Are you looking for your deep bass tone to match the genre you want to play? Today, we’ll talk about how to get a great bass tone and make your bass sound deeper.
Theoretically, your hands have everything to do with your sound, but knowing the technology behind it will help you figure out what you need and desire and get the most out of your equipment. It is still possible to go to a gig and receive a lousy tone, even if you have the best equipment and hands in the world. The bass musician has the hardest because every situation has acoustic challenges.
Since bass frequencies are difficult to control due to their large waveforms, high energy output, and lack of regulation, they might be considered the musical equivalent of a bulldozer, demolishing everything in its path. Your amp placement, EQ settings, loudness, and even your instrument choice can cause havoc if not adequately interfaced with the environment, even if the problem could be the room, the stage, or the PA.
Let’s follow how you can improve your bass tone and things to consider.
How To Make Bass Guitar Sound Deeper?
You can get a deep bass sound by using a low-pass filter to remove the upper frequencies from the notes and then shaping the sound with filters and brightness parameters so the bass will be less tinny and denser in tone. There’s also the option of using a subharmonic generator to blend in some low freq.
Let’s start with the source of the problem: low-frequency bass. The wavelengths of high frequencies are relatively short, while those of low frequencies are long. So if you want to know why you can’t hear yourself talk next to a cranked-up 900-watt amp pumping an 8×10 cab, now you know.
Your open E string has a frequency of 41.2 hertz, and its corresponding wavelength is a whopping 27 feet. So while you’re only experiencing a stiff breeze as you pound out Paranoid, a guy 30 feet away just lost control of his sphincter. The low end tends to “mask” or bury the higher frequencies if it becomes disruptive.
Cut The Sub Frequencies
Everyone appreciates a good low end, but numerous issues arise while operating in the big sub-low frequency band. Pumping the subs will finally force out a beleaguered tyrannical Latin American tyrant from his haven. Still, they can backfire if you’re trying to get people to listen to what you’re playing.
Most bass rigs cannot duplicate this range, so you’re just wasting energy and making a thick mess that interacts badly with the room (especially if the sound guy has subwoofers to play with). A high-pass filter (HPF) that allows you to adjust the frequency at which low frequencies are filtered out is quite helpful.
Removing the sub-bass range can improve the efficiency of the amplifier and speakers, giving the impression of richer, more precise sound. A high-pass filter (HPF) is a common component of many tiny combo amplifiers, and some larger amplifiers also feature a variable HPF to help eliminate unwanted low frequencies. Many piezo pickups’ external preamps have this capability as well.
Boost The Mids
Many musicians must be aware of midrange frequencies’ positive or negative effects on tone. Yet, after reading about it online, many quickly adopt the smiley face EQ curve, which reduces midrange frequencies. Some issues arise from emphasizing the lows, and some arise from removing too much of the midrange, leading to a lack of assault and presence.
While the exact frequencies in the midrange that you should focus on will vary depending on your equipment and the acoustics of your listening space, in general, you should experiment with the low mids before turning up the lows if you’re looking to add impact.
The band from 110 Hz to 260 Hz effectively helps restrict unwanted overtones in the sub-range. You will feel it more than the guy standing 30 feet away since the wavelength at 220Hz is just approximately five feet. Increasing the high mids in a dark tone will give it more clarity and presence without making it sound trebly.
For example, use a small peak at 1.2kHz to emphasize attack and detail when playing fingerstyle and a small peak at 600Hz to do the same thing. This is because the pickup arrangement alters which frequency does the same thing. But don’t take things too much out of context. You may need extra care for even two identical basses.
Coupling describes how your speaker cabinet is attached to its base. When your cab is placed on a hard surface, such as the floor or a raised stage, the vibrations are transmitted straight to that surface and can amplify existing low-frequency problems. You may elevate the cab using milk crates, a chair, or an Isolation Riser.
You’ll be more audible to others and less disruptive. However, there are times when cab/floor coupling might be helpful, such as when you need to fill the room without the help of a PA and your amplifier is on the small side.
Never assume that what works in one place will work in another; instead, listen carefully to the sound in the room and adjust accordingly to achieve the desired impact. The solutions to your audio issues may seem impossible initially, but as you step back and look at the larger picture, you may be surprised at how simple they are.
How To Get A Great Bass Tone?
It is possible to significantly enhance your bass’s sound by adjusting the settings on your amplifier. For example, you can use them to adjust your amp volume, whether it’s too loud or too soft. There are typically three or four EQ knobs on bass amps.
To be an adequate bassist, you need a firm grasp of adjusting these controls. Because it lacks snarl and clarity, the bass is difficult to discern above other instruments. If you turn down the mids, you can’t put any feeling into your lines, so they sound flat. Some amplifiers combine the high and low midrange controls into a single volume control.
Like the mids, the treble must be turned up a notch while performing in a band setting. Problems arise when the bass is played without a treble, as the resulting sound is dreary and musky. This, however, can be preferred if you’re going for a low-end dominant and bass-heavy sound. If you want your bass to have deeper depth, try lowering the bass frequencies.
For a more secure and flexible sound, whether you’re performing solo or with a band, keep the EQ knobs away from the basses. To better discriminate between frequencies, a bass or guitar can be QED to cover a broader range of tones. Choosing the correct bass amplifier settings depends heavily on the type of music being played.
