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How can I come close to Geddy's Lee's tone?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by hitman9696, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. Ok, I don't really know if this was already talked about...

    My question is pretty simple, but the answer might not be:

    I would really like to reach close to Geddy's tone (his current live tone is amazing, saw him play this summer and wow), with the limited equipement that I have. It consists of:

    DeArmond PilotPro bass
    Hartke 3500 Head
    Hartke 4.5XL cabinet
    Boss OD-B overdrive/distortion pedal

    I just basically need advice about equilization, compression, action on the bass, use of the overdrive pedal (if needed), etc...

    Thanks in advance for putting your time into this! :bassist:

    (I might also be in the wrong post section, so sorry if that's the case)
  2. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL
    get a Tech 21 Sansamp BDDI or RBBI. Household laundry appliances are optional. :eyebrow:
  3. Ummm...have Geddy's fingers and creativity. Oh yeah and be immensely blessed and gifted and born to play bass...

    That's all...
  4. hum, ok, those are all good (especially the last post), but doesn't answer my question...

    It's not HOW can I PLAY like Geddy Lee, but more HOW can I get his TONE ... Trying to play like him makes no sense, the guy is a virtuoso... You can play their songs, their basslines, etc, but you can never become the man... I'm just interested to know how I can come close to the sound he gets from his bass... I'm experimenting with many sounds, and think something like his tone would suit me and my band's style good...
  5. Which tone are you trying to attain? There's the era of like '73-'78, '79-'82, '83-'91, '92-05? He's used everything from Rickenbackers to Wal's, to Steinbergs to Fenders. Most people try to "cop" his Exit Stage Left tone when he had a wicked growl and was at his creative peak (on bass).
  6. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    A big part of Geddy's sound is in how he plays the bass. He has a pretty unique way of striking the strings. Watch the Live in Rio DVD and pay close attention to how he strikes the strings. If you pluck in Jaco fashion near the bridge, you probably aren't going to get Geddy's tone.

    That being said, fresh strings will help, as will the distortion pedal. I am not familiar with your pedal, so I can't give you specific settings.

    For EQ, start with the graphic EQ set flat, then slowly boost the high mids until you're getting the sizzle that you're looking for. Then, go back and boost the lows slightly (not low mids).

    Something like this pic should be close.

    Good luck.
  7. That is true PHO. Geddy is predominatly (sp?) one finger attack artist, kinda like Jamerson was. Geddy also shifts his attack from front to rear pickup CONSTANTLY...(i.e. 2 or 3 times per bar if need be).

    Now I'm aware that Geddy's patented triplets require the use of two fingers...but he is like 85% a one digit dude!
  8. Ben Rose

    Ben Rose

    Jan 12, 2004
    Yes. His right hand playing style has changed significantly over the years. I spent many moons learning how to cop his right hand attack from the Show of Hands live video. That was my ideal when I started out. I remember rewinding and replaying the beginning of Marathon so many times that the VHS tape stretched.
  9. lucas vigor

    lucas vigor Banned

    Sep 2, 2004
    Orange County, Ca,
    I have found that the easiest way to get his tone is to get a fender jazz bass, or a rickenbaker, and use a Sansamp bass driver for the overdrive. You need clean, new strings, low action and powerful fingers.

    I think you will have a real hard time getting it with the equiptment you listed.
  10. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    He also uses "that nail". The fingernail on his right index finger is thick and he uses it like a pick, with a rapid up-and-down motion creating some interesting 16th note grooves. I used to play a MIM Jazz with a BAII bridge on it and DiMarzio UJ pu's, sometimes with a pick when I want to replicate those 16th note grooves. I'd play it through my SABBDI and could get a fair approximation of his tone.

    Also, while I don't know what his current eq settings are, but years ago I attended a Trace Elliot clinic, back when Geddy was using Trace gear. The rep told me Geddy would leave the eq completely flat except at the 250Hz slider, which he'd boost all the way.
  11. Nice posts everyone, thanks...

