Give me some song examples of classic SVT tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by boristhespider7, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    Don't flame me for this (ducks behind wall) but what is the classic SVT tone?

    This side of the pond i rarely see Ampeg's...loads of Ashdowns, some Trace, bit of Hartke, some Peavey but rarely ever Ampeg's, unless its well known stadium bands. So i've never had chance to try one and hear the sound for myself.

    What recorded tracks would give me a good idea of the SVT tone? (I'm aware of the B15 tone from all the motown, stax tracks etc but not sure about SVT)
  2. cerrem


    Apr 4, 2006
    San Diego
    Probably old Van Halen recording of Michael Anthony..the first 3 albums has really good SVT with 8x10 sound...
    Old AC/DC records used old SVT's but not really brought up in the mix to well..
    Old Aerosmith recording of Tom Hamilton...Toys in the Attic...ect
    Some of the older Bryan Adams stuff like "Cuts like a Knife"..
    Problem is that some of the CD's sound supper thin on the bass and not as meaty as the vinyl or reel-2-reel ....
  3. wolfkeller

    wolfkeller Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    Mike's tone on the first VH albums, killer.
    funkytoe likes this.
  4. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    The sound you have in your head when you think rock bass probably came from an Ampeg.
  5. 10cc

    10cc Inactive

    Oct 28, 2013
  6. CatSquare


    Mar 7, 2014
    Krist Novoselic used a SVT on Nirvana's Nevermind, there's a bunch of isolated bass tracks out there for that record, but you can hear it pretty clearly on a lot of songs (especially the verse part of Smells Like Teen Spirit)
  7. sprag


    Sep 15, 2011
    Melb Australia
    A lot of early QOTSA is p bass and svt
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Tom always used a B-15 running direct and mic'ed back in those days. But on the other hand, the sounds he got were gettable on an SVT, too, so it's all good.

    To answer the original question, there really is no one typical SVT sound. The sounds people get with them are as different as each player. Take 3 random about Duck Dunn, Cliff Williams of AC/DC, and Dave Hope of Kansas. Neither of them sound the same as each other, but all used Precisions with SVT's and got classic tones.
  9. cerrem


    Apr 4, 2006
    San Diego
    Hey JimmyM.... Thanks for the info... I had no idea he used the B-15 to record....that is a great amp used by many artist .... I can see how there could be similarities...
    I mis-lead myself on that since I seen Aerosmith many moons ago and seen Tom Hamilton with an SVT on stage... I should know better than to assume his recording rig would be the same..
    Roberto Nunez and JimmyM like this.
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Well like I said, the SVT was just an attempt to get B-15-ish tones in a 300w amp anyway, so aside from a little more brightness and a whole lot of volume, they definitely are the same sound family.
    Seth Miller and Roberto Nunez like this.
  11. boristhespider7


    Jan 27, 2008
    You are probably right...although most of the stuff i know of and like was done by a B15 or a Hiwatt, but JimmyM that's useful to know that there is a close similarity

    So there's no particular voicing to the SVT? I used to own a sansamp BDDI which everyone said had an SVT voicing. Thing was scooped liked crazy and had a horrible fizz...hated it and got rid of it and sounded nothing like the valve tone i had in my head. [I digress]...but the SVT isn't particularly scooped?

    Is there a particularly dirty SVT with P bass tone on record?
  12. P-oddz


    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    Listen with good headphones and pull off/out your left earphone.

  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Most bassists would use the B-15 if they wanted dirty tones back in the day because it was quieter and easier to deal with, but Juan Alderete of the Mars Volta used one for his dirty tones in the studio and would crank it pretty good. He often had other pedals too, but a lot of his stuff is just turned up SVT.

    As for the Sansamp, that is someone who works for Tech 21's ideas of what SVT sounds would appeal to your average home player who likes a lot of mid scoop, and while they are capable of those tones, they're certainly not representative of the range of tones you can get with them.
    TAZ likes this.
  14. When I think/read/hear the phrase SVT.... I think about Mr. Allen Woody.

  15. funkytoe

    funkytoe In Memoriam

    Jan 17, 2008
    Northern California
    I'm not sure "Ampeg" tone is that unique these days. There are lots of amp companies and dozens of pedal manufacturers who have studied it and attempted to reproduce it in their products. But, at least to me, "Ampeg tone" describes the sound of a great tube head with big, heavy transformers, that you can push into an overdriven sound without losing the bottom end. You can get there with other tube amps as well - Marshall - HiWatt - Sunn - Sound City. But, with the exception of Sunn, those are generally thought of as guitar amps. Ampeg is the gold standard when it comes to getting that same sound from a bass amp. At least it is imo/ime

    Ironically, when I was thinking about the perfect recording of what I consider to be "Ampeg tone" the first thing that came to mind was the Roger Glover's intro bass on Smoke on the Water. Then, I recalled that I had read somewhere that Glover used a Marshall. So, there you have it. My favorite recorded "Ampeg tone" may have come from a Marshall. Does not detract 1% from what I said above. Ampeg is the gold standard. If you have gigs that require (allow) that type of volume, there is nothing better than an SVT with an 8x10 fridge (or two)!
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  16. Live Kiss 1973 first show in Queens NYC

  17. dnp41


    May 10, 2016
    Not really a dirty tone, but somewhat classic p bass + pick + svt

    Jason Schulhz likes this.
  18. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    Sorry, I have a hard time believing that a conversion to digital format lost any audio information that wasn't on a vinyl or reel-to reel(I'd like to know who owns enough reel tracks to even make this comparison. These formats are archaic (as are most of their audio players) so it's conceivable that because of the era and format that the records are on that there was a lack of high end naturally, but certainly not a lack of low end thereof.

    OP, most records today are so highly processed it's not worth the effort to try and identify "svt tone" for accuracy purposes. Every single record I've tried to identify the bass tone on since 1995 has been screwed because the producer decided to run the tone through something else, instead of straight up. It's unfortunate, but does leave us with reduced quality, reduced low-end recordings of old. Not that it's bad because they have their own aura and appeal, just not great for identifying purposes.
  19. pbass888

    pbass888 Up the Irons! Westham United FC

    Jul 8, 2009
    Jerry Jemott
    Fender jazz
    Gaarondawson and Linnin like this.
  20. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Inactive Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    I will be attacked for saying this.... but I think the notion of the "SVT Tone" is a bit of a myth. Most of the recordings cited thus far were more influenced by the recording engineer than the bassists amp (if he even used an amp in the studio).

    And yes, I've used and SVT - on several occasions.

    What makes (made?) the SVT superior in its day was that it was as clear as other contemporary amps (Sunn and Acoustic) but had the capacity to be very loud when paired with its traditional 8x10 cab.

    Today? Well, they are still loud an still sound just fine, but many companies offer amp rigs that are as loud or louder and sound very good.

    Based on my experience, I'd say that the thing that might make the "tone" of an SVT is a bit of a low-mid bump that gives notes a nice bark. Very useful for rock and roll.
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