Glenn Fricker Gives Some Bass Love, Shoots Out Amp vs. Direct Analog vs. Direct Plug-in for You

Obviously I think Glenn Fricker gives solid recording advice. Gear Gods wouldn’t have partnered with him if the wisdom he imparted to you all was, scientifically speaking, whack. But speaking as a bassist and recording engineer, I had to cringe a little when Glenn’s heavy bass recording tutorial focused exclusively on going direct. I understand, but cringed regardless. Not everyone has a $2000 bass rig, especially not guitarists/bedroom producers who nonetheless want great tone. But for me and mine it’s all amps, all the time. Well… mostly.

There are two styles of bass playing where direct can work better. The first is for players with a fusion-based style, ones who have a flat EQ curve. For this type of bassist an amp can work equally well, but depending on the band’s sound and the musician’s gear a direct tone may be the better route. The other type of bassist that direct can be ideal for is the troll-brained one-finger/one-string guardians of the root note that Glenn seems to always get stuck with. If you’re cursed to suffer one of these troglodytes who can barely play their damn instrument and you just want this “musician” to add some bottom to your huge wall of guitars, then yeah, go direct.

But for aggressive rock, hardcore, a lot of styles of metal, an amp often rules. I was actually surprised that Glenn’s go-to is an Eden. David Eden makes some fine sounding gear, but I find them to be very clean and civilized. They’re not my first pick when a bassist wants to throw their balls or vag to the wall, so to speak. Still, I can’t deny that Glenn Fricker managers to squeeze a ripping tone out of that golden box… but which tone is it?

To appease curmudgeons like myself Glenn’s created this blind bass tone shootout. Four tones enter: the aforementioned Eden, an analog path with a tried and true SansAmp, and two varieties of plug-ins.

Which tone is your favorite? BEFORE watching the end (where the identifies of our mystery tones are revealed) do us a favor and leave a comment chiming in on which you prefer.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.