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Fingers and the audience

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5 minutes ago, SubsonicSimpleton said:

Well at the next bass bash you could organise a blind audience fingering and get answers.

 

 

I suspect that a fingering a blind audience would result in more questions than answers, probably conducted under caution in the local police station!

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33 minutes ago, SubsonicSimpleton said:

Well at the next bass bash you could organise a blind audience fingering and get answers.

 

 

Thing is, I know it's false. A Stingray sounds nothing like a Hofner. 

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3 hours ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

Different maybe, right or wrong no way. 

If you play motown on a Status with the treble flat out, so what? 

No, so what was Miles Davis and is jazz, not Motown so you need a jazz bass and not a precision 😂😂

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I find that I have to take the room into account.  Some rooms are trebly and some are bassy.  The same bass will sound different in each.

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I always thought ‘all in the fingers’ was nonsense. I get the thinking behind it but people who say that are confusing chops / playing style with choice of equipment. 

A really good example is Jaco playing Jerry Jemmott’s bass on the Electric Bass video. Jaco is playing in the way he plays, and it’s great, but it sounds completely different to the rest of the video where he plays the Fender. They’re Jaco’s chops, but with a different tone.

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Point 2.  For me the difference between "Decent" gear and top of the range megga bucks stuff is so small I don't notice it, more so in a band mix. Also, If the person using the top of the range stuff uses strings or a tone you are not keen on then subjectively its not as good as the mid range gear I use that has the sound I like and want.

Edited by mikel
Additions.

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14 minutes ago, project_c said:

I always thought ‘all in the fingers’ was nonsense. I get the thinking behind it but people who say that are confusing chops / playing style with choice of equipment. 

A really good example is Jaco playing Jerry Jemmott’s bass on the Electric Bass video. Jaco is playing in the way he plays, and it’s great, but it sounds completely different to the rest of the video where he plays the Fender. They’re Jaco’s chops, but with a different tone.

Exactly!

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I heard the "Its all in the fingers" back in the day and took it to mean that a great player, using a cheapo bass,would make it sound way, way better than the average person playing the same instrument.

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6 minutes ago, mikel said:

I heard the "Its all in the fingers" back in the day and took it to mean that a great player, using a cheapo bass,would make it sound way, way better than the average person playing the same instrument.

Yes and I totally see that point. But I’m talking about people who say they can make a stingray sound like a jazz bass, or that they both sound the same ‘in their hands’ 

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12 minutes ago, ped said:

Yes and I totally see that point. But I’m talking about people who say they can make a stingray sound like a jazz bass, or that they both sound the same ‘in their hands’ 

I dont think they sound the same but the more prominent aspects of the playing can be much more noticeable than the general tone of the bass being used. 

Then there is the amp and pa to consider, you can have a super bright zingy slap tone on stage but if the sound crew cut all the top off it the audience won't hear it anyway. 

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4 minutes ago, stingrayPete1977 said:

I dont think they sound the same but the more prominent aspects of the playing can be much more noticeable than the general tone of the bass being used. 

Then there is the amp and pa to consider, you can have a super bright zingy slap tone on stage but if the sound crew cut all the top off it the audience won't hear it anyway. 

As I said in my first post it doesn’t count if you’re talking about a situation where you can’t hear it properly. Even so, even with the range of eq available on some stingrays, they still sound like stingrays. It’s physically impossible to get a jazz bass sound from one. But some people seem to think they can, and actually now I mention it some even say they can get close with careful eq, as if eq can do anything to change a physical pickup arrangement into another! Madness if you ask me!

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But as bass players we are a lot more sensitive to the differences between bass tones. We listen to music as bass players, not as non-musicians. Thus, we don't necessarily see the big picture.

Even so I tend to listen to what's being played, I don't necessarily think 'oh, that's a P Bass, that's a Spector, that's a Ray.'

I've been trying out different basses with my band to see what suits...

Singer: Why do you have all those different basses? They sound exactly the same.

:facepalm:

 

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33 minutes ago, discreet said:

But as bass players we are a lot more sensitive to the differences between bass tones. We listen to music as bass players, not as non-musicians. Thus, we don't necessarily see the big picture.

