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Geddy Lee since "Counterparts"

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Eyesee7, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. Eyesee7


    Jul 17, 2005
    After the AOR of "Presto" and "Roll the Bones", Rush returned to a harder-rocking sound with "Counterparts." However, Geddy introduced a "flamenco" style of playing which he continued through subsequent albums "Test for Echo", "Vapor Trails" and "Snakes and Arrows."

    I don't like most of his bass playing on these albums. It sounds like a constant flurry of notes. I'm not even sure what he's playing half the time since he now has a muddy tone which blends with Alex's guitar on lower-register riffs. And the crappy production doesn't help either.

    While I like some of the overall songs on these albums, I'm not hearing many bass parts that make me go "wow!", like the old days. Geddy used to construct some killer lines that were like an additional melody playing beneath the vocal melody, a la Paul McCartney. "Closer to the Heart" is a great example. The bass is very distinct in the mix, and there is space between the notes. Now much of what he does today sounds like a machine-gun barrage of sludge.

    Your thoughts?
    Squirey likes this.
  2. RexNFX79


    Jan 12, 2009
    Well put. I think his style on the earlier albums is definitely more appealing to me personally but it's really hard for me to criticize such an awesome musician. I do like some of the later stuff but not as much.
    Squirey likes this.
  3. southernrocker

    southernrocker Banned

    Apr 4, 2009
    I like it. I really like all of it from 74-today. There isn't such a "wow" factor, like you said, but to me it just sounds good. I particularly liked the new instrumental stuff on Snakes and Arrows.

    Vital signs isn't an album, maybe you're thinking of vapor trails.;)
  4. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    A better set of speakers maybe?:)

    I can hear what he`s playng without a problem. He DOES have this heavy attack, disorted tone happening but it sounds just fine to me. But yeah, it`s far from clean and hi-fi.
  5. Eyesee7


    Jul 17, 2005
    Corrected, not the first time my brain has crossed the song with the album.

    Yeah, the instrumentals on the past few albums have featured more defined bass work from him.

    Even thinking of something like "Speed of Love" from Counterparts. It's a slow song but he plays this stuttering, unnecessarily-busy bass line beneath the verses that sounds like it doesn't belong. Sounds like the song needed a treatment like "Madrigal." Just my opinion of course.;)
  6. Eyesee7


    Jul 17, 2005
    Maybe it's just a case of my wishing for him to return to a clean, hi-fi tone and playing approach then.
  7. Fliptrique


    Jul 22, 2002
    Szczecin, Poland
    Endorsing Artist: Mayones Guitars&Basses
    Yeah, it`s everything but clean and shiny.

    Vapour Trails had some really cool, melodic lines on it. I really dig that album, althrough the loudness wars took it`s tool :/
  8. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I have noticed the change, but honestly, aside from Snakes and Arrows, I quit buying Rush albums after Power Windows. And, when I do break out some Rush, it's usually Hemisphere's, Farewell to King's, or Permanent Waves.
  9. southernrocker

    southernrocker Banned

    Apr 4, 2009
    Vapor trails is underrated. I wish that they will remaster it and make it quieter.
    Squirey likes this.
  10. Eyesee7


    Jul 17, 2005
    Two of the songs have already been remastered (or maybe just remixed) for the recent "Retrospective 3" album, which is a greatest hits package featuring tunes from "Presto" through the present. I haven't heard 'em so can't comment though.
  11. unclejane

    unclejane Guest

    Jul 23, 2008
    I guess you can't keep doing the same thing forever, but...

    I dislike his current sound the most out of all the different tones he's used, too distorted with too much scoop. In fact my favorite GL sound was when he was playing the Wal, the clean poppy sound without a lot of bottom end. He's reported that sound as the one he liked the least tho.

    I havn't been able to get into the kind of Cream direction Rush has gone in over the last few albums either and havn't listened to them that much since Test for Echo. The most recent stuff sounds a little like a garage cover band to me. Very disappointing....

    But they're still one of my all-time favorite bands and GL still is my biggest influence...

