Duff McKagan Tone.

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by devinp17, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. devinp17

    devinp17 Guest

    Hey everyone. I wanna get your opinion on something I've been thinking about. :)

    If someone wanted to get their Duff on, what P/J pickups would they go for? I know Duff has always used Seymour Duncans so that's what I would go for (not sure which models though). What do you guys think?
  2. Having played lots of G N' R back in my youth, I'd say to get the Duff McKagan "tone" is as straight forward as putting on some new roundwound strings (GHS Boomers) and playing with a pick.

    Granted, I play a Fender Precision Lyte (a P/J hybrid bass from the late 80s/early 90s) and use a Gallien-Krueger amp, both of which likely factor into things.
  3. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist Bassist for Michael "Epic Mic" Rowe

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    The PJ, fresh rounds, pick, and a GK amp will definitely get you the Duff vibe for sure.
    songwriter21 and davedblyoo like this.
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Duff didn't play Power Jazz Specials, they were Jazz Bass Specials. The originals didn't have Seymour Duncans in them, they were just the stock JBS pickups.

    He also plays with a pick and used Rotosound SS rounds into a GK rig.
    davedblyoo likes this.
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Chicken Pot Pie. My three favorite things!! Supporting Member

    And lots of chorus! He even has a signature Toneprint for the TC Corona.
  6. devinp17

    devinp17 Guest

    Read this article:


    He says that his original had Seymour Duncans. And also, his Fender Signature Bass has a Seymour Duncan Jazz Pickup.
  7. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Interesting. That's the first time I've heard/read/seen him say anything other than he used a stock JBS back in the Gn'R days.

    I'm well aware his signature bass has them, it was a somewhat hot topic of controversy when it was released.

    Since he endorses SD now, and that's a very recent article, I'm not convinced it's actually the truth. In that article he also states that it was a Precision Bass Special, which it isn't.
  8. devinp17

    devinp17 Guest

    That was probably just a mistake he made, instead of saying Jazz Bass Special. But even if his bass didn't have Seymour Duncans back in the day; the Seymours he uses now do a great job in recreating his GN'R sound.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Maybe. I know I forget things that I've been doing every day for almost 30 years. ;)
  10. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    I think it is more about the amp than the pups
  11. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    He has endorsed SD since the Use Your Illusion days
  12. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Yeah. In this case strings, EQ, setup and playing technique are all probably more important than switching pickups. As long as they're a PJ set to begin with.

    edit: Also lots of chorus, as someone else said, and mastering that one fill he played in half their songs. (which I totally try to throw into non-GnR songs all the time as a joke that nobody but me and one other person in the bar will get)
    growler571 likes this.
  13. KOLAD


    Feb 14, 2014
    New England
    A bass with a P/J pickup setup, fresh bright Rotosound Swing bass 66 45-105's, .73mm yellow Dunlop picks, into a Gallien Krueger 800rb, tuned down half step - and you will be almost there...then you just need Matt Sorum or Steven Adler. :smug:
  14. I think a lot of his tone came from his GK rig. It always sounded to me (at least :bag:) that his bass tone was similar to Flea's despite very different playing technique and technical expertise. I suspect because they were both using the same GK rig at the time.
  15. KOLAD


    Feb 14, 2014
    New England
    I agree, they do have a similar overall bright type sound.
    GK's have more of a truer direct type of clean sound.
    They still have "character" and coloring, but that character is alot less noticeable than say an all tube head like an SVT, Marshall, Hi-Watt etc.
  16. KOLAD


    Feb 14, 2014
    New England
    I forgot to mention the Yamaha SPX-90 Chorus.

    That's been a staple to Duff's sound forever.
    It's an old rack Chorus unit. Slash used one too. (listen to Knockin On Heaven's Door for an example of it on guitar)
    They were a pretty standard unit in the 80's.
    I've played almost every analog Chorus imaginable in my years and the SPX-90 is it's own beast, I'll just say that.
    Nothing sounds "exactly" like it.
  17. JTE


    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Well, all the JBSs I've played (I was a Fender dealer '77-'88) had that ugly annoying midrange nasal honk he seems to like...
  18. Jim C

    Jim C Spector#496:More curves than Sophia + better sound Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    "midrange nasal honk"
    Great tonal description
    OTOH it does cut through the din of the guitars, drums, and shrieking vocals
  19. brenner182


    Apr 24, 2010
    i love it. I have both a Power jazz and the JBS, they are pretty different in tone to my ears. Even in passive. I noticed that the pup magnets are a lot bigger on the JBS than on my Power jazz