How to get this tone?

@PamPurrs Yes, to everything said above but keep in mind, this is a huge rabbit hole with no clear answers. All twists and turns end up leading to the same place…

What sounds good to ‘you’ is the only real determining factor of what ‘good’ or ‘right’ is.

…and the only way to really find that out is to go and play with as much equipment as possible. I hate saying that because I know how frustrating that answer can be.

One thing I’ve learned is that you can’t trust much of what you see in videos. It is entirely possible this bass player doesn’t even use Ampeg amps and cabinets, and that his sound was crafted in the studio using all manner of amp and cabinet modeling. Looking at how sparkly and new those amps and cabs look, I would guess they were all rented for making the video. Having said that, and given the sound, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did use Ampeg. Just not the ones in the video.

For me, the biggest thing I hear in that video is that Rickenbacker sound, which is pretty distinctive. If you really want to mimic this sound, I don’t know how you would do it without actually having a Rickenbacker.

@joergkutter Is that something that can be modeled on the Fender Rumble Studio 40?

As to how much the amp and cabinet can change your sound… Yes, a lot.

I went for a long trip to Guitar Center yesterday and played a Made in Mexico Fender Jazz Bass through all of the following…
Ashdown combo amp
Peavey 200 (?) combo amp
Ampeg 450 combo amp
Fender Rumble 500 combo amp
Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 (?) amp head with Mark Bass 410 cabinet
Mark Bass 450 (?) amp head with Mark Bass 410 cabinet
Mark Bass 750 (?) amp head with Mark Bass 210 cabinet

Every single one sounded noticeably different. Even the Mark Bass 450 and 750 using the different size cabinets made them sound like they were from two different manufacturers. (I really wasn’t expecting that.)

Also, watching videos from the different manufacturers may help you understand what all the knobs and buttons do, in my experience, they never sound the same. They’re recording in optimal conditions with an unknown amount of post processing and I’m playing in a guitar store.


Yeah, whenever I go to check out basses in stores from now on I’m just going to bring my own preamp pedal and headphones, for the same reason. It isn’t helpful that guitar stores often plug you in to $3k of amp and cab when you want to check out the sound of a bass.


As a concrete example, here is my clean bass sound (in passive mode, tone straight up) playing a riff:

Here it is played through an Ampeg preamp with all the dials neutral, not overdriving at all:

Tone is noticably different even before I tweak any of the dials.

Some of the amp manufacturers have kind of signature sounds. Gallien-Krueger amps often have a brighter, more aggressive sound than Ampeg, etc.

Effects pedals are nice for this because you can model a bunch and see which ones you like.


Right on! This is the very reason I want an Ampeg SCR-DI pre-amp. The whole process of trying to craft your own sound.

The bass gives you one piece…
Add the Ampeg pre-amp for another piece…
Take these pieces with you to test out amp and cabinet combinations to find out what you want the next piece to be.

@howard Thanks for adding the examples. More stuff like that on Internet might actually be helpful.


Another good option for just tone coloring is the Behringer BDI-21. It’s a clone of the SansAmp Bass Driver DI and it sounds identical, but costs like $35.

However it doesn’t seem to have 'phones out so it would not be useful for taking to a shop.


Well, as you so aptly put it, it is one rabbit hole after another! In fact, it’s rabbit holes within rabbit holes… and hardware-challenged people like me are likely to get more confused before we see the light! But, yours and @howard’s input here have been very helpful!

So, about the Studio 40: my guess is that given the right motivation and time, you could probably model a Rick sound (to some extent, at least). In the presets loaded onto the Studio 40 (and from the new presets continuously being developed by the community), I can say there are presets intended to model, for example, Jaco’s sound, or mimic an Alembic. However, so far most presets focus on an amp sound or an overall sound known from a record or song (like the “Day Tripper” and “Come Together” presets, for example).

I found a few presets that I like and use almost exclusively, but if I had the time and inclination, I should probably explore much more… perhaps I will do that today :grinning: After all, I don’t think I have quite “found” my own sound yet…

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I can’t think of any reason why you couldn’t come up with a hollow body effect but I don’t think any of the Zoom or Boss multieffects do. For the Zoom units at least they are conceptually modeling a chain of stompboxes, amps, and cabs.

