99 Luftballons...is that a Precision ?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Oliver, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    Anyone heard the song before?...can you please help me identify the bass? is it a P or J or a PJ?
    The slap tone in that is exactly what i want.

    I dont know where this kind of question belongs, hopefully in this post.

    thanks a lot

  2. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    You're kidding, right?

    I could be wrong, but I believe that 'luft" is German for "red".
  3. funkcicle


    Jan 9, 2004
    Asheville, NC
    I think "red" was just added into the english version for rhythmic purposes. "luftballon" is simply German for "balloon". "99 Luftballons" = "99 Balloons"... though "luft" is also German for "air". "99 airballoons" would have been a good translation, but that's more redundant in english than it is in German.

    Don't know about the bass, haven't heard that tune in 10 years.
  4. the original song was in german, its been covered a few times
  5. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    LMAO! As a person who was a teenager when this song came out, I got a real kick out of the some of the above replies! :D

    Okay - the original German version (because Nena, the band, was German ;) ) was "99 Luft Balloons" - "99 Air Balloons", as stated above.

    Nena (same band) then did an English version. "99 Red Balloons". I guess "99 Air Balloons" didn't sound quite as cool! So, not a cover by a different band, just the same band doing it in another language. Plenty of European bands have done this over the years, with only the English version ever hitting the US market.

    As for "Luft" meaning red - um ..... Luftwaffe, Lufthansa ..... I think you get my point. Although, come to think of it, the Red Baron's plane was red ...... !

    And, finally, to answer the original question, yes, it was a Precision. He uses one in the video (which means nothing), but the sound is clearly a Precision - or some very good producing to make it sound like a Precision.
  6. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    Thanks for the input guys, and thanks for clarifying Bassaussie.

    Its weird, why do people say its harder to get a good slap tone out of a precision than say a jazz?
  7. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    I tend to think that Jazz basses have a better "bedroom friendly" sound - they're a bit scooped, and they sound nice soloed. However, in a band context, a Precision has a tendency to sit in a nice frequency range which lets it be clear and defined. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the Precision sound by itself, but when I hear it in a band context, it all makes sense. Still, at the end of the day, I find Jazz basses more appealing with regards to sound and playability, so I prefer to use them (or that style).

    If you want to hear some more really obvious Precision sounds, listen to some early Simple Minds - "Love Song" and "Promised You a Miracle" are great examples. Again, whether it actually is a Precision or not is greatly influenced by the production, but the sounds achieved are very Precision-like in nature.

  8. ok so after reading your post i thought to myself "hm..."
    so i googled it and found this: http://www.216colors.com/luft/

    i was not sure if groovyriffage was talking about the original by nena or one of the "74" covers
  9. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    I think the one by Nena was 1984, i could be wrong, anyways yeah i was talking about the original:)

    cya dudes
  10. Eyescream


    Feb 4, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    Hell, I knew better than to open my mouth (errr... figuratively) without thinking. Of course, ya'll are right, and "luft" has absolutely nothing to do with the color red.


    Anyway, back on topic: Chances are that if it's not a precision, there was probably one laying somewhere close to it, since everybody and their grandmother keeps a precision around (except me, cause I hate them).

    Also: I don't know much (obviously), but it amazes me to hear people say upon hearing a record "That's a <insert bass name brand here>! I know that sound anywhere!" and I can't help but meet it with a fair bit of suspicion as to whether the person's jerking me around or not. About the only bass I can recognize upon hearing is a Stingray, and that's only on rare occasions.
  11. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I always wanted to play in a band that did a cover medley of 99 Luft Balloons, Der Komissar, and Rock Me Amadeus.

  12. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Well, here's a tidbit that may or may be accurate. Not too long ago, there was an eBay ad for a custom Alembic (a black one, as I recall), and the seller claimed that he was the bass player for the original "99 LuftBallons" tune, and that he had used this particular bass on the recording. True? Who knows. Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone saw that ad, or wants to comment on it.
  13. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii

    You're really making me feel my age. I think that I was 25 when that tune came out. :(
  14. Oliver


    Jun 21, 2003
    Perth, Australia
    gfab, hehehe i was 2 but it would have been cool to be 25 when it came out...only for a month or so though:)

    Its a great song, even though i spend lots of time listening to Children of Bodom and Bal-Sagoth, you gotta love the 99 luftballons
  15. LouisB

    LouisB Guest

    Aug 23, 2003
    Guernsey, UK
    I'm 16 and although I wasn't alive when it came out I've got both the german and english originals, how sad is that.
  16. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    That's very cool Louis. :bassist:
  17. yep, that was a Precision- a maple neck one- see Derek Forbes thread in Bassists.

    99Balloons doesn't sound like a P bass to me though- I hear 2 pickups or a single bridge p/up in there, rather than a P bass honk.
    I'd believe Nonsqtr's story of the Alembic.
  18. bassaussie


    Oct 6, 2001
    Yeah, I was pretty sure the Simple Mind's songs were done with Precisions, but I thought I'd put that little disclaimer in just in case!! ;):D

    Funny what you say about the Nena song, as it always struck me as being quite Precision-like as well. But then, with that story about the Alembic floating about, who knows?
  19. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    Sounds like you need to contact Conklin for a bass version of this guitar . :bassist: