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Billy Sheehan Neck Bend

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by kevcooke, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. ..........amazing....how?
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I recall his neck being not screwed in all the way or something like that. It's actually pretty easy/bad for your bass.
  3. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    A couple of factors...

    1. His Yamaha Attitude basses have a neck heal that extends way into the body...beyond the woofer pickup.

    2. His strap was/is made of the same stuff that they catch fighter planes with on aircraft carriers so it's very rigid (i.e. doesn't stretch.

    So ol' Billy boy hits a note or harmonic or whatever and pushes the back of the neck/headstock with his left hand and the body with his right using his neck as an anchor point.

    If he breaks a bass...it gives Yamaha something to work on.
  4. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I suspect that it's just the opposite. With his old P Bass/Tele neck he said he'd put the instrument face down on the floor, stand on the body behind the neck and crank down on the screws for all he was worth. He'd also pack the neck pocket with razor blades and anything else that would make it tight.

    The fact that that bass isn't a pile of tooth picks is a salute to Leo Fender's design...
  5. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    Holding the body still and pushing the neck forward at the head stock end. You can get away with doing it a little bit, but I would have a couple of spare necks, if I were to do aggressively all the time.
  6. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I tweek my necks a bit on really high harmonics every so often when I feel it will be effective. I generally bend in and out to create a pitch contrast, but just one time. My necks can take it, I even think they may like it.
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Right arm across the upper horn of the body, pull tightly against your body. Grab the headstock solidly with your left hand and wiggle.
  8. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    You're right!...he does that too.
  9. burntgorilla


    Jan 24, 2005
    I thought it was pretty easy.. maybe it's just my crap bass. Stanley Clarke does it a lot on some songs.
  10. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Notice that the effect is easier to get on bolt-ons than on neck-throughs. Also, you must push the neck from the headstock area or lower frets. If you push it from, say, the 12th fret area, it won't happen. And needless to say (I think), your bass must be hanging from the strap.
  11. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    Sheehan's bass also has bolts underneath the pickguard. The neck on his P-Bass can be moved back and forth with ease now from all the strain put on it over the years.

    I don't recommend it unless you have an Attitude bass. At a clinic of his I attended the topic came up and someone said "What if you were to break the neck?", to which Billy responded very seriously "Yamaha would be getting a very angry phone call."

    His instruments are built to take it, most others are not.
  12. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    Sheehan wasn't the first bassist I saw doing that. I saw that first on Jaco's "Modern Electric Bass" video many years ago and it sounded really cool to me. In that video, Jaco played his good old Fender Jazz bass with a replacement Precision neck. Problem with Billy is that he takes the trick to the extreme. In Mr. Big's "Live At San Francisco" video, there's a moment in his solo in which he bends his instrument so much that it sounds like playing a long whammy bar dive bomb. I've done this thing for years the way Jaco did and I think there's no problem with that, but Billy's way is a real abuse!
  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Braided steel doesn't sound like a comfortable thing to use as a bass strap...

    Other than looks, what exactly is the point of this trick? Sheehan uses it to sound like his bass has a trem on it...but he developed the trick back when you couldn't just fire up a web browser and buy a bass trem.

    Now you can, so is there really a reason to go beating on your neck like this?
  14. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I'd put a tremolo bar on my bass if I use the trick so often, but in my case it doesn't worth it. I'm not talking about $$$, but the HASSLE that a floating bridge is.

    BTW, another way of getting the effect without hurting your neck is pressing the strings behind the nut. Not so impressive visually, but it works anyway.
  15. redwood

    redwood Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Buffalo, NY
    I recently saw Billy with Steve Vai, and while I am a huge fan of both, the night became nothing more than a wank-fest. (They both do have some unbelievable skills). But after awhile, speed doesn't do it for the audience. So out come the l.e.d. laden axes, fog machines galore, and a variety of "gimmicky" tricks. One of which is the good ole' neck bend.
    The crowd goes crazy. :hyper:
    Personaly, I prefer Niacin stuff. He keeps his gimmicks to a minimum. :smug:
  16. Achey


    May 6, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Yeah, Hi-Bias rocks!

  17. I can do it sitting down w/o a strap(grabs neck-through 6 string bass & makes sure- yup). With your fretting hand, push the back of the headstock forward; with your plucking hand, push against the upper bout on a singlecut like mine, or the upper horn of a double cut- either way, make sure you're close to the middle of the scale length; the end of the bass(under or behind the bridge)presses & hopefully stops against your body: voila! Pseudo-whammy/tremolo/bass abuse! Another trick I saw a picture of Joe Perry doing was to hold the bass(yes, of course he used a g**t**r)at the extreme ends(headstock & bridge-end)at arms length away from your body & shake it as if you're repeatedly smacking an invisible/imaginary person standing in front of you in the forehead.
  18. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    If I found out that you had put a "whammy bar" on anything I would personally purchase a plane ticket(looking for an excuse to go to SA anyhow)relentlessly hunt you down and give you a disappointing look!
  19. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    :bag: :)
  20. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Oh, stop with the whammy bar prejudice! The bass whammy is possibly the only mod that actually does something. I have a bass with one, and they're actually useful. I use mine a lot to imitate the sound of a fretless. And of course, it's always fun to turn on your distortion of choice and do dive bomb wankfests at the end of songs.

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