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Getting the best tone out of a Jazz bass


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Just now, Geek99 said:

@ead

 

I’m impressed you’ve managed to train a guitarist… I thought they were only capable of fetching sticks 

 

It did take 2-3 years of perseverance.

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37 minutes ago, paul_5 said:

…and a shed load of patience, dedication and a big stick with all nails in it.

And speaking very slowly … and saying “no, you’re not too loud, honestly” when they get all cross 

Edited by Geek99
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The best sounding Jazz bass I've owned is my Sadowsky Metro. I also briefly owned a Mike Lull Jazz and a Fender American Standard. Both sounded good with plenty of low end, but were sold soon after the Metro arrived.

 

The Metro has a balance pot which I dial back so the neck pickup is 100% and the bridge 90%.

 

I have no problem being heard or getting the tone I want, which includes a ton of low end. I used it in a blues rock trio tonight and it sounded huge as usual.

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18 hours ago, ead said:

As a serial J bass user in a 3-piece band I can't say that I have noticed the problem.  I have also trained our guitarist to not boost his low frequencies to leave me space.  I can pretty much use any bass I like this way.

Wow, wish I have been trying to do the same with the guitarist in my band for ages, he has a habit of boosting the bass on the amp and rolling off the tone control so we have a tonne of low end before I have even played a note

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4 minutes ago, shoulderpet said:

Wow, wish I have been trying to do the same with the guitarist in my band for ages, he has a habit of boosting the bass on the amp and rolling off the tone control so we have a tonne of low end before I have even played a note

swap instruments?

 

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6 minutes ago, shoulderpet said:

Wow, wish I have been trying to do the same with the guitarist in my band for ages, he has a habit of boosting the bass on the amp and rolling off the tone control so we have a tonne of low end before I have even played a note

That can be an issue but not as bad as the left hand of the keyboard player which no amount of eq can cure. My preference is to play in the piano/bass/drums trio format, so now I only work with piano players who are missing their left hand..... I'm currently unemployed. 

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This is something I've long fretted over, and moreso on the odd occasions when I use a pick.

 

But... we record all our rehearsals and most of our gigs and every time I listen back the bass sounds fine (other than all the bum notes, of course). It's almost some weird psychological/aural trick in the moment that makes me more conscious of the higher frequency content and somehow filters out the low end. But it's definitely there when listening back later on.

 

This is with a US standard with JVX pickups. I do fancy having the series option though - is there a sensible way of doing this given the EMG solderless/plug & play system?

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On 05/02/2022 at 10:46, Cat Burrito said:

. . . . My issue was always that on it's own, it sounded fantastic, in a small 3 piece arrangement there was a noticeable lack of bottom end.

 

All other things being equal, I'm not sure how a bass can change from fantastic to "a lack of bottom" depending on the band.

 

Is the guitarist messing with your frequencies? Are you equating the emptier sound of a trio with this problem?

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How far away are you standing from your amp? 
 

low frequency sound has some looooonnnggggg wavelengths, could be that standing further (20ft or so) away from your amp might help you to experience more ‘bass’.

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3 hours ago, Dankology said:

This is with a US standard with JVX pickups. I do fancy having the series option though - is there a sensible way of doing this given the EMG solderless/plug & play system?

The solderless/plug and play system is not the issue, it's that you can't put active pickups in series. Active pickups (and we're talking pickups not preamps) have an op amp built into the pickup itself to boost the signal, consequently the pickup is buffered by the op amp and you can't feed the signal of one pickup into another... so parallel only I'm afraid. You'll need to install passive pickups if you want to do that.

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A big % of 70s Reggae (and since then) was played on Jazz Basses so I don't think lack of low end is a problem with them... Any lack of low end probably comes down to a combination of technique, strings/setup, amp & eq, cabs. I don't think the Jazz Bass itself is the issue though - or it wasn't for Aston Barratt, Robbie Shakespeare, Flabba Holt etc. 

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1 hour ago, Boodang said:

The solderless/plug and play system is not the issue, it's that you can't put active pickups in series. Active pickups (and we're talking pickups not preamps) have an op amp built into the pickup itself to boost the signal, consequently the pickup is buffered by the op amp and you can't feed the signal of one pickup into another... so parallel only I'm afraid. You'll need to install passive pickups if you want to do that.

Incidentally if you're after the classic Jazz tone, then active pickups (and to a certain extent active preamps if they have buffered blending... see end of this comment) are not the way to go. Passive single coil pickups when blended using a passive preamp are 'interactive' in that some of the signal from each pickup 'bleeds' into the other. This has the affect that some frequencies are reduced and others enhanced. If you have active pickups then they are buffered so this doesn't happen. The same if you have passive pickups but an active preamp which buffers before blending and thus prevents the interaction of the pickups. The East retro preamp has a switch so you can have buffered active or un buffered passive blending, but not all active preamps have this and is something to consider when choosing a preamp for a Jazz.

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Best ‘Jazz’ I ever played was a Lakland Darryl Jones. Absolute belter. Back to back with a Fender I much preferred it. If I want a really bassy dubby sound out of my bitsa-Jazz I play with my thumb. Apart from that I’ve got a Darkglass Adam, it makes anything rich and fruity. 

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On 06/02/2022 at 09:00, Mykesbass said:

Is this a classic case of what you hear onstage doesn't match what the audience hears? 

It's a good point. Certainly I can think of a couple of bands that used studio players to play bass parts and then had a key member mime on TV to a part they've never played. I think with it being fairly widespread it's unlikely to be the whole answer though. 

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19 hours ago, chris_b said:

 

All other things being equal, I'm not sure how a bass can change from fantastic to "a lack of bottom" depending on the band.

 

Is the guitarist messing with your frequencies? Are you equating the emptier sound of a trio with this problem?

I've used to trios (& now a duo as well) and the issue isn't there with my other basses. I think the answer lies more in me needing to change my settings, rather than someone else's settings (or messing with mine). 

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16 hours ago, paul_5 said:

How far away are you standing from your amp? 
 

low frequency sound has some looooonnnggggg wavelengths, could be that standing further (20ft or so) away from your amp might help you to experience more ‘bass’.

I've played some big stages and my wife has commented on the Jazz not sounding as good as my other basses (her Dad was a bass player and she's very musical so I do value her opinion). I take your point but this isn't the issue here. 

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