Classic Bass Guitar Sounds

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Classic Bass Guitar Sounds

Post by bparker12321 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:52 pm

Recently I've been listening to some old recordings from the 50's and 60's with just great bass tones. On many of them it's slightly "lo-fi", but not overdone. I've tried putting the bass amp in the bathroom wich works suprisingly well for some tracks, but not all. One track I like a lot is The Mamas and Papa's interpretation of "Dream a little Dream". If anyone has any tips on how to get that sound it would be greatly appreciated. It is just such an phenomenol sound!

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curtiswyant
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Post by curtiswyant » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:40 pm

I don't recall the bass on that exact tune, but if I had to guess, it's Carol Kaye playing with the wrecking crew. p-bass with flatwounds, played with a pick, into a fender super reverb. more info here: http://www.carolkaye.com/www/library/faq.htm

notice how she says no EQ and no compression!

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Re:Re: Classic Bass Guitar Sounds

Post by bparker12321 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:27 pm

Thanks so much! I found that whole article intriguing. If anyone has mic suggestions let me know.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:51 pm

Hi,
As to mic suggestions, jus wharever tube mics were the standard
for that era. In other words good mics, and not many of them, Neumanns
AKG, Electrovox, and some older Shure Bros, etc, and a few RCA ribbon mics,
but remember back then it was all about the new thing, they would
just throw out older equipment because the management would buy new
stuff every few years.

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Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by The Scum » Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:25 pm

A number of classic bass sounds work out something like:

Pick->flatwounds->precision bass.

Possibly a sponge or foam under the strings...or impeccable left hand technique - study Simandhl for that.

From there, several options:
Passive DI box.
Or
Smallish tube guitar amp.
Or
Ampeg B15.

For mics, there was a whole era of stuff cut with American dynamic and ribbon mics. Shure, EV, RCA. Some of it not especially pricy or rare. When Neumann finally came on the scene, they were expensive, just like today, and didn't always totally supplant the predecessor mics.
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Post by dfuruta » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:34 pm

the right hand technique of many bassists of that era was also different from what it's become, since it was more common for people to pick up electric bass with an acoustic bass approach. in addition to what's been suggested, i'd recommend trying a somewhat higher action than you might be used to.

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Post by bparker12321 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:13 pm

REALLY?!?!?!?! What does the foam/sponge do? I didn't think of small guitar amp. I have an EV 664 I do love on raw 50's sounding or punk stuff. I'm personally not a bassist, but I might raise the action on a P-bass and reccomend to people wanting that sound.

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Post by Drone » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:19 pm

The foam mutes the strings, prevents them ringing after they are plucked.

Image

Rickenbackers come with a foam mute in the bridge, my old Egmond bass also comes with a foam mute. You can see how Carol K. wedges it on there.
The previous statement is from a guy who records his own, and other projects for fun. No money is made.

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Post by bparker12321 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:31 pm

here is a link for all of you unfamilliar with the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajwnmkEqYpo

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Post by markjazzbassist » Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:33 pm

also if you want that out flatwound sound you need to get labella's. they are the most flatwound sounding of the bunch, break them in after a month and they'll sound dead and thump just like the old recordings. all bass and low mids, with very little high mids and treble.

you can also place the foam underneath the strings near the bridge.

try a fender bassman rig, or ampeg b15.

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Post by roscoenyc » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:55 am

Drone wrote:The foam mutes the strings, prevents them ringing after they are plucked.
thereby creating space between the notes which makes bass read so much better it's incredible.

If you are listening to recordings from the 50's most of them didn't even have a microphone on the bass amp. Most times it was shared with another instrument (drums or piano)

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Post by Drone » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:35 am

markjazzbassist wrote:also if you want that out flatwound sound you need to get labella's. they are the most flatwound sounding of the bunch, break them in after a month and they'll sound dead and thump just like the old recordings. all bass and low mids, with very little high mids and treble.
I use a crossover and old strings for this, I imagine any LPF with a nice steep slope would do the job.
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Post by The Scum » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:36 am

Another thing that's not entirely obvious, but it small, inexpensive, and you can hand it to the player when they show up for the session:

Felt picks.
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Post by drumsound » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:33 am

If you don't have a piece of foam around, a paper towel folded up and the woven through the strings works quite well.

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Post by Grinder » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:39 am

I always hear that James Jamerson never changed the strings on his P-bass, because he thought the electric instrument was kind of a joke compared to a double bass. Don't know if it's true or not, but it could be a starting point.

Other than that, I think, that arrangement and mixing of the rest of the elements is a major contributor to the type of sound you're looking for.

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