How to Get Good Tone From a Bass Guitar

This post was written by Scott
Posted Under: Bass Lessons Videos
Getting good tone from your bass guitar is important, whether you are recording in the studio or rehearsing with your band. Blue October’s Matt Novesky share…
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Reader Comments

You don’t want to hear all that slap and fret buzz… ah yes, yes I do

Written By Jarvis Mock on December 30th, 2013 @ 8:32 am

You don’t want to hear all that slap and fret buzz… ah yes, yes I do

Written By Jarvis Mock on December 30th, 2013 @ 8:38 am

I signed into YouTube just to dislike this…

Written By Bill Johnson on December 30th, 2013 @ 9:18 am

vote this up so other people can see it Don’t watch this… you will learn

Written By aBirdsLife321 on December 30th, 2013 @ 9:42 am

So basically, you’re saying that to get a good bass tone, you’ve got to get
yourself a good bass player.

Written By Gareth Englebert on December 30th, 2013 @ 10:04 am

“fat fingers” Bob Babbitt. “Great bass makes for a great vocal, good bass,

Written By buzzyhyendee on December 30th, 2013 @ 10:48 am

Depends on what you are looking for, eye of the beholder and whatnot. But
there is a lot of wisdom in what he says. You can capture dirt, and energy
without mashing on your bass guitar,

Written By Coldmystery on December 30th, 2013 @ 11:03 am

Interesting how on almost no recorded blue October albums, can you hear

Written By Sir Brady on December 30th, 2013 @ 11:48 am

Pointless. Why not either show us how to get a good bass tone the real way
OR at least show an example of what you are talking about. “Here is how not
to do it” is not overly informative.

Written By strattgatt on December 30th, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

I think he describes perfectly how to get a good tone. Good job Matt!

Written By Jessica7Ann7Meier on December 30th, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

You could start with a USA bass instead of the Mexican one you’re using.

Written By Daniel Kell on December 30th, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

bass tone is not like guitar tone. you cant get a certain artist’s tone
like on guitar. you either have an ampeg and a rickenbacker with rotosound
stings, or you dont.

Written By lavaxtris on December 30th, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

@dthe1o Noone is saying it isn’t.

Written By RocksNotDead101 on December 30th, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

@relax235 there are tons and tons of modeling amps out there for guitarists
to get their “jimmy page” tone or their “randy rhodes” tone, etc… BUT,
besides a few bassists like Geddy Lee, or Chris Squire, or even Jaco
Pastorius who have their own sound, there is really no definite tone for
bassists that dont really stand out. for mainstream bassists (like the one
in the video) most of the sound comes from how they play with their hands,
not how they set up their amp.

Written By lavaxtris on December 30th, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

That was extremely useless thanks!!

Written By Kenny Kanowski on December 30th, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

he’s got tattoo’s talking about ROCK and he doesnt like dirty bass

Written By WeLoveThisMonky on December 30th, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

Agreed, just play how you play! Dont fuck with the dynamic of the band in
the first place or you’ll make a great sounding “piece of shit” record with
no groove. Good tone starts with the fingers and placement or movement
around the pickups. nice pickups can help but ultimately BAD TONE can be
GOOD TONE.. and a shitty sound can be just the thing so dont change the way
you play ! Just glue your rhythm section together the way you always do !!
If you like the cake dont change the recipe !!!!!!

Written By nair0bij0nes on December 30th, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

Totally agree with you. If digging into the strings is your playing style,
then you should do it in the studio as well or you’ll get the wrong sound.
When our bass player quit the band, I had to play on a song we recorded. I
slapped the strings with my entire hand at times, which sounded weird on
its own but awesome in the mix (like Fieldy in KoRn on some parts and like
Rage Against The Machine on loud guitar parts). Soloing a track that’s
supposed to fit into a mix always sounds crappy.

Written By Dhakadice on December 30th, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

@KaslarProductions Picking is always louder for me, but it might depend on
how hard you’re picking and the material used for the pick itself. I think
under normal circumstances, it would be expected to be louder with a pick
just because the flesh on your fingers acts a a dampner or a shock absorber
thingy. Sound proofing stuff. Personally, I use a 2mm dunlop ‘big stubby’.
I had a triangle shaped pick similar to the one that Daron Malakian uses
but I broke all 3 corners off it!

Written By pszypulski on December 30th, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

Good suggestions…but not much useful information pertaining to tone…I
play classical guitar, so I can definitely agree that so much depends on
your fingering technique…however pickups, pickup selection, eq settings,
action, type of bass, etc I imagine would have SOME sort of influence over
the tone as well.

Written By Tunji Thomas White on December 30th, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

its down to how you play,everyone is different and not all wanting clean
crisp sound, i play through all kinds of pedals to get a clangy dirty
rumbly sound

Written By g russell on December 30th, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

no he’s not saying that at all otherwise he would have made that point
clear, he’s trolling. although i agree with your point about the stones
records and that a good tone is different depending on taste but this guy
is just trolling

Written By MORGAN1992FREEM4N on December 30th, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

Yes, let’s just make a 2 and half minute video about your opinion while you
bash other ways to get other tones.

Written By CthulhusDystopia on December 30th, 2013 @ 7:52 pm

Rusty Cage by Soundgarden. That is all.

Written By Caleb Lewis on December 30th, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

See I don’t know about his pick comments… a good old/vintage Precision
Bass or Rickenbacker sound EXCELLENT on record when a pick is used. Now, on
an active bass it becomes really tricky and it probably won’t work.

Written By GVike on December 30th, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

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