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George Murray... gear?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by sarcastro83, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. sarcastro83


    Jul 27, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    Ahoy hoy,

    So I'm a pretty massive fan of this dude's work on Low, Heroes, Lodger & The Idiot... anyone have any idea what kind of gear he used? Visconti and Eno got some sweet sounds out of this guy in the studio.

    Not much written about him when I did a search... anyone here in the know?
    P. Aaron likes this.
  2. Bit late in replying to this. I'm a fan too, would love to know what he's up to nowadays.
    Seriously underarrated.

    Think he used a Precision most of the time, as seen here

    And something else, that I can't identify here:
  3. Coward Of Reali

    Coward Of Reali

    Oct 13, 2003
    This guys great. I've spent many nights trying to play along with his bowie records.
    I'd be really interested to know too.
  4. jamerson_fan


    Feb 17, 2008
    As a big fan of David Bowie and being a bass player myself, I'm also hungry for more info about this low-key, but IMO fantastic bassist ("Ashes to Ashes" being a prime example).

    I've seen footage of him from the 1978 "Stage" tour, where he used a P/J (J-pickup retrofitted really close to the bridge), and an Alembic.

    On the studio-recordings _my guess_ is a Jazz with the bridge pup slightly dominating...
    Does anyone know for sure what he used? (Tony Visconti produced all but one of the albums he played on so he should know at least ;)

  5. SGD Lutherie

    SGD Lutherie Banned Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2008
    Bloomfield, NJ
    Owner, SGD Music Products
    Old thread I know... That looks like a Travis Bean bass.

    Wish I knew what George was doing these days. One of my favorite players! Maybe he retired.
  6. normalized


    Jun 25, 2009
    san francisco
    I saw somewhere on the web that bowie himself has said George has pretty much dissapeared from sight. Dennis Davis has returned to playing with Roy Ayers (and I guess also was a mentor/inspiration to Sterling Campbell, Bowie's "last" drummer) and Carlos Alomar is still playing. Those 3 guys were the backbone of that sound. I think songs like "Fame", "Golden Years' even "Station to station" worked because of the chemistry of those 3. Been involved in a Bowie tribute project of late and having a ball working out some of Herbie Flowers, Gail Ann Dorsey, George Murray, Trevor Bolder and Carmne Roja's parts. Even in that elite circle George was a badass.

    I always thought George was a solid P-bass person. but apparently not....
    design and P. Aaron like this.
  7. triviani


    Oct 23, 2010
    Bump an old thread, I'm interested on this too.
  8. Count me in,too.
    Would love to find out what became of him.
    A true weaver of majick♠️
  9. armybass

    armybass Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2001
    Same here. The track that is most interesting to me is Boys Keep Swinging on Lodger. Very very modern active tone obviously with a pick by the bridge. Wonder if he got a Stingray around that time.
  10. Alexlotl


    Nov 9, 2012
    York, UK
    Boys Keep Swinging isn't Murray on bass - it's Visconti. To get a rough, young amateur sound for the song, the band swapped instruments: Alomar on drums, Murray on guitar, Davis on bass. But apparently Davis' playing was a bit too rough, so Visconti recorded his own take after the fact. If you've heard his playing on The Man Who Sold The World, it's identifiably him. No idea what gear he'd use, though.
  11. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Yep, that's definitely a Travis Bean TB-2000.
  12. jmartorella


    Jan 11, 2016
    I used to teach English at a college in Los Angeles and he was was a student of mine in about 1996-7. I had no idea he was a musician, but I am a drummer and we got talking about music. He somewhat matter of factly and reluctantly revealed that he was David Bowie's bassist, had just ended a tour and wanted to get his degree so that he could get out of the music industry. I don't know what he is doing now, but he was an especially nice guy, a very good student and seemed quite burned out on the music industry.
    design and nolaguy like this.
  13. pbass2


    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Man, I love Murray's playing on Bowie's albums. So soulful--amazing feel and vibe….and tone!
  14. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    Love his playing. So funky, but tasteful and solid. His playing reminds me a lot of Jamerson.

    The albums he played on is my favourite period of Bowie's work.

    Neat to find out about the Travis Bean. Most videos where you can catch a shot of him he's playing a Precision.
  15. According to a Google search, in 2016 George Murray was working in Los Angeles for the Alhambra Unified School District as the Director of Facilities and Transportation Services. I would love to read an interview with him. What a great rhythm section! Carlos, George & Dennis! So sad that we lost both Bowie and Dennis Davis in 2016.
  16. jerry likes this.
  17. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Whoa, George Murray toured with the musicals “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope” and “Your Arms Too Short To Box With God”?!?! I may have actually heard him play! Saw both of those shows in the early 70s.
    design likes this.
  18. dmeros


    Jan 22, 2013
    Interesting addition to this thread - I just saw an ad on Reverb.com, he's selling his 70s Rickenbacker that he played on Iggy Pop's "The Idiot" and that was used on other sessions from that time period.

    Here's the text of his ad:

    "I sell my bass Rickenbacker 4001 with which I played on the album The Idiot of Iggy Pop in Le Château in 76 ... David (Bowie) played himself on it on Funtime.

    In Le Château and in other studios, in other studios, this bass was played on many records and on stage

    The serial number is LJ1125, which means that this boss was manufactured in Oct 1972.

    This bass was bought in New York in 1973. It’s an old one, so she is heavy ! Which means that it has a big sound with deep basses, beautifully embellished by the old neck PU. The bridge PU is newer, because the original one started with time to be demagnetized.had lost trebles,

    It will be in the case.

    I have changed the normal bridger by a black Hipshot one, more accurate for the tuning. The old one will be in the case too.

    As it is an old 4001, the binding around the guitare is black and white. Not white now, because ithas yellowed with time.

    The case is the original case. As two locks were broken by someone who wanted to steal the instrument, it now closes with a belt.

    Why I sell this wonderful and historic bass? Because to make records, and especially when you want to be musical, you need money…

    The price is not high considering the age of the instrument, its glorious past and history"
    design likes this.
  19. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Good stuff here. His climb to the A 3rd in the closing is so catchy.
    consectaneus likes this.

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