Poll: Vintage or Modern
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View poll results: Vintage or Modern
Vintage
27 45%
Modern
33 55%
Voters: 60.
#1
What's your preference? Do you dig vintage-type gear and sounds, or are you a fan of modern tones and equipment?

I'm on the modern side of things. Active electronics; ergonomically-shaped, handmade basses; and flexible, high-powered, solid-state amplification all make me smile. I'd likely make room for a versatile tube amp, but that's about as far into the past as I'd like to go.

My idea of modern tone correlates more with flexibility and comfort than it does with what people generally think of as an uber-bright, clear, and sterile tone. With my modern gear I can capture my idea of a strong, singing, complex tone; something I have a hard time doing with vintage basses and amps.

What do you prefer and why?
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#2
Passive bass. Tube amp.

No hastle involved in getting the perfect callibration of midrange Throaty full tone all of the time--no treble zing on top of booming bass with nothing in the middle.. Of course modern gear is more versitile and you can get good midrange (I know how broad term is, but I'm jus using it to describe the specifc frequency range I love) out of much of it, but it's often a hastle, too often modern gear sounds empty to me unless I spend ages dialing in the sweet spot. I can cut every knob on my rig to zero, the calibrate it back up to my perfect tone within a matter of seconds. Convenience for the exact sound I want.

And I think mass-produced p-bass bodies and j-bass necks are about as ergonically friendly as you can get, nothing modern about that.
#3
I love a vintage look.

but tonewise, I love the modern sound and feel, the passive tone and tube amps feel and sound. I like being able to tell exactly what notes I'm playing, without some muddy old tubes bumping it out, I like the deep, clean roaring lows and the possibility of a gajillion fuzzes.
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#4
I love modern amps and basses and the flexibility of tone, but god I adore a vintage P bass through a tube amp. Its like I channel the bass gods when I get to play through one.
#5
I'm a fan of modern basses and solid state amps. it might be more of a hassle to get the sound I want, but I can always get it.
#6
I've always been a fan of passive basses that think they're active. The old USA Peaveys likt the T-40 and Foundation cause some serious GAS pains. They don't really seem to fit into a vintage or modern category, though. I think the deciding factor for me is that I'm a fan of SS amps. (and so is my back)
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#7
Well, as per usual, I'm going to give a long, multi-part answer.

Amplification-wise, with my 6-band parametric EQ that I spend hours tweaking bands no more than 1.5db, I'm modern.

Instrument-wise, I'm more of a Hugh Hefner type - I have a main one that I like very much and spend the majority of my time with, but I also have other different ones waiting in the wings for me craving my touch.

Calling my main Jazz's tone anything other than modern is ridiculous. It's super clear and super-bright, but it's also super midrangey, and super bassy. This is what active electronics can do. All of them. It just so happens people prefer brightness.

My Warwick has a 2 band EQ whose notches are places approximately between each band of my 3 band, so naturally it's a smoother, rounder tone than my Jazz, but it still has that modern edge to it. If you're looking at the modern/vintage spectrum, my Jazz is at the far left, with my Warwick a bit to the right but still farther left than half-way. In essence, I tried to approximate the same 'sound' with a different EQ timbre, so I basically have the same tone on 2 basses - a modern version, and a round version.

However, just yesterday I slapped some nylon flatwounds onto my '51 Precision, and it's IT. IT. I had steel flatwounds and the bass sounded too laboured and friendly. I put roundwounds on it and it sounded super nasty, agressive, and clear, which was shocking. A great sound, but I'd NEVER use it over the Jazz. So I took the black flats off my acoustic and slapped it on the '51 P, and that bass will NEVER have another type of string on it. BOOM. I say with confidence that nylon flats are much more tonally broad than metal flats. The Fender ones I have on it are basically roundwounds coated with a nylon ribbon, and they're PERFECT. So +1 for vintage.