    I'm very aware of his right hand technique... It's true that it has evolved immensly over the years... Now, it seems that he down-strokes with his middle finger to get that rapid fire 16th note grooves. That's something I've been working on to get more speed with my fingers. However, the style of play must match the setup you got going for your sound... Notice on the Rio DVD's YYZ, how during Alex's solo, he's just plucking, up and down, the daylights out of that J-Bass... But during his Wall years, it was a 2-finger, standard attack... Also, check out the 2nd Rio DVD, the documentry. There's a part where he's warming up, and he talks how his middle finger is giving him problems. He explains that's his "main weapon". I love the way he has evolved, and shows that one can always improve, no matter how good they are... And to answer one of the questions, I actually love his current 90s 00s tone. On record it hasn't always sounded great, but live at the Bell Centre this past August, it was by far the best sounding hard-rock bass I've every heard (Roger Glover's tone was equally amazing, but in another spectrum. His is very clean, but cuts through like a knife)

    I'm working on some eq. settings and found that I don't need my overdrive pedal... Already my gear gives me a very hard-rock, overdriven sound if I set it up right... That pedal is not much of use, only when soloed. My goal is to get that growl and sizzle, without losing any of the bottom end.
  12. Thunder_Fingers


    Jun 24, 2004
    Geddy Lee Jazz Bass(i have found that it actualy CAN produce the sound of his Ric periode to...:))

    and songs like YYZ.. he have to use 2 fingers there.. i have seen him use 2 fingers there!

    i love his tone on Vapor Trails.. a truly brilliant album, with a brilliant bass tone..

    Oh.. and can the Sansamp give you the overdrive sound he have on "Limelight"? I realy love the sound he have on it..
  13. Hell %$#*&^% YEAH!!! :bassist:
  14. Geddy uses Rotosounds for a reason, they cut through like a knife and have that great Geddy growl. A fresh set of these always makes me want to cop a few Geddy licks.
  15. I'm not familiar with your bass, but if it's a 2 pickup bass try rolling off some of the bridge volume, keeping the neck 100%. Scoop out your mids a bit, and 15" speakers slay for that tone. I'd leave the distortion at home- it'll compress too much and hurt your clarity and/or bottom end. Like other people have mentioned, he's got a hell of an attack.
  16. yay, we're talking about THE MAN who haunts my dreams and is simply my favourite bassist ever.

    You have been talking about his change in technique over the years and its very true - he currently has a very unusual back and forward technique with his index and middle finger. its like he's playing flamenco style on the bass.

    it is very difficult to get his tone, trust me, i have spent many frustrating hours on this. people who follow ged's career may know that the one piece of amp equipment that he hasn't changed is the Furman power amp - might have something to do with his tone, but doubt it.

    also, its a 64K question anyway - do you want the Exit..tone or the Grace Under tone or the Vapour tone - they are all amazingly different and the only thing that links them is the man and his talent.

    But seriously guys, any discussion about Geddy will get me involved and happy :hyper:
  17. good advice goldenboy, however i believe that Ged rolls the neck pickup back and keeps the bridge a full bore
  18. Perfect-Tommy


    Mar 28, 2004


    :bassist: :p :eek: :D

    Seriously... no one else found this crazy...

    But one has to wonder if having a washer in your rig would be enough to turn it up to 11....
  19. I think of the tone of Tom Sawyer and Limelight and that's the way I get "in the neighborhood" for that tone. Then again, I'm only a casual Rush fan and I really don't try to emulate that tone, chances are you are more correct than I. :)
  20. glwanabe

    glwanabe Guest

    Apr 21, 2002
    I really like the tone he has on Counterparts, Moving Pictures is a neck and neck runner as well. Same bass, very different sounds. I've been listening to Test for echo lately, and I'am liking that CD more, the more I listen to it. I would like to see him stop with the flamenco style riffs. I much prefer a more straight forward fingerstyle riff. I really like his lines where he is staying below the eigth fret and really laying into a deep groove. I had waited for them to do a Feedback type recording, but I would have liked him to use a more vintage sound. A precision with flats or Roto's would have been awesome on there.