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Gene Simmons Said “any equipment will do and will get the job done”

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ron Berenato, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. In my search for the holy grail of tone . . I finally figured it out. I had planned on buying a new W800 because I’ve always loved the deep tone of Mesa products. When I heard they’d been bought out I panicked and thought I’d better get one now before Gibson discontinues or ruins them. Since I’m not in a working band and haven’t been in 20 years . . I did some self reflection and realized a few things.

    First, I was brought up on Peavey products. A 1977 TNT 100 (which I still have) and then a Mark IV with a 215 cab. Great tone through all my early heavy metal and hard rock years. The Mark IV had plenty of headroom (at 300W) and kept up with all manner of 100W Marshal stacks. Playing with a pick helped a lot too.

    I moved to the Megabass head and a 18210 cab. I got rave reviews from soundmen on my tone quite often. I then traded the 18210 for two 410 cabs (still all Peavey).

    Then I graduated to a Mesa Boogie 400+ with a Powerhouse Jr cab. Easy configuration with few nobs to fuss with during a set. Nobody could tell the difference. It was a considerable expense to upgrade to the Mesa Boogie and to not have a dramatic increase of tonal bliss. So after this long winded summation I’ve come to the conclusion that when the day comes that I meet some people that I want to play with I can go to any music store or Craigslist and get gear that will do what I want it to do. The tone I want is not rocket science and I know how to replicate it reasonably on whatever equipment I have on hand.

    So my gear anxiety is over.
    chaosMK, BadJazz, retslock and 55 others like this.
  2. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    IME this is it. Right hand technique, married with appropriate SPL and clarity, make for the minimum requirements.

    There is no denying that in some scenarios specific tones add to the total picture. For example if you're playing Rush covers, a classic thuddy P-tone might not be best. Playing mellow folk likely wont work with a cranked Big Muff.

    But for the moat part I sound like me no matter what is downstream from my instrument. As long as myself and bandmates hear everything we're doing I consider it a win.

    Glorious tone is icing. A sharp-looking suit. A sexy paint job. Great to have but not usually the priority for the music to work.
    danster, retslock, MattZilla and 22 others like this.
  3. Welcome to the club.

    Took a few decades for me to figure that out (never said I was quick LOL). But when I finally got there, it's been a relief ever since.

    But I went thru what you went through, too. Same as many folk in here are still going through. Ain't no thing, it's a growing process.

    As @basscooker mentioned, there might be some projects that require a more specific type sound, but that can be addressed when it happens.
    spvmhc, Peter Weil, JRA and 1 other person like this.
  4. jeff7bass


    Apr 9, 2009
    I'm not a very technical player but I can make my little Hartke HD25 sound good because I articulate the instrument well. Probably because I started on classical guitar. My teacher had me start on classical saying "if you make it sound good, you'll make other guitars/basses sound good". All that being said I have had amps that sound better than others.
  5. Thanks. From everything I've been reading recently, I could get a GK head . . or maybe the new Mesa TT800 . . or that P15 tube preamp or . . the Geddy Lee Sansamp . . or the Steve Harris pedal . . or

    I'll probably go buy something used that I can get cheap and will be happy with it.
  6. Took me a while to figure it out, too.

    Past a certain point, the real weak link of the tools you're using, is the tool that's using them. ;)

    I fish now using a spool of line screwed onto a stick, made a couple hooks out of pop can tabs, too.
  7. Basslice

    Basslice Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Western Massachusetts
    Maybe Gene's comment in your title applies to good gear - as in, all good gear sounds good, but at the lower end there is a huge difference. I have an old solid-state Spectra amp that I think sounds like poop - at any sound level.
    Kevorargh, BOOG, SunnBass and 10 others like this.
  8. He probably was. In the article I read he was talking about people who were too fascinated with the latest greatest gear and that he didn't like basses where one horn was longer than the other (like a P bass). Then he went on to say that he sells his signature bass for $1800.00. Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 1.06.20 PM.png
    dkelley, Pauly 4001 and DrMole like this.
  9. daveyo


    Nov 6, 2013
    Gene Simmons was probably worried about saving money, hahaha
    I’m sure he gets his gear for free too
    rodl2005 likes this.
  10. Lesfunk

    Lesfunk Supporting Member

    Gene probably wasn’t worried about his gear too much but the guys who played bass on his albums did
    chaosMK, Arthur U. Poon, JRA and 36 others like this.
  11. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, aelurophile Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Yeah, I spent too much time and money building a hi-fi biamped rig in the 80s before discovering in the studio that the tone was in my fingers all along. (The engineer pointed my rig into a baffle and took DI straight from the bass and never used anything from my rig at all... and I liked the sound!) I always went DI on stage anyway, and the rig was overkill (we had good mons). So... I parted it all out, and now I've got a micro head and a 1x12. It gets plenty loud in the rehearsal studio, and the 2lb. head works great as a DI without a cab when I can get away with it.
    dougjwray, getbent, BazzaBass and 3 others like this.
  12. sonojono

    sonojono Supporting Member

    The idea of selling 3 Basses for 1 bass has been rewarding in itself :)
    Luther, BazzaBass and nuage420b like this.
  13. Laurent


    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    You are totally right. I came to the same conclusion after playing through a mountain of different gear. I still play through a variety of amps and cabs ranging from really high end to middle of the road and I kinda sound like myself regardless of the gear. It's always fun to figure out gear I don't know and how to milk good tone/music out of it.

    I would not be afraid of Gibson acquiring Mesa Boogie. Gibson has done some questionable move under their previous management/ownership but they are currently owned and manage by good people and people with background in music. There's a tendency to classify every large company and private equity firm as evil but it's not always warranted.
  14. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Good outcome! With all the money you'll save on gear you can afford to by different gear.

    HolmeBass, pcake and el murdoque like this.
  15. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Simmons probably has no pedals, he's a minimalist, like me!
  16. cxcxcx


    Mar 8, 2019
    Last time I saw a rig rundown, Gene had a compressor pedal, delay, and some Sansamp things. For the first time in his entire career I thought he sounded pretty good on that Dubai thing they just did. Totally sounds like a Sansamp, and in this rare case I dug it.
  17. Bikeguy57

    Bikeguy57 Supporting Member

    The player is the weak link in MY signal chain.
  18. yup. I was on a tour in 2019 where I carried a rack w/ RBI=>QSC power amp, and the other bassists all had fancy amps. ranging from Mesa, Ampeg, Orange, all going through the same cabinet.
    And really, listening to this stuff night after night, the difference in bass tone was really not noticeable since we were all going direct to the FOH. I was able to stand out by using new strings and lowering the bass knob.
    So many of those dudes are sooooo muddy because they crank the bass knob.
    I like to be articulate most of the time.
    shoot-r, DTRN, danielnorris and 2 others like this.
  19. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan

    Jun 14, 2014
    Midland, TX
    Salesmen all over are now cursing your name.
    BOOG, SwitchGear, EdO. and 2 others like this.
  20. drumvsbass


    Aug 20, 2011
    Having been doomed on many occasion to festival backline, one gets used to trying to make a David Eden sound like an Ampeg. Or vice versa. There are only a few notable amps that were ever rough for me to get any workable tone out of. And honestly, unless it's your super duper solo bass show, no one cares about what the bass tone is, as long as it has enough bottom.
  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.

    Jan 25, 2021

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