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 Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar? 
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
What a wonderful post! Really, the amount of information in here is totally mesmerizing! Congrats!
Mike, I know it's not a direct answer to your post but all of this reminded something Emmett once said that struck a chord with me. Something along the way of: the stick allows for a new way of playing the lower end. For me that's just about it.
I understand your problem but I suspect it will always be a problem: just as if you would try to make a double bass sound like an electric bass, or a tuba sound like one acoustic bass guitar...
different instruments for the same specific role in music.
Don't let anyone tell you different: the stick IS an instrument that belongs in the bass role. It just has a different way of making that low end sound sweet and amazing. Thankfully so... I was so tired of hearing the same concept of bass lines everywhere! ;)


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Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:41 pm
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
Oh, man, Mike, I feel for you. First, I always was pissed@ the Doors 'cause they didn't have a real bassist, (man, could you imagine a STICK? I know, I know, wasn't invented yet). Second, I do the "Tony Levin". I bring a bass, but, man, I force the Stick in first. I play them (Stick/bass) differently. And I wish I had a 10string Grand instead of a 12string Grand (or IN ADDITION TO) so I could get my r. hand under that string easier. But I also went from DBR to DMR, didn't lose too many notes, I like the gauges, but while I was in DBR, I did alot two-handed on the melody side 'cause the notes fell easier. Sooo, again, what EVERYONE has said on this post has merit, is insightful, and if you want the Stick to sound like a bass, you can! (if you're willing to do the work...)
P.S. was watching your vid., Mike, w/ yer JazzBassSVTist. WTF they want it to sound LIKE THAT?

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:03 pm
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
No real help here, and I know this isn't supposed to be a therapy thread, but I'll share an experience.

There's an ensemble I sometimes play with. Though everyone else I hear from is complimentary of the tone, one individual whose opinion I respect feels that the Stick's sound doesn't fit the needs of the situation. He believes it's a step down from a bass guitar. So I spent about a year tweaking things with my Zoom MS-60B in search of something closer to a bass guitar sound.

Then last summer when I was playing on one occasion, on scene was a gentleman who I view as a pretty good sound engineer/producer/consultant. Seeing an opportunity, I asked him if he could spend a few minutes with me to help shape my tone.

As we chatted, I answered a few of the usual Stick questions- he'd never had one in his studio or seen one, just heard the name. We moved on to tone.

Him: "So what is it you're after?"

Me: "Well, I'd like something that sounds a bit closer to what a bass guitar sounds like."

Him, looking at me like I'm just a little bit crazy: "Why would you want to do that? This sounds good!"

(silence from me, as I process the mental detour)

Him: "I've been listening to the band, and this sounds good. It sits in well with the kick and the rest of the drum kit, and mixes well with the other instruments. I didn't know what instrument it was. I could tell it wasn't a bass guitar, but most people listening without seeing you wouldn't know it. They're just hearing bass. Either way, it sounds good. It sounds like it belongs."

He experimented with my tone/pickup knobs, told me what settings he thought work best for this situation, then dialed in a bit of EQ (cut a bit in the 200hz range to reduce conflict with the guitars and keys, and boosted the highs a bit).

He could have said, "Yeah, I get what you're asking. Here's what you can do to make it sound more like a bass." Instead he mildly chastised me and said not to mess with a good thing. Considering the source, it was a big confidence boost and sorta set me straight. I had gotten perhaps a little timid, as though I was playing the "wrong" instrument, and I put that attitude aside...a Stick is what I bring to the party, and I'm playing less 'apologetically' than I had been, if that makes any sense.

Now, can Tony Levin please respond with details of what *he* does? :-)

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Last edited by Gusset on Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:43 pm
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
Yep. Just play the Stick I say... Whatever happens happens. If it sounds good, then it is.
(Good thread, lots of cool posts)

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:58 pm
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
Good story Victor. We can try to emulate a bass and/or a guitar. EQ touch compression strings amps attack technique etc. The Stick sound will still be in evidence to some degree. I personally do more of the sound simulation on my melody side. Using the VG99 (VG is virtual guitar) I get pretty close to the sounds of my faves like Metheny Wes Santana Beck etc. But the Stick flavor is still in there because you can't remove DNA.

