Grand Funk Railroad, Mel Schacher

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by generation land, Feb 8, 2008.


  1. generation land

    generation land

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Any one know what kind of effects Mel Schacher of GFR used back in the day to get that light fuzz?
  2. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Location:
    Ankh-Morpork
    no effects; just amp distortion. He used West amps (relatively short-lived manufacturer out of Michigan or thereabouts) and deliberately used the wrong tubes in them, hence the distortion. His roadie used to stand behind the amps with asbestos gloves on to swap out tubes as they blew up during shows.
  3. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    Location:
    Cameron, NC USA
    Wow... never heard that story, but I love that tone!
  4. edbass

    edbass

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    He also used a Jazz Bass with a Gibson "Mudbucker" mounted in it.
    I've also heard he used a Heathkit fuzz.
    The way I hear the "asbestos glove legend", he used the right tubes (Genelex KT88's) in his West Fillmore, but they were biased way hot; so hot that they had a service life measured in minutes.
    True or not, it's a great Rock 'n Roll story!
    West Laboratories is still in business in Michigan;
    http://www.westlabs.com/Frames.HTML

    Regardless, he got one monster tone out of his rig! IMO a very under rated bassist, a true rock icon...

    Attached Files:

    jj4001 likes this.
  5. peekster

    peekster

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    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast metro Atlanta
    ..."IMO a very under rated bassist, a true rock icon..."

    Ditto. Great player with a great sound--with a pick! Big influence on me.
  6. Thangfish

    Thangfish ...overly qualified for janitorical deployment...

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
    Location:
    Cameron, NC USA
    Cool pictures... thanks.
  7. Illbay

    Illbay

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Slightly OT, but he was one h*ll of a bassist! That fuzz-bass riff on the vamp on "In Need" (Grand Funk Live) was the last straw. I bought a bass guitar not long after I bought that album (14 years old).
  8. Illbay

    Illbay

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Back from the grave?
  9. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    LA US
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
  10. FuzzyWool

    FuzzyWool

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Location:
    Montreal
    When I was in High School, and going through my Nu Metal phase, my dad used to love telling me how much better, and louder Grand Funk Railroad was. I've been meaning to get into them lately, what's a good place to start?
  11. 73jbass

    73jbass Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Ellenwood,Ga.
    Mel is my hero,and grossly underated.Always playing cool moving basslines without overplaying.I read the he used no effects,and it was just playing really loud,in addition to tube problems,that gave him that sound. I love that pic of the Jazz and the Mudbucker. That's a new one on me. Paranoid and People Lets Stop the War are also good examples of his distorted bass tone.
  12. Joe Gress

    Joe Gress

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pueblo, CO
    Mmm, Caught in the act. Grand funk live, and at their best. Probably one of my fravorite driving albums.
  13. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Location:
    Ankh-Morpork
    he had a bunch of Jazz basses, not just the one with the gibbo pickup...

    I didn't know West was back in business.... that's a surprise...
  14. edbass

    edbass

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    As with pro players, he has/had a bunch of basses, not just Jazzes and not just Fender, but I think the signature tone being discussed here is probably the Jazz with the 'bucker.
    I have a pic somewhere playing an early 70's black/maple Jazz, blocked and bound (maybe he inspired Geddy?:smug:).
    I think he endorses Zon now.
    Here's pics of some of Mel's basses, and one of his West Fillmore; the view the roadie with the asbestos glove saw....;)

    Back in business? Did West ever go out of business? Somebody better tell him!

    Attached Files:

  15. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Location:
    LA US
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Output transformer, okay, but not being real because it's not in a big cabinet? That's pretty dumb.
  16. danster

    danster

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    Grand Funk RR - Wow, bringing back the high schol memories!!
    A couple of things...Mel was/is the man on Bass. VERY underrated and even known.
    If your looking for some GFRR tunes to see how good he really was, check out "Aimless Lady" off of Closer to Home.
    Also, early Funk such as "Survival", "Epluribus Funk" and the first live album. These dudes could really bring it!
  17. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Location:
    Ankh-Morpork
    and it's also the most adjectival bass ever.....

    You can have your thumpy bass...

    you can have your growly bass....

    and you can have your synthy bass....

    But Mel has the bong-rattling bass:)
  18. Illbay

    Illbay

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Grand Funk Live. Their early studio albums are good, but kinda claustrophobic compared to how they were live.

    Funny thing to remember: They were made fun of incessantly, as a sort of "true rock 'n' roll wannabe." It's been a long time, but I just remember how derided they were by the true head-banger types in the early seventies.

    And the thing is, they really did become a sort of parody of themselves later on, even though they had several hits, like "An American Band."

    But they early few albums, esp. the live one (which IIRC was recorded in Atlanta), were truly kick-*ss.

    (Oh, and I don't care what anybody says: I loved "Closer To Home." I was only 12 when that first came out, and in those "Playlist days" where you knew EXACTLY when what song was coming on when, I used to go to sleep to it every night on my clock radio. Just good memories of my awakening appreciation for music).
  19. rekesbass

    rekesbass

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 1999
    Location:
    Saratoga county,New York,U.S.A
    the first live album("Live Album") had a serious effect on me,I think I was 9 or 10 years old when I discovered it.The minute the needle touched the vinyl,from the opening song"Are You Ready" all the way through to the last note of "Into The Sun",I knew right then,I must play bass. Thank You Mel
  20. Guiseppe

    Guiseppe

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    I love this forum! Mel's been one of my main influences, and more than any one person the one responsible for "my" tone. The first time I heard "Live Album" I was hooked - it's still one of my favorite listens, and (despite all the people that harp about the recording quality) probably my favorite live albums. We usually open with either Are You Ready or Flight of the Pheonix > Footstompin' Music.

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