Entwistle/Redding sound

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Vendele197, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. After playing bass for a few years, I've decided what kind of tone/sound I want, and as you can probably tell, I'd like a mix between Jon Entwistle and Noel Redding. Basically, a good, powerful classic rock sound.

    Now, I know that in order to achieve that sound, strings are only one part of the equation. However, an old teacher of mine once told me that strings are the cheapest and easiest way to change your sound, so I was wondering if there are certain brands/types of strings out there that will bring me closer to getting the sound I want.

    Any suggestions are welcome. Right now I'm playing a Schecter Stiletto 4 string, but will be upgrading to a Fretless Fender Jazz soon, if that helps.

  2. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Your teacher is right! You need rotosound swing 66, as thats what Entwistle used, and fits your description. That rock sound might not be best on a fretless, so you may want to go for a normal jazz for that sound.
  3. Yea, he gave some awesome advice when I studied with him. I played DB for about a year and half in my high school jazz band, and loved it. There were only two things I didn't like: Vertical vs. horizontal, and the thickness of the neck. Remove both those and you basically have a fretless BG, IMO. However, I can definitely understand how I might lose a good deal of rock sound using a fretless. Guess I should try both.

    Also, how do you figure out what kind of strings, or just gear in general for that matter, certain players use?
  4. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Entwistle used Rotosound RS-66 for decades, until they spurned his request for different gauges but made a Billy Shehann set... Anyway, try a couple of sets of RS-66, and other good stainless steel rounds. The Rotosound ones have a reputation for short string life (as Entwistle and Chris Squire both repeatedly commented even though they used 'em- neither ever made any bones about the fact that they change strings every gig, and Anthony Jackson even changed them between takes in the studio).

    I like DR Stainless on a round core ,the Hi-Beams set. Not quite the same piano sound that Rotos give, but the alloy is a bit easier on the frets and the sound is a bit warmer.

    But there's lots of good stainless rounds, so some experimentation is in order to find what works best for YOU.

  5. KPAX

    KPAX Inactive

    Mar 22, 2005
    In the 60's and 70's Entwistle and Noel Redding used NICKEL STEEL Rotosound swing bass. Those are sold as RN66LD today.

    The stainless steel are the Rotosound RS66LD and although they sometimes stay bright sounding longer, I don't think they sound as good as the nickel steel.

    The stainless steel versions came out much later. In the 60's and 70's nickel steel was all they made and that's what Entwistle, Squire, Geddy ... used.

    BTW, re fretless, forget an Entwistle type sound with that.

  6. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Yes, forget the fretless if you're looking for the Entwistle sound; however, Redding did use a Fender Jazz Bass (neck pickup only, with a pick).
  7. Hamrhed


    Dec 26, 2007
    I agree completely... and if you are bent on getting a fretless I would try DR Sunbeams because they sound good and wont chew up the fretboard as bad as other strings. You could Youtube some Tony Franklin vids to get an idea of what they sound like (and Tony's Signature P bass has a bridge pickup like Jazz basses so it might be similar to what you would sound like).

    Entwhistle in particular used a ton of expensive outboard gear- and he also constantly changed things up, so be prepared to experiment :)
  8. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    I highly doubt this based on everything I have ever read, can anyone who was around in the 60s + 70s let us know if they were ever Nickel plated?
  9. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Various articles and pieces on the internet ;)
  10. brachal


    Jan 7, 2006
    New Orleans, La
    I'd think twice about putting Rotosound rounds on a fretless bass. They chewed up the frets on my old EB-3 ... I hate to think of what they'd do to an unprotected fretboard.
  11. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I have a set of '70s Rotos on my Ric and they are stainless steel, just like they have been since `66. You might like the sound of the nickels more, Kpax, but Entwistle's sound is pure SS Rotos.
  12. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    Gotta love the intentional dis-information on this website.
  13. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I to agree that Rotos are key to that tone and think you may not like them with a fretless
    Also, a big honkin amp and incredible talent was also part of their signature
  14. Meatrus


    Apr 5, 2009
    Only on TB....:)
  15. dannster


    Aug 20, 2000
  16. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    It won't.

    If you want a fretted sound, keep the damn frets.
  17. The gold strings are now made and sold as Optima strings. eBay is a good place to find them.
  18. JLoMenzo


    Jan 31, 2009
    I've used Rotosound's round wound stainless steels for well over 30 years. A friend of mine suggested getting off the flatwounds back around '72 and moving to Roto SS's for the same reasons you're looking into. It always amazes me how whenever I try a new instrument, I can't seem to make a valid judgement on it's "voice" until I string them up with my old familiar favorite. The strings that most manufacturers put on their stock instruments these days always seem so "polite" and "rubbery". Rotosound stainless steel roundwounds for me get a harder, brighter and richer attack with more "read-able" higher harmonics. Of course there are lot's more great string choices out there these days (30 years later) and I encourage experimentation but I've always found Rotosounds for me, suit that old familiar classic rock sound to a tee. Oh, and yes, if you want to replicate that old Entwistle sound, you'll need frets. A big part of his familiar classic sound is based on striking those Roto's against the upper frets with his right hand fingers, a lot like a drummer strikes the rim of his snare for each "rim shot" attack. However. I also believe that Jaco used the same sort of strings on his '62 fretless Jazz, so that might give you more of an idea of what the potential could be and what you could be be getting into (sonically) with your bass.
  19. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    Alright, just so there is no more confusion and to prove KPAX is entirely clueless, from Rotosound:

    "RS66's have always been stainless right from the start. We never made nickel strings until the mid 1980's.
    Hope this helps !
    Jason C.How"
  20. Fretless Jazz? Hmm......Maybe, maybe not.
    Want something that will work for sure? P bass, and any old roundwound strings will do just fine. Yeah, I said it. I'll say it again: P bass.