I'm curious about the bass in the Funkadelic and Alegria songs. It sounds fuzzy to me, but when I search "fuzzy bass effect" I get videos that give a more rock/static sound than the warm/fuzz I'm hearing in the songs I link.

Is there a particular effect used to get the warm, fuzzy tone I'm hearing in the songs I linked, or is it just string technique and/or tone knobs on the bass?

  • Try search for bass synth instead. Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 21:15
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    Bootsy Collins used Mutron 3, wah, and Big Muff. AFAIK, Bootsy was one of the basists on that album. Then again, he used a lot of pedals and liked to mess around with anything. ( bassplayer.com/artists/1171/… ). I think the Mutron adds some "gain/distortion" even when set to non-aggressive mode.
    – Yorik
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 21:17
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    Sounds to me like you'd start with a fretless bass, with that 'mwah' sort of sound.
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 5:36
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    As Tim mentions, at least the song Alegria definitely has a fretless bass, which starts off with a different tone from a fretted bass. It's not as easy to hear in Funkadelic, so I'm not sure. Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 15:01
  • I think @Tim has named the effect I'm going for (mwah). I wasn't sure what to call it. Lefaroundabout answered the question (how to achieve the sound) and posted the (only) answer so I'll accept that. Thanks to everyone for your responses!
    – Chuck
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


I don't think there's a lot of distortion in that sound. This kind of funkiness is mostly achieved with a good strong technique (deep apoyando, rather close to the bridge), a low-ish action so you get a decent amount of fingerboard in the sound (but not slap – that uses a single collision, whereas this fingerstyle needs more of a uniform buzzing; in fact you can achieve this effect quite well with a fretless), and plenty of midrange in the amp dials.

Of course, if the amp is a reasonably turned up tube amp then it'll also add some overdrive, but that's not required for the characteristic feel. In fact, in my experience hybrid or pure transistor amps can be better at giving the required, very direct response. Small speakers in the cabinet also help (i.e. multiple 10" instead of one 15").

(There definitely is some overdrive, at least at the end of that Funkadelic song though.)

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