Originally Posted by bovine mind
robbie shakespeare is the ultimate man!
dude is responsible for so many classic, throbbing roots reggae records through the 70's, love his tone too.
i've been able to emulate tone by using a tel ray era chrome morley power wah fuzz. with the wah engaged in the heel position is acts as kind of a low pass filter, swelling the tone and adding a huge amount of almost sub bass. i've read the dod fx25 with the threshold turned all the way down works the same as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdcR0tdAnDE
this might be my favorite RS jam.
I saw him and Sly back up Black Uhuru around 1980. He was playing his Steinberger and I had never heard such clean and fat bass tone live before that, state of the art PA, etc. They did an extended bass and drums dubstyle workout in the middle of the song that was outrageous, a really pumping sonic onslaught.
I love the recorded tones he got with various producers at Channel One in the '70s and early '80s, great balance of clearness and fatness. he really was instrumental in setting the standard for the Rockers style that took over JA reggae.
I know he uses Markbass amps now, the SA 450 and TA 503. I like that his live and recorded tone is so huge but still sounds like a bass being played, unlike a lot of modern reggae bassists who go for an almost synth-like subby tone.
Although he was mentored by Fams and the influences are obvious, he definitely developed his own sound and style, and often uses a lot more sustain and has an evener and much cleaner tone, less uprightish than Barrett.
Sorry for not answering your question, I have no idea what else is in his signal chain, though I'm guessing if you had his thumb and fingers you could get his tone just by careful EQing.
I've seen him live regularly, and like most reggae bassists there is a huge low mid boost going on, not necessarily a lot of sound in the true subharmonic lows department.
If you want to spend a few enjoyable minutes, you should check out these clips filmed during the recording of a Recent Horace Andy CD, with members Reggae's royalty sitting in for various tracks. Lots of amazing footage, and isolated tracks, and nice sound quality. He is playing his PRS bass 4 throughout. I like his up- and down-stroke thumb technique!
It's interesting to see him giving directions to Sleepy towards the end of the clip. Of course he's been producing sessions since he set up Taxi Records in '74 with Sly, and he plays guitar as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2z6m9k-BVU