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"Rolled R" Growl, or "Burp Tone"

VittorioAngelo

Inspired
Hello Folks;

I've another question for you.

I'm a bass player. One of my favorite sounds in the world is what I call the "Rolled R" growl. What I mean by that is the growling of:
  1. The lower register of a bass clarinet
  2. The lower register of a bassoon
  3. The growl of a large animal like a bear, a buck, an alligator, etc...
  4. That old Ruffles potato chip commercial "R-r-ruffles have R-r-r-r-ridges"
I've had some luck with EQ in boosting frequencies between 700khz and 1000hz, but have not had much success in achieving a good, solid "Rolled R" growl. I'm not looking to use distortion to achieve this sound, as I'm interested in preserving the clean tone of my instrument.

I'd like to ask:
  1. Is there a commonly accepted term for this sound?
  2. Is there a way to achieve this sound?
Thank you very much folks,
Vittorio
 

Dr. Dipwad

Experienced
I want to hear the same thing, except as a guitar player who wants that smooth, trilled-sounding growl out of my humbucker pickup in the bridge position. And in my case, I'm entirely thinking about this as a form of distortion. (I can't imagine how it would be achieved without it, although a bass should probably mix a clean low signal with a distorted high-mid growl.)
 

NaturalScience

Inspired
You may not be able to recreate the sound with a guitar and no distortion, just because of the way the strings vibrate versus a reed instrument (assuming the growl you're hearing is like a sawtooth wave). If you have a ton of time to kill, Sound on Sound magazine had a massive "Synth Secrets" series (or something like that) that goes through the fundamentals of how sounds are synthesized in music. I think it's still free to read online. Of particular interest are the parts where they differentiate among different types of instruments and what sort of waveforms can be used to recreate those instruments - it really helps to explain why some instruments have a certain signature sound at a basic level.
 

JCBitB

Inspired
Would you say that what you're after is like a deeper version of the way an acoustic guitar rattles?

If so, it's actually in the highs, and compression seems to mess with it. Try a parallel chain, where one side has a comfortably smashed bass, and then the other is basically untouched dynamics wise (and even an amp sim can be too much, you should definitely think of an amp block as a bass comp) and you boost where you find the growl. I usually find the lower part of the growl around 1k, and then I leave 2k alone since thats roughly where the "click" of a kick drum lives, but then I'll sweep around between 3k and 6k to see if I can give it a little more.

the smashed track stays as a minimum volume, but the uncompressed track should be loud enough to drown it out on transients.

I'm thinking we might be talking about different sounds, but as soon as you said "aligator" this is what I immediately thought of
 

mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
Much of that is going to come from the clipping and harmonic characteristics of the amp. I would guess things like even vs odd harmonics, symmetrical vs asymmetrical clipping, hard vs soft clipping, etc. would be the factors at play. The rest is probably intermodulation distortion and the "beating" effect you get from different intervals. I always associate amp growl with things like double stops and power chords, not so much single notes.
 

Joe Bfstplk

Fractal Fanatic
A Rolled R is two pitches: the pitch of the vocal cords, but modulated by the sub-audio trill of the tongue. Sounds like some form of intermodulation of the note with a very low frequency is needed to accomplish this. It might happen naturally in bass amps with insufficiently filtered power supplies. Tweaking the time constant in the power supply might do it 'organically' on some low notes near the line frequency....
 

RDH

Fractal Fanatic
Much of that is going to come from the clipping and harmonic characteristics of the amp. I would guess things like even vs odd harmonics, symmetrical vs asymmetrical clipping, hard vs soft clipping, etc. would be the factors at play. The rest is probably intermodulation distortion and the "beating" effect you get from different intervals. I always associate amp growl with things like double stops and power chords, not so much single notes.
I would agree. I’ve wondered whether it’s a push pull thing in the tubes or a speaker cone thing? Maybe a combination, but your explanation makes sense. Either way, I’d love to find out how to achieve it as well.
 

VittorioAngelo

Inspired
A sample clip would be worth a thousand words. 😶
Hello ∞Fractals;

Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:
1.
Weather Report: Procession. Victor Bailey starting at 2:00
Those nice, fat, growly notes on the E string Victor is playing

2. Frank Zappa: Pink Napkins. Scott Thunes starting at 1:38
The nice, legato descending bassline Scott plays

3. Brian Bromberg: All Blues. Starting at :28, and throughout
All those juicy, growly notes in the lower register
 

VittorioAngelo

Inspired
You may not be able to recreate the sound with a guitar and no distortion, just because of the way the strings vibrate versus a reed instrument (assuming the growl you're hearing is like a sawtooth wave). If you have a ton of time to kill, Sound on Sound magazine had a massive "Synth Secrets" series (or something like that) that goes through the fundamentals of how sounds are synthesized in music. I think it's still free to read online. Of particular interest are the parts where they differentiate among different types of instruments and what sort of waveforms can be used to recreate those instruments - it really helps to explain why some instruments have a certain signature sound at a basic level.
This sounds terribly interesting - i'll check it out.

Thank you!
 

