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Cage the elephant sound - How are you true

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by JerryGG, May 2, 2017.

  1. JerryGG


    May 2, 2017

    I love the bass tone on the track How are you true from Cage the Elephant. It has a little something special. Here is a list of gear Rig Rundown: Cage the Elephant | Premier Guitar

    I usually play a Japanese Jazz Bass with hand wired 60's style pickups, rosewood fingerboard and with very old flats. I have a small GK AMP, Fishman Pro-EQ Platinum Bass Preamp, and Mesa Boogie M-Pulse amp.

    I will try changing strings to Fender Tapewound .045–.110. With current gear I have, any tricks?

  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    If that sound is anything but a P-Bass with the tone rolled off a little and very old flats straight to the board I'd be shocked. Very little deep lows, very little top end. Mostly just upper bass and lower midrange with a little bit of presence around 800hz-1khz. If you're going for this kind of thing live, any of the gear you've listed should be able to do it. Solo, or at least emphasize the neck pickup, roll off the tone a little, roll off the deepest lows and highest highs on your amp, add a TINY bit of upper midrange, play up the neck a bit, use a reasonable attack on the strings (don't baby them, but don't go all Steve Harris on them either), and you'll be there. I would not use tapewounds for this as they'll have too much high end retention and they tend to sustain a little longer than flats, and this tune's tone decays VERY quickly.

    Do try and remember that a large part of how a signal path will sound in a mix is defined by the song's arrangement. In this case, he's playing up the neck pretty far which slots it in above the bass drum and below the guitars, which are mostly acoustic in this tune and therefore have quite a bit less bandwidth occupying overlapping ranges with the bass guitar. There's a string section, but it doesn't have anything lower than a viola, or a cello played in a high register, so no competition there either. My point is that the tone you're hearing is essentially the byproduct of a well thought out arrangement where everything has it's place. The strings and the acoustic guitar are fighting a bit, but they've panned them wide enough that it's not problematic. You could play MANY different basses, amps, etc. and have no problem cutting through that mix like he's doing.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    P bass w/tone rolled off some

    That magic soup has been used on a gazzilion recordings. The tone on that track is great, but it's not unusual or special.

    Go with the Mesa (only because it's the "warmest" of those three to me). Set it a flat as possible first. Try to nail as much of it as you can with the bass and your technique. If you need to boost or cut a little here and there with the amp go for it. But you should be able to get really close just by rolling the tone back.

    The attack may be fooling you on the recording (or at least it did me for a minute). At first it sounded like the bass was being played with a pick. But after listening more it turns out that the guitar is doubling the bass in a few places (which might fool you on the tone too). If you are trying to nail the total sound of the guitar and bass it will take an octaver...and a pick. And even then it still might be tricky.

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