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60s style bass tips?
Old 21st July 2008
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dissolva View Post
Donald "Duck" Dunn on the Stax stuff: '58 P-Bass, La Bella Flatwounds, Ampeg B-15 Portaflex with the Bass on 5 and Treble full up.

thats stupid. your not even telling us about the volume knob? that defeats knowing any of that
Old 21st July 2008
  #32
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boothboy's Avatar
 

As I recall back in that era it was a P bass....all controls up full, flat wounds. A Countryman Di...at least late in the late 60's, and Re20 on the B15.

Babaitt talks about the sponge thing in a couple of recent Bass Player articles. I often remember the producer asking the bassist to play as far down toward the bridge as possible also.

I really think the trick in that sound lies in the bassists picking hand, the articulation..

That being said, the absolute best guy I ever heard cover all those sounds in a band was in Al Anderson's (NRBQ, Nashville songriter of the year) pre NRBQ band The Wildweeds.

A skinny white guy playing a fretless HOFNER through a Baldwin amp. Oh yeah...he was blind... and used to sing all the Stevie and Four tops songs while killing the bass.

But his right hand was unbelievablely fast, and he always palm muted.
Old 21st July 2008
  #33
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utters's Avatar
 

p.s carol kaye used to use FELT plectrums/picks too didn't she?

every little helps!
Old 21st July 2008
  #34
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boothboy View Post
I often remember the producer asking the bassist to play as far down toward the bridge as possible also
That & flatwounds are the most important things. Good way to build up your calluses, too.
Old 21st July 2008
  #35
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TurboJets's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utters View Post
p.s carol kaye used to use FELT plectrums/picks too didn't she?

every little helps!
She recommends the thick dorito chip style pick if you're going to use one. That's one of the quotes I read in the last interview I read with her.
Old 24th September 2008
  #36
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Ok...I'm obsessed with these sounds and have spent many years chasing them. I think I've come pretty close lately. But anyway, there seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion in this thread. So to help clear it up for the OP:

First, Carol Kaye does not play with a felt pick. She uses her own special hard pick, but really any thick pick will do. Hers is a small tear drop shape that fits easily in your hand. It's not the big triangle type pick (I think Joe Osborne might have used those but not sure). For muting she puts a piece of felt OVER the strings and holds in down with tape. Early 60s she played her bass through an amp (usually Fenders, then Versatone, and others) and later they took 50/50 amp/direct box. She says she never used the B15. There is a wealth of info she has posted on her great website. The Official Carol Kaye Web Site
My guess is the pick with amp gave great warmth and definition.

Second, from what I have read Motown was always direct. I think James Jamerson used the B15 for small live gigs only. The key to his sound (besides his amazing playing) is flatwound strings on a Fender P bass and muting. It seems a lot of muting is necessary to really duplicate the sound. If you listen his notes died really quickly and there's almost no high end! I can get 90% of his sound with my 67 pbass, flats, and a lot of foam under the strings. I just using a crap whirlwind IMP di into my mbox. The last 10% that I'm missing is some necessary compression and a nicer mic pre and of course tape.

It seems that the Stax stuff was mostly direct, too. I think he did use a B15 sometimes, or a Fender Bassman, but from interviews from those engineers they say it was just usually direct.
Dunn and Jamerson both played with fingers and I think the DI thing really helped them get more definition in their sounds.

The answer is almost never to just turn up the bass on the amp. This will really kill your definition. (if you're trying to get a 60s R&B sound --- the rock groups had entirely different rules).

So get yourself a P bass with flats. Put a bunch of foam under the strings. Use a DI (or a DI in combo with the amp).

At Daptone they use just a DI on the bass...and his bass sounds are killer totally nailing the 60s soul vibe.

Oh and countryman DI? Maybe I'm wrong but I thought those were invented in the 80s.
Old 24th September 2008
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremynyc View Post
Ok...I'm obsessed with these sounds and have spent many years chasing them. I think I've come pretty close lately. But anyway, there seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion in this thread. So to help clear it up for the OP:

First, Carol Kaye does not play with a felt pick. She uses her own special hard pick, but really any thick pick will do. Hers is a small tear drop shape that fits easily in your hand. It's not the big triangle type pick (I think Joe Osborne might have used those but not sure). For muting she puts a piece of felt OVER the strings and holds in down with tape. Early 60s she played her bass through an amp (usually Fenders, then Versatone, and others) and later they took 50/50 amp/direct box. She says she never used the B15. There is a wealth of info she has posted on her great website. The Official Carol Kaye Web Site
My guess is the pick with amp gave great warmth and definition.

Second, from what I have read Motown was always direct. I think James Jamerson used the B15 for small live gigs only. The key to his sound (besides his amazing playing) is flatwound strings on a Fender P bass and muting. It seems a lot of muting is necessary to really duplicate the sound. If you listen his notes died really quickly and there's almost no high end! I can get 90% of his sound with my 67 pbass, flats, and a lot of foam under the strings. I just using a crap whirlwind IMP di into my mbox. The last 10% that I'm missing is some necessary compression and a nicer mic pre and of course tape.

It seems that the Stax stuff was mostly direct, too. I think he did use a B15 sometimes, or a Fender Bassman, but from interviews from those engineers they say it was just usually direct.
Dunn and Jamerson both played with fingers and I think the DI thing really helped them get more definition in their sounds.

