0% Interest for 24 Months! Learn more »
(800) 222-4700
  • Español: (800) 222-4701
Microphone Month

Sweetwater Forums [Archived]

After 15 years of great discussions, the Sweetwater Forums are now closed and preserved as a "read-only" resource. For discussions about current gear, check us out on Facebook, YouTube, inSync, and our Knowledge Base.

Getting Good Country Bass Sound


New to the board and very frustrated. I listen, mainly, to country music and I've had a dickens of a time getting anything remotely similar to the bass sound, on most albums (or live for that matter) out of my gear. I've refitted my bass guitar w/ Basslines Quarter Pounders... I've got a Bass POD, DOD BASS30, Ampeg amp... Hartke amp... I can get the sound when I play live but something gets really lost in the recording, for whatever reason... I can get everything in the mix to sound right but the bass guitar... any thoughts from folks would be appreciated on this.
April 26, 2002 @02:52am

I play a Yamaha combination bass... basically has P-bass pickups in the regular P-bass spot and a Jazz Bass Pickup in the bridge. I have re-wired and modified this thing to have Seymour Duncan Basslines Quarter Pound pickups in it. It's fairly "hot" from the output side of things.
Most of the country that I play is the newer country... Clint Black, George Strait, Chris LeDoux, Martina McBride, Jodee Messina, etc. The bass guitar, behind those folks is very "present" but "powerful". I know it's fairly well compressed, as well. I just haven't been able to find the right EQ-recipe to match that sound. I got the compression thing down and I can get the sustain. I'm running the bass through an LA2X compressor and then into a Behringer DSP9024 (6-band compressor). The output of that has the "flow" and the overall "control" that I'm looking for... now I just need the EQ to get that whole thing right.
I know that many of the country bassists, these days are running w/ Alembics and/or active electronics on the bass itself. I'm wondering if that's not contributing to their overall tonality.
I don't have a bass amp, I have to admit. I'm using a combination of the COSM models in my VS1680 and the VS1880 as well as DOD's BASS30 and the BASS POD to get my overall bass sounds. I've heard similar, to country, though coming out of the COSM models on the 1680/1880 as well as the BASS POD... just achieving that on my own equipment has been a problem.
Thanks for any light that you can shed.
June 27, 2002 @08:40pm
jamie garner

i just finished recording some country tunes in my home studio for a local act- my first thought was to use my bass pod to do the tracking. i'd planned on giving each output (d.i. and 'amp') it's own track. after about 45 minutes of noodling with the settings, i finally just plugged in my old ampeg b50 bass amp- it's the 'vintage' looking one with a 12" speaker and 50 watts. i dialed in the sound we were looking for almost right away!
the b50 has a 1/4" preamp output in the back on the unit, and i sent that to a channel, and i stuck a sennheiser 421 on axis to the speaker, about 3" back from the grill. by bussing the two channels together (using protools) and then putting a lite compression on the resulting track, i was very happy- so was the band!
personally, i really like the sound of the ampeg vintage reissue amps- they have a warm, punchy presence i don't get from my more 'modern' rigs, like the hartke or swr. those two amps work better on rock or fusion styles.
oh, btw- another thing that helped was using a p-bass with flatwounds. the bass you have should be able to imitate a p-bass pretty well, and it might be worth checking out flats to see if that helps to get the tone you're looking for.
on another note, i gotta say the bass pod has been kind of a disapointment. i bought it and the guitar pod thinking i'd be set for anything that might come up, and so far i haven't used either one for anything other than headphone practice!
June 28, 2002 @05:48pm

I have to agree with you, somewhat, on that one. The BASS POD is certainly not quite everything that LINE6 has portrayed it to be. I think that they took too little time analyzing the sonic effects of the bass amps that they modeled so that they could get a product out to market much more quickly. Rumor has it that the original TUBETONE models that they produced took nearly 6 years of development. BASS POD hit the market about 6 months after they started it. I'm thinking that the math is a bit "off" in the DSP's. Rolands COSM modeling is much better, but the VS1680/1880's do not really have bass amps modelled in them. I have a DOD BASS30 that yields somewhat better results than the POD.
The one thing that has "helped" the POD, overall is a BOSS GEB-7 at the output. I crank the 50Hz up a bit and a few other of the low-end controls on that EQ pedal, just to get the "bottom-end" out of the POD. I've had mixed results w/ that cuz doing that takes a TON of off-board compression to smooth out the sound. In fact, when I've done that I've had to run direct into the Behringer ULTRADYNE (6-band compression) and really work on the basics of the bass from 20Hz to about 4kHz. However, that smooths it out fairly well. I may have to break down and buy a bass amp. I just don't have the room and/or the facilities (12x15 room) right now to put a bass amp in the midst of everything else that I have in there. That's why I was hoping to do the BASS POD, DOD BASS 30 or something of that nature to get the sound I was going for.
I LOVE the POD2.0 and use that a TON. I have to admit, though, LINE6 only focused on the quality of a few amps in there. The Fender Deluxe Reverb, Vox AC-30, Marshall JTM900 and that's about it. Those are the only ones that I can get to sound realistic through the POD w/ any type of frequency. The AX2 212 has better emulations (both cabinet and pre/power amp) than the POD does. Interestingly enough, I still rely on my DIGITECH RP12 for most recording work. No amp/cab sims and it sounds spectacular.
Thanks again. Any other comments (EQ settings on the bass amp and/or the console) would be appreciated. I'm gonna crack this.
July 2, 2002 @03:04pm
Messin_With_The _Kids

