Feel & Tone.
Ive spent many a year trying to boil down the function of good bass playing, what is that? When I got past or at least acquired some competency in such essentials as time, facility and listening, searching along that path further naturally brought me to these two elements. 'Feel' for me is to be inside the music, to truly connect with its ebbing and flowing regardless of style. 'Tone' is transmitting sounds from the hands, instrument and amplification that reflect the current mood or emotion.
There are of course many elements at work here, and you can subdivide all of the above several times into their component parts, but really it is now that your choice of gear really matters, your paint brush and palette of colours with which to paint.
Fender American Vintage Reissue 1963
I've got a lot of love for the Fender Precision Bass, there is just something so simple about a block of wood with a pickup thrown in it. No bells or whistles here, just pure built like a tank tone machine. The sound of records spanning every decade since its inception, widely considered THE most recorded bass of all time. My main performing bass is the 2017 Sonic Blue 1963 AVRI. It's got so much MOJO even unplugged strung with Labella FL760 Flats that are nicely worn in. Put through the live rig, or into a mixing console it never ever fails to put a smile on my face.
Fender 50's Classic
In addition to the above I recently acquired my first maple neck Precision bass as a backup and for fly gigs. This is a 50's Classic model made in Mexico. The workmanship is actually pretty stunning even compared to the AVRI. It has a mellower midrange by comparison to the AVRI, which tends to be a little more aggressive in the mids. I like it very much especially as it offers a different character for different recording or live scenarios. I highly recommend these if looking to buy a P on a budget.
Fender American Jazz Bass
My vintage white Jazz is an American 2012 model, un-modded and likely to stay that way. Its a solid bass, very playable and balanced. This is one of two basses I string with round wounds. I really think Jazzes sound their best with rounds (just my opinion) and this widens my palette a little further especially as I have 3 other flatwound options. I really like this bass for more modern Rock, Pop and Funk tones.
Epiphone Jack Casady Signature
For those times when you just need something different. Definitely old school 60's vibes with flatwounds on, couple that with the semi hollow body and you've got serious mojo going on. Not owning an acoustic bass of any variety this would be my go to for those kinda scenarios, be it stripped back radio sessions, or intimate folk gigs this bass gets the job done. And man it looks cool right!
Glockenklang - steamhammer
Having played through a vast array of amplification over the last 2 decades, I have never quite been satisfied with the combinations of tone, weight, power, build quality & Eq options available. Often you can satisfy some of the elements but not all, and thus I have been on a journey for that "perfect rig". Granted this is all subjective, what is right for one man is perhaps not another mans cup of tea, but I really do think I've found my soulmate in this head. The Steamhammer differs slightly from Glockenklang's extremely "hifi" offerings, using a Class D power module has made the tone more forgiving and relaxed. That said, It really does have clarity that still outperforms the competition, every note is evenly weighted and present in the sound, it truly has to be played through to be believed.
There is plenty of power on tap with the new ICE 700w power module at its heart, I have yet to run anywhere near out of headroom, and there is no faux compression at higher volumes that often occurs with other Class D heads. Eqing options are fantastic, especially the Bass cut/boost which cuts at 20hz and boosts at 60hz!! perfect for controlling the low end in difficult venues. My main love is for the mid controls of which there are two, low and high mid. This is common on other amps but the frequency points are fixed, and in my opinion rarely at points that you want. My sound focuses on the 250hz Low mid, which the Glock accommodates beautifully because both mid controls have 2 switchable options (low mid 150 or 240hz & Hi Mid 770hz or 1.5KHz), perfectly voiced for my needs. Granted these amps are not cheap, but the reason is that Glockenklang have not, and will not, ever compromise on their components in order to meet a certain profit margin..... and that came direct from my now good friend Helge Glockenklang, son of the company founder. When you hold it in your hands you can feel it, with each turn of a knob or press of a button you know this thing has had a lot of love put into the design, and thus is built to be an amp for life.