VittorioAngelo

Inspired
Would you say that what you're after is like a deeper version of the way an acoustic guitar rattles?

If so, it's actually in the highs, and compression seems to mess with it. Try a parallel chain, where one side has a comfortably smashed bass, and then the other is basically untouched dynamics wise (and even an amp sim can be too much, you should definitely think of an amp block as a bass comp) and you boost where you find the growl. I usually find the lower part of the growl around 1k, and then I leave 2k alone since thats roughly where the "click" of a kick drum lives, but then I'll sweep around between 3k and 6k to see if I can give it a little more.

the smashed track stays as a minimum volume, but the uncompressed track should be loud enough to drown it out on transients.

I'm thinking we might be talking about different sounds, but as soon as you said "aligator" this is what I immediately thought of
Nice JCBitB! That's kind of what I've been doing - but only with the EQ.

It's a great idea to have a comfortably smash the signal in a parallel chain.

Thank you very much!
 

VittorioAngelo

Inspired
Much of that is going to come from the clipping and harmonic characteristics of the amp. I would guess things like even vs odd harmonics, symmetrical vs asymmetrical clipping, hard vs soft clipping, etc. would be the factors at play. The rest is probably intermodulation distortion and the "beating" effect you get from different intervals. I always associate amp growl with things like double stops and power chords, not so much single notes.
Hello mr_fender;

Once again, you're speaking way above my pay grade - lol.

Might I ask how one could use the AxeFX III to experiment with even/odd harmonics, symmetrical/asymmetrical clipping, hard/soft clipping, and intermodulation distortion?

Thank you very much.
 

mr_fender

Fractal Fanatic
I think Ba55Man1ac is on the right track based on the example videos. In this case it is probably string slap against the fretboard itself. Most prevalent on the low strings because they have the most mass. I'd guess it's probably a combination of low action and a hard attack when plucking the string. Experiment with different types of attack as well such as pulling up on the string rather than across it. Also maybe try plucking a bit further away from the bridge to get more string travel and buzz as well.
 

VittorioAngelo

Inspired
I think Ba55Man1ac is on the right track based on the example videos. In this case it is probably string slap against the fretboard itself. Most prevalent on the low strings because they have the most mass. I'd guess it's probably a combination of low action and a hard attack when plucking the string. Experiment with different types of attack as well such as pulling up on the string rather than across it. Also maybe try plucking a bit further away from the bridge to get more string travel and buzz as well.
Hello mr_fender;

While that is one way to get that growl, that's not what I'm looking for.

Luckily, a new example just showed up in my inbox: A new Joe Hubbard tune.

What's nice about this example is that we can clearly hear that there is no fret rattle. Somehow, Joe's bass notes have a satisfying, clean growl to them.

This is what I'm after - understanding this phenomena and how to pull it out of my bass.
 

greiswig

Power User
When I first saw your description as a "rolled R," I wondered if this was what you were talking about. In that Joe Hubbard tune, what I hear almost sounds like a well-played fretless bass. Fretless fingerboards tend to naturally have a different note attack and decay to them. And you can, with practice, play well enough to get the note-to-note intonation as good on as on that track.

But I don't think he's playing a fretless there, actually. So I'm betting he is playing on the bridge pickup, with a lot of highs rolled off (maybe even cut off above 700-800Hz), and a big midrange boost around 450Hz or so. If I were looking for that, I'd try using one of the Ampeg rigs in the AxeFX, put a PEQ block in front of the amp with the settings I describe and play with the amount of midrange boost and the Q of it, set the preamp to just shy of breaking up, and use the output compressor to smooth out the attack.

That said, this may not be what you're after at all, because I definitely don't hear this as a rolled R. ;) In the circles I run in, that Joe Hubbard tone is often described as a "burp tone."
 
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VittorioAngelo

Inspired
When I first saw your description as a "rolled R," I wondered if this was what you were talking about. In that Joe Hubbard tune, what I hear almost sounds like a well-played fretless bass. Fretless fingerboards tend to naturally have a different note attack and decay to them. And you can, with practice, play well enough to get the note-to-note intonation as good on as on that track.

But I don't think he's playing a fretless there, actually. So I'm betting he is playing on the bridge pickup, with a lot of highs rolled off (maybe even cut off above 700-800Hz), and a big midrange boost around 450Hz or so. If I were looking for that, I'd try using one of the Ampeg rigs in the AxeFX, put a PEQ block in front of the amp with the settings I describe and play with the amount of midrange boost and the Q of it, set the preamp to just shy of breaking up, and use the output compressor to smooth out the attack.

That said, this may not be what you're after at all, because I definitely don't hear this as a rolled R. ;) In the circles I run in, that Joe Hubbard tone is often described as a "burp tone."
Excellent greiswig! "Burp Tone" it is!

I'll experiment with this idea to. Thank you very much!
 

VittorioAngelo

Inspired
Hello All;

I wanted to thank you all again for your assistance in my search for a burp-y tone.

Using the direction of JCBitB and greiswig, I've come up with a couple of presets that I'm experimenting with that I'd like to share.

I do hope you find them useful, and improve upon them.

Thank you very much,
Vittorio
 

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