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That old tube sound


jar546

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I have an American Fender P Bass with a SWR Working Pro 15. I cannot seem to dial in that nice old time classic rock tube sound. What would be my best bet for an add on?
"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" by Me
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OK, the SWR WorkingPro 15 is brand new so I will not be swapping it for an Ampeg. Not in the budget. There are some great settings that I am playing with in this new model and it can get me somewhat close but well, ............. not really.

 

I will look into the Sansamp BDDI and see if I can try one in the store. Any other thoughts other than amp replacement?

 

Thanks again in advance.

 

Jeff

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" by Me
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Or consider a Sansamp BDDI.

 

Or, and I hate to say this, if you are on a tight budget you might try the Behringer BDI21 knock off.

 

I'd say do this only if you can't borrow a real SansAmp to see if that gets you where you need to be.

 

FYI, you can find a used SansAmp BDDI for around $125 on eBay and the Behringer is around $30 new.

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An inexpensive solution, and one that to my ears would (and does) sound better (in a most subjective way) than the Sansamp is to run into a tube mic pre amp such as the Presonus or even ART models (the presonus tube mic pre...around $100 new...is an outstanding little unit. The ART is dirt cheap, and to my ears does not really relfect the old schol tube sound as well...).

Run your bass into the preamp and send that to the effects return of your SWR. This bypasses the soundwhat dreadful SWR front end, using only the power amp section of the amplifier. Of course in doing so you cannot use the SWR enhancer or eq (which you don't really want to use to the sound you are after). Instead you must eq from the instrument.

 

A little pricier...but a method I have found to be VERY good in obtaining "THAT" sound...is to get a high quality tube preamp ( and here I might suggest the Low End True Voice pramp: a single octal 6sn7 tube,point to point wiring, and passive tone control..very tubey sounding) and run that in a similar fashion to the fx return. Voila! There is your old tube amp sound.

 

Combine either of these with flatwound, or tapewound strings, and yu should be good to go.

 

Max

 

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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  • 2 weeks later...

The Behringer BDI21 knock off was cheap and works somewhat for the tube sound. Has many other settings and worth the money.

 

Still searching for that magic sound. I think I will just get an effects pedal to play with. so many to choose from

 

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" by Me
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I was after the same thing recently and after LOTS of experimenting with different basses and amps, I realized the MAIN thing I was looking for (soundwise) was less sustain. But I'm playing lots of 60's - type stuff before rounds even existed (or were at least prevalent). I did buy an all-tube amp and that helps a lot as well, but I would start the search at your fingers and then your bass first. If you ever did want to go all-tube, there are many affordable options in the used market (and even new).
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Hey man...in addition to the Sansamp DBBI, there's a lot of the small modeling pedals available, I'm sure just about every single one has an Ampeg amp and cab model, and some of them are fairly inexpensive. (I know for sure the Digitech BNX3, GNX4, and the Zoom B2.1u all have an Ampeg SVT + 810 cab model). These two are pretty close...*slightly* less authentic sounding than the Sansamp, but you get a whole bunch of other models and effects along with it. I'd actually got this route ahead of the Behringer unit, but that's just my opinion. Try one of these out if you can!

 

HTH,

Dave

 

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I am starting to think that this sound cannot be replicated. I just tried out an Ampeg SVT Classic in a store and still could not duplicate that old sound. One of my friends in the business said that back then the tube amps were cranked up and by the time they recorded and compressed it that is what you got. He said that it was really not until Flea came along that people started noticing a different sound with the bass.

 

I think I am chasing a dream, not a reality.

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" by Me
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hmmm...so according to the guy in the store it was Flea who radically changed people's perceptions on bass sounds? I guess he had quite an influence on Chris Squire, Entwistle, Anthony Jackson, Stanley Clarke....

 

Personally, I never really been a fan of the SABDDI..tho I have tried (and tried) to like it. Most modelers also leave me flat. On a very superficial level they do achieve their goal, yet the overall tonal response is just not there.

 

Running a tube mic pre thru the fx loop of your amp CAN (possibly) give you some of that sound.

 

Of course, you could go and find something like an old Fender Dual Showman head....then it might be "game over".

 

Max

...it's not the arrow, it's the Indian.
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Well, today's tubes are probably different as are today's instruments. Still, I'm sure you can get there if that's what you want. Start with the strings (heavy flats), go with older tubes (or new tubes that run in a similar fashion) in an old tube amp. There are many sites on the web re: vintage amps and tubes. A lot of this has to do with settings as well. You may want to increase the gain on the tube amp as well as the mid's to give more 'tubiness' to the sound - while keeping the master volume low.

 

I have a MIA jazz playing into a V4BH (with Sadowsky SA410 cab) and it gives me KILLER tone. Very 'tubey' sounding but with enough variety to get cleaner sounds as well. The less sustain thing is a key point though and a big part of it. I just saw a bunch of Freddie King videos on youtube and his bass player has an AMAZING (!!!!) vintage-type sound. But when you look at his amp, it seems to be an acoustic 360 (solid-state) and he plays with a pick! Check them out when you get the chance (it's great music at any rate!).

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I'm definitely into "vintage" tones (I play passive Fenders with flats) and appreciate the sound of tubes, but I've come to prefer the reliability of solid state. To my ears, the most important factor is headroom. As long as I have plenty of clean power, I'm generally pretty happy with my tone. But, to each his/her own.
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I tried out both of those at the local Guitar Center, and they work great. I don't usually like modelers myself, but these sounded amazingly good.

 

Now, that was for guitar, not bass. I like my Bass POD...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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I think we need some definition of sounds here; jar123, can you name a recorded example of the sound you seek? Name a song and an artist. Classic rock to you might be Red Hot Chili Peppers, whereas I think of artists like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath.
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That helps a lot, jar.

 

Well, Jack Bruce was using short-scale Gibson basses and Marshall guitar amps live. I do not know what he was using in the studio, though.

 

These days, he uses a Warwick Thumb Bass and a couple of Hartke stacks.

 

Have you ever played a Mesa/Boogie Bass 400+? That might get you there, if you put it through the right cabinet.

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I just put on some Fender flatwounds #9050 w/ .055, .070, .090 & .105.

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!!!!

 

It surely helps. With the new SWR Working Pro 15 and my cheap Behringer BDI21 it is a lot closer. There are more adjustments on the SWR than I realized.

 

I had to take the bass in to get the truss rod adjusted after i installed the new strings because they are a lot tighter and curved my neck.

"The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know" by Me
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.....Fender flatwounds #9050 w/ .055, .070, .090 & .105....

I had to take the bass in to get the truss rod adjusted after i installed the new strings because they are a lot tighter and curved my neck.

 

That's not unexpected with the flatwounds, especially in the heavy gauges you got.

 

Glad to hear that you are getting closer to getting the sound you hear in your head!

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