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Bowie: George Murray (and Carmine Rojas)

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Marial, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Marial

    Marial weapons-grade plum

    Apr 8, 2011
    I've been on Berlin-trilogy era Bowie kick and am really curious how George Murray got that particular bass tone. I did a little poking around here but didn't see too many specifics, maybe a P, maybe this, maybe that.

    Anyhow, Murray (and Carmine Rojas, later) achieved a really huge, round, even tone, and I'm wondering, aside from what basses they used, if anyone knows anything about Tony Visconti's production on the various albums he did with Bowie: what amps? compressors? eq settings?

    That tone is just knocking me out... It's the best of the seventies to my ears.
  2. brunjic


    Mar 18, 2010
    That's my opinion, too. Murray plays especially nice on live recordings from that era, Stage (1978) and one included in remastered edition of Station to station (1976).

    Obviously he comes from Jamerson's school, but plays with a pick. Nice bass sound on that recordings is partly due to producer Tony Visconti who is bass player himself and has a good ear for low end. Just check his bass line on I'll be your slave from Heathen.
  3. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    I absolutely love his tone. It was all just a P bass right? There's no good pictures on google and he never gets much (if any) camera time in videos. He's just in the dark background.

    Anyway, his tone. It's so upfront in the mix and just sounds "right". Was he using flats? It's just so thumpy and doesn't have any of that zing you get with rounds. Maybe it's because he recorded the bass on my favorite Bowie albums (Station to Station, Low, "Heroes", Lodger & Scary Monsters), but George Murray is certainly my favorite of all the Bowie bassists. The bass part during the guitar solo of Stay from Stage is just pure bass grooviness, it really stood out when I listened to Stage yesterday. Too bad Bowie never included Golden Years on any live material.

    Tony Visconti also played bass on The Man Who Sold the World. That's a great bass part too.
  4. brunjic


    Mar 18, 2010
    Stay was a bonus track when Stage got remixed by Visconti in 2005, and on that particular track bas is even more upfront than usual.

    Multitracks from studio session of Golden years are available on internet, so you can hear bass guitar in isolation. Great groove.
  5. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN
    Wow ... memory lane. I had "Stage" on cassette way back when. What a great live album.
  6. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Here's the isolated bass for Golden Years... what a groove. No wonder it's one of my two favorite Bowie songs. The bass on Ashes to Ashes (my favorite Bowie song) is even groovier. Both George on the bass :D

    Sounds like growly flats or dead rounds on a P bass to my ears. Opinions?
  7. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    What!!? No other love for George Murray? After a few more listens, I think Golden Years was most certainly flats with a tube amp. The sound vaguely reminds me of when I used flats through the tube amp I used to have.
  8. jd_watt


    Mar 22, 2013
    Wow, I can't believe I've never investigated further into Murry. Station to Station and Low are two of my absolute favorite albums. I once listened to Low repeatedly for weeks on end. Blue, blue, 'lectric blue...
  9. +1 superb groove on Golden Years! Ashes to Ashes = wonderful too. Great playing AND tone!:thumbup:

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