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how to get the geddy lee tone

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by IvanMike, Jul 19, 2003.


  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

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    here's a question.......
    i'm playing in a trio and after spinning the different stages disc by rush i've been kinda trying to emulate that tone for this current project
    if ya don't know the tone, it is very present midrange wise with a focused low end, very punchy, with a good amount of high end "grit", but not exactly what i'd call distorted (as in using a fuzz)
    currently i use an alembic/stewart combination with bagend 15 and 12 speakers, a '86 tobias 4 and a sans amp di
    the tobias 4 has a very jazz like vibe to it
    i've been hitting the strings hard and messing with the drive on the di and getting a fair approximation of the tone

    so other than changing technique, any suggestions?
     
  2. ihixulu

    ihixulu

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2000
    Location:
    getting warmer
    Early Rush used an AMpeg V4B, I'm not sure on the mid stage and lately he's been using the SansAmp RBI direct to board.
     
  3. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2000
    Location:
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    Sounds like you're on the right track. The RBI has midrange control that the BDDI does not.

    I'd say get as close as you can and keep in mind that it's the magician, not the wand!!!
     
  4. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

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    it sure is the magician..........

    well that's good for a start. Not a big deal really as i like the tones i get for the most part. I just have really been digging his tone as of late, on a lot of the albums, not just different stages.

    i recall in a recent article that he was using some kind of sans amp and a speaker simulator of one kind or another, and some other device that i cant recall. I guess he doesn't use an amp to record with, and seeing as his side of the stage was loaded with clothes dryers this tour, i dunno if he uses one live either

    i'm sure using an svt would help but i'm not too keen on the huge amp thing

    just figured someone might know if there was a specific preamp or signal processers that might get me closer

    thanks for the feedback
     
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  6. RAM

    RAM

    Joined:
    May 10, 2000
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    IIRC, Different Stages was recorded when he was using Trace Elliot cabs and a Trace Elliot valve (tube) head. A Trace Elliot clinic I went to revealed that his "secret" was to leave all of the eq sliders completely flat except the 250 Hz slider, which he cranked all the way up.

    There's a lot he does with Sans Amp products, though, which give him a gritty sound and a meaty low end. In addition, he plays a lot of stuff with his right index fingernail which gives a pick-like attack.
     
  7. BASSnSAX

    BASSnSAX

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2001
    Location:
    Madison, Wisconsin
    As far as punchy goes, I know he always picks over the bridge pickup...at least that's what I do on my 2-p/up basses.

    I, too, have been trying to emulate the "Geddy-Fuzz". I think I have it approximated on my overdrive channel on my SVP-BSP.
     
  8. geshel

    geshel

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    Oct 2, 2001
    Location:
    Seattle
    SO, then you've never seen him play? Because he doesn't.
     
  9. oddio

    oddio

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Go here for the Geddy gear list which might help: gearlist
     
  10. david_l_perry

    david_l_perry

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    Chorley, Preston UK
    Just a thought...
    I good pal of mine was obsessed with the Slap sound Mark King (level 42) got from his Bass rig

    He was recently telling me this weekend that in the early days when Level 42 were still touring, he went to several gigs and actually photo graphed the EQ settings on his rig...(remember he was obsessed - nowadays he would be called a stalker..!)He then put EXACTLY the same eq settings on the IDENTICAL amp he owned (I think it was the Early Trace elliot days)and he played the very same Alembic bass...and yep...sounded nothing like mark king..good sound just not the same sound..

    Unless anybody has stood infront of Geddy Lee's rig while he is playing, you will have a tough time in getting the same sound...most people hear the slightly EQ'd PA sound (never exactly the same as the backline) or a recorded sound, again not exactly the same..

    Geddy Lee....heees the man...

    Best of luck..

    Dave

    www.u4ria.freeserve.co.uk
    Loud and Proud !!
     
  11. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago
    Oddio...thanks for the link!!! It's humbling for me to look at the gear history of some of these guys and find less change in a decade that I've gone through in two or three years.

    I guess that's one of the big differences between a guy that plays his bass through an amp and a guy like me who plays with basses and amps...

    I guess the one suggestion that I didn't offer is that having two signal paths helps...one clean and deep (like Geddy's old SVT with V4B folded horns) and one less deep and dirty (like Geddy's Sunn 2000S and 2x15 cabinets).

    Billy Sheehan does the same thing as does the bassist from Audio Slave that's on the cover of BP this month (actually he uses three rigs...one clean, one medium dirty and one very distorted and then blends them together as needed).
     
  12. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    Location:
    North central Ohio
    Disclosures:
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    The two-amp or two-channel setup is a good suggestion. I am looking into that option right now. The SansAmp suggestions above are also a possible solution. However, two more tricks that I might throw out would be to try an overdrive pedal with blend and tone options, like the Fulltone Bass-Drive. I recently picked one up and think that you could get a close approximation of Geddy's tone out of it. The other option is to crank the gain on a tube preamp. I have a Mesa Boogie Walkabout, and by playing with the Gain and Master settings, I can get a wide range of very useable tones from clean (with the Gain down low and the Master cranked up) to schweet overdrive (with the Gain cranked, and the Master down low), and a lot in between. I also checked out the Ampeg SVP-Pro when I was looking at preamps, and it was another unit that you could drive hard to get some grit out of it.

