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Hey guys! Trying to nail a B-52’s tone.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Pillorygem, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Pillorygem


    Jan 9, 2019
    Good evening!

    I’m trying to nail the tone in “Dance This Mess Around” by The B-52’s.

    It’s super thudy but still very tight.

    I’ve got a Jazz Bass, and I’m told the bassist used a J-Bass as well. I’m running into an Ampeg Ba-110.

    Is it possible to get this sound? What’s missing?

    Thank you so much for the help!
    Turbo Sparky and Jimmy4string like this.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    That sound is technique more than gear. Palm mute and pick hard.
  3. Pillorygem


    Jan 9, 2019
    Oh boy. I feel silly. That sure did help a lot!
    hintz, TheDominoKid and lz4005 like this.
  4. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Glad to lend a hand.

    It's a great tone to have in your bag of tricks.

    If you listen closely there's a part about 3/4 of the way through where they mute with less pressure and you can hear more of a normal roundwound sound sneak through. That's why I think it's palm rather than foam.
    Happy Face, hintz and Jimmy4string like this.
  5. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Hate to break it to you all, but the bass is Kate Pierson's keyboard, which was a Farfisa Compact Deluxe organ. Only in the late-80's "Love Shack" era when Kate quit playing keyboards onstage did they have a bass player.
  6. Pillorygem


    Jan 9, 2019

    Whoa. Seriously? That Farfisa has some MEAN bass then. I tried looking up a video of someone playing bass notes on it but couldn’t really find it. I’ve got a Moog Sub37 I can use to get that sound if it’s really a keyboard. I’m just not as good at playing keys.

    Thank you for the info! [:
    rashrader and JimmyM like this.
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The Moog would work, but if it were me, I'd just play bass on it with a fairly dark sound. Tracy Wormworth kicks ass on it when she plays it.
    Jimmy4string and Pillorygem like this.
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    This vid was the best I could find in a short search. Honestly, the bass sound of it is nothing special. Sounds pretty much like any organ's bass notes. What gives it that tightness is Keith Strickland hitting the bass drum with each bass note.

  9. Pillorygem


    Jan 9, 2019

    Thanks a million, Jimmy! You’ve helped a ton! :)
    hintz and JimmyM like this.
  10. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    Yep,keyboard bass. Thought that was common knowledge by now.
  11. LordRyan


    Dec 9, 2012
    Kate Pierson did play a Farfisa in the B-52's early days but she played the Bass on a Korg SB-100 Synthe Bass which sat on top of the Farfisa. She also played Bass guitar on some songs in early live shows.

    The keyboard setup can be seen in this video from 1978. "Dance This Mess Around" is included here.

  12. Turbo Sparky

    Turbo Sparky Supporting Member

    May 14, 2018
    South Eastern U.S.
    When the '52's were GREAT!
    ...they're still good now though. ;)
    Artman likes this.
  13. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Yeah, I saw the 52’s many times in the late 70’s through mid 80’s, no bass player. Just Kate on the Farfisa. My favorite tone was the twangy riff in Rock Lobster, which was just a guitar drop tuned AFAIK. You can get close to that tone with Ric, or a Fender Bass VI.
  14. Chrisk-K


    Jan 20, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    Kate played synth bass on that song. In fact, she played keyboard bass on the entire album.
  15. ..and then, the noble (and very awesome) Sara Lee took the helm for the studio stuff (Love Shack, Roam and all those tunes)!
    BeauZooka and JimmyM like this.
  16. tgriley62


    Jan 25, 2011
    S.E. Mo
    You will need 8 of these to get a B-52's tone & a crap load of ear plugs

  17. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    Assumption is that you are doing this to perform. If you're just working it out for your own personal desire, do whatever makes you happy.

    Unless you're doing a tribute band or have a very picky BL, "close enough" on the electric bass is perfectly fine. I wouldn't drag around an instrument just for one song in a playlist. If I had other uses for a synth bass, then I'd consider complicating my life, but if it's just for one song n a cover band, nah. Unless of course you just love schlepping gear....
    JimmyM likes this.
  18. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I thought the Korg came later, but I guess not. Now the question is did they record the first album with the Korg or not?
  19. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    That's a blast from the past … I had Farfisa compact in the late 60's, was amazing piece for the time, little arm stuck down and you controlled the volume with your right thigh/knee … thanks for the reminder ;)
  20. Iofflight

    Iofflight Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2018
    They were never the same after the death of Ricky Wilson. Understandable really he was a very unique guitar player, quite underrated really, and I think it just sucked the heart out of a few of the members primarily Cindy and Keith.
    Turbo Sparky and sears like this.

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