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How to get a great punchy low yet clear bass guitar sound?
Old 24th January 2009
Here for the gear
🎧 10 years
How to get a great punchy low yet clear bass guitar sound?

So I've been listening to a lot of rock music lately just on itunes and stuff and I noticed that the bass sounds that I like are really punchy and they cut through the mix well. I have a pretty decent bass setup. I have a fender deluxe jazz bass, ampeg v4bh 100 watt all tube head, and an ampeg 610hlf cabinet. My bass sounds pretty good, but I really want the sound I hear on recordings. That just really punchy bass that cuts through the mix well but yet the notes are still clear. Anyone have any suggestions on how I could get the sound that I'm going for?
Old 24th January 2009
Lives for gear
Robert Randolph's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I know it's not the answer you want, but it's 90% the player and 10% the compression.

Clean picking (finger or plectrum) combined with clean muting, a light touch and a strong groove will get you there in a few months of practice... no matter what equipment you're using.

If you're there already, then grab an optical compressor and a sansamp then go wild
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
Gear Guru
FFTT's Avatar
🎧 15 years
A-Design REDDI is another very good option.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
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Bob Ross's Avatar
🎧 15 years
How to get a great punchy low yet clear bass guitar sound?

Start with a great punchy low yet clear bass guitar

...in the hands of a great player.

Heck, start with a great player and put anything in their hands.
Old 31st January 2009 | Show parent
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gwailoh's Avatar
🎧 15 years
Hi markdavis:

Granted the player matters most, then the bass, then the kit. Now what?

Here are a couple of extremely generic suggestions. It's hard to try to be more specific because "punchy" may mean different things to me than to you. Anyway hope these ideas help for starters.

1. Try blending two or more sound sources. It's common to blend an amp with a DI. Try setting one source up to emphasize bottom while setting the second in whatever way is necessary to cut through your mix. I personally don't really like DI bass, so I bi-amp, recently with a B-12 for bottom and a little Fender solid state guitar practice amp with a 10" speaker for emphasized treble. I like this sound a lot: to my ear it's "clear" and "punchy" and "cuts", in a way which somehow feels "old school" yet "hi fi" at the same time, if that description makes any sense. Anyway I'm just pointing out that you don't have to be limited to just one sound source.

2. Try recording a flat DI track along with your amp track. If you can't make the amp track fit in the mix, re-amp the DI track back out to your SVT or whatever other amps are available to you, and dial in your amp sound to complement the mix.

Hope this helps get you started, or maybe sparks other ideas that'll work out great for you.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
Gear Addict
nbarts's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Other than everything that has been already mentioned above, there is one little trick you can do. Run an EQ before your amp, preferably with option to cut/boost the volume, something like MXR 10band EQ. Listen through your monitors when messing with your EQ settings. Something like a Distressor on the way in helps a LOT too.
Old 1st February 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Unclenny's Avatar
🎧 10 years
I track my bass DI through a channel strip followed by RNLA.

It really helps me play it right if I get it sounding right on the way in and the strip/LA combo gives me emminent tweakability on EQ, compression, pre/post mix and overall color. I play with it till it makes me smile and then I push the red button.

Get it sounding tight and it may help you dig in during your performance for that sound you crave.
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
ok.. you can achieve good results with that setup.. but to me the weak point is the bass..

i've got a jazz bass deluxe made in usa.. and is weak.. you have a lot of sound from the pick ups, but not so much from the wood.

than you have a jazz bass that is much more scooped and haven't the low end and the mid lows that cuts in the mix so great.

i've got that jazz bass, than i've bought a jazz bass '78.. and has much more sound, but is always a jazz bass.. i've always played on jazz bass.. i don't know why.. i think i've always thought.. well the precision has just one pick up.. seems much more old/limited sound..

some months ago i've seen a precision.. fiesta red.. used.. made in mexico.. so i thought.. wow.. i can buy one of these just because i like the color and is LIGHT (while the JB'78 is really heavyyy!!!) and i can use it live..

than i've tried it.. in the shop.. and was astonished.. it sounds HUGE really defined, has a big bouncy low end and a lot of presence in the mid highs.. is a totally different bass, i like it more than the american version (i've compared them in the same shop)

is the Fender Precision Bass Classic '50 made in mexico.. has a great neck and is all great.. it's enough saying that in these days i prefer much more it to the jazz bass vintage.. and cuts much more in the mix than the jb.. is always present.

find it used and you will pay it around 400$!!

all the notes sounds at the same volume, it's really balanced, you will play better with this instrument.

in the JB you hear much more the clicky attack, you have much more peaks.. and more "sub-low" end the rest of the sound is much more distant.

i don't know, for now i'm considering to sell my JB.. and consider that my JB is a very good sounding one.. the neck is perfect. (btw i don't think i will sell it so avoid asking me to sell it)

try that precision, go in a shop and try it!!! and take with you your jazz bass, and compare it.. i'm too sure of what i'm saying..

than come back on gearslutz and pm me what you think
Old 7th February 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
ah ok.. other suggestions..

an RE-20 at 2/3 inch.. from the cone.. on axis on center..
than if you have a condenser put it around 2 feet from the cone.. see if works better off axis.. i don't know.. to me always on axis..

take a d.i. before the amp to take just the sound of the bass..

than blend those three tracks..

start with the RE-20.. and you'll here it's the sound you want.. and is enough..

but you can add the condenser and check immediately the phase.. if you use ableton or logic you have a track delay to align the tracks.. and is pretty easy.. try to move the track delay around -10 to +10 ms usually i find the point around 8/9.. you will hear the sound more 3D and deep and less flanging on the high end.

than you can add the d.i. and you will instantaneously hear much more clearness and you'll say WOW INCREDIBLE!!!
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