Even so I tend to listen to what's being played, I don't necessarily think 'oh, that's a P Bass, that's a Spector, that's a Ray.'

I've been trying out different basses with my band to see what suits...

Singer: Why do you have all those different basses? They sound exactly the same.

:facepalm:

 

So is ignorance bliss? Look at point 2. 

I personally like the fact that it’s probably only me and a few others who can appreciate the neuences of my sound. The audience probably can’t put their finger on it but it’ll make the music sound better and lift everything performance wise if I’m happy. I love that I can retreat to Basschat and talk about this sort of thing with like minded folk. How boring it would be if we all just did the usual because our audiences appeared not to care.

Whilst I also listen to what’s being played, the more I have learned about basses I enjoy listening to the bass sound and figuring out what bass it might be, or it might inspire ,e to try a new effect, sound or idea. Just listening to a track in the ‘game music’ thread and I’m immediately inspired to try a P bass sound slapped with a phaser. 

And you shouldn’t listen to your singer, ever 😎

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1 hour ago, ped said:

Yes and I totally see that point. But I’m talking about people who say they can make a stingray sound like a jazz bass, or that they both sound the same ‘in their hands’ 

That I don't think is remotely possible, not tonally at least. A players style yes but not tonally. Take the Jaco reference, if Jaco played the same part on a Stingray, Jazz, Precision and Thunderbird, the style and expression would be the same but they would all sound different tonally.

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33 minutes ago, discreet said:

But as bass players we are a lot more sensitive to the differences between bass tones. We listen to music as bass players, not as non-musicians. Thus, we don't necessarily see the big picture.

Even so I tend to listen to what's being played, I don't necessarily think 'oh, that's a P Bass, that's a Spector, that's a Ray.'

I've been trying out different basses with my band to see what suits...

Singer: Why do you have all those different basses? They sound exactly the same.

:facepalm:

 

I play with a guitarist who much prefers the sound of my white P bass to anything else - even other P basses. He even comments if I have changed the strings, but everyone else I use the 'different colour' line, even when they're the same!

BTW, I reckon 'Fingers and the Audience' isn't a bad name for a band, either!

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I don't think i've heard example 1 quoted

i think its the old thing of buying Geddys,bass and his preamp etc etc and still not sounding like Geddy.Then there's Geddy again who can pick any of his flock up and after a lot or professional help can get THAT sound

The guy i dep for plays the songs quite well but through a poor bass with old strings and a crap amp eq  so it sounds awful .Maybe i should let him start one of my gigs and see if its his fingers !!

Edited by jazzmanb

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I’m not sure the origin of “it’s all in the fingers” is really related to different instrument sounds. 

It’s more about the player, and attitude to playing, and deciding what is going to get you to where you want to be. 

For some, the bass, the amp, the effects etc etc seem to be the be-all and end-all on getting good tone, and getting a sound that they really want. But the reality is that at the end of the day it’s all in practise, good technique and hard work.

For me, that’s the spirit of it - buying all the expensive gear and expecting to sound like your bass heroes isn’t going to happen - because their tone is in their fingers - which have had years of practise, hard work, and experience.

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15 minutes ago, FinnDave said:

I play with a guitarist who much prefers the sound of my white P bass to anything else - even other P basses.

It's a well-known fact that white basses sound better than any other colour. Why do you think I like white basses?? :biggrin:

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And by the way, I really do believe that it's all in the fingers. Well... most of it, anyway. IMHO, YMMV and so on and so forth...

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2 minutes ago, discreet said:

And by the way, I really do believe that it's all in the fingers. Well... most of it, anyway. IMHO, YMMV and so on and so forth...

Post a clip of your P bss sounding like a Stingray then 😎

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On 16/10/2018 at 10:48, ped said:

Time to address a couple of common ideas often spoken around these parts. The first was brought up in a recent thread and I see the second one a lot, too. Interested to hear your thoughts.

