how many of you play with foam under the bridge?

Discussion in 'Bass Area; The Bottom Line' started by batsbrew, Aug 26, 2011.


  1. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    it's an oldschool method....

    i've seen some vids and live performances, of classic players that used a piece of foam to kill the sustain on the bass....

    usually finger played, but not always...

    and what it does, is make the attack of the initial note kind of pop out, seems loud in the mix, and then it decays off fairly quickly, allowing anything else in the mix to stand out, right up to the moment of the next bass note.

    seems to work best for notes that are done quarter-note....
    so there's room in the arrangement for everything to shine..


    and it allows the bass part to be mixed hotter, but then it doesn't swamp anything..

    anways, just thinking out loud, i'm seriously thinking of trying this out.

    this would be for folks that are looking for a more classic 'p-bass' type of round tone.

    as much as i love modern bass sounds and recording, this tone is what resonates the most with me.

    thoughts?
     
  2. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Member

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    Yep, done it plenty, and of course, as Leo intended, with foam strip factory installed under the bridge cover. I have also employed a hankerchief, pushed under the strings. Generally my intention here is to imitate the dull thump of an upright bass. Also, with a pick to get that Nashville, "tic-tac" bass sound.

    With "hanky":

    [​IMG]
     
  3. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

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    Here's a vid of a very young Jimmy Page using the hanky technique w/ Herman's Hermits.
     
  4. jefesq

    jefesq Gold Supporting Member

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  5. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

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    I keep a small roll of black felt in my bass case and jam it right next to the bridge. As noted, great for a thumpy Jamerson vibe.

    then I play with the pad of my thumb and get HUGE dub/reggae sounds.
     
  6. hammersig

    hammersig Member

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    I've been playing bass for 10 years now, and though I've heard of the technique, I've never tried it. Want to give averything a fair chance, so what do you guy recommend using for the foam? Any common household buys perfect for a Precision bass? Do you want it snug under the strings, or just barely enough pressure to hold it under there? I don't know that I'll dig it, but want to give it a fair shot.
     
  7. SGNick

    SGNick Member

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    I use it on my Classic Vibe Jazz bass with Flats. I just took a clean sponge, cut it, and stuck it under there...

    Not the best representation, but you get to see/hear it at work..

     
  8. skydog

    skydog Supporting Member

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  9. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

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    Just a clean household sponge works fine, no scrubby-pad on the back side though. Or a rolled up piece of cloth, or some soft foam, not quite window insulation soft, more of a closed foam type, like neo-prene.


    I prefer it medium snug, where the material is pushed down by the strings, but not so much as to kill ALL sustain. You just have to experiment.
     
  10. NoNoise

    NoNoise Member

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    I've definitely heard of this, but I've never wanted to do it. Personally, I want my tone to be as "alive" as possible and my sustain to ring out as much as possible. Then, I just use my palm or other fingers to help mute.

    So, I won't be trying it anytime soon, but if it works for you, that's cool.
     
  11. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Member

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    I approach the subject of muting with my left hand, too.
     
  12. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    I've recorded parts with a Rickenbacker that had mutes on the bridge. Sounded perfect for the track.
     
  13. musicofanatic5

    musicofanatic5 Member

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    I mute with either or both hands as an anti-sustain measure also.

    For most of the music I enjoy playing, the last thing I want (as a gtr player) out of an electric bass player is his notes sustaining like the last piano chord on "A Day In The Life". I have issued a chunk of foam to bass players on a gig! (when I cannot find an upright player).
     
  14. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    It's not *JUST* muting the sustain. You're changing the attack, you're really changing a lot of your tone.

    It really is an 'old school' thing to do.

    For the better part of 25 years I could not for the life of me figure out why someone would want to mute their strings- despite having at least two basses with built in mute systems. One day it just made sense.

    It's not for everybody and it's not for everything. Pretty much the only thing I use it for is my 'Stones'' cover band- it works awesome for it. If it's more of a 'variety' or 'rock' type band- I can't stand it. I'm also more partial to fingerstyle with it, rather than a pick-

    I have an old neoprene rubber wrist pad- the kind you'd set in front of your keyboard. For the past 5 years or so I've been cutting chunks off of it and using that. When I do that on my Jazz, G&L or EB-0, the amount of upward pressure is enough to knock the bass about a quarter step sharp. So when I pull the pad out, I've got to retune. That gives a much more pronounced mute- a more "thokky" attack. With my T-Bird, I have a slice of an old neoprene mousepad that I rarely ever take out- it doesn't have much upward pressure- consequently it's not as mute-y.

    [​IMG]

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  15. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Good points from Mr. Golden boy there. Agree it's not for everything but it's pretty cool for some things.

    I think it also changes the harmonic nodes, or greatly reduces them. And too much, or too stiff a mute can throw intonation and tuning off. You don't want it to act like the bridge!

    Didn't Jamerson (knowingly or unknowingly) leave the foam packing stuff thats under those cover thingies on some P basses? And I know i've seen pictures of Macartny with one on his Hofner.
     
  16. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I think you're totally right about the harmonic nodes- I think by putting the mute in there, you're obscuring the effective scale length by shortening the free vibrating portion of the string from it's intonation point.

    As far as Jamerson's bass- the Ps didn't have 'packing' foam under the covers- that was the mute. While most people just ripped that foam right out, Jamerson left his in- and left the pickup cover on.

    [​IMG]

    Check out the film clip for the Beatles' "Revolution," you see him with Hofner #1 with a big ol chunk of yellow foam- you'll also see it in the Let It Be movie.


    [​IMG]
     
  17. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Member

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    There are no parts in the tunes that call for a note to be sustained longer than an eighth note?

    My playing's busy enough as it is. Sometimes a whole note or even a tied whole note are just what the doctor ordered.
     
  18. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Member

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    Although I truly believe it's a practice that's fallen out of favor for a good number of reasons, there are, of course, exceptions.

    The amazing dubbed-out outro of Peter Gabriel's 'Don't Give Up' led Tony Levin to grab the only appropriate mute material at hand - his daughter's diaper. I think he jokingly called it 'The Wonder Nappy Bass' (Nappy being Brit slang for Pampers). A terrific use of this old school technique (keeping in mind he was working with the often bright and sustaining Stingray).

    Ny first bass was a used Rick 4001, and I removed the foam at once, going for more of a Geddy or Squire tone in those days.
     
  19. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Member

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    This is the part of the formula that any decent player can pull of with his hands, and perhaps a judicious twist of the tone knob.
     
  20. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Color me indecent. :)
     

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