Raise the treble to get a dirty punk bass sound. You should slightly boost the mids to obtain a generic jazz tone. In any case, a double-bass–like deep musk tone is the finest option. The song would have more swing and feel with a more low-end approach. Hip-hop bass requires a lot of control and a lot of different styles. The amp settings you go with depend heavily on your playing style and articulation.
Use additional low-end instruments in place of the traditional punk sound. The trick is maintaining a transparent mix and ensuring the songs have substance. Maintain a flat treble and turn down the mids. This is a great foundation to build on if you want to create a contemporary pop sound. The EQ may need to be tweaked depending on the song or band. Only when necessary should the mids be dialed in.
How To Get A Punchy Bass Tone?
You can get a punchy bass tone by boosting your bass’s EQ first, turning up the bass for a fuller sound, reducing the highs for a more focused tone, and trying several options to find your favorite. Different bass tones depend on the music genre, bass kind, and player preference.
The human ear is more sensitive to high frequencies than low ones. Therefore, you may change the volume and intensity of your voice by how hard you press your fingers together. Plucking exercises can help you develop the technique to provide a deep bass sound. Sound becomes more grating and abrasive at higher gain settings and smoother and more refined at lower settings.
A compressor will help you get a more consistent sound and longer sustainably. This can provide some much-needed oomph to your bass lines. Last but not least, hone your skills. You can achieve a tight, powerful bottom tone with a competent, solid playing approach.
A loud bass tone that drowns out various devices can’t sit in the mix as comfortably as a well-balanced bottom tone that doesn’t overwhelm the other elements. You can easily slice through a bass recording with a tone that packs some power.
How To Get A Dirty Bass Tone?
You can get a dirty bass tone by using a preamp with tubes to get the most out of your bass. Adding depth and character to your music without diluting the fundamental bass tone is best accomplished with a tube preamp. You can access various effects to polish your sound, from overdrive to total distortion.
Writing with a gritty tone is direct and unadorned. This writing style is frequently employed to elicit an emotional response and can be successful in a condensed form. You can do only so much gritty writing, so make the most of it.
How To Get A Saturated Bass Tone?
Increasing the bass’s saturation will give it more punch and depth. Selecting the appropriate bass effects will let you produce a pure, custom sound. Saturation allows you to get your ideal sound, whether you want to fill a larger space with music or boost the bass to make it more impactful.
The general agreement is that a satisfying bass tone will have a strong, complete, and round low end. Further, it needs to be lucid and well-spoken without appearing vague or unfocused. Ultimately, it’s up to the listener to determine what suits their ears best.
Things To Consider In Getting a Better Bass Tone
- Muting Techniques
Each note’s attack, sustain, and decay will all be altered due to using these two strategies. Additionally, this alters the presence of the bass within a band environment and is fantastic for mimicking the sound of a double bass or for particular musical styles such as hip-hop.
Imagine the tonal qualities of bass existing on a spectrum ranging from dark to brilliant, with all the tonal qualities in between. The color of the bass tone is determined in part by the tonewood used in the body and neck of the instrument, as well as by the strings, pickups, amp, and playing skills used.
Discover which ones work best with certain musical styles (and keep in mind that there is no hard and fast rule regarding this; instead, focus on trends that appear to be successful).
Basses without an internal preamp or equalizer are called “passive,” and they are typical of vintage Fenders. A 9-volt battery often powers an active bass, which is what it is. Many studio musicians favor passive instruments with a strong, clear tone.
Because mix engineers and producers prefer to have complete creative control over EQ throughout the mixing process, avoiding its use on the bass in this instance is typically advised. In live performances, many bassists prefer active basses because they allow for more precise EQ adjustments on the fly, regardless of the musical genre being played.
This is a situation in which there is no correct answer; instead, you should focus on what works best for you. New Fender Ultras and Sire basses, for example, include a switch that disables the active circuit, turning them into passive instruments that offer the best of both worlds.
The EQ (a volume knob for specific frequencies) on an active bass can be shaped using the same settings as those on an amp or EQ pedal. The latter is a fantastic pedal because it allows you to change your tone or hit it at an optimal frequency.
Make sure your EQ use is manageable. If you start with a high-quality bass, you will have to do less work shaping its tone. It’s convenient to have the choice close at hand or on foot, though.
All the amps, bass effects, preamps, and distortion pedals in the world will only help you get the perfect bass tone if you have the fingers and musical qualities to use them. If you want to play deep bass notes, for instance, you’ll need to forgo the use of a pick altogether, a transition that will take at least five more months of practice time (and that’s assuming you’re just starting).
On the other hand, if you’ve mastered the fundamentals and are ready to advance to the next level, where you explore this realm of tones, you can begin by reducing the highs and lows and then adding a distortion pedal or compressor before the amp to further enhance the sound.
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Death metal enthusiast here. I am a Romanian musician and producer with over 13 years of experience in the music industry. I’ve experienced all types of Metal up until now, playing Melodic Death Metal, Brutal Death Metal, and Black Metal with different bands. Learning by doing is my base principle, which is why I’ve been drawn to sound design from an early age. Read more…