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How to get 60/70's style reggae sound ?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by jsa0100, Mar 17, 2008.


  1. jsa0100

    jsa0100

    Apr 6, 2005
    Norway
    How do i sett up a rig that gives you 60/70's style reggae
    sound ? Just by using EQ ony an ordinary bass amp doesn't give you the satured bass that sounds like it's out of control.

    I remember reading some place that much of the round bass sound. came to life as the bass players (because of low budget)
    connected as many large conned speakers they could find.
    Together with smaller tube amps.

    This make some sense to me because by serial connecting speakers you will get a lower damping factor and a softer sound.
    I think i have seen amps that have a variable damping factor (trace ?) But going for large tube amp and a large speaker like an 18" is perhaps in the right direction in combination with an EQ that rolls of above 400 hz ?
     
  2. maxbass

    maxbass

    May 22, 2002
    Milano Italy
    a passive bass with the tone rolled off
     
  3. played up over or very close to the neck with plenty of finger pad
     
  4. maxbass

    maxbass

    May 22, 2002
    Milano Italy
    Flatwounds help too
     
  5. double-muff

    double-muff

    May 5, 2007
    Iceland.
    everything above mixed with weed.
     
    Eternal Day likes this.
  6. :D
     
  7. Mr.Bassie720

    Mr.Bassie720

    Feb 5, 2005
    Washington DC,Silver Spring,MD
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    If you use roundwound strings use some foam under the strings by the bridge this helps to get that nice tubby sound heard on so many of the classic reggae tracks of that era.Also ,as was said play close to the neck and rub gently do not dig in.as far as amp goes an SVT would do the job well so would an acoustic with 18"s
     
  8. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    use the neck mudbucker on a Gibson EB. that's how most of those guys did it.
     
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Errr, I've never heard that said before. Can you back that up with a link?
     
  10. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    who, me?
     
  11. Drifta

    Drifta

    Sep 13, 2006
    South Florida
    I play my Fender Jazz bass with some Flat wounds... never change the flats ever, theyre like 2 years old. sounds amazing.

    some say play up on the neck, and that will give you a real low sound, But i really like to play closer to the bridge pickup. I get my low sound from my EQ. roll off the tone, and cut the highs/treble a bit, give it some mids and boost the bass a bunch.

    Reggae is more about Feel, Doesn't matter how much EQing, strings, bass, speaker setup, If you can't feel the reggae you can't play the reggae. I've seen reggae bassists live so many times, and some of them play ibanez's, 5 strings, 6 strings, some play flats, a lot play rounds... So really none of that matters, its in the fingers!!!(i'm telling you this cause a lot of people will tell you for reggae you HAVE to play flats, a p or j bass, to get a dub sound, but there are many ways to get it)
     
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yeah, the Gibson EB thing. I've read plenty of comments from reggae professionals saying they used the neck pickup on a Jazz, or a Steinberger, or "whatever bass was in the studio", but I've never heard anyone specifically mention a Gibson.

    I'm not saying it isn't true, just that the Gibson is "news" to me.
     
  13. double-muff

    double-muff

    May 5, 2007
    Iceland.
    Jazz bass with flatwound strings, played with the neck pickup.
    i have heard that an octave pedal can help and a tube amp.
     
  14. Drifta

    Drifta

    Sep 13, 2006
    South Florida
    Oh and almost ALL big reggae bands/backing bands for major artists, I see them Rocking a big Ampeg 8x10 setup & a big tube head.
     
  15. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    i've heard said a few places that the Gibson was a popular choice during that time for that style. i may have heard wrong, but, i must confess, it does sound right. i can see it being used in that vein.

    perhaps, then, to the OP, give it a try. see what you think. you are, after all, the only one who can determine what's right or wrong for you.
     
  16. Drifta

    Drifta

    Sep 13, 2006
    South Florida
    Reggae is not about what instrument you play, its how you play, reggae doesn't care if headstock says gibson,fender or ibanez
     
  17. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    +1. I agree. I play a Warwick $$ 5 string and play almost exclusively reggae and dub. I will often pop into passive mode too, but I also play plenty songs active. It's really about feel.
     
  18. pbass2

    pbass2

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Gotta be flats(for the sound you're talking about). The older the better. A P or J will obviosuly work and get the most recognizeable sound, but many basses can do it(passive will get it closer than an active bass will), with flats that don't have a long decay (use a mute if necessary). Roll off almost all the highs.

    But about that sound specifically: the sound of that era, is about more than just the bass---that earlier 60's sound in particular often came from a mic'd amp, and maybe not even a very good one. DI started entering into the picture a bit later. Then of course the tape, the mic pres, etc. Those guys were really inventive with what they had to work with--home-made gear was not uncommon, or re-purposing gear that was intended for other uses, like for radio broadcasting, etc.. All those tubes and transformers humming along and the tape being saturated . . . .mmmm good.
    Depending on what you have on hand, you can simulate it in a DAW environment pretty well, if you just think of the components in the chain they woulda used and experiment with that in mind.
     
  19. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Another thought about the amp end of the question: try using a limiter (a compressor set to a high ratio). Much of the recorded "almost out of control" bass sound in early reggae involved the bass signal in the recording studio saturating the mixing desk and the reel-to-reel tape recorder; that saturation provided both a soft thick distortion and "natural" compression, and tape compression turns into hard limiting with a "breaking up" sound at extreme levels.

    You can't get it using any cheap pedal that I know of, but you can approach aspects of it using a limiter and maybe an SVT-emulator like the Sansamp.

    Edit: Pbass2, you beat me to it!
     
  20. pbass2

    pbass2

    Jan 25, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Ha! Well is it a great sound or what? As for trying to get that sound with your bass and amp, I think you can drive yourself mad trying to re-create a recorded bass sound(especially such an idiosyncratic one) with your live gear and in a way I think "what's the point?" Dial it in so it sounds good in the room and with the band. Try to imagine what that bass sounded like coming out of the guy's amp BEFORE all that tape, etc. voodoo got to it.
    I find for live dub and reggae I don't apply any compression in my rig--I let the guy at the board adjust it for the room. Sometimes if you OVER compress bass in dub/reggae, you lose some of the "bubble" . . .
     

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