#1
Ok guys, I've come to the conclusion that my bass tone is severely lacking. I know that money isn't everything, but after playing for 6 years and spending roughly 3k on my bass rig I'd have thought I'd get more consistency out of it tone wise. I've owned the same gear for a few years now, and while I've had some very satisfying jams on it, lately my tone has been seriously lacking.
I play hard rock and metal primarily so my tone would need qualities suitable for those genres (powerful low end, strong midrange, defined high end to cut). I enjoy moderate overdrive and distortion but nothing too over the top. Just some added dirt you know? But also love a good clean tone with enough dynamics for both pick playing and finger techniques.

My rig consists of:
Ibanez SRA500 Tuned to Drop-C Strung with Ernie Ball Cobalt Power Slinkys
Ibanez SRA555 Tuned to B standard or Drop-A Strung with Coated Elixers(Stock)
Ibanez SR300DX Tuned Standard or Drop-D with Ernie Ball Regular Slinkys
Gallien-Krueger MB500
Gallien-Krueger MBE 410 800 watt cabinet.
MXR M80 bass DI+Distortion pedal
MXR M87 bass compressor
Boss TU-3 Tuner
Monster bass cables to and from the pedals with Rock Effect cables(as monster calls them) connecting them.

Any advice or recommendations for better tone or gear settings will be read and considered.
#2
Posting the settings you use on the amp and pedals will help us help you... To a degree. We can't really hear with your ears so... I'd try turning off that compressor for a start personally.

It could be you're just bored. Maybe trade one of those Ibanez' for something a bit different.
Basses:
Fender Precision Bass
Fender Jazz Bass
1967 Fender Coronado Bass II
Warwick Star Bass
Squier Precision Bass TB
#3
There is no single "right" bass tone. There are a seemingly infinite number of "right" bass tones. With that in mind, what exactly are you looking for? You clearly have the equipment to do the job correctly. If you are looking for "dirt," then you best bet may be a distortion box designed specifically for the electric bass. Your amplifier can get it for you, but it is a solid-state amp designed to avoid overdriving the speaker cabinet. based on what you say you want, you would be boosting (but not too much) everything except for the treble end of your amplifier's EQ. For a tighter performance, you might want to add in some compression - this will "even out" your notes. Beyond that, you might want to forget about enhancing so much of your sonic spectrum and cut your mids while increasing your lows and highs. This is the oft-used "smiley face" pattern of arranging the faders on a graphic EQ.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#4
cant comment much without hearing the tone and etc.

but i'd suggest checking out the sansamp bass pedal.. forgot which one..
it made shit sound FAT!
#5
You need to strip back, I think. Try running your bass flat, into your amp flat, without any effects. Listen to it closely, and decide where you need to go from there.

Or, yeah, just get a Sansamp.
Spare a Cow
Eat a Vegan
#6
i'm sure there's a lot you could work with on your rig just messing with settings and with basic "rules" but without being able to see it myself and mess with it it's hard to say what

an alternative to the sansamp would be a darkglass b7k (or the younger brother b3k). more money, but if you want a modern/high gain approach that cuts the mix, that's the choice of a lot of metal bassists these days

i use a TCE dark matter and it does exactly what i need, but i'm running bi-amped so i can also run a semi-wet "clean" amp to accompany it to give some tone to the form that gets me
#7
Post pics of your settings and maybe a sound clip

My advice

Build your chain from scratch again. Plug just the bass into the amp, and flatten all your knobs. Make sure you are not cutting your mids. Now, introduce one pedal into the chain at a time, and spend time getting each one dialed in.

Sansamp will definitely help, but Id still recommend doing what I said as well, since Sansamp will be like polishing a turd if your sending it a bad signal (tho, Sansamp can make those turds sound great)
#8
Quote by bassalloverthe
Post pics of your settings and maybe a sound clip

My advice

Build your chain from scratch again. Plug just the bass into the amp, and flatten all your knobs. Make sure you are not cutting your mids. Now, introduce one pedal into the chain at a time, and spend time getting each one dialed in.

