music, music.bass

Precision vs Jazz Bass

Fender Precision Bass and Jazz Bass are among the most popular bass guitars out there. However; it is hard to decide which one you should buy. This article covers my (partially subjective) experience on the matter.

Common Perks

First of all, relax. You can’t really go wrong either way.

Versatility: Both basses have been used in all genres across the history of music. So, you can play any style of music with either bass guitar. Some people associate P-Bass with rock, but Michael League of Snarky Puppy uses a P-Bass in jazz context. Some people associate J-Bass with funk & slap, but Geddy Lee uses a J-Bass in rock context. I rest my case.

Familiarity: Sound engineers, recording studios and band leaders know both basses very well, and they are happy to see an industry standard bass in your hand. They know in advance how the bass will behave.

Aftermarket: Being proven industry standards, there is a very large aftermarket for both basses. You can find spare parts easily, they are very modifiable and can be sold / purchased easily on e-Bay.

Precision Bass Perks

You should prefer the Precision Bass if the following perks apply to you.

Simplicity: Precision Bass is really a plug & play instrument. It’s natural low-mid oriented sound sits in the mix really well, and you don’t have to turn a lot of knobs to sound good. Jazz Bass has more knobs; which can be bad tone traps for some players.

Noiseless: Precision Bass has a hum cancelling split coil pickup design, which eliminates the 60-cycle hum completely. So if low noise is a priority for you, P-Bass has the upper hand here. Jazz Bass is silent only if you balance both pickups; if you favor any pickup, you’ll get hum. Some Jazz Bass pickups are hum-cancelling, but they don’t sound vintage; which can be good or bad depending on your tonal goal.

Thump: Precision Bass naturally produces a thumpy, chunky sound with bumped low mids; which covers the low end of the sonic spectrum really well. You definitely hear and feel that deep warm vibe. Jazz Bass can get close to that, but it won’t sound & feel the same.

Jazz Bass Perks

You should prefer the Jazz Bass if the following perks apply to you.

Thin Neck: If you are a guitarist or have small hands in general, the thinner neck of the Jazz Bass would suit you well. P-Bass has a chunky neck, which is claimed to contribute to its chunky sound.

Soloing: If you are going to do a lot of soloing or busy & fast phrasing, Jazz Bass would be a better choice due to its faster neck and bridge pickup sound. However; some modern P-Bass players solo and sound equally well with the help of pedals; such as octave-up. Obviously, you can solo on a vanilla P-Bass too; but the vanilla Jazz seems to cut through the mix better.

Tonal Versatility: Jazz Bass has two blendable pickups, and they can be dialed to get various different tones. Some typical tones are:

  • Neck pickup solo: Warm thumpy sound, approaching the P-Bass (but not as thumpy)
  • Pickup balance: Scooped sound, suitable for slapping
  • Bridge pickup favored: Growly sound, approaching the MM-Bass (but not as growly)
  • Bridge pickup solo: Jaco (enough said)

Versatility Comparison

Don’t confuse tonal versatility with genre versatility. Both basses are extremely versatile, and can be used in any genre, really.

Versatility of the P-Bass is based on its singular but perfect tone; which sits in the mix really well.

Versatility of the Jazz Bass is based on tonal diversity, but that has some drawbacks:

  • It won’t get as warm & thumpy as the P-Bass; which is a drawback for some players
  • More tonal options = more bad tone traps
  • Single coil pickups hum when favored, which is disliked by some players and sound engineers. There are noiseless Jazz Bass pickups out there, but they sound different.

With the appropriate playing technique, an experienced player can get many different sounds out of the P-bass as well. But the tonal versatility of the J-Bass is easily accessible and much higher, which is preferable for some players.

Conclusion

There is no clear winner here. That’s why both basses are still best-sellers. You have to evaluate the perks & disadvantages according to your own needs, and decide for yourself.

My personal subjective choice is a P-Bass. Once I got used to that low-mid thump, other basses don’t feel as good. But I keep an affordable J-Style bass around for the occasional Jaco sound.

Finally; here are some buying tips:

  • Each bass is a little different than others of the same model. Play them all before deciding.
  • Fresh / dead strings can sound quite different when testing basses.
  • Beware of dead spots / wolf tones (check Google)
  • Basses with PJ pickups may look like the best of both worlds; but they are in fact “Precision” basses with an extra pickup. They can’t reproduce all of the classical J-Bass sounds, and some players even state that their P-Pickup doesn’t sound like a vanilla P-Bass (I don’t know if that is true).
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music, music.bass

Hafif ve Güçlü Bas Amfileri

Ağırlığı 10 kg altında olan, ev / prova / ufak işlerde kullanılabilecek, daha büyük işlerde de kişisel monitör yerine geçebilecek bir bas amfisi araştırdım.

