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BobG

Hello from north Wales (+help required)

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Hi, I'm Bob from north Wales. I've decided to have another go at learning the bass. I have a new Yamaha TRBX174 paired with my old Ashdown Perfect 10 amp. I'd like to know how to make my bass sound like a bass. My tuner says everything is fine but it sounds a bit unbasslike and has too much sustain. Is there a technical way to remove sustain or is it all about muting! It currently sounds like the amp is 20 yards away down a 24" diameter concrete pipe; how do I get a punchier clean single note sound, do I need an effects processor?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Bob

Edited by BobG

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Good evening, Bob, and ...

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Plenty to read and amuse you here, and lots to learn and share. rWNVV2D.gif

Much less expensive, and so much more useful, than an effects processor would be a couple of bass lessons from a local tutor. Have a look here, for instance..?

Tutors Available ...

Meanwhile, try fretting a string at the first fret, then pluck the string and gently release the fret pressure. Whilst the string is fretted, it'll sound. In releasing some pressure, it'll dampen. Try this on other strings, other frets, plucking and gently releasing until you get a feel for what pressure is required to keep a note singing, and how much to release to get it to dampen. OK, it's only an exercise, not playing music, but it'll help you control the sound the bass is producing. In fact, very little pressure is needed at all, so you'll acquire the feel of the bass and get the sustain you want straight away, after a while. Worth a try, whilst waiting for bass lessons to start..? B|

Edited by Dad3353
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Welcome aboard 🥳.

If you mean that the notes are ringing on longer than you want then yes, it's all about muting. Muting and controlling the length of the note is a very key skill. At least living in N Wales you have plenty of time to practice when the rain sets in 😉

As suggested above, a good tutor is worth finding, but I got a lot of the basics sorted with help from StudyBass. The free path is good and the lessons short and accurate. Here's the section on fundamental technique.

https://www.studybass.com/study-guide/studybass-fundamentals-one/basic-bass-technique/

Have fun, don't feel you have to rush it, and settle in for the long haul.

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22 hours ago, BobG said:

Is there a technical way to remove sustain

Yes.  They're called muting pads.

Some models of Musicman bass had them built in and were fully adjustable for each string independently, The Fender "ashtray" as found on the older models had a fixed foam mute concealed within it that acted on all of the strings at once.  Both types act on the strings at the bridge, like palm muting.

You can easily experiment with a wad of dense foam under the strings at the bridge for yourself or you can buy any of the commercially available versions of muting devices as a commercially available accessory.

Strings come in a few varieties nowadays but broadly speaking, there is slightly less sustain with tapewounds than with roundwounds.  If you ever come across superwound or pianowound strings these give extra sustain.  Slappers love 'em but they've got to be extra hot on their muting skills because of it.  It's all just noise otherwise.

A well practised player can use a variety of muting methods with the palm at the bridge end and the fingers of either hand in combination.  It's a good skill to have.  Muting adds more to the mix than you'd think.

Edited by SpondonBassed

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Hi bob and welcome, a fretwrap will help dampen the strings and reduce the overtones, especially on the open strings, all of my basses have them 🙂

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Hey Bob ✌️

strings mutes like the other guys have said could be what your after. Also maybe you have an effect like delay or reverb on your amp? I suppose that could give a kinda ringy sustained sound

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Hi Bob and welcome!

It would be interesting to hear what you mean - you could do a rough n' ready video using your phone or something to give us a better idea of what's happening. 

Hope you're enjoying the forums!

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On 26/07/2020 at 17:14, Rikki_Sixx said:

Hi Bob and welcome!

It would be interesting to hear what you mean - you could do a rough n' ready video using your phone or something to give us a better idea of what's happening. 

Hope you're enjoying the forums!

It sounds like this. It lights up the correct notes in the play along apps but sounds awful...

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Silly question bob , is that with the tone off only it sounds like the bridge pup is on full and the tone is on full 

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20 minutes ago, Reggaebass said:

Silly question bob , is that with the tone off only it sounds like the bridge pup is on full and the tone is on full 

Bridge pickup is turned down ( i think) I'm still experimenting with the pots...

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Bob - I’d start with a blank slate - turn all the pots all the way up (both pickups on full and tone all the way open).

Then set the amp to something like “flat”. All the EQ knobs in the middle and the deep switch off. Turn the gain up about halfway and then crank the master until it’s loud enough. If you can turn up the gain more without it sounding distorted then go for it, just back off the master a bit if it gets too loud. 
 

That should give you some sort of reference point for further knob twiddling.

If the notes are ringing out too much for you then - yes you’re going to have to get practicing your damping. This will take a bit of practice. Most players use some combination of left and right hand damping.

I’d try practicing without the amp sometimes as well. A good skill to learn is how to control tone with just you hands. Lots of left hand damping can give you a much thuddier tone with little top end. Move your plucking hand up towards the neck - the sound will get rounder. Do the reverse (towards the bridge) and hear it get more nasal.

I’m a fan of copping some upright technique. Tilt your wrist towards the head / neck and imagine you’re playing an upright - almost like you’re trying to get your fingers parallel to the strings. Feel like you’re almost rolling your finger over the string and using the side from the middle knuckle to the tip - instead  of just the tip or pad at the end. I do this pretty much all the time - it feels like the notes have more body and weight.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nickthebass
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