And then I put some old flats onto my acoustic which I recently upgraded with a Michael Kelly/Fishman bass optimized piezo preamp system. This bass used to have the black flats, and plugged in, it did have an uprighty vibe. But now that I have these steel strings with this preamp, I tell you, this is the closest sound to a piezo-equipped upright I've ever heard in my life. I bet in a heavy mix I'd fool people who aren't paying attention to see if the bass is an ABG or an upright. I'm floored again. You CAN really cop the feel of an upright on an ABG - and I realized that beyond construction and scale length, the way you play the instrument has the most effect on the sound. These flats are stiff and hard and require a confident attack (especially when compared to the downright slutty nylons). That laboured attack and force really helps give it an upright quality when using the end of the neck as a thumbrest. So an upright's as vintage as it gets. (Disclaimer: the acoustic tone is still an ABG, which is still a downtuned guitar. I removed the frets in mine and really think that it's plugged in tone is very similar to the plugged in tone of an upright).

But alas, I don't think this is a binary function - I think vintage was in the 50's and 60's, and modern started with Alembic and ended in the early 90's. I think we're in a very post-modern era of tone.

Alembics needed to be plugged into a power socket to be played, and they had millions of switches and dials. Modern tone then was extremely complicated and that was the standard. Then Ibanez came along and made their SoundGear basses with necks as thick as crackers and bodies that are 115% the size of my open hand. Not even going to MENTION Steinberger (just did). Then there were phase switches, parallel-series, coil taps, switches that made knobs do different things, etc. Electronics were complicated and basses were streamlined to the point of excess. Amps were the same way, with millions of options and EQs and the like (i.e. my SWR). The stuff of today, the post-modern stuff, took the best parts of both eras and kept what was good and chucked what was a bit too much. Ashdown and Markbass are modern companies whose amplifiers are pretty straightforward and simple in their operation, and round in their tone. Hell, MarkBass' most complex amp is a tube amp! Tiny basses with thin necks are no longer king, and few basses have anything more than a 3-band EQ, and a good chunk of active basses have a mere 2-band.

So basically, I think bass stuff started out as simple as possible, and then became as complex and tiny as possible. Then since the mid 90's they've taken a step back towards the vintage size of things while keeping what made the mod stuff great. Po-mo.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
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#8
Instrument wise I've never played a Bass with better feel than my 65 Jazz Bass, when put a J-Retro active kit on it the Bass leapt forewards 30 years.
There are many wonderful instruments out there today to the point where we're spolit for choice; bit like keyboards so many different sounds yet so many are variations of the same theme.
Regarding amplifiers and Cabinets we've never had it so good although I still hanker after my old mid 70s 'Orange Graphic 120'; but that's nostalgia for you.
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#9
I'm very modern, except my strings. I've oddly found this masochistic love of flatwounds that gives my modern bass going into my modern amp (the GK that I use in school) this kind of quavering quality that I'm in love with, it's very nice indeed. Other than that my dream is basically a seven or nine string bass with bartolini soap bars and one of those quasi boutique amps like Eden or Accugroove. So yeah, pretty modernish. Or "post-modern" as Fitzy so appropriately put it. I have no patience for that old school bass sound. Every time I hear it I want to go up to the bass player and ask him who made his time machine. But I'm too shy.
#10
I play a P-Bass through an Ashdown with a 1x15 cab, it screams vintage .
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#11
i'm dyed in the wool "old school". the Fender Jazz/Precision combined with an Ampeg SVT rig, is my idea of perfect bass sound. (old fart).
#12
^That's ok Rick I think all of the dinosaurs of the bass forum suffer from that a bit, lol.
#13
I m so mixed about this, On one hand i love my active bass'sand am going towards the modern tone all the time and i use it more. I love ss and dont think i will own tube as it goes. But then i walk into a shop and i plug a fender jazz into an svt and i love it so vintagey, i just cant make my mind. I think ill just have to get evreything and be in the best of both worlds.
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#14
I did try a warwick corvette doublebuck a few weeks ago, and it turned my notion of active basses on its head. It still took some time to get that perfect sound, and it only came through on one of the three-way switch settings, but it was definately there in spades once I found it.
#15
I like a bit of both. I don't have a tube amp but MAGs aren't exactly modern sounding. I use a mix of active and passive basses. My ATK does some pretty old sounding tones with the J pickup and the treble cut a bit and some muting, or it can do very modern aggressive stuff with the humbucker if that's what I'm after.
#16
Its odd for me, I play through a Line 6 so thats modern as modern gets, but the smooth growl of a passive bass just does it for me, a mix is always good. Until i played my instructors Rick 4003 in stereo through two 59 bassman reissues, so ultra retro is cool. But i find you can only get one kind of sound from it.