If you want the country sound, get yourself an old Peavey T-40. The T-40 was to country music in the 80's what the P-bass was to rock in the 60's. They really were ahead of their time and the electronics in those things can do a pretty amazing variety of tones. I see them all the time on ebay for around $200 bucks in really good condition. One caveat however, they weigh as much as a full grown Missouri mule.
July 19, 2002 @03:01am
Doc Nelson

I've done alot of touring work in the Country vein, so maybe I can help. Most of the "A" studio players in Nashville are using Warwick, Sadowsky, and heavily customized fenders....in that order. To get a large variety of sounds onsite, I generally choose a Warwick Thumb 5 string...neck through. It has an 18 volt BMT pre-amp that really nails the tone and keeps everything clear and focused no matter how much bottom is in the mix. The Sadowsky is excellent for this as well. Although the Sadowsky is a 2 way pre-amp, it has excellent Country sound and is quite workable in any situation. Also, Matt Pullincella Basses are great sounding.
I use a heavily modified 1980's Fender MXR 300 watt head with compression and boost. Don Jones went through it, and gutted it....then went back and turned it into a 300 watt Aguilar, Ashdown, and SWR eater! I use 2 JBL M151 drivers loaded in single front loaded enclosures....one ported in the front, and the other ported in the rear. This combination seems to get the depth needed for Country while keeping all the notes clear and focused with enough punch to make your pants legs blow on just 3!!
If you'll write me at my e-mail address; I'll try to help you get the sound you're looking for with the gear that you've got. Sounds like you need some help, and I'm glad to chime in.
December 20, 2002 @12:42am

Thanks for the input... I futzed, and futzed, and futzed and finally came up w/ a workable solution that gives me exactly what I need... here's what I done...
I took the bass and replaced the P/U's w/ Seymour Duncan Quarter-Pound Basslines... That fattened up the overall sound quite a bit and made the thing pretty "hot" to say the least... I then restructured the internal wiring of the thing w/ 500K pots, versus the 100K and 250K that were in there... changed the caps and voila, a bit more low-end but clarity in the highs... plus impedance matches to my gear were better...
Lastly, I bought a Behringer ULTRA-DYNE (DSP-9024). It's a 6-band mastering processor, of all things, with tube emulation, 3-band enhancer, etc. I plug the POD into it, setup all 6 bands w/ varying thresholds, attacks and release times (based on frequency of the band)... tweak the output levels of each band and, voila, crisp, clean, powerful, "in your face" country bass sound. The real "kicker" is that I'm getting that powerful "mic'd up" sound from a Digitech GNX2, guitar processor set to the Fender Bassman head and a 4x12 Marshall Guitar speaker cab that I've "tuned" to be more like 4x18's... the "second channel" I'm using a Fender Twin head into a 1x10" cabinet tuned to be more like a 1x8"... I add a tad bit of distortion on this channel... roll off the lows... and EQ accordingly w/ the EQ section. The distortion adds some "presence" w/o the growl... the Bassman head/cab combination adds the low-end. It all works out well... going direct, the only way to do it is to use the multi-band processor, for sure... it makes life much easier to deal w/ and doesn't necessitate having to mic up a cabinet and deal w/ the "noise" issues.
Thanks again.
December 20, 2002 @07:13pm

Well, maybe you've already solved your problems but I'd like to plug a couple of things that have really improved my bass sound.
First, I use a Tech-21 sansAmp Bass DI box. This little item has probably done more to "save my sound" than anything else -- pickups, strings, even different basses.
Second, Thomastik-Infeld JF-344 strings. These are flats made in Austria with a silk core. Some people have issues with the tension -- they're a few pounds lower than roundwounds -- but I do not. The funny thing is that I've been a diehard Rotosound user my whole life; first RS-66's, then RS-99's (exposed core). But after listening to other bassists sing their praises, I put a set on my SD-Hot armed P-bass. WOW! Someone sent me an MPEG of our band playing a little gig and the tone of my bass out front was just incredible. I said to myself, THAT'S the sound I want.
The neat thing about TI's is that they get better with age. For the first month they're pretty unremarkable but after that, magic happens.
--TAC, not affiliated with TI in any way :D
December 20, 2002 @08:44pm

I'm actually just coming back to bass after a several year hiatus and am looking to get a much more "rootsy" feel. (Willie & Waylon as opposed to Brooks & Dunn). I'm assuming that the required rig here would be much less gear intensive. Any thoughts?
December 27, 2002 @12:10pm

I had that same problem, when I recorded a demo about a year ago, I used a newer Fender American Jazz Bass plugged into a Tech 21 Bass Driver DI directly into the console.
About three months later, I went back to the same studio, but I proposed that we use two channels for the bass. Well, I plugged my Active Schecter Stilleto Elite 5 (w/EMG-HZ p/u) into my SWR Mo' Bass Head and ran one channel out of the Direct Out in the amp and miked my SWR 6x10 cab with a Shure SM58 (not my personal idea, but...) placed in front of the bottom right speaker. Well, we mixed the two channels together and the bass was so pronounced in the mix. We have no rhythm guitarist, so the bass really has to be strong, and it was! Of course, i am a very busy player, so that might have helped things too. I hope this has helped you find that country sound.
May 13, 2003 @04:48am