Bass Sounds We Love – Part 1: Pop

Bass Sounds We Love – Part 1: Pop

Pop, hip hop, funk or metal? Well known bass player Lars Lehmann show us which effect pedal creates which sound, in our multi-part series “Bass Sounds We Love“.

There’s more to authentically conveying a musical style, than merely playing the right notes. As a bassist, the first thing audiences, studios, or band mates notice is your sound! If something’s wrong here or doesn’t quite fit the bill, you’re off to a bad start.

As they say, “You never get a second chance at a first impression!” In other words, the fully booked live- or studio freelancer is often characterized by having the right sound in the bag, for every situation!
Fender Jazz Bass

Your choice of instrument and your style of playing (finger, plectrum, slapping …) are, of course, enormously important, as well as your attitude. Metal is of course not played in the same attitude as pop or nursery rhymes! However, not all bassists are fortunate enough to own every imaginable instrument, amp and cabinet, in order to be able to optimally play every genre possible.

Electro Harmonix Bass Big Muff Distortion Fuzz BodeneffektgerätSo, what can we do? Don’t worry, there is a solution, and it comes with a long list of electronic devices. Various effects are especially useful in guiding your own bass sound in multiple ways. In this article, we present various bass sounds using effects that we sorted according to various styles. In order to reproduce the sounds at home, we will also reveal the settings used in the examples.

Fender Rumble 40Another thing we should mention: there are so many styles and trends within a genre, so of course we aren’t claiming our examples as the be-all end-all.  As always, there are several perspectives and approaches to this. A rock sound for example can be both distorted and aggressive (such as with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) or clean and tidy like Dave Ellefson from Megadeth. Therefore our sound files only offers a few and there are certainly loads more!

Part 1: Pop

Pop-Allround sound

In pop, an “allround sound” from the bass is often required. This should be balanced, warm and powerful, to ensure a healthy foundation in the songs. Usually, the sound of the electric bass is not overly distorted or aggressive in this style, but there are of course exceptions to the rule.

Xotic RC BoosterIn our sound sample, which could be an intro or outro to a pop song, you can hear a Fender Jazz Bass, whose signal was chased by a Xotic RC booster. This preamp from the USA sounds wonderfully clear and clean as long as the gain control isn’t set too high.

The settings are as follows: Gain: 12h, Treble: 2h, Bass: 2h

Pop ballade (fretless)

Fretless bass guitars were very popular in the 80’s. Bassists such as Pino Palladino (who played with Paul Young) worked on countless titles with their Fretless tone.
MXR M 83 Bass Chorus Deluxe

Even though it’s less common these days, a well-played Fretless bass still hasn’t lost its charm. You can broaden the sound with a little chorus effect, adding character and depth. Incidentally, the great electric bass innovator Jaco Pastoriu, used to enrich the sound of his fretless bass with a chorus pedal.

In our example, you will hear the MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe. The settings of the pedal are as follows: Bass: 1h, Treble: 2h, Intensity: 2h, Rate: 11h, Width: 2h. The X-Over and Flanger switches are not activated.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Rock & Metal \m/ …. 😉


Author’s gravatar
Lawrence started playing the electric guitar because of his passion for rock music. Back in the day he played in a metal band, but now plays more for himself.

Leave a Reply