#1
I recently aquired a 120 watt Ashdown Blue amp/head combo in hopes it would solve my tone woes....however, it hasn't lived up to that concept really. The rig I run typically is a Fender A-Jazz Bass through heavy compression, into a multi-effects pedal with more compression and little fidgets here in there in the pedal to enhance tone. ALl this being said, I'm still not happy with my tone. Maybe I'm being unrealistic, but I want something that can cut through distorted power chords without being too loud to drown out my drummer/singer, and provoke my guitarist into a volume battle.

Strangely enough, I've found I really like Gene Simmons bass tone, especially in Detroit Rock City. I also really love Ryan Martinie's tone in Mudvayne. None of these guys have high volume, they just have amazing depth to their tone. I find that even after extensive tweaking I'm never really happy with my tone. Occasionally I'll hit a gold spot and be okay with it, but it's never that "WOW" tone I really want when I'm coming through on a drum fill/intro/bridge part where it's just me and the drummer, and as I already stated, if the guitar is distorted much, I can't punch through worth a crap.

I went to the music shop down the street and talked to a bass instructor, and he advised me to get new strings, as mine are on their 5th month now and are factory strings. However, he didn't give me any tips on what strings. So...all these things taken into account....can I be saved?
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#2
well, i'm partial to d.r. marcus miller strings. the steel ones get a good punchy sound to them. might be a little hard on the fingers if you're used to nickel, but its definitely worth it.
also, look into a bbe sonic maximizer. like a compressor, it's more of a tone booster than a serious effect, but it really cleans up your tone and adds some of the attack that gets lost (works great on clean tones, but more noticeable with distortion). i can explain how it works, but i'm tired and lazy. i never turn mine off.
you might want to tweak the eq a bit as well, espescally since the amp is new. you didn't say what settings you use. if you're doing the typical smiley face eq, you won't cut through well. the midrange has a huge effect on your ability to cut through the mix.
one last thing...you may be using too much compression for your own good. while some people really dig the mega-compressed sound, too much will really make your tone sound thuddy and lifeless.
#3
The EQ is the key to this. If you want a full sound don't EQ extremely. Never EQ past +3dB or past -3dB and if you added up all the + and - you want to be pretty close to zero. THat's the goal for a full sounding bass tone. That and quite a bit of bass, some low mids slightly cut hi mids and whatever you want to do with your trebles is your call.

As for strings, there is no better string made than the Rotosound SwingBass 66 RSLD 45-105 Stainless Steel bass string. None. I've tried almost all of 'em. None.
#4
i concur with everything jazzy has said and to add my 2p i think you might be over compressing your tone, if you run through 2 heavy compressions, most bassists use 1 compression unit and use it sparingly. with that much compression i'm surprised you get any dynamic range at all

also to cut through a distorted guitar mids are your best friend
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#5
Definitely cut down on the compression and as Dan and Jazzy have said, use the EQ subtly and mids are your friend. You also have a decent EQ on that amp so just fiddle about with it a bit until you find something you like.
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#6
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
As for strings, there is no better string made than the Rotosound SwingBass 66 RSLD 45-105 Stainless Steel bass string. None. I've tried almost all of 'em. None.

I like Rotos too, but, like all other things, surely strings are personal preferance?

Cut down on your compression a lot, it does that to your tone.

And seriously, you're playing an American Jazz through an Electric Blue? It's far from a bad amp, but it definitely is going to take away from the tone of your jazz! Splash out on a better head.

And +1 to the 3+. -3 EQing rule everyone else has talked about.
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#8
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
The EQ is the key to this. If you want a full sound don't EQ extremely. Never EQ past +3dB or past -3dB and if you added up all the + and - you want to be pretty close to zero. THat's the goal for a full sounding bass tone. That and quite a bit of bass, some low mids slightly cut hi mids and whatever you want to do with your trebles is your call.

As for strings, there is no better string made than the Rotosound SwingBass 66 RSLD 45-105 Stainless Steel bass string. None. I've tried almost all of 'em. None.


I agree with you on the EQthing, I barely ever touch it. Also, about the rotosound swings, how much do they go for?
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#10
I pay $33.50 for a 5-banger set of Rotos.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#11
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
^Nope. There's no personal preference about it. Rotos are the best.

What about the people who don't like the focus on the high mids? What about the people who don't like the initial brightness, or the rough texture? I'm not one of them, but surely they don't find them to be the best strings available.

EDIT: I pay £24.99 for a 5 string set of Standard Gauge Roto 66
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Last edited by Welsh Guitar at Jan 28, 2008,
#12
Quote by Welsh Guitar
What about the people who don't like the focus on the high mids? What about the people who don't like the initial brightness, or the rough texture? I'm not one of them, but surely they don't find them to be the best strings available.


what you'll find is those people don't exist, and anyone who doesn't like rotos has never tried them
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Dan

Don't stop being you <3


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I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#13
Quote by Welsh Guitar
What about the people who don't like the focus on the high mids? What about the people who don't like the initial brightness, or the rough texture? I'm not one of them, but surely they don't find them to be the best strings available.

