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Looking for that R&B thump.


Funkwave

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I've been writing and recording R&B/Funk tunes using my Fender active jazz bass DI'd through a Sansamp driver.

 

Problem: I just can't get that "thump" that I need in the bass. I find that the bass tracks sound rich but have too much of a twang in them.

Compression doesn't help fix that thin sound.

 

Would flats fix this problem?? If so, what would you recommend for use on a Fender active jazz bass?

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I'm not sure what today's R&B artists use, but the old Motown stuff was recorded mostly with a Fender P bass (passive) with flats.

 

You could probably pick up a set of cheap flats for something like $15. I'd definitely give them a try.

 

I love the flats on my bass. They have a deader sound than rounds (not as lively), but they definitely have this warm lowend about them.

 

First, I'd try different EQ'ing. That could possibly give you the thump you want. If not, try using your fingers (if you aren't already), playing closer to the neck. This will give you a much more upright-ish sound/thumpy sound.

 

If that fails, try the flats. You might liek 'em.

In Skynyrd We Trust
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flatwound strings? dead flatwound strings? Maybe actually using an amp to get a really blossoming tone. I hae not tried the bddi, but i am judging based on the fact that geddy lee uses one, but also uses a speaker sim. to get that "miked" effect. Also, if the bass has a passive mode, use it.
Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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I second the idea given by musicfiend of using an amp.

 

Use a crummy old amp. A Fender guitar amp will do (not that they are crummy amps, but they are crummy when used as bass amps.)

 

Turn up the lows and turn down the highs.

Keep the volume down.

 

Put an SM-57 in front of the speaker.

 

It should sound end up sounding pretty authentic, no matter what kind of bass or strings you start with.

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Flats will definitely help. Also, check out Walter Becker's tone on the Two Against Nature album, especially tunes like "What a Shame About Me." He's using an active Sadowsky bass (read: ultra-modern active bass), and gets a very, very sweet thump.

 

I experimented with miking a while back, and I can verify what the two posters above have said. Dial in a nice, dark, punchy sound, then place the microphone about 2'-3' away, on axis, pointed at the center of the driver (I used a 12"; a 15" would probably be optimal). I got Duck-worthy tone right off, from an active Yamaha J-style bass.

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ON two against nature walter becker got hot tone through his technique, he palm muted and plucked with his thumb. I think he said it helped put him in the mind frame of an upright player, versus an ultra modern active player
Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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Palm-muting's the easiest option and flats the next step. IMO micing amps is a pain for home recordings - Jamerson was almost always just DI'd and got plenty of thump from his flatwound wearing, bridge muted Precision, slightly overdriving the input stage on the recorder.

 

Alex

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Palm-muting's the easiest option and flats the next step. IMO micing amps is a pain for home recordings - Jamerson was almost always just DI'd and got plenty of thump from his flatwound wearing, bridge muted Precision, slightly overdriving the input stage on the recorder.

 

Alex

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Flatwound strings on a P Bass were the standard in the Motown days. And a DI made from a UTC transformer. but the magic was in Jamerson and Babbitt, not in the gear.

 

I also have a problem getting a nice low end thump out of the SansAmp - I've got one in my studio case, but very seldom (like once every 4 or 5 years) get it out and actually use it.

Dave Martin

Java Jive Studio

Nashville, TN

www.javajivestudio.com

 

Cuppa Joe Records

www.cuppajoerecords.com

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If you are planning on going the flatwound route, you might want to take a look at string tension. The Jamerson La Bella's should come with a coupon for 5 free truss rod adjustments. They do sound great though.
Ah, nice marmot.
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Yea, totally scoot, I had the jamerson sets (.52-__) on my warwick for a while. needless to say it hepled me beat some friends at arm wrestling :freak:
Hiram Bullock thinks I like the band volume too soft (but he plays guitar). Joe Sample thinks I like it way too loud (but he plays piano). -Marcus Miller
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For classic R&B, the P-bass/flats is right, but if you're talking Funk, those cats were using Jazz's and P-basses (all passive) with Rotosounds, coming thru Acoustic 360/371's. I was there and I was watching. Bootsy, Graham, the Barkays. I was right there, lusting and looking. I even help carry in equipment, when I could get the chance, just so I could find out what thet were using. That was a big deal, because I'm a lazy cuss! Bootsy had a white fur covered Jazz with a 360 with two cabs. He had more, but that's all he needed to blow us away.
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Originally posted by lbanks:

For classic R&B, the P-bass/flats is right, but if you're talking Funk, those cats were using Jazz's and P-basses (all passive) with Rotosounds, coming thru Acoustic 360/371's. .