I just checked out the modeling presets on the Studio 40/Stage 800 and they look awesome. Many different amp models, including the G-K 800RB (which they call “KGB-800”, lol), Ampeg SVT, and pretty much all Fenders ever.

Effects-wise it’s no slouch either, it’s got all the basics (including a couple compressors) via modeling classic stompboxes and individual effects. Didn’t see any synthbass but all in all most of what you would want is there. Pretty much the same as the Zoom units really. Looks nice!

My only reservation would be tying the effects into the amp itself. But it has a DI out so you could just use it as a preamp and effects.


Ha, of course I went down that rabbit hole, and it would seem the Boss ME-50B can do just that!
However, it is also quite pricey? Anyone who’s got one of these???

I think there is something called the “octobot” in the Studio 40 that sounds pretty synth-y!

Yeah, I have questions here :grinning: But, in order not to hi-jack @PamPurrs’ thread entirely, I will ask you in the compressor thread!

PS: I just had to post this anyway - as I was looking for the octobot (and couldn’t remember the name), I found this :scream::joy::crazy_face:


Not sure about the ME-50B but F Chopper Koga has a GT-1B :slight_smile:


When will you start translating these for us, @howard? (including the giggles!)


also about modeling, keep in mind that all the models car vary a lot in quality and can sometimes be very realistic, sometimes not. it’s not a big issue if you just search a good tone (if it sounds good, it sounds good :grin: ), but the fact that one amp model pleases you doesn’t necessarily means that the corresponding real amp will, and vice versa.


Yeah good point. The Zoom SVT models sound awesome but not exactly like any SVT I have heard, for example. I can’t really tell their SVT model and their B-15 model apart with all the dials straight up.

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@howard, now that I’ve gotten myself into a shopping frenzy with this post, can you give me an example of a preamp pedal,or perhaps what kind you have? Thanks!

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I have the Ampeg SCR-DI that I linked above.

There’s a ton of choices that have headphone outs. I was seriously considering a TC Electronic SpectraDrive too.

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Sorry, I didn’t see that. This thread has become very populated with comments, I’m getting lost.

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@howard is this it? Would this help with my little Rumble 25 or do I need a bigger amp also?

(Sorry for all the dumb questions, everyone)


Your questions are NOT “dumb”, @PamPurrs . . . . :slight_smile:

We’re all here to learn!

Cheers, Joe


Yep, that’s it. However, you don’t really need this, to be clear.

What this will do:

  • Give you a Direct Input out, to allow you to connect to a mixing board or other balanced input. Mostly useful for playing live, I use it with an audio interface to record.
  • Allow you to shape the tone of your bass a bit by tweaking bass, treble, mids, etc. Since you have a passive bass this will be nice, but you also have many of the same controls on your Rumble 25.
  • Add a little “Ampeg” amp flavor to the sound. You can hear the effect of that in the soundcloud links I posted above.
  • Give you an overdrive to add a little dirt to the sound. Personally I like the overdrive on the Rumble 25 better than the one in this DI.
  • Give you a very nice little portable headphone practice amp.

That’s about it. If you want those things, then I think the SCR-DI is a good choice.

If you don’t care about ever using it with headphones, then the Behringer BDI-21 is an interesting choice at only about $35 new. You can hear it above in a youtube video I posted.


Okay thanks. The Behringer BDI-21 sounds like it will fit the bill for me, and save me a pot of money to boot.


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what I will say may be obvious but, just to be clear : in every amp there is already a preamp. in a bass amp the preamp is mostly an equalizer (bass, mid, trebble) and a gain control, with a little bit of tone shaping (but not that much in general).

On most modern bass amps, when all the EQ control are flat, the tone shaping is often very minimal and the preamp is often pretty transparent. sometimes you’ll have some switches to activate a more drastic tone shaping : contour, bass boost, high boost etc …

The point here is that, with this kind of transparent preamp, the preamp itself won’t add much of its own flavor, so you can tweak your sound to mimic the tone shaping of other amps.

For exemple if you want to sound a bit like an Ampeg with a Rumble : try to boost a bit the midrange, lower a little bit the trebble, and push up the gain (with overdrive if available/needed). I’m not saying that the Rumble will sound like a $5000 SVT stack, but the amp settings are the way to start.

don’t know if it helps, I hope so !