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Guess Who's "American Woman" tone

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by toneseeker74, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. toneseeker74


    Sep 26, 2013
    I love the tone of the bass in The Guess Who's "American Woman." Any idea what gear was used to get this tone?
  2. tbirdsp


    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
    P with flats and a tube amp?

  3. MrBEAR

    MrBEAR In Memoriam

    Jazz bass with flats anbd a Garnett tube amp.
    Back in the day I met him at the factory in Winnipeg and asked.
  4. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Not sure what instrument was used for bass for that song. But what's used in the studio is not always what is played live. See the pic below.

    Randy used a device called a Herzog for guitar on that song which as made by a company in Winnipeg called Garnet. The amp was basically a tube based Fender Champ with a load resistor in place of the speaker. It' s a creamy, super saturated overdriven signal. A simple circuit allowed them to tap off a line level signal that was fed into another amp. The schematics for the Herzog are available here. Garnet still sells the Herzog through their web site. There have been imitations made as well. Tech21 makes one. Groove tubes had the Speaker Emulator, a solid state something similar. My point is, they used some unorthodox gear that contributed to their sound.

    Anyway here's pic from 1970 of the band at an RCA studio where they were recording Wheatfield Soul which was released just after American Woman.
    The older Pbass had a narrower nut width. Kind of like a cross between a Jazz and the later PBasses. Below that is an older pic with Garnet gear. It's a four string but it looks like the strings are a very small diameter. Maybe made by Danelectro for Garnet? Guitar tuned down?



  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Hmm, Jim Kale said he used a Jazz? I've never seen any photos of him with anything other than a Precision, so that's very interesting. Goes to show that what's on a recording and what our preconceived ideas tell us can be quite different...

  6. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Jazz Basses record better.

  7. matti777


    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    He had some great bass lines.
  8. Randy Bachman says in his autobiography that when he was putting the band together he specifically wanted Jim Kale to be a member because at that time, Jim was the only bass player in the province who owned a Fender Precision bass.

    Every Guess Who performance that I've ever seen from back then always had Jim playing his Precision.

    Here's a lip sync version of them playing AW with Jim on his P-Bass.

  9. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    I saw the Guess Who at Blossom in '73 or '74, unfortunately I don't recall what he played.
  10. It's perfectly acceptable not to remember details from the 70's....:bag: Ah, those were the days.
  11. lomo

    lomo passionate hack Supporting Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Don't know what he played, but I love what he played and how he sounded......April Wine is another Canuck band I really dig (esp Bad Side of the Moon).
  12. matti777


    Dec 13, 2007
    Edmonton, Canada
    I was going to mention April Wine (Could Have Been a Lady) as another Canadian band that had some songs with great bass lines as well as Chilliwack and of course Rush :)
  13. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    A very wise & underdstanding person! :bassist:
  14. Definitely a Danelectro short scale bass, I had the exact same instrument (same color, too) but labelled Silvertone (Sears Roebuck) back in the early 70s. Wish I still had it :(

    A Jim Kale and Guess Who fan here, great band :cool:

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