  12. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    My favorite tone is the Wal too, but since I downloaded the isolated bass tracks from Moving Pictures, that is up there too. Funny how alot of MP's was the Jazz he plays today and how different it sounds (especially live) Im not the biggest fan of the flamenco thing either but I dont hate it. Live he needs to lose the sansamp and go with some real speakers and tube amps (he has roadies, make them move a mountain of gear)

    I pretty much like all of Rush's stuff, there are things to like in every song (IMHO) but you are right, I like the distinct melodic bassline with no flamenco and no double stops.
  13. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    Apart from his killer bass lines, the 2 factors which made Geddy sound SO good, were the Rickenbacker 4001 (punchy, growly and clear), and Terry Brown (a true production master). Everything from Rush since, has not sounded very good at all. A lot of the songs are great, but they suffer from bad sound.
    Counterparts is the exception (apart from that bloody Jazz bass LOL!!). Good production IMHO.
    Alex has gone back to his Gibsons, maybe Ged should think about a return for the Ricky (I'm not talking about that crappy 'Passage To Bangkok' live effort either!!).... or maybe give Terry Brown a call.... just a thought.
  14. Nighthawk551


    Jan 3, 2007
    Sweetwater Sound
    Amen. I love that album. It's actually probably my second favorite Rush album after Signals.

    Anyways, Geddy does need to lay off the distortion. I find it really hard to distinguish the bass on Snakes and Arrows. It seems lately that you can only hear his basslines on live recordings. I have found the "loudness war" has taken its toll on the ability to hear bass in any heavy-sounding recording. John Myung, anyone?
  15. Hizzoner


    Jan 6, 2005
    Chicago area
    My favorite Geddy tone is probably on "Exit Stage Left" ..but..

    I am happy with Geddy's tone and Snakes and Arrows as an album...I like the darker jazz sound and hear it just fine...although it is an evolution IMO..his tone was always overdriven in the early days, as it is now(the wal was clear and bright but I seem to remember live he could get some od through his rig back in the mid-late 80's)..love his Rick sound way back when and love his jazz as well...

    I think most of his bass work is still very admirable..love the arpeggiated stuff on armor and sword...it serves the songs well..

    Reading Neil Peart's books gives a good insight into the evolution of the band's songwriting efforts over the years..I think they are all more mindful of contributing to the foundation of a song and good songwriting in general than being too experimental and showing off their amazing chops...nothing will ever replicate that era from say '78-81 when they hit one pinnacle....but anyone who saw them on the last tour would probably agree their performances were as good as they come..not bad for old timers...a different pinnacle

  16. dotcomee


    Nov 13, 2007
    Austin, TX.
    Pretty much this. Though Myung has had to deal with Petrucci who always took more than his fair share of the mix. He's never had the forefront like Geddy had years ago. Alex's sound never really took up much space in the mix until around Counterparts. After that, Geddy has kind of taken more of a back seat.

    Listen to a track off Snakes and Arrows then listen to a track off Signals - the biggest difference is Alex's tone and how much space he eats up in the mix (at least imo).
  17. southernrocker

    southernrocker Banned

    Apr 4, 2009
    I've heard them and they are better. Now for the rest of 'em!
  18. The "muddy tone" was more of a Test For Echo thing, seeing as half the album was drop D.
  19. Bruins29


    Jun 7, 2009
    I Agree 100%. The Wal era was by far his best. His tone has changed and as mentioned so has his playing and it is not for the better IMO. Perhaps he has tendonitis or whatever and had to change his technique. Regardless of the tone and the technique, after the excellent Counterparts the albums have been progressively going down hill. T4E was ok. I thought VT was marginal at best and I hate S&A...although the tour was fun. I really thought that they could have put forth a much better album with 5 years to prepare. I thought Geddy's playing on it was basic and boring. My Favorite Headache was lightyears better song and chops wise.

    I feel the same exact way unclejane. Its extremely disappointing when your favorite band puts out an album which is so uninteresting. I see Rush fans who proclaim every new album as their best and I want to laugh. Give me "Hold Your Fire" any day over the last 3 albums. That is bass playing and tone. Hopefully their next album (next year I think) will go in a different direction.
  20. southernrocker

    southernrocker Banned

    Apr 4, 2009
    For me, the best album was Power windows. If someone asked me for good bass I'd say Hold your Fire. I think the new rush is good music, even though it may not be the most technically challenging.

    I would love to see him bring out the Wal on Rush's next tour!

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