Geezer Butler's tone on the album "Paranoid"

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by decadence, Dec 22, 2000.


  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Back in the day, some players would cut slits in their speakers to get distortion.
     
  2. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    Some guitarists maybe, but I've never heard said about bassists. I've heard it said about the Kinks, but even then the story has been garbled across different publications. I don't hear any fuzz in Geezer's tone, either way.
     
  3. Good point.
    I think on reflection the tone is a combination of the standard precision and the fact geezer plucked over the neck.
     
    Axstar likes this.
  4. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    I reckon Geezer wont have had the freshest strings on the first couple of records, and a good percentage of Talkbass users probably have more efficient and better designed amps. I think that the Paranoid album has a mix of clean DI feed and mic'd up amplifier, with the amp panned off to one channel on some cuts.

    The plucking really is the big difference. This video shows it well (even if it is a mime job).



    As a Sabbath head I love this video. That isn't the studio cut of Paranoid but a special recording made for the BBC (due to a legal ramble). Also Tony is playing his white SG Custom, rather than his usual 'Monkey' SG.
     
    grrg63 likes this.
  5. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    It is a Jaydee, albeit a fairly unusual one:

    black-sabbath-eddie-malluk-0013.jpg
     
  6. Sin Nis

    Sin Nis

    Nov 5, 2016
    You want to sound like Geezer forget what he is playing on what his amp extra is lern how to play like him he has a vary fluid stile every thing moves like running water he hits the strings hard and use to ply on the neck or right before it pluse play finger stile and use full movement of your picking hand you learn to do all that it don't mater what you play it on or through you will sound like Geezer Trust me
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  7. fretter

    fretter

    May 24, 2012
    PA
    Do the speakers in this photo say "Cord"? Are those Geezer's or Tony's?

     
    sporad and tangentmusic like this.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I have to think they're Geezer's. Tony and Geezer always set up with only their own gear on their sides of the stage. But who is Cord? I can't find a single thing about them through Google.
     
  9. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    I'm not convinced those amps belonged to the band, but were probably just the supplied backline for whatever festival or gig the band are playing at. For example the band never lugged their Laney gear into the Beat Club studios, and instead used the Orange backline supplied for the event. This started the ball rolling on the 'Black Sabbath use Orange' myth... I wonder if Orange amps are so synonymous with stoner and doom bands now because of this misattribution?

    Huh?
     
    Gunga Din and grrg63 like this.
  10. MattNY

    MattNY

    Sep 23, 2016
    Finger Lakes , NY
    Rise...dead thread...rise!

    Can anyone clarify the notion of "hitting the string hard?" Is Geezer plucking the string, so that the pads of his fingers are rolling off/through the string (traditional plucking)? Is he striking through the string with his finger tips? Is he purposefully hammering the string into the fret board? With the last approach, the strings are not really being plucked at all, but rather struck with the finger like a hammer.

    Any insight?
     
    Gunga Din likes this.
  11. b/o 402

    b/o 402

    Jul 14, 2015
    DC & MD
    A bit of both, I think.
    About 6:37 you get a fairly good look:
     
    Skybone likes this.
  12. MattNY

    MattNY

    Sep 23, 2016
    Finger Lakes , NY
    Thank you for the clip!

    It almost looks like a slap bass technique: Geezer seems to punch the string with his finger tip without punching through the string, thereby smacking the string into the fret board. I can do this and produce lots of clank, but almost too much clank. I wonder if by raising my action I can get the string to justttttt smack the fret board, so that the string just kisses the fret board. I'll try that!
     
  13. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    Another 20yo zombie thread revival, the second (?) this week!
     
  14. trailer

    trailer Thumper Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    Guntersville, Al.
    Can't slip anything past you!
     
    deernaes, MattNY and gfen like this.
  15. Gunga Din

    Gunga Din

    Jun 22, 2018
    That's true. But two 20yos in one week? Love it.

    Time to raise the Jeff Berlin ones, now.....
     
  16. Skybone

    Skybone

    Jun 20, 2016
    Scotland
    I was going to suggest that you search YouTube for "Black Sabbath Live in Paris 1970", the same show that b/o402 posted the clip from.

    If you watch closely, he's playing a P bass through Laney Amps & Cabs, but also that he's playing close to the neck.
     
  17. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    It sounds like you are on the right path.

    To my ears, Geezer was using worn out roundwounds. He was also using pretty basic Laney amps with 412 cabs. I reckon this cuts down on the clank, because the amp and cabs would be EQ'd for a very rounded tone. There is almost a cocked-wah sound to some of Geezer's playing (when he wasn't using a wah), due to this.

    I've got a good Geezer tone by playing over the last few frets. The trick is to hammer down on the strings but to then smear them up and off the strings again. This briefly hammers on a note on those upper frets. As such each note gets a brief 'wub' on the start. The real power of the note is then released when you release the strings again. Think of a spider trying to get traction on a slippery surface, and trying to grip the string for traction. This is the movement you want going on.

    Geezer was inspired by Jack Bruce and Jack Casady (from memory) but whether he saw these guys live and studied their technique is up to interpretation.

    You get a cracking shot of his right hand technique at 0:45 here:



    It is a mimed performance, but the same rules apply.
     
    gfen likes this.
  18. RichGrippo

    RichGrippo

    Sep 25, 2018
    Jonesboro, AR
    Lots of answers here, all wrong. He used an Ampeg B15N flip-top. Don’t believe me? Check out Black Sabbath - Classic Albums: Paranoid. Look at the amp behind Geezer when he is speaking. Blew my mind too.
     
  19. Axstar

    Axstar Inactive

    Jul 8, 2016
    Scotland.
    He didn't use that amp in 1970 though.
     
  20. MattNY

    MattNY

    Sep 23, 2016
    Finger Lakes , NY
    Thanks for of all the responses! The spider analogy is helpful and that is a good description how my fingers feel playing in this manner.

    Nothing wrong with resurrecting a thread when it comes to any thing Geezer related :)
     
    deernaes likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 23, 2021

Share This Page