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How to get 60's bass sound?
Old 26th January 2007
  #1
How to get 60's bass sound?

hello,

could someone give me a hint how to get a 1960's picked bass guitar sound?
whatever i try it is still sounding to big ... i need it thin and cheesee ...
my eq: fender P bass, fender basmann amp with 15" box ... and some fine vintage
mics .. thanks

vlado
Old 27th January 2007
  #2
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Sometimes I think of the picked bass sixties sound as a Danelectro short-scale deal.

Try not using too much low end, then mute with your palm as much as you can.
Old 27th January 2007
  #3
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Bob Yordan's Avatar
Hiya

I am not sure, but I think they mostly used 'polished' strings back then.
+ plectrum.

Old 27th January 2007
  #4
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Example of song(s) you're trying to nail for sound? The 1960's was ten years in length. The way bass was being played with a pick and recorded in 1961 was a whole lot different than say, 1968. What are some song examples?
Old 27th January 2007
  #5
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A440's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
hello,

could someone give me a hint how to get a 1960's picked bass guitar sound?
whatever i try it is still sounding to big ... i need it thin and cheesee ...
my eq: fender P bass, fender basmann amp with 15" box ... and some fine vintage
mics .. thanks

vlado
I think you might be talking about the 'tik-tak' bass guitar sound. This was done by recording a normal bass (eg..fender precision) and then overdubbing the tik-tak bass playing the same line...which is a short scale 6 string bass guitar often tuned the same as a normal guitar but an octave lower. Fender made these tik-tak basses (Fender bass VI) as did Dan Electrico ...the original beasts are rare and hard to find (and expensive), but fender japan did make a re-issue a few years back.

To get the sound (or close to it)...if you cant find a tik-tak bass. Try re-stringing a Fender Jazz Bass with flat wound strings, place some foam rubber beneath the strings at the bridge to dampen, use the bridge pickup and play with a pick.
Old 27th January 2007
  #6
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usamike's Avatar
 

Short scale bass would be nice but not a must. Flatwounds for sure. While picking, mute the string with the edge of your palm. Using an amp will help too. Above all else, write a 60s bass part.
Old 27th January 2007
  #7
Gear Head
 

60's bass sound

i produced and engineered the album for my band the postmarks which just hit no 7 on the cmj top 200. it's a very 60's style writing style type of album (brill building/burt bacharach/brian wilson) but put into a modern context. if we're talking pet sounds/association type bass sounds...first off i'd recommend flat wound strings. a hollow body bass would get you very close to that da dunka dunk/clacky bass sound...playing very controlled and muted and towards the bridge of the guitar.

next...and this is a really good trick in general...use a guitar amp. preferably a 60's style tube amp. i've been able to get awesome bass sounds using all of the above through a fender deluxe reverb. my thought process is...generally there weren't that many massive peavy/ampeg bass rigs laying around...especially towards the early part of the 60's. most bassists would have used slightly more robust guitar amps. lastly...i used a ribbon mic about a foot and a half away from the speaker grill.

what's interesting is...it was a versatile enough bass sound that when andy chase was mixing our album he was able to get a variety of sounds out of the set-up i described.

you can give the whole album a listen here:

http://www.thepostmarks.com/e-card.html

it was all recorded in my bedroom at home.

all the best,
christopher
the postmarks
Old 27th January 2007
  #8
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I heard an 8 track drop to Pro Tools of the Motown hit "Ain't no Mountain high enough" sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell. When you solo up James Jamison's bass track it sends shivers down your spine. He is arguably one of the greatest bass players in pop music history. It's so unbelievably smooth yet simple. I know he played a P-Bass with flatwounds (they talk about that in Standing in the Shadows of Motown, right?) and to my ears the rig sounds like a flip top Ampeg. The amp does not sound like it is recorded terribly loud, though it does have a lot of isolation. Also, the mic doesn't sound very close. From my own collection, I would try the AKG D-12e but if that didn't work, and EV RE-20.

Then I'd bring him back from the dead to play it. When you hear it, it is really heartbreaking.
Old 27th January 2007
  #9
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Blue May's Avatar
 

Hi, this is exactly the bass sound i am in love with,

FWIW i use a 1980 musicman Stingray di's straight into my fireface, i then put a channel eq in the first insert, cut everything below 60hz, and with a nice wide Q boost from 1 - 10k. i then use the logic compressor with the attack set quite slow so you get the attack from the pick, i then slap a Vintage Warmer on it and put the drive at around 2 o clock, I may also experiment with Blue tubes drive... Some of these high end cats will curse me for talking about plug ins but this chain just seems to work.

But the most important thing to the sound is how you play, I also keep old strings on the stingray, i mean really old, like 5 years old. oh and use a medium gauge guitar pick like a .60 instead of a really heavy bass pick, that will help increase that picking sound!!

Good luck!!
Old 27th January 2007
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdmctear View Post
When you solo up James Jamison's bass track it sends shivers down your spine.
You mean James Jamerson? Yes, he was the sh!t.
---
c
Old 27th January 2007
  #11
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisp2u View Post
You mean James Jamerson? Yes, he was the sh!t.
---
c
Jamerson was God.

