Getting Good Tone
When you're playing the bass, there are a ton of different things that you can do to affect the tone.
Besides EQ-ing the hell out of the amp, or replacing the pickups, you can also play differently.
There are a lot of players out there who think that getting new strings, a new set of Pickups or a new bass or amp will cure all of the problems that they're having with getting a good tone. However, the best way to get a good tone is to play a bit differently. Let me explain.......
Have you noticed that, regardless of what equipment a good player uses, a good bass player always sounds like a good bass player? It's not in just the equipment, it's in the way that they actually handle the bass.
If you find that you're having trouble getting a defined and clear tone, try playing closer to the bridge. Because the strings are more taught there, you tend to get a much more defined and clear tone, without all of the muddiness of playing next to the neck or on the fretboard.
As well, there are times that you're going to want a smoother and more deep tone. If you play reggae or Dub or R&B, you might want a deeper tone. Playing closer to the neck will allow you to get that kind of a tone, but it will generally be less defined.
Besides where you play on the bass, how you play with your fingers has a very large impact on the tone that you produce.
If you pull or pluck the string as opposed to letting the meat of your finger roll off of the string, you will get a more tinny, sharper tone.
Regardless of where you're playing on the bass, you want your fingers to roll off of the strings. If you are plucking them, there is less substance to the tones that you produce and less definition to each note. Paying attention to the attack of your fingers on the strings is important to your overall tonal development.
As for your fretting hand, the best sound will come from cutting off the string just behind the fret. Cutting the string off too far behind the fret may cause a heavy buzzing that will make your bass sound like farts.
That's right, farts! :)
The best way to practice this is slowly with a metronome. By taking the time to work on this early, you can avoid problems in the future.
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