The answer is almost never to just turn up the bass on the amp. This will really kill your definition. (if you're trying to get a 60s R&B sound --- the rock groups had entirely different rules).

So get yourself a P bass with flats. Put a bunch of foam under the strings. Use a DI (or a DI in combo with the amp).

At Daptone they use just a DI on the bass...and his bass sounds are killer totally nailing the 60s soul vibe.

Oh and countryman DI? Maybe I'm wrong but I thought those were invented in the 80s.
Good post, also there's not one 60's/early 70s bass sound but many and as you mentioned a few different techniques were used. the Carol Kaye sound, the R&B (jamerson etc..) sound, the Phil Lesh sound, Herbie Flowers sound etc..!

I remember reading a interview of Carol Kaye (I think it's in the Pet Sounds sessions boxset) that she changed the action (Higher) of her bass to achieve the highly plucked sound on Pet sounds. (And reverb)
She has a great bass sound on the David Axelrod productions.
She was a session guitarist too! ( Saw some pictures of her playing a Jazzmaster..)
Old 24th September 2008
  #38
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ScottTunes's Avatar
 

Jamerson used a P-bass through a B-15. On his first P bass, had the original flatwound strings, which was reportedly stolen. The 2nd P had only one change of strings (C Kaye claimed his bass was really dirty as well). The old "gunky" strings, and some distance between the amp and "room" mic would account for most of the quick decay in his notes. The rest would be his style of playing (palm muting, etc).

Personally, for recording, I use an '80 Carvin (heavy), neck pup (essentially in the P-bass position), 20 yr old "ground" round wounds, through either a '66 Princeton amp or '64 Deluxe Reverb amp, and a 2x12 sealed cab with 2 Celestion Vin 30s, low to mid volume. Perfect Jamerson sound, except I use a heavy pick, and control damping by palm-muting. This is the sound as heard in the room. Its up to the engineer to record the sound in the room, right?

All of my basses except the Carvin have flats. But the Carvin strings are so old, they actually sound like flats! Live, I usually use a Hofner Club bass (w/ flats of course) through a '72 Traynor head or '69 Sunn head, usually through 1 or 2 15s.
Old 24th September 2008
  #39
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Lee Knight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremynyc View Post
Ok...I'm obsessed with these sounds and have spent many years chasing them. I think I've come pretty close lately. But anyway, there seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion in this thread. So to help clear it up for the OP:

First, Carol Kaye does not play with a felt pick. She uses her own special hard pick, but really any thick pick will do. Hers is a small tear drop shape that fits easily in your hand. It's not the big triangle type pick (I think Joe Osborne might have used those but not sure). For muting she puts a piece of felt OVER the strings and holds in down with tape. Early 60s she played her bass through an amp (usually Fenders, then Versatone, and others) and later they took 50/50 amp/direct box. She says she never used the B15. There is a wealth of info she has posted on her great website. The Official Carol Kaye Web Site
My guess is the pick with amp gave great warmth and definition.

Second, from what I have read Motown was always direct. I think James Jamerson used the B15 for small live gigs only. The key to his sound (besides his amazing playing) is flatwound strings on a Fender P bass and muting. It seems a lot of muting is necessary to really duplicate the sound. If you listen his notes died really quickly and there's almost no high end! I can get 90% of his sound with my 67 pbass, flats, and a lot of foam under the strings. I just using a crap whirlwind IMP di into my mbox. The last 10% that I'm missing is some necessary compression and a nicer mic pre and of course tape.

It seems that the Stax stuff was mostly direct, too. I think he did use a B15 sometimes, or a Fender Bassman, but from interviews from those engineers they say it was just usually direct.
Dunn and Jamerson both played with fingers and I think the DI thing really helped them get more definition in their sounds.

The answer is almost never to just turn up the bass on the amp. This will really kill your definition. (if you're trying to get a 60s R&B sound --- the rock groups had entirely different rules).

So get yourself a P bass with flats. Put a bunch of foam under the strings. Use a DI (or a DI in combo with the amp).

At Daptone they use just a DI on the bass...and his bass sounds are killer totally nailing the 60s soul vibe.

Oh and countryman DI? Maybe I'm wrong but I thought those were invented in the 80s.

Yeah, a very good post. The key to this sound is to get the fundamental happening and to kill the overtones. That's what makes it so appealing. Some guys today can do this through some awesome dampening technique, but it's different. The foam, the palm mute, the flatwounds, these are all means to get the fundamental to speak and not let over tones over ride your sound. And God forbid you have the wrong note's overtone still ringing from the previous note. NOTHING kills a bass sound quicker than that.
Old 1st November 2011
  #40
Here for the gear
 

what exact type of foam?

When people are referring to placing foam under the bridge to acheive that "Jamerson" sound - what type of foam are they using and how is it placed under the bridge exactly?

Thanks

J
Old 1st November 2011
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronxbombin View Post
When people are referring to placing foam under the bridge to acheive that "Jamerson" sound - what type of foam are they using and how is it placed under the bridge exactly?

Thanks

J
Quite dense foam, I found that the foam insulator used for pipes (fridge, heater etc...)works well.
"Under the bridge" : As close as possible to the bridge sadlles. You might need to slightly tweak the intonation too to compensate for the fact that the foam will touch the strings before the sadlles therefore reducing the scale of the instrument slightly.
The hard bit is to get the correct amount of damping: too much and it kills too much sustain, too little and you don't get the twack.
Have fun.
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