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Most aggressive: Thumb vs Stingray vs Wal

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Posted (edited)

Haven’t played the Wal, but between Stingray and Thumb, I would definitely say Thumb. Assuming we define agressive as lots of mid and high. But it generally feels even more punchy too IMO

Edited by julfam

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I have no experience with Wals, but owned a '91 NT Thumb5 and own a SR5. 

The Thumb was thin sounding and nasal, quite far from what I'd call aggressive. The SR5 can be much more of that. So my vote goes for that out of the 3 listed.

Other thank that, Spector..... 🙂

 

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I have only had Thumb and Stingray.  My Stingray was though fretless and 3 band EQ.  Its long gone because it was not a patch on the Thumb in all areas.  So my vote goes to the Thumb.

But in true BC fashion my Stage 2 is way more aggressive than the Thumb..... just saying

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1 hour ago, Paulhauser said:

I have no experience with Wals, but owned a '91 NT Thumb5 and own a SR5. 

The Thumb was thin sounding and nasal, quite far from what I'd call aggressive. The SR5 can be much more of that. So my vote goes for that out of the 3 listed.

Other thank that, Spector..... 🙂

 

Spectors really don’t work for me at all, which is one of the reasons I didn’t include them.😉

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3 minutes ago, 4000 said:

Spectors really don’t work for me at all, which is one of the reasons I didn’t include them.😉

We can't be all the same 🙂

Spectors (Euro and US) are my main instruments for more than a decade, they are the perfect combination of sound and ergonomics for me. 

I do have a Stingray 5 which I like a lot. The Thumb 5NT was a major disappointment for me both ergonomically and sonically. But some of the best fretless sounds I've ever heard came from Thumb's plus I quite like the sound of the NT6 Thumbs (must be the pickups and positions of them) so it may have been that particular instrument. 

 

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Just to be even more egregiously basschatty-smartarse, nobody seems to have mentioned Status basses yet. I had an early one with the GMT pickups, and it was the most staggeringly aggressive sound I've ever heard; in the end that was all I could really get out of it, so I sold it ( ironically, to Bruce Thomas, who is not a bass player incapable of subtlety ).

But I can drag this back to the subject of the thread a bit by saying that I have often used a Status-necked Stingray, and that bass produced amazing, much more controlled and much more "musical" aggression.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, CPCustomdubwise said:

Just to be even more egregiously basschatty-smartarse, nobody seems to have mentioned Status basses yet. I had an early one with the GMT pickups, and it was the most staggeringly aggressive sound I've ever heard; in the end that was all I could really get out of it, so I sold it ( ironically, to Bruce Thomas, who is not a bass player incapable of subtlety ).

But I can drag this back to the subject of the thread a bit by saying that I have often used a Status-necked Stingray, and that bass produced amazing, much more controlled and much more "musical" aggression.

 

I really don’t get on with Statuses, in any way, shape or form. I’ve had 4 and haven’t liked any of them. Physically I can’t even play them anymore, I find them incredibly uncomfortable. 
 

By far the most aggressive-sounding bass I’ve owned/played was my old set neck ‘73 Ric 4000. 

Edited by 4000

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I like aggressive -sounding  basses. None of this wishy-washy mellow tone for me. If I am paying a lot of money for a bass I want  it to give me a good kicking. 

All the basses mention in the o.p can sound aggressive, but each one in a different way. The Stingray because of its' treble/upper mid emphasis, the Thumb because of its' inherent low-mids and extended treble ( largely due to the woods used to build them ) and the flexibility of the electronics means the  Wal can sound very aggressive indeed. Try activating  pick attack  and the filters on 10 . Instant Geddy Lee. 

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I would imagine those basses will sound pretty close to each other. Aggression is probably best measured by how the bassist plays.

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2 hours ago, chris_b said:

I would imagine those basses will sound pretty close to each other. Aggression is probably best measured by how the bassist plays.

This is why I like an aggressive-sounding bass. Because I don’t play aggressively and so it helps. 

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A bass does not sound aggressive by itself but by how you play it. Thumb is aggressive fingerstyle but its slap tone is overly trebly and clean, it needs a bit of OD love to work. Stingray has aggressive slap tone but oh so recognizable fizzy fingerstyle poop that doesn't sound proper in any setting.

Get a Wal.

 

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13 hours ago, DiMarco said:

A bass does not sound aggressive by itself but by how you play it. Thumb is aggressive fingerstyle but its slap tone is overly trebly and clean, it needs a bit of OD love to work. Stingray has aggressive slap tone but oh so recognizable fizzy fingerstyle poop that doesn't sound proper in any setting.

Get a Wal.

 

Not necessarily what I’ve found in over 40 years. Of course if you play aggressively it helps, but some basses just are more aggressive. 

Bit baffled by the bit about the Stingray not sounding proper in any setting! Flea and Bernard Edwards spring immediately to mind!

Ive had 2 Wals, FWIW.😉

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3 hours ago, 4000 said:

Not necessarily what I’ve found in over 40 years. Of course if you play aggressively it helps, but some basses just are more aggressive. 

