String Tension

String Tension

Hey Willis, Is there any way to setup the bass to get a softer string tension (using the same strings gauge/brand/model)? Unfortunately, there’s not a setup adjustment that will assist you in violating some universal laws of physics. Without changing the actual length of the string (including the part from the nut to the tuner or decreasing the amount past the bridge) about all you can do is go to a lower tuning and learn how to transpose everything. Check out the 2nd question here and see how changing the length affects...
sharp attack?

sharp attack?

Hey Willis, I have been playing for 17 years, and play in church and a Christian Rock Band, I have been using a custom made copy of a spector monarch bass, bart pic-ups, active electronics.., well being a finger picker, I am having trouble getting the sharp attack that some of the newer songs require, I really don’t want to have to keep making adjustments on the head for every set, it there some way I that I can keep the warm buttery smooth sounds, and then have the sharp attack for the harder rock numbers? Would learning how to slap with confidence help? Tired of being in the rut, its not a groove but a rut. These young kids and their newer songs . . . OK, to keep both kinds of sounds without altering your amp settings means you’ll have to make changes with your playing technique and bass adjustments. The first thing to do is try playing closer to the bridge with your right hand. There’s more tension closer to the bridge so be careful and don’t condition yourself to play there all the time. You’ll lose some dynamic range by playing with the same (extra) intensity all the time, but there’s definitely more attack to be had. Second, if you’ve got a 2 pickup config – balance your sound more to the back pickup and see if the extra mids help. Of course, new strings always help, too. Slapping is a possibility but I can’t tell you if that sound belongs in the tunes your talking...
why fretless?

why fretless?

Hey Willis, I’ve searched through all your great Q&A, but cannot find an answer to a fundamental question, why do you like to play fretless instead of fretted bass? – thanks, Doug Hey Doug, Good question, actually. Back when I was playing a lot of bebop and jazz at North Texas State I went for a fretless because I couldn’t get my fretted bass to function or feel like it belonged in that music. And I knew there was no way I would ever be interested in upright. I played both for more than 15 years until it became obvious to me that fretless was what I should be doing exclusively. There’s just a lot more expressive possibilities, especially after the note...
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