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How to get the Tom Sawyer synth sound?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by fat jonny, Oct 28, 2000.

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  1. fat jonny

    fat jonny

    Jul 8, 2000
    Columbus Ohio
    On Tom Sawyer (by Rush) how do they fet that synth sound at the very beginning and several times throughout the song. Is it a bass that does it or is it some kind of studio effect? Are there any pedals that could get close to it? Thanks!
  2. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Get a synth! Geddy plays both bass and synth live. You can find foot pedal synths out there (I'm not a keyboard expert, so.....).
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
  4. Yeah, Taurus pedals,Baby! BTW, that korg pandora effects unit also has a Tom Sawyer preset on it. Pretty Cool!
  5. Nails


    Jun 4, 2000
    Austin, Tejas
    I have one thing to say: SAMPLER! You could get a sampler (rackmount or tabletop, it's all good) then hook it up to something like the Roland PK-5 (Fatar makes something similar with more pedals which might work better for you) and you could play that live. With the sampler you could get more than just Moog sounds (you could still do the moog sounds, you'd just have to sample them first,) you could have cars crashing, dogs barking, some guy belching, flutes, horn section, whatever you want. I've also heard of a Rush tribute band using PK-5s with keyboard synthesizers, so you know someone's made it work.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting down the Moog. I'm just giving another option. I don't know which would cost more, but used gear and places like eBay have done wonders for what I have.

    But to answer your question fat jonny, I have no idea how they did it, or any effects that can do it.
  6. A Boss SYB-3 might get you close, but if you really want the sound, you should get yourself an organ-style footpedal set (Roland and Yamaha make them, among others) and an Alesis Nanobass. However, I'm doubting that it'd be worth your while or your money...
  7. cole


    Sep 14, 2000
    the synth thing on "Tom Sawyer" is an Oberheim OB-X synth triggered by modified Taurus pedals (originally, anyway). Geddy uses samplers and MIDI stuff now.

    if you want that sound, you'd be better off doing what the others have said: get some MIDI pedals and either a synth module or a sampler. vintage synth stuff is overpriced, except for some stuff like Roland's Juno and JX series.
  8. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    I too have gotten close with the SYB-3. Close, but not exact!

    JT is right---Moog is the way to go!!
  9. puppeteering


    Mar 16, 2000
    Here's a close replica of what I use live to get a similar sound...

    bass > bass fuzz > octave > envelope filter > compressor

    Set the bass fuzz to accentuate highs.
    Set the octave blend so that there is a moderate amount of extra lows.
    Set the envelope for a quick attack and wide range.
    Squash the sh*t out of it with a compressor...

    (light chorus or flange at the end for those daring to go that far...)

  10. fat jonny

    fat jonny

    Jul 8, 2000
    Columbus Ohio
    Thanks for the suggestions, I will look into em. It sounds like a moog would be good so maybe I will look for one on ebay or something. Thanks!

  11. Nails


    Jun 4, 2000
    Austin, Tejas
    you might also want to look at the harmony central classifieds. I saw some moogs on there a while back, but I can't remember the prices of them.

    good luck in your search.
  12. RandyWest


    Nov 2, 2000
    Im surprised no one has mentioned the Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synth. I use it primarily to annoy my bandmates with, but I am able to dial up that particular geddy tone pretty easliy.

  13. Wolfy101


    Dec 5, 2006
    When I was playing that song in a band in the 80's I used a Sequential Circuits Pro-One, and it was dead on. I wish I had that synth back now - http://www.vintagesynth.com/index2.html
    -A Prophet 5 could probally do it too?
    But the Pro-One was not programmable but it did get the killer Rush sounds I needed. I think Geddy originally used a Oberhiem, but a Moog could get the job done too. But those are all costly old analogs now.
    Me, I'm a Korg man, my old Mono/Poly can come close but not gut wrenching enough, and Im working with a Triton to do the same thing now.
    Maybe some software synths can do it for you, I don't know?
    But nothing beats the old school analog synths.:cool:
  14. nad

    nad 60 Cycle Humdinger Commercial User

    Sep 22, 2005
    Not Mars
    The Overlord of Nordstrand Pickups
    I wonder if he ever nailed it?
  15. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I s'pose I should dig out the old Rush material and try this on my V-Bass.

    One thing about doing recordings is that they often not only use a certain synth but also a lot of EQ and maybe some effects to get the final sound.
  16. I've approximated it with a Digitech Bass Synth Wah.

    Obviously you aren't going to get the exact sound without either the same gear, or some synths or a sample. But you can get close, probably close enough for any listening audience anyway.

    I'm assuming you are talking about the opening synth noise - the sound used during the synth solos is obviously going to be tough on a bass!
  17. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Anyone notice this thread was started 6 years ago?

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