I wanna steel.......

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Coutts_is_god, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Tim Commerfords sound. His plays in Rage against the machines and audioslave.
    Please help in my quest
  2. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    As far as I know, he uses a Jazz bass and 2 amps - 1 for dirty, 1 for clean. Customised Ampegs, I think. That's not entirely helpful though, unless you've got a crew to drag 2 8x10 cabs around for you. Anyway - it's all in the fingers anyway :p (or the fingers and the distortion in Timmy C's case). He also uses a wah, envelope filter and no doubt some other effects.

    My advice would be to try to find a distortion pedal you like. Remeber that:
    - distortion that sounds good on solo bass can sound terrible in a band situation
    - distortion that sounds terrible on solo bass can work well in a band situation
    - what it'll sound like will also depend on your bass and amp
    - setting everything to 10 might not be as effective as playing with the controls until you find what you like
    - I'm drunk and opinionated right now.

    My current distortion pedals for gigs are a Russian Big Muff (for fat, fill-out-the-sound stuff) and a Tech 21 XXL (for ripping people's faces off). If you get a chance to try out a Big Muff, I'd take it. Same with any other pedal that comes your way though.

    I just watched the new RATM DVD the other day - when they were on form, they were on fire!
  3. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Wow! thank you.

    Learing how to play is the easy part trying to find a sound is the hard part.
  4. well, if it's any help, tim used a marshall guv'nor distortion, but i know he messed with his pickups and amps too, so there is really no guarantee
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Tim tweaked anything and everything he could get his hands on. It's not an easy sound to copy.
  6. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    Something Close to a close, close copy would be nice:D
  7. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD

    Which is exactly why he tweaked everything. He wanted his sound to be completely original, and perfect for him. He re-wound his pickups, custom wired his bass and amps with better and different components, and he pretty much made his own distortion pedal, which is his "secret" to his tone. He said he will never let anyone but himself or his tech to see inside his amps or effects.

    I just think he's egotistical and paranoid.
  8. NioeZero


    Sep 2, 2001
    I'm pretty sure he uses an EBS bass IQ envelope filter, and I know he uses a Dunlop 105Q wah. Theres a couple of good shots of it on the RATM DVD.
  9. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Everything he uses is tweaked. I love his tone, but I'm not one to copy. I tweak my pedals, but I'll tell anyone who wants to know, remember copying is the sincerest form of flattery :)

    [​IMG] I like his Hipshot bass trems tho :)
  10. Coutts_is_god

    Coutts_is_god Guest

    Dec 29, 2003
    Windsor, Ont, Canada
    See I have that.
    It was of great help to learn he keeps all his gear underlock and key.
  11. Bass Player did a special gear guide a couple months ago and he had the most attention given to him... the magazine was simply titled BASS GEAR. If anyone was interested
  12. PunkerTrav


    Jul 18, 2001
    Canada & USA
    Meh, after all his mods it still sounds like a jazz bass to me. A very very good sounding jazz bass, but still a jazz bass. ;)

  13. Hofbrauhaus


    Feb 10, 2002
    Upton, MA
    I think in the earlier years of Rage he used a Stingray. At least that's what it sounds like to me off their first Album (with the flaming monk on the front). My SR5 almost duplicates his sound perfectly. With my Boss ODB-3 it also sounds quite identical to his distorted sound. I donno...maybe he uses J basses now...guess it depends if you're looking for the older or newer Timmy C sound
  14. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    he did use a stingray on the first album. check out the video for bullet in the head.
  15. ok, good entry...

    I mentioned in a previous post that BP did a special, and Tim was one of the features... lengthier features mind you... here it goes....

    Since he first set about establishing a sitinctive bass sound for RATM by using a Marshall Guv'nor stopbox for riff-rock distortion, Tim has constantly experimented with his tone-and he is quite secretive about his discoveries. "My amp is my sh** man; I spent ten years getting it to be the way it is right now, and for me to just break it down and tell everyone exactly what I've done, is just blowing it." Still he confides some of his secrets.

