#1
Okay , so I just got some Fender SCN J-Bass Pups for my Mexican J-Bass. I'm somewhat satisfied with my tone now, but still not fully into it. I know it could be deeper and thicker...

I have 45-105 Rotosound Swing Bass Strings, run through a 180 watt Electric Blue Ashdown Amp, a CS-1 Boss COmpression/Sustainer, a Dunlop Crybaby Wah as a filter. I'm wondering what the next logical step in upgrading would be with my current rig.
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Some say a comet will fall from the sky...
#3
Better amp? Man, I bought this Ashdown because it came highly recommended on these very forums. And I love the feel of my bass, I just feel like it lacks texture a lot of the time. It has no growl, you know? If I play a treble tone, it's just that. Very treble-ey. Likewise for warm, bass tones. I get a slight growl out of my bridge pup, which is why I almost always play exclusively on that one.

My girlfriend is actually taking drum lessons and she's loving it...so we will see where that goes. Maybe I'm just too picky, and can't expect myself to sound super impressive without a beat backing me up and a massive instrument/amp investment. More effects might be a good idea too. I have a B1 Multi effects pedal, but it's fairly unimpressive at most things...I only use it when I need a small amount of gain, because my amp doesn't have any gain access.
Clamdigger of the Bass Militia, PM Dinkydaisy to join
Some say a comet will fall from the sky...
#4
Do you always play with those two pedals in your signal chain? Neither of them are true bypass - it could be they're the weak link in your tone.
#5
When you say crybaby. You mean the bass one right?
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#6
How often do you replace your strings? Also try playing without the pedals, and mess about with your EQ. You might want to look into a Fulltone Bass Drive to put some life into your tone. It's an overdrive pedal, but you can set it to give you some warmth or grit as well!
Ibanez SR505
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#7
How long have you had the amp? Maybe you've grown out of it and it's time for an upgrade, especially if it's the amp with a 12" speaker. smb is right too, try taking the pedals out of the chain and seeing where that leads. Also, learn how to effectively EQ. For a deep thick sound I always like some nice lo-mid action with a pretty heavy cut on the hi-mid. Oh, and the bridge pickup is the opposite of deep and full. It's very bright and thin.
#8
I'd say its the amp. I have the same 180W 15" Ashdown amp and I know what you mean. The highs at times sound too horn-like, if you get me, and the lows are too low. I play a Spector and I don't really get the growl I need, but I do like the amp for its reliability and thickness of sound. But in your case, yes, I'd say its the amp.
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#9
A low end amp is a low end amp. It might be the best in the price range, but it's still a low end/intermediate level amp. Right now, that's gonna make the biggest difference in your tone.
Gear

Fender Geddy Lee Jazz
Fender MIA Precision
Musicman Bongo
Boss TU-2
EBS TD650
EBS ProLine 2x10 x 2
#10
Quote by Forcemaster
A low end amp is a low end amp. It might be the best in the price range, but it's still a low end/intermediate level amp. Right now, that's gonna make the biggest difference in your tone.


This man speaks the truth. The Electric Blue series is no doubt good value for money... but when you're becoming critical of your tone, the emphasise on good value should become less pronounced. If you like Ashdown, maybe try somemore of their higher end stuff, like MAG or ABM series. (Speaking of which, I played my Fender Precision through an EVO combo today... amazing!).
Last edited by shut_up_you_*** at Mar 9, 2008,
#11
I would recommend flatwounds. D'Addario Chromes to be exact. They give me a sound I absolutely LOVE.
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#12
I don't know what to think of these suggestions really...I've heard polar opposite ones also. I talked about flatwound strings, and the bass instructor at the music shop said it would actually take out the grit in my tone, and be a lot flatter and warmer. Like a jazz/R & B tone. I also just bought my strings maybe a month ago. And whenever I run my bass straight into the amp, the sound is absolute boredom. I'd at least want to run my compression pedal for the attack value.

I'll look into a different amp situation....though it frustrates me greatly because I just bought the Ashdown in January. To give an idea of the tone I long for, listen to Detroit Rock City, and hone in on Simmon's bass tone. Something like that.

And the crybaby I use is just a general, old fashioned crybaby.
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Some say a comet will fall from the sky...
#13
Quote by Ingsoc
I don't know what to think of these suggestions really...I've heard polar opposite ones also. I talked about flatwound strings, and the bass instructor at the music shop said it would actually take out the grit in my tone, and be a lot flatter and warmer. Like a jazz/R & B tone. I also just bought my strings maybe a month ago. And whenever I run my bass straight into the amp, the sound is absolute boredom. I'd at least want to run my compression pedal for the attack value.

I'll look into a different amp situation....though it frustrates me greatly because I just bought the Ashdown in January. To give an idea of the tone I long for, listen to Detroit Rock City, and hone in on Simmon's bass tone. Something like that.

And the crybaby I use is just a general, old fashioned crybaby.


Yeah, flatwound strings will do that. i don't really recommend them for what you want to do. As for the crybaby, take that out of your signal chain. That's probably not helping in the slightest, does it even have any effect?!

As for the amp, it's probably the main point of weakness in your tone, but obviously if you just bought it in January you'd be reluctant to upgrade straight away. So it's up to you really, whether you want to save for new gear or not.
Gear

Fender Geddy Lee Jazz
Fender MIA Precision
Musicman Bongo
Boss TU-2
EBS TD650
EBS ProLine 2x10 x 2
#14
Okay...well first things first put the pedals to one side for the time being and concentrate on the bass and amp.

Is your amp a 115 combo? What settings are you currently using? I don't have an Electric Blue, but on my MAG there's a difference in tone between the preamp and power sections - try turning up the "input" control slightly and correspondingly turn the output down to keep the volume the same. If you've got the "deep" and "bright" buttons on then turn them off and focus on getting the midrange controls on the amp in the right positions - I think you'll want a boost in the low mids. On your bass, try backing off slightly on the tone pot and maybe add in a bit of the neck pickup. If you're missing the very low lows then use the "deep" button but maybe cut the bass slightly on the EQ to about ten o'clock. You don't really want extreme EQing by the sounds of it - keep all the controls between ten and two o'clock. If you've got the model with the compressor, turn it off because it'll reduce the difference your EQ makes.

You definitely want roundwound strings from what you've been saying. I'm not a fan of the Rotos you're using though I've just put a fresh set of them on one of my basses - they're very bright and unforgiving when new but I like the way they settle down after a few weeks. You may want to try a different brand next time if you're not 100% happy with Rotos - I'd suggest trying d'Addarios perhaps.

If the volume of your amp is enough for you then I wouldn't be in too much of a rush to upgrade it, but I'd guess you'd prefer the tone of 10" speakers - the Ashdown 115 is a tad scooped and woofy sounding for me.
#15
Mine is a 15-180...Maybe speakers make a difference. I dunno, I will take all advice into consideration every time I EQ, and until I'm ready to swallow a huge bill for a new amp/head/cab, whatever, I'll learn to deal. Thanks for the help.
Clamdigger of the Bass Militia, PM Dinkydaisy to join
Some say a comet will fall from the sky...
#16
Well I wouldn't decide to splash the cash just yet - do some tweaking with your gear, play through any equipment you can get your hands on and ask anyone you know who plays to give your rig a listen and see what ideas a fresh pair of ears can lead to first

Is it possible to add an extension cab to your combo? Maybe a MAG210 cab would get that midrange growl you're after. Just a thought.