    Good luck, Tom.
     
  13. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

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    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    ivanmike,

    I have a knack for pointing out the obvious that everyone already knows, but I don't know they know.....er, anyway Tech21 came up with "sansamp" technology and they make lots of cool pedals and stuff www.tech21nyc.com The RBI uses sansamp technology. The RBI has a "drive" knob and selectable mid-sweep control that might help you find geddy's "twang" range. Mind you the drive is not the greatest "distortion" (knob fully cranked), but i do like the softer distortion of a knob 1/2 or 3/4 turned on.

    The PSA-1 is a guitar and bass effects module that is supposidly all analog with preset recalls there are SAMPLES on the website.

    good luck!
     
  14. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    ivanmike,

    I have a knack for pointing out the obvious that everyone already knows, but I don't know they know.....er, anyway Tech21 came up with "sansamp" technology and they make lots of cool pedals and stuff www.tech21nyc.com The RBI uses sansamp technology. The RBI has a "drive" knob and selectable mid-sweep control that might help you find geddy's "twang" range. Mind you the drive is not the greatest "distortion" (knob fully cranked), but i do like the softer distortion of a knob 1/2 or 3/4 turned on. From the geddy lee gear page "Tech 21 SansAmp RBI for overdriven sound" vapor trails and tour.

    The PSA-1 is a guitar and bass effects module that is supposidly all analog with preset recalls there are SAMPLES on the website.

    good luck!
     
  15. vlad335

    vlad335

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    Location:
    Latrobe, PA
    I read about Geddy's setup somewhere in the past that pointed out his method of achieving that warm overdriven sound. ( I can't remember where I read this!)

    Bass wired in stereo with each PU split into a separate signal. One PU into a slight tube overdrive ( Bridge? ) and the other a clean low bass sound. Interesting that Rick's are wired this way from the factory. He may have his Jazz Bass modded this way.


    Actually you can use 2 RBI's connected together to achieve this. One dirty, one clean. It explains how to do it in the manual. I only have one now so I cant try it. However, I have run a tube guitar amp out of my Pre out with my usual bass amp as well and got very close to this same sound. I think the trick is to split the pickups.
     
  16. Tapp

    Tapp

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Location:
    USA, Mississippi
    I think the '71 or '2 Jazz bass is probably the most important recipe in his tone from "Counterparts" till now. The pickups in these '70's Jazz's could vary tremendously and the fact that it's all passive gives an "organic" quality to the tone that I've not been able to get with most active systems. You can really dig in on these Jazz basses and get some grind too. Tube amps don't hurt either. I know Geddy has used an old SVT occasionally for recorded tone.

    Tapp
     
  17. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

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  18. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    The washers are funny!!!!!

    I wish Tech 21 would make a preamp version of the Landmark head's front end...well an RBI and an Acoustic DI in the same 2U case. That would be great...

    Of course, now that I type that I realize that my Pearce BC-1 will do about the same thing....

    Wait...that can't be right...I'm happy with a piece of gear that I already own! :eek:
     
  19. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

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    thanks again for all the replies
    i would be the 1st to say that 90% is the man not the machine
    i tried tweaking the sans amp quite a bit, i get close but not quite. i have also overdriven my preamps
    i agree that the jazz bass may be the key element in the tone, esp the way that they kind of "Grind" when you hit them hard
    i get pretty close to this with my tobias, esp because i usually play it in passive mode
     
  20. feckn_eejit

    feckn_eejit

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Geddy's style of playing is TRUELY unique. Using RotoSound RS66 standard guage strings on my Geddy Lee jazz bass (SansAmp really helps) and a bit of EQ, if I try to emulate his playing style, I can get ridiculously close to the Counterparts/T4E tone. The live tone on DS seems to be more distorted.

    He sort of "rakes" his pointer finger across the string, back and forth. Supposedly he had an accident with that finger when he's younger, and the fingernail grows over the tip, and it's very strong. If I let my fingernail grow quite long, that adds more to the "bite" he gets, but it gets to be too painful to keep it up. I find using a Dunlop Tortex .73 pick to be easier for me, and still get a relatively close approximation of his sound, but not as close as the "finger-raking" method.

    Also, I found he spends a lot of time playing over the NECK pickup when I saw Rush live, NOT the bridge pickup! When I got home, I found that I got closer by playing over the neck pickup.
     
  21. Mcrelly

    Mcrelly

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    Location:
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    funny you should say this, I was just "watching" closer to the heart 1998 on kazaa and it was a montage video of old and new concert footage, '70s, '80s, '98 but mostly 70s and 98 anyway in '70s on what looked like the same ric he was over the bridge, but on the 98video he was over the neck??? EQ? effects? don't know. BTW cool break-down/bridge near the end of the song with geddy on bass and funky new solo.

    if I had my old '81 exit stage left laserdisc I'd listen and see where he played, wait, I have a tape of that!! just a minute......from the grace under pressure video he plays mostly the steinberger bass on the neck.....on show of hands-yyz he plays bridge...on exit stage left- closer to the heart he plays neck on singing parts and bridge during instrumental parts? anyway I see it this way...play neck for more subdued bass lines during vocals and play bridge to get more twang for puntuating bass lines?
     

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