How Do You Get That Classic Rock Sound?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by yoavme75, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. yoavme75


    Nov 30, 2005
    Hi, I'm in search for a good classic rock sound.

    this sound (whether Chris Squire's bright ric bass, or Roger Glover's deep presicion) always seem to have a bit of overdrive on it.

    Is it due to those old amps & Instruments back then?

    How can I get close to this sound today?

    I play a Cort Rb4 (Similar to the Josh paul 5 string, But a natural wood colour and 4 strings) with bartolini soapbar pickups (Jazz bass style).

    I don't use a pick, and play over the bridge PU, which makes a good punchy sound, but different from Squire & Entwistle.

    Do I need a vintage overdrive pedal (EBS multidrive?), just slightly turned up?

    A compressor?

    Any advice will be taken gladly, Thanx.
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I would say a good part of it is, indeed, the overdrive of the amps of the day. Take a tube amp and turn it up all the way and you'll get that sound. Also, a lot of those guys like Chris Squire and Roger Glover would run their basses through bass amps and Marshall guitar amps to get that sound.

    A compressor probably won't help you get that sound in a transistor amp, but an overdrive with a blend knob might.
  3. Weasel


    Feb 18, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    Go with the EBS multidrive. I got mine 2 months a go and been very satisfied with it. Our sound engineerer told on the first gig avec multidrive that I´ve found the best sound yet.

    Trick is, just as you thought, to add a bit multidrives "tube-mode" to your sound. It really brings the tone alive!

    Of course you can dial some serious rumble from it too, but I like to use it just to spice up my sound.
  4. of corse standing with your legs wide apart helps a lot. :D
  5. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    Actually, compression helps me get a lot of classic bass tones quite a bit. Just make sure it's a lot of compression, and I mean, just about max out the controls on whatever you're using. Subtlety won't do it. Not only does this sound cool on its own, it helps overdrive the input on whatever amp you're using more consistently. I know Geddy and Squire both used heavy compression in front of their amps, anyway.

    Tubes help a lot, and so do low mid boosts (400-1000hz). I personally have never been able to attain a good '70s sound with an OD pedal, but YMMV.

    Honestly, though, I think the big secret is to play basses that sound a certain way in the first place, without having to monkey with the settings on an amp or effect too much.
  6. Blues Cat

    Blues Cat Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner Commercial User

    May 28, 2005
    Katy, Tx
    Payson Fanned Bass Strings Owner
    A sunburst Precision through an SVT. Compression would be a UA 1176.
  7. i would go with a real tube pedal. Like the electronic harmonix English muff'n or the Sansamp does a really good simulation of tubes. I wouldn't go with a cheap overdrive pedal. I haven't heard great story's about the EBS multidrive either. Anyway try some pedals and keep in mind that it sounds always different in band situation.
  8. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    Yeah agree with bluescat. Pbass through a real SVT. Or in some cases a jazz bass. Lots of other ways, but thats what works for me.
  9. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Sunburst is key!
  10. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    Both Chris Squire and Roger Glover used Rickenbacker basses, round wound strings and picks and just a hint of distortion. To get the "clanky" sound, try boosting at 800hz.
  11. Fealach

    Fealach Guest

    Apr 23, 2003
    Gone to a better place
    Both men have played a variety of basses over the years, and who knows how many amps, probably everything at one point or another. I don't know that Glover ever had a stack + bass that became a trademark, but I do remember the Ric. Chris is using ampeg amps NOW, but is also still using the Marshall that I can remember being associated with him. From his web site:

    Chris' current stage setup includes a Marshall 100 watt Super Bass Amp and Marshall 4 X12 cabinet, two SVT-2 pro heads and two 8x10 SVT-810e cabinets.

    The vintage SVT + 810 + P bass may be "that classic rock sound" in the minds of many, but that is not to say that back when that "classic rock" was that "new music" that's all anyone used. Nothing does classic rock overdrive like a vintage tube guitar amp, used properly.
  12. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Multidrive would get u there. I have one for sale if interested

  13. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Might I suggest 12" speakers and tube amps. They are perfect for that sound. Played an SVT through a 4x12 and it was instant throwback. I was playing a really clear bass, too (modulus Q5 w/ emgs).

    Speaker size is crazy important! The 10s are usually very crisp and the 15s are usually farty. Twelves are a sweet compromise, they stay tight as needed and break up just enough.

    This is, of course, if you are a stickler for the authentic sound. Pedals are okay, but like trying to dig a ditch with a shovel... yeah, it works, but a back hoe is the best way to do it.
  14. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    Has anyone tried the new EBS Valvedrive yet? It's a tube OD pedal.

    But yeah...12s and an all tube amp, combined with a Ric or a Fender, and you pretty much have that classic rock sound.
  15. mgood


    Sep 29, 2001
    Levelland, Texas
    Plug in.
    Turn on.
    Tune up (optional).

    I often see people post things like "the sound is in your fingers."
    I think this is a case where that is true. Being in a classic rock frame of mind makes my bass sound like a classic rock bass. Maybe it's more of an attitude than an eq setting.
    Or maybe my attitude makes me think I hear a classic rock sound. But even that will make me play that way. I think this one is in your fingers.
    When I play Skynyrd, I don't consciously do anything different with my hands than I do when I play Rush. But I think different. And I believe it sounds drastically different.
  16. SGT. Pepper

    SGT. Pepper Inactive

    Nov 20, 2005
    I agree! I love the way a bass sounds through twelves. It is a good compromise especially if you want that classic rock punch. I like a 15 and 12 together rather than a 2X10 and a 15. It was known back in the 60's as the piggyback.
  17. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    My main amp is a 1967 Fender Bassman 50 (blackface). Even through my modern Eden D210T cabinet if you crank it up it barks with a little 6L6 tube distortion. Sounds glorious and gives a kind of a compression also.
  18. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I agree that an all-tube amp is the way to go. However the main problem is finding the "sweet spot": that is, the point where it begins to run out of headroom. That's the point where distortion and compression begin. The trick is to get it just right, not too clean, not too dirty. Examples: I loved my old SVT in decent sized rooms, but for small gigs and rehearsals it was too clean. A less powerful head such as the V4B will sound better at smaller gigs, but might distort too much in larger rooms.

    If you always run through PA and your stage volume remains about the same from gig to gig, then this might not be an issue for you. But me, I'd rather use some sort of tube emulation/overdrive unit rather than all-tube. That way, the amount of overdrive and compression remains the same at pretty much any volume.

    I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the SansAmp products: Bass Driver DI pedal or RBI rack preamp. I think these are very effective at reproducing the sound of warm power tubes. I also like the SWR Interstellar Overdrive and Ampeg SVP-Pro preamps. Each of these brands has a slightly different flavor. The SWR can give the most outrageous distortion... say, if you wanted to go for Mel Schacher's ultrafuzz tone on Grand Funk Railroad Live. :)