Crafting rock, reggae, funk and slap tones – How to play bass guitar lesson eight

Hi there guys, this is Ben Jones from the
Institute for the Bass Expo for Music Radar. We’ve had a look at the amplifier and
how to get a decent sound of it but now we’re actually going to be talking about genre specific
bass sounds. How to get a really authentic bass sound using just simple EQ-ing on any
amp that you may come into contact with. So let’s start at everyone’s favourite genre;
rock, well most people’s favourite genre. Rock is a really specific genre, it’s all
about attitude, it’s all about big sounds, really brash sounds and from a bass playing perspective
we have a particular role to fulfil and that role is to have a lot of low ends, but also
we need to be able to cut through the mix sometimes, to play with the guitar, with unison
figures, things like that. Now the easiest way to achieve that is to boost up the bass
slightly and boost up the treble. But what we do like to do in rock is pull back the
mid slightly what we call a mid scoop. What that allows for if you imagine the spectrum
before when we were talking about the amp, when there a gap in the middle of the middle
frequency, that’s where the guitars can fit in and that’s how you get a nice full sound
in the rehearsal studio and not playing over each other and everyones getting louder and
louder. So we scoop the mids out, little bit of bass little bit of treble, now you can
hear that warmth really come in. Just give it a little more gain. There we go. But still at the top, you’re
not losing that high note, it’s still in there with the low note, so with a rocky sort of
line. [music] You get a lot of high but also you get that nice fat warmth
underneath it and for rock, especially when playing with the pick or plectrum that is going to cut
through nicely. Let’s get on the completely the other side of the spectrum and talk about
reggae obviously is nothing like rock, it’s completely different style of music, it’s
a lot of a different feel as a bass player. Now the sound for reggae is actually very very easy
to achieve. It’s a lot of bass, so I would actually put the bass nearly all the way to
full, maybe just up to 3 o’clock, 3 or 4 o’clock. Pull the treble right out, again maybe just
a touch, just so we don’t lose that signal completely, let’s put that to 9 o’clock or
just under 9 o’clock. And then the mids are going to come down as well, we’re going to
have just a little bit, again maybe the same place we put the treble, it’s basically a
massive bass boost, when we do that. Suddenly all that top end zing has gone and what we’re
left with is a nice big fat warm sound. We’re going to pull the gain up, now because we’ve
taken 2 of the main frequencies out, haven’t we? We’ve cut the trebles and the mids, we’ve
actually lost a lot of signal to amp, so we need to compensate for that by boosting the
gain slightly, and there we go, the volume
is now back to where it was. So if you think
of a reggae type line. There’s so much bass from that, that that’s all we really need. The definition
doesn’t really come through in reggae that much. Now look at another genre, funk. Funk
actually spans a lot of different sub-genres as well but the main idea of funk is a nice
punchy bass sound that cuts through the mix, a lot of bass lines in funk are very very
difficult and intricate and there’s lots to be listening to. So because of that we need
to hear the bass in a really strong way so what i’m going to do is 1st of all, I’m going
to boost my mids slightly, my bass and treble are back to 12. So already you hear that growl,
soon as I turn the mids up, it comes in. Now when I start playing more funky sort of line,
you’re going to hear the definition of those notes a lot clearer. [music] Now although we’ve boosted the mids, there’s
still, it’s a bit agressive for funk it’s got a little bit of a zing to it, we want
to warm that up, remember for warmth we want to add a little bit of bass, I’m going to
boost the treble slightly just because I pulled the bass in and hopefully now we’re
going to have a bit of a warmer tone but still all that definition. [music] Now on the subject of funk as I’m sure many
of you are probably asking, slap tones. Slap tones obviously are some bass players favourite
thing to play, but to get a good slap tone we have to make sure we’re not getting too
loud. So with slap, what you want to do is, is it’s a balance between the thumb and the
pops. Now if you have too much you’re going to lose all the definition up there and that’s
obviously a really big part of it. So what I’m going to do is boost the bass up a little
bit, just a touch just so you get that warmth in, I’m going to give my treble a fair bit,
I’m going to put that up to about 2 o’clock. Bass just pass 12, literally just a tiny bit
of boost. So now the thumb strokes come out really strong but up the top, you can hear,
that there they could be a little bit more, so I’m going to boost my mids ever so slightly,
just to get that little bit more definition. [music]