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Geddy's Tone

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Ayliffe, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Ayliffe


    May 8, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Anyone care to eq that for me? :p


  2. tempo2112


    Jun 27, 2006
    Wirral, UK
    Which Geddy tone?
    Rick on Permanent Waves/Hemispheres..
    Jazz on Moving Pictures/Signals...
    Wal on Power Windows/Roll the Bones...

    They are all different, yet obviously Geddy.
  3. Ayliffe


    May 8, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    his live tone on R30
  4. PhilRitter21


    Apr 23, 2007
    Toledo Ohio
    I 2nd that. Ive never been able to nail it down.
  5. Ayliffe


    May 8, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
  6. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Well, Geddy`s tone nowadays is a mix of clean signal (thru an Avalon U5 preamp), direct signal, and "dirty signal" (thru a Sansamp RBI). He gets different levels of each one that varies depending on the song or even within the same song.
    He`s also using in-ear monitors.

    However, the main factor to achieve that tone is in fingers. His agressive fingerstlye technique and flamenco type attack is the key.
  7. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Yep, you can't stress that enough. Buy everything under the sun, but if you don't get the right hand technique, it isn't gonna happen. He uses his nails a lot.

    That said, a dual single coil bass ala a Jazz or anything with the blendable pickups is a big help. I get the Snakes and Arrows sound with my G&L JB-2 and a Sansamp BDDI and fingernails.

  8. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Yep, I'd his tone is more in the gear he uses (which is very specific, you could say) combined with the way he plays. Not something you can just get a EQ cure-all for, I don't think! Shame, as he has an awesome tone!
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't think the gear has that much to do with it. Geddy has always sounded basically the same to me no matter what bass he's playing. Maybe a little more top end with the Rics, but that's about it.
    TN WOODMAN and scourgeofgod like this.
  10. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Listen to the sound of him playing Peter Collin's Wal on power Windows and tell me that sounds the same as the distorted Ric on The Analogue Kid. Then try and tell me that sounds like the jazz bass he used to record Counterparts with...
  11. Neener

    Neener Grumpy Old Dog

    Feb 25, 2007
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Please don't crucify me but I really don't care for his tone at all on practically anything Rush has done. Don't get me wrong, he's one of - if not my - favorite bass players. I know he's forgotten more about playing bass than I'll ever know. I could listen to him play all day. But he's got too much mids/high mids for my taste. I just wish he liked a little more bottom.

    I'll go hide in the corner now. :bag:
  12. origami


    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS
    i flatter myself to think that i can barely somewhat get close to his general tone without owning the exact gear to do it. here are my sugestions...

    i found that a blendable od/dist helps mimic the old 2 amp set up (one rig per pick-up), and it also helps to get closer to tonewise to the new sansamp/avalon set up, also try EQ- boost @1.5-2.5K seems to help, maybe a little @300-500Hz too. have the bridge pick-up a little more louder than the neck.

    technique is critical, finger pick a bit heavy handed, but not steve harris hard. do the flutter picking thing for the newer records. new roundwounds a gage smaller seem to help too.

    i have a geddy jazz bass, but the closest i ever got to nailing any of his his tone(s) was on a G&L L2000, that could really get his Wal tone on it. it could do the 'show of hands' sound dead on.

    the fender geddy bass gets closer to his 'ampless' tone since counterparts (but some of counterparts was with an ampeg too). sadly, i'm not too into his live tone with the jazz bass or when he used the steinburger. i loved the ric and wal. the red wal was !!!!!

    his ric tone is a bit more elusive to get without the ric and stero set up. a tube amp getting slammed input wise usually does the trick. hemispheres has the best tone i think.
  13. In one interview, GL said his live tone is a mix of three signals like Papersen mentioned. 1)Avalon U5 preamp 2)Sansamp RBI 3)Palmer speaker simunlator

    Apparently he has a guy constantly adjusting the mix of the three signals for each song and within some songs. GL also uses a 1972 Jazz bass that may have been modified before he bought it.

    The part about the tone also coming from his fingers is also true but speaking as a someone who spent three years learning and playing nothing but Rush and Led Zeppelin; don't do it. I had to spend another three years trying to find my own tone that sounds better for R&B, funk, jazz, classic rock etc.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Naturally if you add distortion to a bass it's going to sound different than a clean one. Do they all sound identical? Of course not. But they all sound like Geddy playing them.
  15. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Well yeah, thats a given. Kinda like when that video of Victor Wooten playing a hollowbody came out. It sounded nothing like his Fodera, but we all knew it was Vic playing it just by listening to the music!
  16. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Way to contribute!

  17. skb5string

    skb5string Supporting Member

    Jun 3, 2007
    Clinton Township, MI
    Yep. Sansamp RBI for grit, Avalon U5 for clean AND very important 2 Palmer Speaker Simulators Plus a very mojo 72 jazz. Another thing he does is use Trace Elliot Valve stuff to run as 15 or 18 cab back stage, it might even be mic'd. His signal chain really is not that complex, no pedals or anything of that nature, but his bass, technique, and combination of preamps is how he does it.
  18. All his gear is listed in the latest Bass Player magazine. He's got the cover story. It might even be on the BP website.
  19. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Sort of.

    The chain is actually pretty complex. This is being covered in the Bassists forum right now too, but I'll reiterate here what has been printed in the last few Rush tour booklets and in interviews and so on and so forth for years now: His signal is split into three parts. One goes into an Avalon U5, one goes into a Sansamp RBI (Sansamp RPM as of the latest tour), one goes into a Trace Elliot Quatravalve. From the Quatravalve the amplified signal goes into an original Palmer speaker simulator, which simulates a speaker load and makes it so there doesn't have to be a cab mic'd up. All three signals go to the board and the sound guy uses the Trace/Palmer signal for the bottom end and then blends between the Avalan and Sansamp signals for the top end depending on how much grit the song in question is calling for.

    http://www.bassplayer.tv has an interview with his tech up right now where he explains all of this (except the mixing stuff) and shows shots of Geddy's rack.

    Most of Geddy's sound is in the hands. You could probably come pretty close to duplicating it by copping his right hand technique and getting a tube amp and playing with settings.
  20. notdavey


    Nov 2, 2006
    Seattle WA
    I was gonna suggest the Bass Player issue as well (side note of self promotion - I am on page 28).

    I have to agree with some earlier posters - a lot of Geddy's tone is Geddy - his hands and technique. Same with most great like Jaco, Pino, Rocco, Clarke etc. It starts with the man (or woman) and the gear is 2nd. My 2 cents.

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