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Geezer Butler's Fuzz tone...

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Unrepresented, Oct 1, 2008.


  1. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I've been going through another Black Sabbath kick, and am really digging Geezer's tone on "Hole in the Sky" off of Sabotage...

    Since the recording took place in '74/75 there's only a few likely candidates of what it was, and I trust that one of the board's native fuzz experts can be of assistance in either naming the culprit or offering a modern 'bell and whistle' alternative to achieving it's kissing cousin.

    Here's a link to the 'tube version of it, for those too lazy to bust out the vinyl and turntable....



    Gracias,

    Unrep
     
  2. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    Maine/Vermont
    sounds like fuzz through an envelope filter to me.


    Reverse the order of that. Envelope->Fuzz
     
  3. rarbass

    rarbass

    Jul 3, 2008
    From what I remember reading, it has to do with playing really loud in the studio. Not 100% sure, but I looked for a long time awhile back to find out the secret of his tone as well, and I think it has to do with peaking in the studio. Again, not 100% sure, and I'm sure if it IS that, it's not just that by itself.
     
  4. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    So, perhaps a wah, kicked back and sent into a muff?
     
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Maybe my ears are not serving me tonight, but I don't hear any effects on the bass at all, at least not that couldn't be attributed to a miked tube amp.
     
  6. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    Maine/Vermont
    Yeah.

    If you haven't heard of Sleep, they were pretty big Black Sabbath disciples, as well as being an amazing group.



    More or less the same effect as Hole In The Sky, but a lot less buried.
     
  7. Deluge Of Sound

    Deluge Of Sound Banned

    Nov 8, 2007
    Maine/Vermont
    There seems to be a real bass balls-y effect in there to my ears...

    Maybe it's just youtube, but on the first two notes of the chorus I'm looking through... I definitely hear it.
     
  8. totalimmortal08

    totalimmortal08

    Jan 21, 2008
    I think he just used a wah with a loud tube amp.
     
  9. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Yeah, sounds like wah through an overdriven tube amp. Similar to what was done for "N.I.B.", "Sign of the Southern Cross", and a few other Sabbath tracks.

    BTW, IIRC, he's using a Tycobrahe Parapedal for his wah sound. Very unique wah pedal. Chicago Iron makes replicas of them, if you're interested.
     
  10. Joe Gress

    Joe Gress

    Dec 22, 2005
    Pueblo, CO
    Wah-tube amp ala NIB.
     
  11. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Hmmm... it's breaking up to my ears a lot more than I associate with standard tube distortion.
    Maybe it's the headphones I'm listening to the track on, but the bass feels like it's pretty heavy in the mix, especially during the verses where the guitars drop down a good deal.
    I've been listening to the two tracks back to back and there are definitely some similarities, but the breakup sounds a lot heavier and bassier on "Hole in the Sky." I don't know if that's the three albums and platinum sales that caused that, but I definitely prefer the tone on Hole in the Sky. The tone in NIB seems to only be really distorted when he's clearly digging in, the HITS tone is fuzzy throughout.
     
  12. Datsgor

    Datsgor Supporting Member

    Jul 29, 2000
    California
    I believe Geezer got his distortion by turning the amp way up. It drove engineers crazy....they kept telling him "you can't do that"..and well, we know how that turned out. Another technique that was common to Geezer is his way of playing up by the neck...over it mostly...it gave his sound a very percussive attack. Also Sabbath tuned down to C# after the Paranoid album, so the strings are very easy to bend and get vibrato with. I don't know much on specific effects...other than the usual...wah.
     
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Well, Geez has stated regularly that there is no one piece of gear, or one amplification method, or one approach to distortion, or any one bass, or any unifying factor -other than himself- in his history of recordings. In fact he has made a point of saying in those early albums they chose the gear they did, and tuned/cranked/combined it the way they did because they didn't know any better.

    IOW you are probably right that the tone is different, but I wouldn't bet on a known right answer. ;)
     
  14. dannybuoy

    dannybuoy

    Aug 3, 2005
    England
    Kick your speakers in until they're trashed and turn your amp up to 11.
     
  15. Good one!
     
  16. dannybuoy

    dannybuoy

    Aug 3, 2005
    England
    No, I'm deadly serious. That's how he got his tone on the early albums!
     
  17. On the early albums he was playing through a cab with blown speakers. He couldn't afford anything better.
     
  18. dannybuoy

    dannybuoy

    Aug 3, 2005
    England
    Yet it sounded great. I get a similar tone from the ****** amp they have in this rehearsal room I use from time to time!
     
  19. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Well, short of destroying my amp to mimick his gear, what items could I invest in that would allow me to momentarily achieve this tone? To me it sounds like a low sustain fuzz with a lot of "grind."

    Clips of the Pickle Pie B come to mind, but I'm definitely not a fuzz expert.
     
  20. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I've never attributed the tone on Hole in the Sky to effects pedals.
     

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