Bit baffled by the bit about the Stingray not sounding proper in any setting! Flea and Bernard Edwards spring immediately to mind!

Ive had 2 Wals, FWIW.😉

Funny thing, because I was going to mention exactly those two myself, and was also going to add Tim Commerford from RATM; he almost exclusively plays fingerstyle and I'd say that, like them or loathe them, the Stingray sounds pretty much exactly proper for the setting.

And he has an aggressive style too.

And referring to the style v instrument question, it's true; there are aggressive players and players who are maybe more restrained. But sometimes basses just are intrinsically a bit...lively. My Status only seemed to do that; loved it at first but then started to long to discover some subtlety lurking within and I never could; every time I plugged it in the apocalypse started to happen yet again....even taking into account my undoubted shortcomings as a player it was just a stroppy sod of a bass.

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Not sure if anyone has mentioned it but when thinking about the players listed above setup is hugely important for an aggressive tone. IME you need a bit of clatter for when the string smacks back against the fretboard, so a bit of relief is favourable. Also IME stainless steel strings are the way to go. When I had my Stingray (was in a flea faze) I had the GHS boomers and for the first week they were seriously aggressive. Almost punk sounding - which was a big influence on Flea as I’m sure most know.

Now days I favour a clean sound on two of the basses so have my action a bit higher and flats/ nylon strings.

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Posted (edited)

Strings are, IMO, the most underrated aspect of how an instrument sounds. Action too. I use Roto steels and have very low action. I have as little relief as possible though. 

Edited by 4000

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12 minutes ago, 4000 said:

Strings are, IMO, the most underrated aspect of how an instrument sounds. Action too. I use Roto steels and have very low action. I have as little relief as possible though. 

You might be right about a straight neck actually so you can get the zingy sound.

ive currently got a very aggressive setup on a squier VMJ to get Marcus Miller’s slap sound. It sounds killer in that setup for slap but really lacklustre for finger style. It’s got Dunlop steels.

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Flea and Entwistle both famously have/had very low action and very straight necks.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, 4000 said:

Not necessarily what I’ve found in over 40 years. Of course if you play aggressively it helps, but some basses just are more aggressive. 

Bit baffled by the bit about the Stingray not sounding proper in any setting! Flea and Bernard Edwards spring immediately to mind!

Ive had 2 Wals, FWIW.😉

Yes agreed on the Stingray and finger style - there are countless examples of them sounding mellow - another example is Paul Denman on Sade's songs. But there are so many - and I can certainly make mine sound as mellow as any other bass - but also very aggressive when desired. 

If you want to hear a 2 band Stingray played extremely aggressively have a listen to Stevie Wonder's Do I Do - I remember an interview with Nate Watts in which he said he still uses the Stingray for recording, and on that track he played very hard and there's a lot of fret noise as well as natural over drive - you can really hear it on the solo bits (but in the band mix in the rest of the song, it also sounds great). I also recall him saying he bought it on recommendation from Bernard Edwards. 

Even Bernard Edwards played aggressively (as did most R and B players) - he played between the pick up and the bridge (this view is based on watching live performances). 

Ive never owned a Wal but played one or two. One of my desired basses really. 

Edited by drTStingray

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Paul Deman, that played bass on all those great recordings with Sade managed get a pretty smooth sound out of his Stingray. Also the guy from Culture Club used a Ray a lot. They can be dialled back :)

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On 20/05/2020 at 14:42, 4000 said:

So, inspired by a conversation I had recently, for those of you with experience of all three, which of the following do you consider the most aggressive-sounding bass (all other things being equal, i.e. player, amp etc):

Warwick Thumb

Musicman Stingray

Wal

 

None of them - the answer is a Rickenbacker!

Playing along, though; I do like the growl of a Warwick and the MM has some welly, so I guess the answer must be the Wal!

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About 10-12 years ago I had the good fortune to own a Warwick Thumb NT5 and Modulus Flea at the same time. I hated the Modulus and could never get it to sound right but was able to nail the aggressive Flea tone with the Thumb

Now I wish I really hadn't looked at the pictures I have of the Thumb now as it makes me want another :crazy:

DSC02444.jpg

DSC02494.jpg

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5 hours ago, prowla said:

None of them - the answer is a Rickenbacker!

Got 3 of them already, hence why I didn’t include them. 

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27 minutes ago, 4000 said:

Got 3 of them already, hence why I didn’t include them. 

Well, you did comment, though! 🙂

On 21/05/2020 at 13:16, 4000 said:

I really don’t get on with Statuses, in any way, shape or form. I’ve had 4 and haven’t liked any of them. Physically I can’t even play them anymore, I find them incredibly uncomfortable. 
 

By far the most aggressive-sounding bass I’ve owned/played was my old set neck ‘73 Ric 4000. 

 

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This totally depends whose hands the bass is in and how they hit the strings. Plectrum? Thumb (;))?, do you use a compressor?

I've always found a Stingray hardest to control

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