Also, there's some great tictac bass on Patsy Cline's "Showcase" album.
Old 27th January 2007
  #12
thanks a lot guys ...

vlado
Old 27th January 2007
  #13
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bdmctear View Post
He is arguably one of the greatest bass players in pop music history.
I would say he is unarguably one of the greatest. Arguably the greatest.
Old 27th January 2007
  #14
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Silvertone's Avatar
The other trick is to use the mute system that use to come with all the basses of yesteryear. If you don't have one on your bass try putting a piece of foam under the strings at the bridge (not to tight). Then play with a pick. I think that may be one of the many 60's sounds you are talking about.

Tony Levin once used a diaper as they couldn't find any foam in the studio at the time. The song went on to become one of Peter Gabriel's most popular. He still chuckles about it to this day.
Old 27th January 2007
  #15
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Robert O's Avatar
 

According to the Standing in the shadows of Motown book, Jamerson's studio rig was

-1962 P- Bass
-Heavy guage Labella flat wound strings - rarely changed
- strings and neck never cleaned ("the dirt keeps the funk")
-very high action with a lot of relief in the neck (no string buzz)
- foam mute pressed against strings
- He used Ampeg B15's or a Kustom for live work but in the studio the bass was plugged into the desk via an interface panel with gain controls and VU's in the live room ('the snakepit'). Guitar players did the same. This was to avoid overspill as the snakepit was really small.
- The bass volume was set to be too hot on the interface so that it would overdrive the console valves
- then the bass went through a Fairchild limiter and Pultec EQ
-he played everything with just his index finger (no pick)

Last edited by Robert O; 27th January 2007 at 01:25 PM.. Reason: quote from other post
Old 12th February 2007
  #16
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JesseJ's Avatar
 

Here's a nice clip with James Jamerson playing with Marvin Gaye:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9KC7uhMY9s

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Jamerson
Old 12th February 2007
  #17
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vernier's Avatar
Quote:
could someone give me a hint how to get a 1960's picked bass guitar sound?
My fave 60's bass is Byrds Chris Hillman, Guild Starfire or P-bass through Fender Dual Showman, and he used a pick.
Old 12th February 2007
  #18
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Steve MacMillan's Avatar
 

Try a felt pick.

STeve
Old 12th February 2007
  #19
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woomanmoomin's Avatar
 

You could do it the really old-fashioned way and use the bass strings of a normal (by which I mean non-bass) guitar, preferably in a really predictable old country way. That would really thin it out (or cheese it out).
Old 12th February 2007
  #20
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vernier's Avatar
Actually, 60's bass is the fattest around.
Old 12th February 2007
  #21
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TravisK's Avatar
 

the felt or foam mute is where it's at!!!
try a thin ribbon of felt or cotton and weave it through the strings near the saddles. 2 laps so every string has been muted. Kills briteness and sustain and totally makes the sound.
Old 12th February 2007
  #22
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GearBit's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisK View Post
the felt or foam mute is where it's at!!!
try a thin ribbon of felt or cotton and weave it through the strings near the saddles. 2 laps so every string has been muted. Kills briteness and sustain and totally makes the sound.
Old 12th February 2007
  #23
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trident fan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
Actually, 60's bass is the fattest around.
yeah, like on "yesterday and Today" thumbsup
Old 12th February 2007
  #24
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r0ck1r0ck2's Avatar
 

lo cut..
d-12/ribbon

pull it away from the cabinet
or put one up close and one in the room..6" away?

and that felt trick works like a charm...saves the freaking day all the time..

maybe use that diaper trick..!
that's fantastic!
Old 12th February 2007
  #25
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Does anyone know if Jamersons's "Funk Machine" bass was ever found?

I forgot that he played with the ashtrays on the bass. What a great clip.

The bass part is a whole arrangement in itself. Wow. Incredible.
Old 12th February 2007
  #26
passive bass, tubeamp max 100W, not too big cabinet, condenser, tubepre...

i got a really nice bass-sound this saturday this way, blended with line that was compressed with 1176. i´ve done it before with other amps and basses. 60´s sounds are cool!
Old 12th February 2007
  #27
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dlmorley's Avatar
I like the sound of a pick and a damper. Rickenbacker for example..
Old 12th February 2007
  #28
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DeadPoet's Avatar
Please forget the myth that Jamerson never cleaned his bass or changed strings 'because of the funk'... A certain mister on this forum has been there and explains it here : https://www.gearslutz.com/board/showthrea...ngs#post639161

That being said, Jamerson rocks ! As do P-basses and flatwounds.


Herwig
Old 12th February 2007
  #29
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I really love 60's bass sounds. Especially McCartney and Jamersons. I think the biggest "tricks" is the playing style and the flatwounds. The damping is also important , but some of that sound can come from just damping a little with your hands.
Old 12th February 2007
  #30
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For that really dampened "thud", check out the Rotosound RS88 nylon strings.

Alternatively, stuff a thick sock under your strings, near the bridge.
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