Rotosound round or flat? What's an acoustic 360/361.

 

Do you think I'm at a disadvantage using an active Jazz Bass?

 

Also, how would flats affect slapping????

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http://www.senny.com/site/equipment/acoustic.jpeg

An Acoustic 360 is an amp. They don't make them anymore. Jaco used them. Larry Graham used them. Many others in the 70's did also.

 

By today's standards, they are ridiculous amps.

 

But at the time, we thought they sounded great.

 

If one came up on eBay for $50, I'd probably have to buy it. But I don't know where I'd put it...it's an enormous amp and speaker combination.

 

Larry Graham was slapping on flatwounds, but pretty much every slapper nowadays is using roundwounds.

 

The more retro I want to sound, the less likely I am to use a bass with active electronics. That does not mean that you can't get the sound you want out of your bass.

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  • 5 months later...

Funkwave,

 

I'm using Dean Markley Ground Round Wounds on my Fender active Jazz, and the sound is fat. I also eq up the bass freq, at the bass, when I use a pick, and get a really cool vintage clean sound.

 

I don't think the string tension is very high with these, as I can easily bend notes, but I have never tried flats, so I have nothing to compare to except round wounds.

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Senior Funkwave! Nice to see you again! And welcome to the Low Down! :wave:

 

As you know, part of what will make that bass sound great is giving it some sonic space in your mix, like the way the Motown g****rs used to play "trebley", clean chords on the back beats. Not death metal, overly-distorted power chords chugging away like machine guns. (You're playing R&B/funk, so this shouldn't be an issue.)

 

Pretty much what everybody here said should give you something to work with. However ...

 

When I saw Chick Corea at a master class recently, he said many things. :) One thing he said, though, was that it was pointless to talk about equipment, like "what sticks do you use?" He inferred it was all in the musician, not the gear. For example, even if I get the exact same gear as Les Claypool or Geddy Lee, I'm not going to sound exactly like either (I'll sound like me).

 

Still, you'll probably like what you hear with flats instead of rounds or tapes, although personally I wouldn't want to slap flats. Supposedly tapewounds are a good compromise but I haven't tried them yet.

 

The thumb-pluck/palm-mute idea was good. I'll suggest fingerstyle but plucking on the neck, not over the pickups or by the bridge. For a more even attack use only one finger, like Jamerson's "hook". Whatever you do, don't use a pair of 2Bs. :D

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Originally posted by jeremy c:

[QB] http://www.senny.com/site/equipment/acoustic.jpeg

 

By today's standards, they are ridiculous amps.

 

But at the time, we thought they sounded great.

 

I beg to differ with you on that. I use a Acoustic 370, with the 301 cabinet, and ppl love my sound. This is the only amp I have, and I dont use any effects with it. I do get asked what is it, but Ive been running with the big dogs with it, and they have to work to keep up.

If you smell something stinking, it's juz me, I'm funky like that
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  • 4 weeks later...

I've recently stuck a set of new/old stock (1975) Picato Black Nylon Coated strings (50 - 115) and they give mucho thumpo, and I love the feel. Does anyone know any other brands which are nylon coated?

 

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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Originally posted by RicBassGuy:

When I saw Chick Corea at a master class recently, he said many things. :) One thing he said, though, was that it was pointless to talk about equipment, like "what sticks do you use?" He inferred it was all in the musician, not the gear. For example, even if I get the exact same gear as Les Claypool or Geddy Lee, I'm not going to sound exactly like either (I'll sound like me).

Harumph. Shows what he knows. ;)
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Originally posted by greenboy:

Ho ho ho, I can imagine trying to do all of the above simultaneously.

 

And will it still sound like you? ; }

Hang on! Here we go again... ;)
My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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