Edit: the aforementioned rig is the one im GASsing for.
#17
Pastorius Squier ---> Bassman 10.
Vintage, and "ghetto", the Squier has huge grooves from my round wounds, which show up white, and the amp has been around the block lol.
The modern sound always seems to sterile, I probably don't spend enough time tweaking
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#18
Modern. I'm not trying to **** on vintage fans, but it's just so stale to me. I like to think that I'm moving forward. I like John Paul Jone's tone, but if a Nick Oliveri tone is what fits, that's what I go with.
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#19
Basses? Mostly modern all the way. The tossup for what I want my EVENTUAL main axe to be are between an Urge II, Bongo, and a Warwick $$/FNA Jazzman. I think Warwick basses do have some "vintage" characteristics. The idea of having a very wood-based sound and all seems a little old-school to me, but I love the idea.

Amps? I love my Carvin and have enjoyed most high-end SS gear, but when I do plug into a good tube amp I'm in heaven too. I really like the more modern tube amps that bring in new conveniences while keeping some of the original tubey goodness. I like a more modern tone, but I still find myself wanting a little old-school warmth.

Effects? Totally modern.
#20
Quote by the humanity
I love a vintage look.

but tonewise, I love the modern sound and feel, the passive tone and tube amps feel and sound. I like being able to tell exactly what notes I'm playing, without some muddy old tubes bumping it out, I like the deep, clean roaring lows and the possibility of a gajillion fuzzes.


For basses, I feel the same way, which is probably why I love Spectors. As for amps, I'm divided. I like the growl and warmth of tube amps, but I also like the clarity of solid state. What tips the balance for me is that tubes are pain to take care of, and they're heavier. For effects, I use all modern effects, except my 70's PWB, and that's only because Morley doesn't make them anymore.
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#21
Quote by IndianRockStar
Basses? Mostly modern all the way. The tossup for what I want my EVENTUAL main axe to be are between an Urge II, Bongo, and a Warwick $$/FNA Jazzman. I think Warwick basses do have some "vintage" characteristics. The idea of having a very wood-based sound and all seems a little old-school to me, but I love the idea.


Yeah, the Warwick concept of old-school predates electric instruments by a few hundred years: old German guys whittling away on stunning pieces of timber to create beautiful, resonant instruments. Or at least, before the factory came around in 1999.
"Comedy's a dead art form. Now tragedy, that's funny." -Bender Bending Rodriguez
#22
Quote by mountaindew88
Yeah, the Warwick concept of old-school predates electric instruments by a few hundred years: old German guys whittling away on stunning pieces of timber to create beautiful, resonant instruments. Or at least, before the factory came around in 1999.

I wants a 90's wenge neck Fortress. there are none in so cal
Quote by FatalGear41
I wouldn't call what we have here on the Bass Forum a mentality. It's more like the sharing part of an AA meeting.

Quote by Jason Jillard
HUMANITY WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.


Warwick Fortress>>Acoustic AB50

http://www.myspace.com/rustingbloom
#23
Quote by John Swift
Instrument wise I've never played a Bass with better feel than my 65 Jazz Bass, when put a J-Retro active kit on it the Bass leapt forewards 30 years.
There are many wonderful instruments out there today to the point where we're spolit for choice; bit like keyboards so many different sounds yet so many are variations of the same theme.
Regarding amplifiers and Cabinets we've never had it so good although I still hanker after my old mid 70s 'Orange Graphic 120'; but that's nostalgia for you.


well there can't be anything more vintage then a 60s Jazz, but in what way does installing a preamp make it modern? does it loose the classic vintage tone?
#24
Quote by Waffleexplosion
Modern. I'm not trying to **** on vintage fans, but it's just so stale to me. I like to think that I'm moving forward. I like John Paul Jone's tone, but if a Nick Oliveri tone is what fits, that's what I go with.
Nick Oliveri uses Js or Ps through Ampeg or Sunn...how is his tone in any way modern?