Sansamp will definitely help, but Id still recommend doing what I said as well, since Sansamp will be like polishing a turd if your sending it a bad signal (tho, Sansamp can make those turds sound great)



+1


to add to this..
sometimes you need to go overboard with settings to get a good tone...
for example right now i just have a tiny ass marshall mg10cf.
gets a really muddy, choked tone.

i had a zoom g1x pedal (****ing awful pedal)... went in through it
and went ape shit on the eq's, compression, gate and a bit of verb.
(used the gain channel of the marshall)
got quite an interesting tone outta the small box of an amp.

on the other hand...

sometimes being conservative is the right way... coz the higher
end gear usually sounds great off the back and needs very minimal
tweaking... going overboard will give you cool sounds.. but many times..
i've felt going overboard with eq settings on high end gear just
makes it sound cheap.
#9
Quote by The SoundGuy


sometimes being conservative is the right way... coz the higher
end gear usually sounds great off the back and needs very minimal
tweaking... going overboard will give you cool sounds.. but many times..
i've felt going overboard with eq settings on high end gear just
makes it sound cheap.



Not to turn the thread into a stroke fest, but this. Good gear will do most of the work for you. If you have a great amp, dont get in the way!
#10
I would suggest that you start with small changes like switch string brands, pup swap, and the preamps on your basses.
Damn it! Disable can't use disable to disable Disable's disable because disable's disable has already been disabled by Disable's disable!
#11
As people have said, start with flat EQ. Then listen. What does your tone need? Is it too boomy? Is it too trebly? Does it lack some punch? Maybe you want some more highs?

If you want it to be dirty, turn your distortion pedal on and then start tweaking the EQ. If you play with a clean tone most of the time, find your clean tone first. Keep the compressor turned off when you tweak your settings.

If your bass has an on board EQ, you may want to tweak it first (for example if there's a specific bass tone (for example Precision or Jazz tone) in your mind, I would tweak the bass settings first).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#12
Simply put, if you think your bass tone sucks, then start by checking out some Leslie West music. Solo or with Mountain. He is king of the guitar tone. Just look him up and what he uses. That might help you develop your own tone.

Also, you might want to get rid of some of those pedals and get yourself the EBS Billy Sheehan Signature pedal. This just might solve all of your tone issues because you can run it completely clean, or run it distorted, or run both the clean channel and distortion channel together to really clean up your distortion sound. It also has a compressor on it in which if you open up the unit it has more things inside you can tweak for the compression part. Also you can run other pedals straight through it while running the main pedal straight through to the amp. If you go to youtube and search for the pedal, find the video in which Billy Sheehan himself talks about the pedal and demonstrates it, that will tell you more about the pedal. A lot of bass guys run 2 amps or 2 racks. One is always a clean channel (no distortion) and the other is a distortion channel. they run those together so that you can clean up your distortion so you don't lose your bottom end and you can still hear the bass through the distortion. Billy can describe it all way better than I can. It's one of the best sounding pedals I have ever heard. You can even use it on the guitar as well. I am trying to get one myself.
#14
I was having the same problem in my beginning years of bass, what I had learned since then is that you gatta wash your hands before you ever even touch your bass. Every month, go over your strings with rubbing alcohol and give your fretboard a good cleandown too. I know there are a lot of other factors to tone and it seems like you have all the equipment you need to get what you're looking for, but its wise to keep your strings as clean as possible so that it doesnt get muffled by the dirt that gets stuck between the wedges of your strings. good luck
#16
Quote by slap-a-bass
I was having the same problem in my beginning years of bass, what I had learned since then is that you gatta wash your hands before you ever even touch your bass. Every month, go over your strings with rubbing alcohol and give your fretboard a good cleandown too. I know there are a lot of other factors to tone and it seems like you have all the equipment you need to get what you're looking for, but its wise to keep your strings as clean as possible so that it doesnt get muffled by the dirt that gets stuck between the wedges of your strings. good luck

Yeah, dead strings sound dead.

Maybe change your strigns first.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#17
The two general truths I've found and have passed on many multiple times are: turn down the bass knob, and, cut somewhere between 400-500hz.

Then do what everyone else has said about introducing each pedal at a time.

Also, avoid 'smiley-face' EQ like it's the plague.
404: Sig not found.
#18
I actually dig the smiley face and EQ. But I also dig playing with my bridge pickup which most people avoid, too.

I don't know what sound you pursue but one thing that I always want is my low end to be clean. Totally clean. As clean as possible. For the high end, I like it to be punch, even distorted. Sometimes, you can't get both. Learn to use your knobs on the bass while playing, like many guitarists do.


And remember what Eddie said - VOLUME is TONE!
Last edited by realsmoky at Jun 5, 2014,