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EQ-ing for Disco/70's style pop

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by HunsBassist, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. HunsBassist


    Oct 3, 2004
    Orlando, FL
    Hey everyone! Been a few years since I've been on here, and I've decided that it's high time I rejoined the community.

    I've been playing for a good while but I've never been too knowledgeable about EQ. I could spend hours experimenting to figure this out, or I could just ask you guys.

    Most of the stuff I play is pretty driving rock, and a nice ballsy rattly tone serves me well, but there are a few songs that my band has come up with that are very influenced by Disco/70's Pop stylings. I know very well the standard sound, but I'm not entirely sure how to EQ it to capture that sound.

    I'm not asking for specific dial settings, just a point in the right direction of what to bring out/take out to get closer to the sound.

    If you want an example of the sound I'm looking for, the first one off the top of my head is Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder.

    Whether you have an answer or not, replies appreciated :-D

  2. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    For that sound, I'd eliminate too high treble frequencies, i.e. above 4 khz, and boost the treble/mids between 1 and 3 kHz. This gives me that fat, lo-fi vintage treble that cuts through.

    However, that's me only. You might need to do something different. Maybe it doesn't even have anything to do with the eq. Have you tried putting a small sponge under the strings next to the bridge (à la Jamerson)? That would give a slightly faster decay and more attack, IMO perfect for "I Wish".

    Then of course the bass and plucking position matters a lot. Play around until you find a sound you're satisfied with.
  3. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    A lot of the 70's disco sound came from P basses or 70's J basses. That's not an EQ thing, it's a pickup placement thing, and you can't really EQ that.
  4. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    IMO & recollection-
    '70s-style Disco bass was more 'out front'/hot-in-the-mix than Jamerson/bridge sponge.
    I do recall 'diming' the volume & tone knobs on my basses; I used either groundwound or roundwound strings...the amp settings were pretty simple, too. Bass = 10, Middle = 10, Treble = 6-10 (depending on the age of the strings). This seemed to work for me in a live band setting, I don't recall too much mush...

    What you suggest for "I Wish" is OK...it's a synthy bass line ala Stevie in that it is kinda 'choppy'/staccato (for some reason, my hands have been able to get that vibe...usually too much that it creeps into everything else I do).
    Anyway, I haven't tried "I Wish" with a foam mute. I have tried it, for Ss & Gs, up an octave with an EBS Octabass pedal. Interesting.
  5. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    You're probably right. I'm not using a foam very much either and I get the right vibe for I Wish without it too. Just thought that it could work well for this song. :)

    In the end, I don't see how the sound matters that much. Once I've dialed in a sound I like on a gig, I stick to that for all songs. The 70's vibe or whatever you're (OP) trying to achieve comes more from your hands than your bass / amp settings, as long as you're not having an overly modern trebly sound. It should be a bit lo-fi... :)

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