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Thread: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    I'd welcome any random thought on basses.


    I've noticed that sometimes, isolated Jazz Bass tracks will sound raspy and even tinny but then sound so full and smooth when mixed with other instruments. Interesting how things sound in a mix.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    I haven't listened to many isolated bass tracks, if any. I'm aware that context is paramount but I'd be interested to hear these iso tracks and full tracks.

    I wonder if the iso tracks were EQ'd because the person doing the track uploading was worried people might not hear a lone deep tone, so they brightened it up.
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

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    Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    You're not wrong - sometimes sounds that aren't great by themselves, fit perfectly into the mix.
    Same with guitar tones - some of the most legendary sounds in songs, when solo'd sound tinny or thin.
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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    Frank Johnson (Kenny) is a pro, probably understands this better than most. He made me aware of it. I've gone to Youtube to hear isolated tracks. If you listen to the bass for The Beatles's "Glass Onion," you can't believe how awful and tinny that Jazz Bass sounds. Amazing.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member FrankJohnson's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    I personally try not to over think it and just play. I get a sound I like - and a volume - and if inside once it sounds really good to me - I dial it back at the bass because I know its too loud Then by end of set we are usually at that volume. At start of next set I try to start off lower again. if outside - I usually let it run- phasers to stun, but try not to be TOO much.

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    Forum Member FrankJohnson's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    Just another thought -

    I went to lighter cabinets/amps after a car accident. I wasn't hurt to the point of not being able to move or anything, but my back has never been the same.

    That said, I love the sound of many more powerful - heavy - substantial amps but can't go back there. I use lighter ones and go into the PA if needed.

    I say all that to say this......
    IF.....I could have the bigger rigs and real tube, etc. I probably would but have gotten used to what I use and don't miss it.
    Kenny Belmont
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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    Yeah, and I know we've seen discussions here about the volume and placement of basses in live settings too. One fact that amazes me is that the full sound of a bass amp speaker is realized some distance from the amp, so that the 3rd row might get more bass than the front row of a show. Am I getting that right?
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    A low E is about 30', (28 actually). I used to argue with bass players, cranking the volume because they couldn't "feel" the music. I would couple 2 cords together, and make them play from the dance floor. Most were amazed at the impact they got at that distance!
    I've always wondered if a small enclosure at ear level would give the "thump" to the player, but spare the audience from the folded horns!

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    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    A low E is about 30', (28 actually). I used to argue with bass players, cranking the volume because they couldn't "feel" the music. I would couple 2 cords together, and make them play from the dance floor. Most were amazed at the impact they got at that distance!
    I've always wondered if a small enclosure at ear level would give the "thump" to the player, but spare the audience from the folded horns!
    +1

    It's not so pronounced with bass-reflex cabinets but anything using a folded-horn enclosure (Acoustic 360/370, Sunn Coliseum, Fender 400PS, etc) is absolutely brutal on the ears.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    The problem for a live bassist in those cases is that we don't hear our instruments well enough to know what's coming out--unless you've got it at a good monitor mix. I've played gigs at which I knew the bass was at the right volume in the mix but couldn't hear it on stage, so I had to judge what I was playing just by sight and touch.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    Quote Originally Posted by ch willie View Post
    I'd welcome any random thought on basses.


    I've noticed that sometimes, isolated Jazz Bass tracks will sound raspy and even tinny but then sound so full and smooth when mixed with other instruments. Interesting how things sound in a mix.
    Some of that could be distortion added to the bass track during mixdown by the producer or engineer. You don't need it to be massively fuzzed out; a little bit of distortion may be all that's needed to get the bass track to be audible on small speakers that otherwise have little or no bass output. This is what the little Auratone speakers on studio desks were often used to check, back in the day.

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    The bass track on The Beatles "Glass Onion" is tinny and distorted--nice to hear how well it mixes.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    To me, bass is more about presence than a distinguishing tone.
    I'm not a bass player, but I have done a lot of recording, and have found that bass often needs to fill spaces we're not use to hearing solo'd.
    I also find that the "new" bass sounds available through new basses and amps are thoroughly encroaching on sonic areas where it doesn't belong.

    In a recent recording, I played a Squier Mustang Bass with the tone knob turned way down. Tuned the E string to D. And doubled it with acoustic guitar. I love the way it sounds.
    It just spills through the mix so nicely. Has a good presence, but doesn't dominate to the point that it kills the groove by being too articulate with the more percussive sounds of the guitars.

    I love learning about this stuff and have greatly increased my already healthy respect for what bass players do!

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    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    I've never thought about how the new amps "encroach"--very interesting.

    I listen to songs sometimes just to examine the mix. I've noticed that most times, the bass is centered in most popular genres and is louder in the mix than rhythm guitars and keyboards.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    Quote Originally Posted by ch willie View Post
    I've never thought about how the new amps "encroach"--very interesting.

    I listen to songs sometimes just to examine the mix. I've noticed that most times, the bass is centered in most popular genres and is louder in the mix than rhythm guitars and keyboards.
    With the advent of new speakers and a lightweight rigs, there are a lot more 10" speakers in use these days. That immediate attack causes a sharper, more percussive sound than a 15" or 18" speaker. Personally, I prefer the more relaxed attack of bigger speakers for guitar and bass.

    In the more recent concerts I've been to, in smaller venues, the new bass amps are spitting out such a HUGE range of frequencies, that it's now overlapping too far into the frequency ranges of the other instruments. Lots of slap, sparkle and fwap, yes, fwap, I made that up to describe the over lap into bass drum territory. Where the bass drum has the high frequency pedal slap, and the bass guitar gets that high frequency pop so common in modern bass sounds.
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

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    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    I'm going to work fwap into a conversation somehow today
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheBluesMan View Post
    I'm going to work fwap into a conversation somehow today
    Of course the overlap of "fwap" is over-fwap. .....................always pause a moment,.............for effect,..................when using the word "fwap." It makes people delightfully uncomfortable.
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Random Thoughts on Basses, Tone, Technique, Gear????

    I think fwap has been around a lot longer than people realize.

    Phil Lesh's completely unique approach to the instrument is always fun to listen to. He threw out a lot of bass bombs to great effect. And no part of the fretboard is off limits in his playing.

    Stanley Clarke lived on slap, sparkle and fwap in all sonic areas too.

    And of course, we have the Seinfeld bass solo.

    Since I've pretty much eschewed the traditional tube amp thing and gone all rack gear I'll sometimes double a sub-octave on the guitar to make bones rattle on a solo, so I'll invade the bass player's space too.


    Chuck
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