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:21 am
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
The divided truss is really important to the bass sound. The slight bow you can add by loosening the upper nut can make a big difference, depending on your technique.

I was really reluctant to give up the fat bass of my former Warr -- until I discovered the importance of the Stick's divided truss. Adding just a bit of bow in those first frets changes the velocity of the string landing on the Rails and adds significant bloom and fatness in the low bass.

If your Stick does not have the divided truss, it's worth looking into having one installed. IMO, that feature is the most important innovation on the regular Stick since perhaps the original truss, or at least since the adjustable bridges and Flaps.

http://stick.com/about/innovation/truss/

As for amplification, whether amps or modeling, vintage sounds like Fender and Ampeg help. I also love the Tech 21 Bass Driver DI and MXR M80 DI preamps. Both give a really fat bass sound through the PA.

And as for pickups, I agree that the PASV-4 in its "both in phase" mode is a nice deep bass sound -- if you like modern/scooped. But I prefer the ACTV-2 for a more classic P Bass tone. I think it has a little more note bloom than the passive pickups.

Heavy strings are also worth trying, though I use mediums.


Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:51 am
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
To follow up on my previous post (about 8 back) ... an 8 String Stick bass uses the same gauge strings as the NS. If it had an ACTV-2 it would be a good way to see if what I said above has any merit. Has anyone heard a recording of an unprocessed Stick bass or played one that can comment on how it sounds compared to a standard Stick, the NS and a standard bass?

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:02 pm
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
john.e wrote:
As for amplification, whether amps or modeling, vintage sounds like Fender and Ampeg help. I also love the Tech 21 Bass Driver DI and MXR M80 DI preamps. Both give a really fat bass sound through the PA.


I was thinking along these lines myself. If you're mainly going direct, and are trying to get more of a classic bass guitar tone, then I'd suggest something like these, or one of the bass preamp pedals that are around now. Ampeg has one, as does Eden, and some other bass-oriented manufacturers. Been thinking I might try this at some point - granted, the Stick sounds like a Stick, but as with any electric instrument it's going to respond differently through different devices.


Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:20 pm
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
Hi Mike.

To be honest, I think anything less than heavy gauge strings will make the stick sound more sticky, than if you were trying to sound more like bass.

I'm probably biased but not to such a degree that the string gauge issue isn't a worthy consideration.

You have a good creative challenge there, as you said, to ramp up your approach. I think the main consideration for playing in a bass role on stick, is to really focus on the length of the bass notes. We all know this is what bass players focus on to get their playing together for the groove and bass role.

Try leaving your fingers on the string more, as a dampening effect, to have the kind of control you want. Perhaps you could record yourself doing this, to get an objective view on how well it's working. Why not record two separate tracks, one with your stick-centric melody parts and second track with your bass. That way you're focussing on each part and can really hear how it might sound when you've eventually brought it all together.

You can also use a discreet flanger with no noticeable swelling rate, as a way to get a "bass boost." That's an old bass player trick, I do it and it works well.

Hope that helps.

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:17 pm
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Post Re: Possible to make the Stick sound more like a bass guitar
Also, to truly emulate a typical bass player try these steps;

1) Put it out of tune. Leave it that way, and play away...

2) Add an extra 16th note beat to whatever time signature you are currently in 4/4 becomes 17/16, etc etc.

3) Don't wash. Ever. Hang out beside the urinal to really get that "bass player smell."

4) Show up late. And at the wrong place.

5) Endeavour to be drunk always. The closest to sober you should be, is unconscious.

6) Relentlessly hit on the singer's girlfriend. Glass eye, peg leg whatever...

7) Rely on one of God's children (Guitar player) to help you make it through the gig.

Lol (Just kidding, calm down...)

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:20 pm
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