Those folks get flatwounds. And chances are they don't have tweeters anyway.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
Last edited by thefitz at Jan 28, 2008,
#14
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
^Nope. There's no personal preference about it. Rotos are the best.


Word!!!

aha, meaning I agree 100%

did wonders for my tone, as did new amp, but yea, I'd say the strings had a massive impact!

MASSIVE

and I pay £14 a set, but admittedly mine are 40-95 gauge, to make slap oo soo easy

but yes, they really really help get that great tone to cut through
along with some nice mids
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#15
I've actually yet to test out many other string types. I tried Stadium Elites, didn't like them. I tried Elixirs, and really liked them, I should try them again. But yeah, I really do like Rotos, but only for a two or three weeks max, then they get really dead, as in deader than other strings I've tried.

I just think no brand of string should be claimed as being the "best", it would be impossible to try every other brand to compare.
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#17
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
^You must like really bright strings... I've had my rotos for nearly a month now and they've settled into a nice low-mid growl.


And they'll stay there for about 4 - 5 months if you treat them well. I play 2 hours or so daily and I'm amazed at the staying power of these strings.

I pay about 25 USD for mine and they are worth every cent. I was going thru a set of EB supers in about 8 weeks, so I figure I am actually saving money now with the more expensive Rotos.
#18
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
^You must like really bright strings... I've had my rotos for nearly a month now and they've settled into a nice low-mid growl.

I liked them most after around a week, I wished I could've kept them there. I wipe them down after use and stuff though, and wash my hands (not always, but when I can) before use.

Maybe I only feel this way cause I have to play through my Electric Blue combo rather than my halfstack, some knob stole my speakon at my last gig.
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#19
funny, i have the sr506. nice bass.
anyway, i've been meaning to check the rotosounds, but i've had trouble bringing myself to part ways with my dr's. i love those guys. way better than warwick or labella strings (and without labella's atrocious customer service). i might give them a try on my 4 string. i've gotta say i couldn't deal with the slimy feel elixirs give me. took em right off my ibanez. speaking of which, have you tried tapered strings on your ibanez? i put a set on, but they seemed to give me intonation problems.
#20
Quote by gonzosrevenge55
funny, i have the sr506. nice bass.
anyway, i've been meaning to check the rotosounds, but i've had trouble bringing myself to part ways with my dr's. i love those guys. way better than warwick or labella strings (and without labella's atrocious customer service). i might give them a try on my 4 string. i've gotta say i couldn't deal with the slimy feel elixirs give me. took em right off my ibanez. speaking of which, have you tried tapered strings on your ibanez? i put a set on, but they seemed to give me intonation problems.

Yeah, it's a lovely bass, blows the socks off other basses in the same price range!

Maybe you should try the Nanowebs, thinner coating on the strings.

I don't think I've tried tapered strings, not to my knowledge at least, who sells them?
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#21
Spirocores are the best strings. Though they cost $220. And they're only for upright, but if you even try to say roto... Spirocores will strike you down.


Yeah, EQ's are your friend. Use the, and make your own tone that's unique to you. Because you're only as unique as your tone.
#22
Quote by FbSa
Spirocores are the best strings. Though they cost $220. And they're only for upright, but if you even try to say roto... Spirocores will strike you down.


Yeah, EQ's are your friend. Use the, and make your own tone that's unique to you. Because you're only as unique as your tone.


comparing spirocores with rotos is like comparing pedula with fender its just not fair the price alone says they are better, but within a reasonable price rotos are the best
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


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I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#23
Wow you people pay LOADS for strings. I pay 20 USD for my Rotos

Not much to add, though I will say look at where you play, as in over the bridge pickup or neck? Change that around and you should see a difference.
#24
i know dr and labella make them (watch out for dr long necks, your bass will intonate funny if you have the wrong saddles). ken smith and ghs, too.
they're supposed to have a tighter, snappier feel (great for floppy low B's), but they actually have lower string tension. back when i worked at guitar center, you could find them pretty easily. but unless you swapped out your bridge, i wouldn't recomend doing so.
#25
I've actually become quite particular to the EMP Warwick stings (coated, though I hardly noticed). Maybe my ear wasn't developed at the time, but I didn't notice rotosounds to be that good. Just slightly brighter than the other strings I tried.

Almost 2 months on the Warwicks and no noticable drop in tone. I recon I can get a good 4 months out of each set, and that's with my massive prefference to new strings, and horrible hygene. Though I'm now in a hand washing and string cleaning routine, so that could easily be 6 months. See how it goes.
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+1
#26
I've heard good stuff about higher-end warwick strings too.
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#27
It's possible I'm overcompressing...but I've always thought that a pulsy, thick and fast note was what bass did best, and compression accomodated that idea. I've had other bassists tell me I should get a tube head, and now that more people are putting down the fact I run my j-bass through an Ashdown Solid-state 180 watt is super discouraging because I just bought it. I almost feel like selling my whole rig and just going to guitar center and blowing a grand or more feeling for the tone I want. I'm gonnna get those Roto's you've prescribed me on Saturday, and if I'm still unhappy with my tone, I don't know what I'm going to do.

