian2

    Dorian2

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    That's a good recommendation but there's really no need for me. I've got the rest and free strokes, alternate picking with fingers/pick, all notes and theory already covered. I'd like to hear or see what the Bass players on the site are doing to get specific Bass tones and such though. I thought it would be nice to hear from the Bassist here their experiences with achieving certain sounds. Doesn't have to be theory or technical in any way. Just some cool things Bassist do to get sounds. Almost like tips and tricks from experienced players.
     
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  4. Budda

    Budda Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    Well I mean you can always learn *something* but I hear what you're saying ;).

    I expect good results from this thread.

    My only contribution is getting the right bass for the job. My (first) modded VM jazz suited poppier material far better than the Ibanez SR it replaced. Both were good basses.
     
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  5. keto

    keto Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    Edmonton
    I mean, I have my own style and sound but it’s nothing unique or special. I pick only, right at the end of the fretboard. I can go from barely touching the strings to bouncing them hard with big excursions, I don’t suffer from lack of dynamic range.

    I use 2 pickup basses, but mostly use the neck or in between, I’ve never found a use for or inspiration from a bridge pup EXCEPT on a bass that of course I traded away :rolleyes: Bridge pup too thin for my taste, very rarely might go there with some distortion on if I need to cut more.

    I boost low mids pretty heavily, my ears tell me that’s how to get heard in a mix. I run always on a compressor - a very common thing on bass - and a high pass + low pass filter, primarily to get rid of any ‘boom in the room’, great tool to have. 2-3 dirt pedals, from low gain tube OD up to freakin roaring clank.

    Strings make WAY WAY more difference on bass than guitar. Rounds, goundwound,flats, tapes. Steel, nickel, plated or solid, other materials. I spent a lot of dough trying this that and the other, 2-3 years to settle on my preferred DR Lo-Rider Nickel (LR Steel is what L&M carry, and I’ve used them lots but they are more scooped sounding, the nickels are still nicely full range but have some special sauce in the low mids....I may have mentioned, but that’s where I live.)

    Welcome over here any time, I have a rig in the garage can be played as loud as desired, 3-4 GK & Mesa heads, and a couple cabs.
     
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  6. Dorian2

    Dorian2

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    Great rundown and I'll take you up on that offer when I'm ready. I'm surprised at how much of a difference the strings make. I have no real reference because I 've changed the strings and set it up just after purchase a while ago now. Good to know. I'm using round wound and they sound good in the heavier Rock context. I'll look into string more soon as I probably need to reset the truss once it gets back to normal here.
     
  7. bw66

    bw66

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Location:
    Uxbridge, ON
    I run the neck pickup at 10 and dial in the bridge to taste. Tone is at 10. I use a Tech 21 Bass Driver DI with tone controls at 12 o'clock, Drive at 10 o'clock and Presence at 1 o'clock.

    On the rare occasion that I use my amp instead of the BDDI, I'll dial back the tone on the bass and all of the tone controls on the amp will be at 12 o'clock.
     
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  8. Dorian2

    Dorian2

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    How are you setting up the Tech21 DI? Straight to mixer/PA or as a Preamp for power Amp? I'm considering something similar in the future as the Peavey I'm using right now has an FX loop so the Power Amp option might be available through the Return.
     
  9. bw66

    bw66

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2009
    Location:
    Uxbridge, ON
    Straight to mixer/PA. I would be comfortable with going direct to power amp, but I don't have a stand-alone power amp for bass. I've reached an age where I carry as little as possible when I leave the house.
     
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  10. laristotle

    laristotle Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2019
    Location:
    acton
    My hearing's not what it used to be, so I tend to rely on my bandmates and friends at a gig to help me dial in my sound.
    I haven't touched my amp settings, except for volume, for ~ three years now.
    Bass volume's up full and tone is ~6/7.
    Two pup basses are set similar to what Keto states. Bridge slightly lower than neck.

    I have flats on my basses and I still wind up with blisters on my finger tips after a gig. lol
    I have to work on my right hand technique. I catch myself digging in harder every now n' then.

    blisters.jpg
     
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  11. Dorian2

    Dorian2

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    I hooked up the Peavey with the Zoom B2 tonight. Shaped the tone as much as permitted on the Amp and went through a bunch of settings on the pedal. Went through all the Drive/preamp sims and a couple sounded really good to me. Ampeg, SuperBass, Bassman, Tube pre and the Sans Amp were the ones that I noted. There are also Hartke, Trace Elliot, Acoustic, Fretless bass sims that at least give my ears a place to start. Compared to some Line6 guitar stuff I had, this shit kills it so far. But I have virgin Bass ears still. It's becoming clearer though. Fun night tonight with the Bass. Right in front of the Soap Bar is where I tend to gravitate. It's closer to the middle than the Bridge so it's easy to change Tone pretty quick. I kinda like the single pickup actually.
     
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  12. sambonee

    sambonee Gold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Location:
    Milton, on
    Amp loud, play soft.
    Practice soloing on the bass
    Think Bach when composing your bass lines
    Keep your action low
    If your had gets tired, rest. It’s more work than guitar but less stressful on your skin (L hand).
    Active Eq DI makes you sound pro sooner.


    More later.
     
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  13. _Azrael

    _Azrael

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2017
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Honestly, if you want to learn about bass then start playing with others.

    There’s a lot of tones and techniques that quite frankly sound like shit and are boring as fuck if all you do is noodle away in your basement by yourself.

    When it comes to dialing in my own sound I start by listening to the rest of the band. I aim to be able to hear the guitars and vocals clearly. If I can’t, then I start cutting midrange until I can, then I put enough top end in so that I can hear my notes articulate, then I add low end until the band sounds fat.

    I usually set the top end so that my bass is a little bit too abrasive with the tone on 10, then back the tone off until around 7 or 8, at which point it starts to sink down into the mix. This gives me enough room to open things up if I feel a song needs the bass to cut a little more.

    I don’t generally use effects pedals live. Between my fingers, the pick and the tone control I have everything I need. Not using effects also simplifies the DI feed and keeps things more consistent throughout the set.

    If you do want to experience the with effects I recommend a Big Muff, Tubescreamer, and a Rat. All three of them will sound kind of crappy on their own but in a mix they really come to life.
     
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  14. Ti-Ron

    Ti-Ron Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Location:
    Longueuil, Québec
    This is the core, to me.
    Bass string have a huge influence on the sound, IMHE. Those DR strings are really nice!
     
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  15. Frenchy99

    Frenchy99

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2016
    Location:
    North Pole
    Yep ! strings are very important...

    Best way to learn, get about 12 to 15 basses and put different strings on each, play them on rotation to learn the differences... after a few years, you'll get to know them by heart... same with amps... set 20 to 30 of them in your living room and play a different a one every day with every bass...

    After that, throw in a pedal and start all over again ! ;)

    :cool:
     

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