1. "Whatever bass you play, you'll sound like you'' / ''It's all in the fingers''

I suppose to a degree it's right - someone will recognise the style of playing of an individual regardless of what bass they play. A good example would be Victor Wooten playing that Sire jazz bass recently posted here. It sounds like him. BUT - I don't think it's even remotely true to say it doesn't matter what bass you buy, it's all in the fingers. Nobody can make a Precision bass sound like a Musicman just by the way they play. It's impossible. Maybe in front of an audience with poor monitoring and a poor bass sound it would be immaterial - we've all been there - but recorded, or properly monitored, it's obvious to me that basses sound completely different. Otherwise why would we even discuss them?

2. "It doesn't matter what you play (gear wise), the audience won't be able to tell the difference"

Maybe not. My mum can't even identify what sound is the bass. But is that a reason not to buy XYZ? Do we do it slavishly for the audience, or do we enjoy knowing our own sound works, and the nuances, even if known only to the player, are worth the journey? Would you be happy playing a really horrible - but adequate - sound as a bass player?  

From what I've heard of myself recorded, it sounds like me playing. I can recognise it but not everyone can. Basses do sound different but lots and lots of folk cannot tell the difference. Even if they did, they probably wouldn't care.

Playing a decent bass and gear is always going to put you 1-0 up at kick-off in terms of how well you can play on the night but I don't really think that those who don't play (and some who do play) bass in the audience can tell the difference at all.

3 of my ex girlfriends would not have known what a bass sounded like had they not met me. To this day one of them still isn't sure! :lol: I still meet folk and when they hear that I play bass they say, "which one is that?". Then comes all the inevitable having to explain to someone (who is usually a tedious idiot) what a bass sounds like. "It's the one with 4 strings that sounds low and deep mate" (I've got it down to a fine art now). "Oh right, deep? ummm" is the usual reply 😂 And that's a great cue to scarper!

Sound is subjective and if it wasn't there would be very little choice in anything! I'm sure we buy gear that we personally like, unless we are playing in an established originals band that needs a particular "sound" or in a covers band  etc that tries to be sonically accurate. I've tried Behringer to Boogie and anyone can get a decent sound out of just about anything (within reason) these says. I once opted for a Behringer combo over a Boogie valve stack in a rehearsal studio as the Behringer literally p*ssed all over the Mesa. Yes I was surprised too!

If I reflect on how many basses, amps, cabs and comb's I've owned over the years, then the only sensible conclusion I can make is - all bass gear is adequate and I'm looking for something that does not exist! :lol:

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24 minutes ago, ped said:

I personally like the fact that it’s probably only me and a few others who can appreciate the neuences of my sound. The audience probably can’t put their finger on it but it’ll make the music sound better and lift everything performance wise if I’m happy. I love that I can retreat to Basschat and talk about this sort of thing with like minded folk. How boring it would be if we all just did the usual because our audiences appeared not to care.

I don't do the usual and our audiences do care. And while I agree it's great we can come on here and split hairs, it's very possible to overthink things. I've been on the merry-go-round here and elsewhere regarding gear and what's good for metal and so on 9_9 but in general, I'm concentrating a lot more on my playing and a lot less on my basses and gear. I've found what works for me and I'm just about keeping GAS at bay... at least for now...

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6 minutes ago, discreet said:

And by the way, I really do believe that it's all in the fingers. Well... most of it, anyway. IMHO, YMMV and so on and so forth...

Well, if you don't use your fingers at all, the bass is silent unless you throw it to the ground (woughly, Centurion!) or wind the amp up for booming feedback, so I'd say nearly all bass playing is about the fingers. No fingers, no bass, as Bob Marley probably said.

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4 minutes ago, ped said:

Post a clip of your P bss sounding like a Stingray then 😎

I think you're missing my point somewhat... I don't try to sound like I'm playing a specific type of bass, I sound like me, playing a bass. I'm not after a Ray sound or a Spector sound or a Warwick sound. I think I read in the last thread from the South East Bass Bash there was a blind testing of various different basses and those present were surprised at how few basses they were actually able to identify from their tone... I wasn't there, but I can believe it.

What I'm trying to say is that what you actually play - and in what context -  is much more important than what kind of bass you're playing, or what strings you use, or what amp you like to gig with. Having said that, I can't deny that I'm perfectly happy to come on here and discuss basses, strings, amps and so on. ;)

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