Türkiye piyasasında bulabildiklerim:

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Do You Need An Expensive Guitar?

I have recently purchased a supposedly entry-level humble bass guitar; but it’s quality and sound blew my mind. This motivated me towards sharing my opinion on cheap and expensive instruments.

My personal opinion is; you don’t need anything beyond gear which doesn’t dissatisfy you.

Skills over Gear

First things first: Skill is much more important than gear.

My master class instructor Selçuk Karaman (Selka) can pick any random bass & amp and make them sound great. Cheap, expensive, humble, flashy; no matter. No pedals, no effects, nothing. And he sounds like himself every time.

Kerem Türkaydın, Kerim Çaplı, Ozan Musluoğlu and Tanju Eren are some other people I played with & witnessed sounding great through humble gear.

Those people don’t cast secret spells to magically alter the signal coming out of the guitar.

The instrument itself is only one variable in a large equation.

Many factors regarding your own technique determines what kind of a sound will come out of the guitar; such as:

  • Right-hand positioning
  • Plucking style
  • Finger contact area
  • Clean string-to-string transition
  • etc…

Get them right, and you’ll sound good on any instrument. Is it completely unnecessary to buy an expensive instrument, then?

Two Factor Theory

Two factor theory distinguishes hygiene factors from motivators.

Hygiene factors are material elements; such as your guitar, amp, pedals, etc. If you significantly lack something in this area (such as inconsistent tuners or a wrapped neck), you’ll be dissatisfied. However, improving those factors can only get you to the point of no dissatisfaction.

Motivators are intangible factors; such as your enjoyment of your own playing, the reaction of the crowd, appreciation of other musicians, the bliss of making the music you love, etc. Those are the factors that would bring you satisfaction.

According to this theory; if your gear gets you to the point of no dissatisfaction, your gear is good enough. Real satisfaction starts there, which depends on intangible factors.

Musical Frustration

Many players get confused trying to pinpoint the source of their musical frustration.

In many cases, the frustration is really rooted down to lack of motivators. Improving your skills can possibly bring the excitement back. You can;

  • Learn new scales
  • Memorize new licks
  • Work on new songs
  • Study theory further & apply somewhere
  • Improve your dexterity
  • Improve your fingerboard memorization
  • Discover new musical styles
  • Release a new song
  • Join a challenging band
  • etc…

In some other cases, the frustration can really be rooted down to the lack of hygiene factors; such as:

  • A noisy rig
  • Strings getting out of tune
  • An undesired base tone
  • Instrument weight

That’s an important differentiation to make. Buying a better computer won’t make you a better programmer, right?

Buying a “better” guitar won’t make you a better musician. Improving your skills towards the premium level will.

Why do we see very expensive guitars in the hands of some famous artists, then?

Diminishing Returns

To answer this question, we need do understand the idea of diminishing returns.

Is the $100 → $500 jean quality surplus 5 times more than $20 → $100 jean quality surplus? Not really, right?

After a certain price point, what you get per $ decreases dramatically.

The quality difference between $200 – $1.000 basses would be tremendous; while the quality difference between $1.000 – $5.000 basses would be relatively small.

If an artist plays a $5.000 instrument, he/she probably found some minor improvements over a $1.000 instrument, and didn’t mind paying the surplus.

Such minor improvements skyrocket the price due to the manual labour & time investment involved; they are usually not crucial to have in a good instrument.

The artist you admire would probably sound great with your current gear too.

Besides; countless artists using standard instruments have successful careers. You definitely don’t need to spend money after reaching the point of no dissatisfaction with your hygiene factors. Work on your skills, and save your money.

Endorsements & PR

One should also remember that some artists get their gear for free anyway – due to their endorsement agreements. Who pays for their gear, do you think?

You!

When you purchase an artist endorsement guitar, mind you that a percentage of the cost of his/her free guitars are included in your price tag.

A portion of any big-brand instruments price includes such PR-related costs. So you are paying for the name hanging down your neck, not quality.

If the name is important for you and makes you feel synchronized with your favorite artists, then fine – this can be one of your motivators.

One needs to ask though: Is it worth the extra money?

Make-Up Psychology

Why would you pay $500 for a pair of jeans when you can get a very good one for $100? Is there a significant quality difference? Is it necessary to pay $400 more because some actor/actress is “known” for wearing them?

