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How is he getting that sound?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Violen, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Yeah yeah. Check out Patitucci's awesome haircut.


    Best examples start at around the 5 minute mark.

    Was this a fad in the sound in the 80s? It sounds Great, and i love the Muah. Huge big Kitty cat Muah.

    I think i hear compression too? Is the simple answer just that its a function of really low action? I take it this kind of "Sound" isnt really En Vogue anymore?

    I just dig it.
  2. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Tone is partly from your gear but mostly in your hands.
  3. I think you just wanted to torment us with Bobby McFerrin.
  4. Low action, low tension strings, and a bit of technique.

    If you watch the free videos on his lessons page you'll notice his bass is still set up for this kind of sound. I do think his amplification and compression are exaggerating the effect in your video. I wouldn't say it's necessarily out of style but I think you'll find the vast majority of people prefer a more classic bass tone in a jazz setting.
  5. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I'm willing to bet that if JP played a bass with more tension and higher action - he'd still sound relatively similar. That's the sound he gets. Similar comments have been made about Ray Brown. When Ron Carter played my bass, it still sounded like him, not me.
  6. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    actually the bass he's playing in those videos, and his typical setup these days, is evah pirazzi strings with a pretty high action, and he draws a huge acoustic tone out of the instrument. ive been in the same room and have seen/heard it a few times. its amazing to see how drastically his tone has changed from those days in the 80s. even amplified gigs now he favors a mic or even multiple mics blended with a touch of realist pickup, but his live tone, when on his own instrument and not a road rental, is among the best ive ever heard, and by that i mean, natural and full sounding, almost polar opposite from the 80s giant fretless electric tone he was getting, but hey, it was the 80s. dig that mullet
  7. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    I agree, this sounds more like a fretless electric bass (guitar).

    I like Chick's hair better.
  8. First off, shame on you for the McFerrinRoll - that was brutal.

    Second off, I got nothing. Sounds great for the time tho!
  9. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    also, back in the 80s he was using a wilson pickup and sounds like he went direct to the board for some of that live stuff. both of these things would contribute to that tone as well.
  10. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    If you want to avoid that sound live, use a mic for front of house. The little Audio Technica clip on is fantastic. Use your amp for on stage monitoring, but cut the midrange til your amp sounds like your bass. Never let sound put a di between you and your amp- most sound guys don't know what a bass actually sounds like. Just look at their take on the bass drum...

    This advice applies to club dates as well as festival work. No offense to anyone here who does live sound...

    If you like that sound, use metal strings with low action and turn up your midrange.
  11. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    This this leads to the X factor - the recording engineer. They ultimately determine how anybody sounds. I have 5 live Getz albums done through the 80's, where there's little difference between Rufus Reed, George Mraz, Ray Drummond, and 2 other guys. It's all this electric sound that the OP hears in JP.
    Bob Magnsson has the same sound with Almeida. I dislike it intensely.
    I use an AMT microphone, love it, but that doesn't quite conquer the differences among amps.
    As for that 80's sound, I think for awhile everybody got excited with projection possibilities and compromised on tone quality.
  12. al808


    Oct 11, 2008

    If only John could have benefited from all these great opinions he could have had an outstanding career instead of being part of Chick's or Wayne's band... :bassist:
  13. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    well, if you hear his tone today you could probably assume that he felt the same way about his tone then. but back then, everyone was doing it... it was the newest "in" sound. his acoustic tone back then, however, was still big, we just didnt get to hear it all that much.
  14. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    This was just the way things were done for a spell. There's even a Monty Alexander disc where Ray is recorded using a line off his pickup. I remember hearing a new cd in the mid 90's with a real honest acoustic recording of a bass and thinking it was downright revolutionary.

    This style of playing was advanced in professional pedagogy. A colleague of mine was publicly ridiculed by a world renowned player at a BIG jazz school for playing without an amp.

    Thank god all that is over.

    Fwiw, I doubt John ever actually sounded like this acoustically. For context- try playing over Dave Weckl with a natural acoustic sound.
  15. damonsmith


    May 10, 2006
    Quincy, MA
    I kind of like this sound. I go for more of an acoustic sound, he does, too - now. This was before he studied with Thomas Martin, his playing then was great, his playing now is just amazing. I heard him in a big hall with Wayne Shorter and he sounded amazing.
  16. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Weichs, Wilson pickup, low action, playing with a lighter touch and using the fingertips in the right hand, a DI out of his amp, and his Pollman bass has a ton of sustain.

    Olive strings, Realist pickup used sparingly, higher action, stronger touch, using most of the meat of the finger in the right hand, mostly mic sound live, and I think he uses a Thomas Martin bass mostly now...not the Pollman anymore.

    However, there is one common thread throughout: impeccable technique and excellent musicinship, which trump any combination of gear and tones imo.
  17. koricancowboy


    Jun 10, 2003
    Hahahaha! Yeah JP is a hack!
  18. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    While my bass has a great acoustic sound, i have thought about lowering the action a little bit to get a little more "Muah" out of it and a little bit easier vibrato. I had some playing injuries when i was younger, and while they very rarely flare up, i have been thinking about my physical health a lot lately.

    It has been a combination of things. I dig the sound, its a little over the top, and is lessened in clip i saw from him in 92. I can tell you that it is a lot of his setup/pickup/eq as i got my BM in Jazz and in Music Tech.

    When saying he's using Weichs, what kind of Weichs? Im assuming Spirocore?
  19. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    the martin is a road bass. he just used the pollman this summer on the road with wayne shorter, and he has 2 very old high end basses these days, one of which was recently, and may still be, for sale at gage's for over 100k(Jean Baptiste Vuillaume ). im not sure, but i think the olive's were for his arco setup. in any event, you can see his most recent bass in his videos are a full set of evah pirazzi's and sound huge(Leroy Geiger).
  20. JGoldberg


    Jul 10, 2011
    Westchester, NY

    When I saw him live it seemed like his strings were pretty low, judging from the ease and velocity of his playing. I made the mistake of asking him about it. He was a little insulted and gave me a lecture about the importance of good tone and all that. Sure enough, his bass had a high action and I felt like a moron and he felt like I was a moron and Rudy Royston was shaking his head like "what an ass".

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