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In this lesson we’re talking TONE.

And no… I’m not going to be talking about how “the tone is all in your hands”.

Instead I’m going to break down the 7 specific things that make up your bass tone – exactly what they are, and the differences between them.

Knowing these 7 bass tone essentials is going to help you understand:
– Exactly how to dial in the tone you want.
– Why you might not be happy with your current tone (and what to do about it).
– What things you’ll need to bare in mind when purchasing your next bass.
– And way more…

As always, see you in the shed…

Scott 🙂


Right now over 10,000 bass players are enrolled in the Academy here at Scott’s Bass Lessons and are making a real difference to their playing… if you’re really serious about getting your bass playing together, click here to find out more and grab your 14 day free trial:
Video Rating: / 5


  1. Also the thing that I've been missing is the position of the picking hand.
    Granted, it was mentioned briefly in the 'fingers' segment, but for me it would be a secret on its own. Exploring with that rather than going with what felt natural made a universe of difference for me.

  2. Apologies if the question has already been raised ( I admit not going throught 494 comments), but I have a question regarding nr 7, the speakers;

    Does this mean you always and in any circumstances use speakers?
    If so, do you always bring your own just to be sure you get the tone you want and does this mean it's always mic'd?

    Personally I prefer to direct from amp or preamp to both monitors mix and FOH so I always know what sound is going out and you can enver know for sure what the backline will consist of (Then I'm talking speaker config, state of the cab AND way of micing the thing – although the latter is out of the equation ifbyou always bring your own tech ppl but I imagine not a lot of people can do that).
    So what is your take on that?

  3. In other words: "if passive basses sound better we al would play on passive basses". What about this one o bass guru? 🙂 for the rest you gave me insight that nowadays I start with my 'active' tone pots (MM Sabre) completely shut.

  4. Is there such a thing as an active hamster cave (nr. 6)??? Grin…

  5. I agree with you Scott except for the active electronics part. Active electronics can influence your tone but it should rank last in that list in my opinion.

  6. Vulfpeck, hellyea!

  7. Back in the day, active EMG's solved all your problems lol! All subjective though. Especially today.

  8. Strings are almost always the culprit in terms of 90% of the ppl I talk to, who are complaining about their tone, and want to install new pickups… many of them have old ass strings on their bass (3-4months) and they’re blaming the pickups. It’s easy to forget how great a fresh stung bass sounds…

    There are so many choices out there from SS to nickel, and cobalts, to flats and hybrids… part of being a bass player today are all the choices of different strings, companies and gauges you can choose from… and EXPERIMENTING. Plus you can order them online now and grab ‘em out of your mailbox…

    If it’s $15-20 for strings vs a full pickup swap and downtime and $$ with a tech, I’m going with new strings every time. We live in an amazing era as musicians, so many choices and covered so well here, thx Scott.

    Badass F-bass btw, Jesus.

  9. Great tone? Don't be poor, good tone is expensive. Look around for it, search for secrets, pathways, getaways, You need money to sound great. A Lot of money .

  10. If your amp goes to 11 is the neutral 5 or 6? Or try to aim for 5.5?

  11. No secrets here.

  12. Passives, tone off, 100 – 45 nickle bright round wounds.

  13. Action/string height (in conjunction with PUP height) are also important elements of tone. Some players like that grindy, buzzy, low action tone (Marcus Miller's early tones like on Sanborn's, "Straight to the Heart", or It seems two handed tapping players like their action low), while higher action (depending on the bass) can give you a thumper tone.

  14. what bass or brand of the bass on this video?

  15. #1 fingers/pick… ftfy Metal, plastic, or felt picks

  16. Or you can do what Entwistle did and use a carbon fiber with neck through. There are guys out here who lacquer their frets, this changes the tone too.

  17. Henrik Dahl Hansen

    #8 The Room

  18. So pedals aren´t a thing?

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