1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)


Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by bryan bailey, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. How the heck does Flea get his awesomely awesome tone from Mothers Milk?

    I know he's using a Stingray, but, I mean what's he using for amps? Strings?

    His tone is perfect, a great slap tone, and a nice growly punhcy fingerstyle tone.

    What happened to him. He used to sound so much better, his current tone is that of an expensive loud fart.

    Anyone know what gear he used during the MM era?
  2. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    Callus-ass fingers, Stingray, Drugs.

  3. Check.....check.......hmmm. I guess I need some drugs now.

    But seriously, lets all pay some omage to Flea's early tone.
  4. HiFi


    Apr 20, 2002
    Anaheim, CA

    Homage paid.
  5. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Don't automatically assume that he was using a stingray unless you've heard him say it. I've heard him mention the use of several different basses on recordings. I know he's used a Wal at times as well as his Stingray. He's used some others but I can't remember which ones. I wanna say I've heard him speak of Alembics but I just can't recall.

    brad cook
  6. HiFi


    Apr 20, 2002
    Anaheim, CA
    I could be wrong, of course, but I believe he used StingRay's almost exclusively at that point. He always seemed to have one live and on his "instructional" video in the early '90s he has a StingRay and basically says that it's what gets him is tone if I remember correctly. I can't think of a time I ever saw him with anything other than a StingRay then, but maybe I missed something.
  7. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    No, I've heard the ONLY time he used a stingray when recording was the solo on aeroplane, and even that's not 100%, he can't quite remember.

    There are more diligent Flea heads around here than me, they'll be able to point out specifics.

    I seem to remember an alembic for BSSM, which doesn't help you.
  8. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I'm hardly the Flea/RHCP expert, but as I recall there was also a (limited) period pre-BSSM where he was using Spectors as well.

    Just a tidbit of info for the discussion...
  9. HiFi


    Apr 20, 2002
    Anaheim, CA
    Now that you mention it, I remember something about Spectors and him.

    Regarding the recording post, I'm surprised. He always seemed to have a StingRay strapped on when playing live and such and I just assumed that would be his recording bass as well.
  10. Thee


    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Yeah, it is weird. Apparently he just had too much of a hard time getting the SR to work in the studio.
  11. I love Flea's tone on MM too. A month or two ago I listened to it again and was just blown away by 'Magic Johnson.' Based on some of the videos I've seen and interviews that I've read, I'll try to share what I know.

    I believe early on he was using Spectors, as he's in some of the early videos with one. By MM he was using the StingRay, at least live, through GK heads and big Mesa cabs. He was also playing GHS Boomers. I believe in an interview he said that he used whatever was in the studio at the time of the recording. Some of the MM parts sound to me like they were done on a P-Bass (the father of the StingRay.) Also check out Young MC's 'Bust a Move' for some pure Flea. Yeah, it's cheesey, but the bass is awesome.

    For comparison, 'Under the Bridge' and 'Give It Away' were recorded with an SR5, going by the video 'The Making of Blood Sugar Sex Magic.' Also, Rick Rubin is there basically telling him how to play a minimal bassline. I believe that he did most of One Hot Minute with an Alembic Epic, not positive.

    I got a chance to see the band live a few years ago, and the whole sound was awful -- all midrange. He was also WAY overplaying on some of the awesome lines from BSSM, such as 'Give It Away.' Every other band that day had a great sound, except for them. And the singing was pretty off-key.

    Overall, I think *most* of the credit for the bass tone on these albums needs to go to the engineer and/or producer. Although I do love his playing overall and that's the important thing. Just my opinion...