If you feel inferior, you might be willing to cover it with flashy hygiene factors; such as clothing, cellphones, cars, etc. Generally, the excessive hygiene factors that people surround themselves with, reflect what they feel like they are lacking.

The same approach can be applied to musical gear.

If you lack confidence and enjoyment in your music, you may want to cover it with gear.

This doesn’t mean that everyone playing an expensive instrument is in this trap. But if you are in this trap, you know at this very moment that I’m talking about you.

It’s better if you work on your technique instead. Better for your psychology, emotions, wallet, and listeners.

It’s obvious too, you know? When we see a mediocre player with a $5.000 guitar, we know why he/she spent a fortune on it. Unfortunately; some people even look down on others with “lesser gear”; allegedly making up their musical deficiency (motivator) with gear surplus (hygiene).

The instrument in your hand can only make a brief first impression. If you play & sound bad, no one will accept you because of your gear. If you play & sound good, no one will dismiss you because of your gear.

Fair Upgrade Reasons

The urge to upgrade your guitar even has a name: GAS . However, there can also be fair reasons for that.


  • Your musical orientation may have changed, and you need something your current guitar can’t provide; which could be…
    • …different pickup types and/or positions
    • …a different wood combination
    • …more / less strings
    • …more / less frets
    • …a tremolo bar
    • …an onboard EQ
    • …a long/short scale neck

  • Playing may have become uncomfortable, and you need…
    • …a lighter guitar because your back hurts
    • …a different neck profile to suit your hand better
    • …better craftsmanship in details; such as sharp fret edges

  • You may need to upgrade an immutable feature; which puts you in the market for…
    • …a better resonating wood
    • …more sustain

You can think of more reasons, but you get the idea. If your reasons really make sense, there is no reason why you shouldn’t upgrade your guitar – possibly to a more expensive one.

Be careful not to buy a commodity which is too expensive for you, though.

What Is Too Expensive?

My criteria for being too expensive is one simple question:

Can I loan it to someone else comfortably?

If this question triggers a financial anxiety, then the instrument in question is probably too expensive for my budget.

Technology has improved, and it is possible to produce high-quality instruments with low costs. Do your homework, and you’ll find the corresponding brand / models. A good instrument doesn’t need to be expensive.

You can probably get 85% of a “premium” guitar at  50% of its cost.

At the end of the day; it’s just wood and electronics. The humble production guitar you find in a shop may even have the exact specs you might want a luthier to build for you.

In a blind-test, would you be able to tell them apart? Or, if you were tricked that the production bass was built by a famous luthier, would your perception be positively affected?

Conclusion

I have owned more basses than I would like to admit – including custom shops and even a Fodera. Was the Fodera really worth it? The answer is arguable, but my personal opinion is;

You don’t need anything beyond gear which doesn’t dissatisfy you.

Beyond the point of no dissatisfaction; what matters is the music in you, and the technique in your hands.

For further ideas; I recommend checking the video “Does Gear Matter“.

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How I Use Compressors

Compressors are great helpers to help us maintain the balance of our sound. Depending on how we set it, a compressor can increase the volume of silent notes, decrease the volume of loud notes, or do both simultaneously.

This article is a general compression guide for beginners.

There are expensive studio compressors, affordable compressor pedals, DAW compressor plug-ins, etc. In this article, we will be focusing on simple every day compressor pedals.

Although I am a bass player, the principles in this article can be applied to any instrument.

What Is A Compressor?

“A compressor is basically a pedal to balance the volume of your signal. When a signal is too loud, a compressor limits or squishes this spike to a more reasonable level. When a signal is too soft or starts to fade, a compressor can boost the signal to even out dynamics.” (Reverb)

Compression Parameters

The terms change from pedal to pedal, but here is a general overview of the controls we have on a typical compressor.

Threshold determines the scope of compression. A low threshold rate means that the compressor will cover silent notes. A high threshold rate means that the compressor will ignore silent notes and focus on louder notes only.

Attack time determines how fast the compressor will react after we play a note exceeding the threshold. A fast attack time means that the compressor will react as soon as it hears the note. A slow attach time means that; after hearing the note, the compressor will let the attack & note ring a little, and activate afterwards.

Release time lets us determine how fast the compressor will deactivate. A fast release time means that, when it hears just a few notes outside of the threshold, the compressor will deactivate itself. A slow release time means that, even after hearing notes outside the threshold, the compressor will stay activate a little longer.