On a barely related subject, whenever I shut off a pickup, or turn it down, my amp buzzes like crazy and it's extremely irritating, especially if I'm trying to run any gain whatsoever. Ideas?
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#28
The problem with compression is it's going to thin out your sound. At least, that's what I've found. Try turning the compression units way down and then EQing and see where it gets you. I think you might be shocked at how much it sounds like a blanket just came off your amp.
#30
compression is used to even out the volume of your playing, it is used on bass because bassists can go from soft finger style lines to aggressive percussive slap bass quickly and the volume difference would be immense, compression brings that volume difference down. but if you over compress then your sound will be a constant thump and the notes won't decay they just stop.

experiment with your new amp without he compression because ashdown amps are known for a very versatile tone sculpting functions
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#31
Quote by skater dan0
what you'll find is those people don't exist, and anyone who doesn't like rotos has never tried them


Oooh! Ooooh! Me! Me!!!

Yeah, I personally don't like Rotosounds at all. Hated them infact.
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#32
Quote by Nutter_101
Oooh! Ooooh! Me! Me!!!

Yeah, I personally don't like Rotosounds at all. Hated them infact.


stop posting on these forums, you don't exist
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#33
Quote by Nutter_101
Oooh! Ooooh! Me! Me!!!

Yeah, I personally don't like Rotosounds at all. Hated them infact.

What don't you like about them?

Be aware:
-10 if you "just don't like them" and you "can't explain it."

-50 if you don't like them because everyone else does (i.e. the reason why people buy T-Birds and not Jazzes)

-Male Genitilia if you don't like how they make your fingers feel

+6.009 if you find them much more delicious than good-sounding
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#34
Quote by thefitz
What don't you like about them?

Be aware:
-10 if you "just don't like them" and you "can't explain it."

-50 if you don't like them because everyone else does (i.e. the reason why people buy T-Birds and not Jazzes)

-Male Genitilia if you don't like how they make your fingers feel

+6.009 if you find them much more delicious than good-sounding


I don't like the sound of them to start with. They sound rather dirty, bassy, boomy. Not sure how to explain it. Thumpy! The second part is I don't like the fact that my fingers stick to them. I can deal with how they make my fingers feel, but they slow me down because of their roughness.

However, I may just try them out again sometime on my Warwick, as I've only ever used them on my precision.

For a really good recipe, try them boiled up and used instead of your usual pasta!
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#35
See, they are grippy - at first. When your fingers 'adjust' to the strings, they'll become smoother (and you'll find nickel strings coated in butter). Also, this grippiness will help your fretless intonation, as every move you make will be deliberate.

I think of it like you needing to adjust to the 'real' string, as opposed to those babied-up nickels.
Quote by Cody_Grey102
I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..
#36
I'm currently making a little tour of various string makes. So far done Roto's, EB, Warwick. So far, my favourite has been the EB, which is again probably because they are the only "new" strings I've had on my Warwick. I'm probably going to check out Elixers next, then maybe look at Roto's.

Need a good 6-string first though...
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#37
After easing up on compression, I did notice better tone. Derr....

I still plan to get those Rotos, but the rep it's gathering as 'rough' strings worries me because nothing is more irritating than hearing a scraping sound when you slide any amount of fretts, and I do alot of sliding.
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#38
Quote by Ingsoc
After easing up on compression, I did notice better tone. Derr....

I still plan to get those Rotos, but the rep it's gathering as 'rough' strings worries me because nothing is more irritating than hearing a scraping sound when you slide any amount of fretts, and I do alot of sliding.


I never got what people were talking about with the roughness??

yes they are steel not nickel; but shouldn't bassists have nice tough fingers??


I never noticed a difference in terms of feel, except the whole, ooo new stringys feeling

sound wise though, miles of difference
Quote by the humanity
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#39
Quote by Ingsoc
After easing up on compression, I did notice better tone. Derr....

I still plan to get those Rotos, but the rep it's gathering as 'rough' strings worries me because nothing is more irritating than hearing a scraping sound when you slide any amount of fretts, and I do alot of sliding.


the roughness is because they are stainless steel instead of nickel coated.

nickel is for babies because it makes sliding a less accurate affair and it doesn't build callouses so much.

stainless steel is a man's string, the rough texture of steel means you have to make your slides deliberate and you build callouses much quicker. it won't make any different noises when you slide
Quote by bassmanjoe08
Dan

Don't stop being you <3


Quote by fatgoogle
I think after this relentless adding for the last 10 mins, that Dan is the coolest looking. Goddamn welsh people and my great etc etc etc etc etc granddad is welsh.
#40
Yeah, this sticky business (yeah, sticky for a friggin' day and then you're already used to it) is so dumb. As for sliding and making funny noises, no. I slide all day long when I'm jamming and no funny noises. The material doesn't add any sliding sounds at all.