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#2883915 - 10/08/17 02:12 PM Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed?
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
After searching for "mwah" and "growl", I cannot find anything that explains the setup. So here goes:

Having been listening to bassists like Jesus Rico Perez and Damian Coccio (and buying their CDs and digital downloads), I am curious how to get the ethereal "mwah" sound.

I have a fretless bass and am putting roundwounds on it. I have an eBow, but it doesn't allow for a fast attack, playing multiple strings (unless you have the $$ to buy 2 or more) and really doesn't sound at all like the "mwah" you hear here: https://youtu.be/m58v8sDmMoc

Now, for the electronics. I have heard that you need "compression" and delay. The delay I got, but don't know what compression for bass guitar entails. I have seen limiter pedals, but don't know if that is what is needed.

So, now is your chance to inform me as to what you know or have heard about making "mwah" on the bass guitar. Thank you in advance for what I anticipate will be very helpful advice.
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#2883930 - 10/08/17 03:49 PM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: Desert Rat]
Paul K Offline
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Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3628
Loc: Ithaca, NY
I use flats, groundwounds, or nylon tapewounds. I prefer the groundwounds (sometimes called half-rounds or Brite-Flats). I set my action low at the bridge, with the neck almost straight, very little relief. When you hit the string a little hard, the string will kinda buzz on the fretboard and take a moment to bloom. Mwah.

I don't use any compression, but a little chorus goes a long way. I like a whole lot the Yamaha "Symphony" effect. It's like a chorus but a fair bit less swirly.

I don't like roundwound strings at all. Too zingy and too hard on the fretboard. Not needed for the mwah thing.

Go get'em, baby!
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#2883936 - 10/08/17 04:59 PM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: Paul K]
jeremy c Offline
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Registered: 02/01/01
Posts: 16428
Loc: Berkeley,CA,UNITED STATES
low action helps with the growl. also a very light touch helps.
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#2883944 - 10/08/17 06:10 PM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: jeremy c]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Got the action low and when I originally set it up, the neck was almost straight and doesn't seem to have changed according to both visual and gauging.

I am currently using flatwounds (the ones that came with the bass) and don't get the exact sound I want. It glisses great and everything else is clean (no buzz).

Have the bridge pickup on full, neck off and tone at about 50%. This combination seems to give the best sound so far, but there is something just not there.

Paul - which would you suggest (ground or tapewounds) for me to try first?

Jeremy - Action low and I get harmonics, but that might be too light a touch (just kidding). Does using the fat part of your finger lighten the touch?

Thank you both for getting me closer to my goal. Wish I had started this a long time ago. I absolutely love bass!
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2883999 - 10/09/17 04:28 AM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: Desert Rat]
Paul K Offline
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Registered: 05/16/06
Posts: 3628
Loc: Ithaca, NY
Grounds. I do like the tapes a lot, though. My fingertips don't hurt after a 3 hr gig with them. That is kinda valuable....

Right on with bridge pickup on full. Then, I dial in the neck pickup until the booty quotient is right. My tone pot is always dimed, though. I've even taken that pot out of one or two basses over the years. Amp is set flat, maybe a little mid scoop.
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#2884559 - 10/12/17 02:23 AM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: Paul K]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 8839
Loc: Near Glasgow
Try bass & treble flat & mids boosted.

G.
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#2884747 - 10/13/17 04:34 AM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: The Geoff]
lug Offline
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Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 2279
Loc: League City,TX,UNITED STATES
Originally Posted By: The Geoff
Try bass & treble flat & mids boosted.

G.


This, step one.
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#2885109 - 10/15/17 03:02 AM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: lug]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 8839
Loc: Near Glasgow
Originally Posted By: lug
Originally Posted By: The Geoff
Try bass & treble flat & mids boosted.

G.


This, step one.


...and bridge pickup if you have one....
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"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix
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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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#2885344 - 10/16/17 11:29 AM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: The Geoff]
zeronyne Moderator Offline
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Registered: 05/16/03
Posts: 6639
Loc: Chicago/NW Indiana
Years ago, I went on a bass-buying binge. I had never played Fretless before, but I bought a very nice KSD five string Jazz. I did everything possible to get the mwah/growl, but I simply could not. The next day, my bass teacher came to the house and just made the growl for 40 minutes straight.

It has a lot to do with the player, I reckon. The light touch is key. Someday I will try again.
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#2885423 - 10/16/17 08:26 PM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: zeronyne]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
There is no question the player's ability is extremely important, but the suggestions offered so far have made an exceptional difference in the sound produced by my bass. I am working on the technique and am very happy to know that it can be done without expensive equipment changes. Boosting the mid range really amazed me (thanks Geoff & lug)at the difference it made. Now, it's just practice, practice and practice.
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Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2885445 - 10/17/17 03:09 AM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: Desert Rat]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 8839
Loc: Near Glasgow
On behalf of both of us, you're welcome.

G. (& L.)
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"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix
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The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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#2885602 - 10/18/17 02:06 AM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: The Geoff]
The Geoff Offline
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Registered: 11/05/04
Posts: 8839
Loc: Near Glasgow
I get more mwah playing with my thumb than with my fingers.

G.
_________________________
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music
The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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#2885793 - 10/18/17 08:56 PM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: The Geoff]
Desert Rat Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/05
Posts: 354
Loc: Arizona, U.S.
Geoff, I'm glad you said that. When I originally learned bass, it was on an upright and the thumb was a no-no. Now with the electric, there are so many different techniques that it is like a whole different instrument. I have tried picks, felt picks and, yes, my thumb and it is amazing how many different sounds it can produce. Thanks again for the great counsel. cheers
I look forward to gaining a lot of knowledge on this forum.
_________________________
Korg) ARP Odyssey Mk.1 FS, Roland JU-06 and Alesis DG-8 w/8 Q-Cards
Fender Am Pro Fretless Jazz Bass & '62 RI Strat, "Doc" Severinsen trumpet

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#2888471 - 11/03/17 02:55 PM Re: Mwah, growl...whatever you call it, what all is needed? [Re: Desert Rat]
zeronyne Moderator Offline
I still exist
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Registered: 05/16/03
Posts: 6639
Loc: Chicago/NW Indiana
Part of it is gear, but I have a minor anecdote for you.

About a decade ago, I decided to delve into fretless, so I bought a very nice Ken Smith import...a KSD jazz.

I played it for a few weeks, but it had no mwah, no growl. I did all the equipment modifications that I could think of, but no dice.

Finally, I get the courage to tell my bass teacher that I bought a fretless. I show it to him, and he grabs it, plugs it in, and proceeds to make the thing growl and mwah for 15 minutes straight.

I think all the gear and string advice is important. But technique may be even more important.

I sold the bass.
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