Rate determines the force of compression. 2:1 is a light compression rate of 50%. “It indicates that a signal exceeding the threshold by 2 dB will be attenuated down to 1 dB above the threshold, or a signal exceeding the threshold by 8 dB will be attenuated down to 4 dB above it.” (UAudio) Following the same logic, 4:1 is a medium compression rate, 8:1 is a strong compression rate, 20:1 / ∞:1 can be considered as a brick wall limiter.

How I Use Them

How you would use a compressor depends on your purpose.

Invariability

One of my purposes is to achieve a constant, ever-flowing bass sound without any volume deviation – imagine typical Muse or electronic bass lines. For this purpose;

  •  Threshold should be very low, because I want to cover every single note
  •  Attack time should be fast, because I am aiming at a sustained constant volume; I don’t want any peaks when I attack the strings
  • Release time should be slow, because I don’t want to deactivate the compressor due to some silent notes in-between
  • Rate can be set medium / high

Limiter

Another purpose is to use the compressor as a limiter to prevent volume peaks due to technique, slapping or mischievous pedals.

  • Threshold should be high, because I’m focusing on volume peaks only
  • Attack time should be as fast as possible, because I want to “catch” the peak
  • Release time can be relatively fast; because after catching the peak, things can get back to normal
  • Rate should be as high as possible, because I’m willing to create a volume cap

Boundaries

Another purpose is to even out the strings and notes on the bass without eating the tone and dynamics too much. For this purpose;

  • Threshold should be medium, because I want to keep some of my dynamics
  • Attack time should be medium for the same reason
  • Release time should be medium for the same reason
  • Rate can be low, around 2:1 or 4:1

Conclusion

A compressor is an optional, but very welcome addition to my pedalboard setup. If I have free space, I feel safe having a compressor set to “limiter” mode; and the sound guys enjoy the controlled bass sound.

My compressors of choice can be seen on my bass gear list.

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G&L M-2500 Review

I have owned and played an M-2500 long enough to confidently write a review. In a nutshell; I highly recommend it as a simple and modern P & MM hybrid.

In case you want to listen to this bass, here is my demo video.

Specs

M-2500 is an active solid body bass with a 34″ scale length, two MFD humbucker pickups, a high mass bridge with string-through-body option, volume & blend controls and boost/cut 3 band EQ. This bass doesn’t have a passive switch.

The neck pickup is placed to the P-bass sweet spot. The bridge pickup is almost placed to the MM sweet spot – it’s a bit closer to the bridge for obvious spacing reasons. Visual pickup position comparison can be found here .

MFD pickups provide adjustable pole pieces. This means; you can adjust the height of individual poles for a precisely balanced sound across all strings. Details of my preferred MFD height setup can be found here .

Compared to 19mm basses, string spacing is relatively narrow; making fast lines easier. I wouldn’t call the neck “chunky”, but you definitely feel the wood in your hand.

Sound

Soloing the neck pickup, the bass sounds like a P-bass on steroids. When I was in the market for a new bass, I was actually looking for a P-bass vibe. M-2500 neck pickup doesn’t sound exactly like a P-bass, you need to buy the real thing for that. However; it subjectively doubles the mid-thumpy-sweetness of the P-bass in a modern and powerful way due to the pickup specs. I preferred M-2500 over the P-bass, but that’s beacuse I like modern and powerful bass tones. Other players, especially vintage purists, might prefer otherwise.

This setting is ideal for blues, rock, motown, R&B, reggae, etc. settings where you would normally reach out for a P-bass.

Soloing the bridge pickup, I feel like I’m somewhere between the StingRay bite and Jaco burp. Compared to the StingRay, the pickup is placed a little closer to the bridge. The back coil is right in the middle of 60/70 Jazz Bass pickup positions, while the front coil is right behind the 60 Jazz Bass pickup position. As a result, you get somewhere between a thin StingRay / fat Jaco tone.

Unlike some “pickup-too-close-to-the-bridge” basses I played before; this setting is very usable on its own for soloing, playing chords and many other burpiness applications.

Pickup balance produces a scooped tone typically seen at J basses, but the humbuckers obviously produce a different tone than your average standard Jazz Bass. This mid-scoop provides a good playground for pop / funk / slap, or settings where you want to play hide & seek in the mix. A little deviation towards the neck gets close to a PJ sound, while a little deviation towards the bridge gets close to the Jaco burp; both usable to support the band.

Obviously, you can get many other sounds by blending the pickups and tapping the EQ.

Although the M-2500 lacks the passive option, I honestly didn’t miss it at all. Vintage purists might, though.

