Welcome back !!
I hope that you had a great date with your bass (inside joke from part 1). Let’s dive right in.
The second step towards understanding your tone is understanding how to manipulate what amplifier/cabinet/system through which your bass guitar is being projected. This process can initially be time consuming but eventually it will become second nature. If you have an amp at home/studio/school/church etc… it is recommended that you take some time away from your scheduled event to sit down and play around with you ‘rig’ (amplification system). Each system is different but I would highly recommended setting our bass controls flat. What do I mean? For most bass guitars it means setting your bass knob, mid range knob, treble knob and your pan to the center. It’s then recommended that you get all the frequent controls on the rig to the off position and adjust the tone manipulators (contours, aura exciter, etc) in the off position. Then I would test the effects of the different frequencies have on the bass while operating at a moderate volume of course. After getting familiar with the frequencies then I would test the tone manipulators. During the process, grab your favor music cd, mp3, etc., listen to favorite bass guitar tones and try to match your rig’s sound to the CD’s quality. It might not be perfect but get it the closest the you can. Practicing this technique will allow you to master this aspect of your bass guitar over time. Have some fun with the process! Record your playing, play it back and compare what you’ve achieve to what you wanted to hear.
QUICK TIP KEEP YOUR TONE WHILE PLAYING
There is a possibility that after doing a sound check or getting to your setting early to check your tone that it will sound different when everyone is playing during the event. A good way to avoid this is to set your tone before the event and then compensate from the bass controls while you’re playing (if you’re able to). I’ve heard some people say adjust your amp while playing. However, practically speaking, if you’re in the middle of playing who has the time to turn around and do that? You might miss queues, hits, etc.
Remember that this is a general information post. There are other more intricate things that can affect your tone like: the cable gauge used on your bass, the cable gauge linking your amp head to cabinet (if not a combo), the combination of different amps/cabinets, whether or not your rig is sitting flat on the floor or elevated (didnt now that affected the sound did ya? just playing..i know you knew).
FEEL FREE TO POST COMMENTS, CONCERNS, QUESTIONS!! GOD BLESS
September 13th, 2012 by Sarah Hearn
Marvin McQuitty died September 11
New Breed Music released the following statement today regarding the death of drummer Marvin McQuitty:
It is with profound sorrow that we announce the passing of legendary drummer, musician Marvin McQuitty on Tuesday, September 11 in Houston, TX. Drummer Marvin McQuitty collaborated with everyone from the gospel artists Fred Hammond and Israel & New Breed to the pop stars Stevie Wonder and Jessica Simpson, passed away this week at age forty-six.
McQuitty, a true talent, made an indelible impact on music and his loss is felt throughout the industry. His humble spirit, kindness and generosity will be missed. A clip of McQuitty playing with Aaron Spears, Teddy Campbell, and Gerald Heyward at the 2006 Modern Drummer Festival can be found at
MODERN DRUMMER FESTIVAL
(Marvin is at far right.)
Messages of condolences from all musicians and artists have poured in. A tribute clip of McQuitty was compiled Hudson Music.
The Memorial Service for Marvin McQuitty will be held Monday, September 17 at 11 a.m. The service will take place at Grace Church of Humble located at 7224 North Sam Houston Parkway East, Humble, TX 77396
There will also be a “Celebration of Life” Service held in Marvin’s hometown of Detroit, MI next Wednesday, September 19 at 11a.m. at Straight Gate International Church. Straight Gate is located at 10100 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48204
In lieu of flowers and other gifts the McQuitty Family is requesting that donations be made in honor of Marvin to support his daughter’s college education. To make a donation via any major credit card or Paypal, login in to any one of the following sites: www.marvinmcquitty.com or www.newbreedmusic.com. Checks may also be mailed/made payable to: Grace Church of Humble and designated to Marvin McQuitty Memorial Fund and mailed to the address above.
While we will miss his presence here on earth, we look forward to the day when we will see him again.
By Sarah Hearn
DC Gospel Music Examiner
It’s been 13 years since I’ve been playing electric bass guitar and I’ve come a long way and still have much more to go. I’ve asked tons of questions during my time and have also been asked tons of questions. One question that has been resounding over the years is the age old question of tone. What is tone?
I did a little research to come up with a working definition and the two definitions that stuck out were found in the A&R dictionary online. They are as follows:
Definition: Sound, or the character of a sound, or a sound considered as of this or that character; as, a low, high, loud, grave, acute, sweet, or harsh tone.
Definition: Accent, or inflection or modulation of a sound as adapted to express emotion or passion. *
Now, there are many different interpretation to the definition of tone but once again, these are the ones that stuck out. It should be noted the 2nd definition was modified. It originally read ‘modulation of a voice’ but the word sound makes it more inclusive.
The bass guitar is an extremely unique instrument. The most stand-out characteristic about the bass guitar is that the actually a mid-ranged instrument and not a ‘bass-ranged’ instrument. Don’t believe me? Check out the musical staff and look in thee range that the notes fall. I sincerely believe that the first step towards achieving your tone is accepting this fact. That’s the end of the post!!
I’m just kidding, we’re not done. i had to get that out of the way though.
The next aspect of achieving the right tone is understanding the tone you’re trying to achieve and understanding your equipment.
I recently spoke to a young man that told me that he’s looking for a sound. This is a young man that as been playing for a while and has been playing professionally and at a level that I’ve admired. When he asked me the question, before he could finish the question I knew what he was going to ask. I knew this question because I’ve asked it at one point in my life. The first thing I asked this young man is “What is it that you want to hear?” He quickly confirmed some names of the industry’s great bassist and what they sound like. They all used a particular bass, and had a similar sound. Ironically, even though this young man didn’t have the bass that they had, he had a bass with similar pickups and electronics. Well..he understand the tone he’s trying to achieve so the next step is understanding his instrument.
Understand ones instrument is an intimate act. You have to take it out for dinner, buy it some flowers, a gift, maybe a little champagne…Oops, wrong blog. Forget what everything from the ‘taking it out to dinner.’ You are, however, required to understand the make-up of your bass though. What type of wood makes up the body, the frets, the neck? What type of strings are used and which ones give the sound that supports the tone that you’re trying to reach. What type of pick ups (PUPS) are you using? What type of electronics do you have? What are your controls on the bass? WHAAAATTT!!!…… Don’t be alarmed. This is just the sweet ingredients that make up your tone. Just like tweaking a good stew by adding items to make it a great stew , you need to know what you’re working with.
TO BE CONTINUED…..
If you don’t already know, then go do your homework and find out more about your instrument..ask it out on a date…haha. God Bless
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