kick a dead horse: McCartney bass

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losthighway
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kick a dead horse: McCartney bass

Post by losthighway » Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:19 pm

I searched, and didn't find the specific answer. Anyone who has the Beatles book wanna drop some knowledge on the McCartney bass sound (mic, eq, comp etc.)

I've especially been enjoying the sound on the "Rain" single. It's so present, yet not all that bright, yet not boomy either. Obviously a lot of comp, but that smooth mid heavy sound. Any help?

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alex matson
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Post by alex matson » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:33 pm

Here's a quote from page 134.
..when it came to recording bass (which by this time was usually overdubbed on its own track the Altec [RS124] could not be topped. "I used the Altec to record Paul's bass," remembers Emerick. "To me, at that time it was the ultimate bass sound. I couldn't improve it." Though he was a huge fan of the fairchild, the 660 couldn't compete with the Altec for bass recording. "The Fairchild couldn't take the bass signal, because the attack time of the Fairchild was too fast." The Altec's slower attack time, however, was ideal for preserving the initial punch and attack of the bass notes. Emerick would at times be quite liberal with its application; "On Rain, I may have compressed the bass two or even three times, just to give it no dynamic range whatever and get it way out in front."

A bit further down on the page, this:
Sonically, the only major flaw noted on the RS124 was a loss of deep bass, with significant attenuation in the areas below 80Hz or so. However, tracks processed through the 124 did have increased low mids, warmth in the musically important ranges, and a subtle attenuation in the harsh upper mids - the 3-5 kHz area.

Page 251:
Ken Townsend conceived a new method of recording Paul's bass with a loudspeaker wired in reverse, acting as a microphone. This technique was used on "Paperback Writer" and "Rain", and the White Elephant was the speaker used. The White elephant was essentially an enormous powered monitor....it could be fed any line level signal and it would provide room-filling sound...the cabinet stood approximately 5' tall and 2' square. [It was the playback speaker in the studio for the artist. It was made in house by Peter Dix. It had a 15" Wharfdale speaker facing forward, 2 13" by 8" midrange drivers facing outward at 45 degree angles, and GEC tweeters on a radiating frame.]

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austin
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Post by austin » Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:59 pm

Of course I'm too lazy to walk across the room and find it in the book, but I recall reading that some of the bass sounds (Sgt Pepper era?) were recorded with a C12 several feet away from the amp.

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Post by cgarges » Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:43 pm

And that was probably the Rickenbacker, right?

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:24 am

I couldn't have hoped for a more detailed answer. Thank you.

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Post by kinger » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:15 pm

This post makes me want to go buy that book. It also makes me want to get a perm, but I can't quite explain that...

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Post by kilsin » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:55 am

What is the book called and who wrote it? Ive found many books online.

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Post by RefD » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:59 am

kilsin wrote:What is the book called and who wrote it? Ive found many books online.
"Recording The Beatles"

Image

http://www.recordingthebeatles.com/
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Post by LeedyGuy » Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:36 pm

Okay now tell me how he came up with half of that amazing bass stuff, especially in the overdub days, and I will be eternally grateful as I have a tune right now taht needs a real bass line in it and I got nothin.
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Post by RefD » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:22 pm

sounds or parts, tho?
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Post by mjau » Tue Oct 21, 2008 3:36 pm

kentothink wrote:Okay now tell me how he came up with half of that amazing bass stuff, especially in the overdub days, and I will be eternally grateful as I have a tune right now taht needs a real bass line in it and I got nothin.
My advice: hammer-on all the notes and your halfway there.

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Post by LeedyGuy » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:49 pm

RefD wrote:sounds or parts, tho?
the notes man, the notes. they are so sweet, esp Lucy in the Sky...but i dont want to go OT with the sweetassness of all that later Macca Beatles bass stuff....

I can get close to the sound kind of with a sansamp bass DI and a bass with a piece of sponge w/duct tape wrapped around it down by the bridge under the strings. it really cuts back the sustain and starts to get some character going.
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Post by RefD » Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:14 pm

flat-wound strings were common back then, so that may have been a factor.
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Post by themagicmanmdt » Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:21 am

austin wrote:Of course I'm too lazy to walk across the room and find it in the book, but I recall reading that some of the bass sounds (Sgt Pepper era?) were recorded with a C12 several feet away from the amp.
yep!

'to catch some of that 'roundness' of Studio 2'
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Dr Rubberfunk
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Post by Dr Rubberfunk » Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:32 am

RefD wrote:flat-wound strings were common back then, so that may have been a factor.
Rotosound make a big deal about how 'Tru Bass' black nylon strings were used on Abbey Road, which I guess they wouldn't do if there wasn't some truth behind it. I got a set for my short scale Tokai EB copy and they certainly have the macca thunk.

I haven't stumped up for the Beatles book yet (and now the ? is falling against the $ - oh noes!! :) ) so I don't know if the Tru Bass strings get a mention in there ...

I read somewhere else that La Bella strings were likely to be Sir Paul's more usual choice back in the day, and I see La Bella now make a set specifically recommended for the Hofner 'Beatle' bass: http://www.juststrings.com/labellaelect ... ofner.html - but also make a black nylon set too .... just to confuse matters further :?

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