Comparison

L-2500

For those who follow G&L closely, L-2500 has arguably been their flagship bass for a long time. With the M-2500, they took the same body & pickups and replaced the relatively complicated EQ system with a simple boost/cut 3 band EQ. The pickups are wound 12% less; taking the aggression under control.

I like things to be as simple as possible without compromising the required functionality. Although L-2500 is very versatile, its switching system has always been a turn-off for me. I wouldn’t want to mess with 18 switch combinations to nail the tone I want; whether I’m recording or playing live. Having a 2 band cut-only EQ also feels like a limitation on the stage – I can’t always walk to the amp or kneel to the pedalboard to boost my frequencies.

Obviously, those are personal preferences; there are countless bass players out there who are extremely happy with their L-2500 basses. But in my humble opinion; M-2500 eliminates the disadvantages of L-2500 and replaces them with perks.

Ed Friedman has made a great M-2500 vs L-2500 video , I recommend it for an audio-based comparison.

Sandberg VM

My first attempt to have a P & MM combo bass was my custom designed Sandberg California VM 5 . Although it was a well made bass, I feel like the M-2500 is a closer shot for the purpose.

Jazz Bass

The two-pickup setting made me literally compare the M-2500 with a Jazz Bass when I did the purchase. The neck pickup of M-2500 satisfied me much better than the neck pickup of the Jazz Bass in terms of getting the P-Bass thump. Likewise, the bridge pickup produces a much stronger and deeper burp than the J-Bass.

However; combining the pickups, the J-Bass slap sound satisfied me more than the M-2500. Plus, the single coil pickups of the J-Bass are more articulate; providing a better toolkit for corresponding purposes.

Well, humbuckers vs single coils, what can I say? You can fatten single coils with some EQ boost, but humbuckers are naturally fat and strong. You can thin out humbuckers with some EQ cut, but single coils are naturally articulate and sparky.

If the priority is to get beefy tones leaning towards P / MM sounds, M-2500 has the upper hand. If the priority is to get thinner articulated sounds with that J vibe & slappiness, Jazz Bass has the upper hand.

StingRay 5 HS

In a nutshell; G&L has a great P-Bass tone and can lean towards StingRay~ish tones, while the StingRay has (obviously) a great StingRay tone and can lean towards P-Bass~ish tones.

Remember that I’m talking about a StingRay HS; the neck pickup helps with the low mids.

Comparing those two; if low-mid oriented neck tone is a higher priority, I would pick the G&L. If high-mid oriented bridge tone is a higher priority, I would get the StingRay.

Conclusion

M-2500 has easily joined my team of beloved bass guitars.

If you want a modern sounding P-MM~ish combo with a simple interface, I recommend including the M-2500 in your candidate list.

For further M-2500 reviews, I recommend checking Ed Friedman and Notreble .

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How I Got Rid of Pedalboard Noise

I had a terrible and constant low frequency whistle noise coming out of my bass pedalboard; even if the guitar is completely turned down. I solved my problem by plugging individual power adapters into problematic pedals.

Detecting the Source of the Noise

Rig hum can have many reasons. Three most significant reasons are; guitar pickup hum, ground loops and power issues.

My bass has split coil pickups, so guitar pickups couldn’t be the source of the noise. Besides; the hum was still there even when I turned the guitar down. So, the bass wasn’t guilty.

Ground loop could have been the reason; however, the hum started after I added some new pedals (not before).

Therefore, I suspected that there was a power issue. The fact that my pedals wouldn’t start up before blinking on and off for a while reinforced that idea.

Detecting Guilty Pedals

For this test, I removed each and every pedal from my pedalboard, and plugged my guitar in directly. No noise / hum at all. Good.

Afterwards, I started adding pedals one by one. Eventually, I discovered that 3 EHX pedals were the source of the hum: Pitch Fork, SuperEgo and Freeze.

When I power any of those pedals individually via my Joyo Power Supply 2, they add up a little hum. Powering all of them end up producing a powerful hum.

Solving the Problem

I figured out that there was nothing wrong with the pedals. The only problem was; the power supply didn’t agree with the power demands of the pedals.

I disconnected those pedals from the power supply completely, and powered them through their original individual power adapters.

Wham! The hum disappeared. My rig went dead silent.

I figured that I needed a larger multi outlet for my pedalboard now; but it is a small price to pay for rig silence.

Using batteries instead of power adapters is also an agreeable solution, but I don’t want to worry about batteries going dead in the middle of some gig.

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