    It starts with the pickups. His current main bass is a BEAD-tuned Fender J with an ash body, maple P neck and Badass bridge. Tim's main bass contains the pickups from the similar instrument be used on three Rage albums and numerous tours. "I smashed that bass on Mtv, and regret it to this day. It had these 70's jazz pickups I got in England; when I am on tour I go to all these luthier shops and look for Jazz pickups. Now that the bass I use has those pickups in it is sounds just as good." After Tim acquired those pickups, he rewound them by hand-which he says gave him more sustain and feedback. "I'm not looking for the cleanest sound in the world; I like that edgy, dirty tone. If you use different wire on your pickups, you'll absolutely get a different sound. To wind pickups by hand, you have to take your time and slowly stack the wires. It's not the kind of thing you can do in one day; it took me about two weeks. I liken it to winding the winch on my four-wheel-drive truck: You dont want to just hit the REWINDbutton and let it stack up wherever it wants. You want it to stack perfectly so it almost looks brand new. And thicker wire doesn't take as long to wrap." To accommodate his hard-hitting style, Tim sets his action really high, "like on an upright."

    Tim achieves his multi-level bass sound with a three-rig set up: one amp and cabinet for a clean sound, one for a middle-of-the-road overdrice and the last for full-on distortion. The clean sound always stays on, and Tim can kick in the two other layers of grit using a custom pedalboard witching system. For the first half of this year Tim used three SVT-2PRO heads, one powering an SVT 8x10 for his clean sound and the others powering Ampeg 4x10's for the dirty tones. By the early summer of 2003, Tim started experimenting with a Mesa M-Pulse 600 for his clean sound. "The M-Pulse is sick; for a clean tone, it is a great amp. I was having a hard time getting the low B string to stand out and be as proud as the E on a regular bass. I now have an amp that can handle that low frequency. I also got a new amp for distorted sound, the Ashdown ABM 500RC EVO. I keep the masater volume at three-quarters and the gain all the way up so the VU mete doesn't move. They sent me another one that had been hot-rodded so it can handle being in the red for the whole tour."

    Tim is especially cagey about his pedalboard setup. "You can try to figure it out, but there's no way you ever will," he boasts. "I even have cords on my **** that dont do anything!" Tim and tech Armando Garcia did reveal his pedalboard's basic layout. Before the switcher splits Tim's bass signal into three different paths, it goes through a Boss delay pedal. so that all three parts of the signal are affected when he kicks in delay. While his clean sound remains stompbox free, post-switcher distortion and wah pedals feed his two edgier sounds. Commerford's ultimate secret weapon is a one of kind, custom-made distortion box, based on a pedal he crafted himself from parts of an old wah pedal. "My distortion comes before everything else. If you have a good distortion box then all the other pedals work great."

    Tim feeds his midrange sound with an Ernie Ball Jimi Hendrix distortion pedal and his dirtiest sound with the homemade box. "I always shoot for distortion that sounds like a saw blade without a lot of teeth, more gritty than guitar distortion. As of late, I have been getting away from pedals and just cranking up the gain and master volume, that is the best distortion."

    After the distortion stompboxes, Tim has a pair of Dunlop Bass Wahs, one going to each of his distortion rigs. When I use the wah, it isn't just the highs or the mids, it is the whole range. I've got my foot on both wahs at the same time; I put a piece of wood on top of them so I can use them like one pedal." With a mic and a DI on each of his three rigs, he takes up six mixing board channels.

    Commerford's favorite recorded sound with Rage was on the group's second album, Evil Empire, on which he used two SVT heads and two Classic 8x10 cabs, both miked and direct.
  16. phew! there, hope that helps some. Keep in mind if you are trying to nail this guys sound for yourself, I hope you have a very large budget. Because not only can he afford to change his rig up every couple of months, he has the interest and the obsession of doing it to. I think everyone should check out this gear guide though-if it is still on display-there is a lot of sweet stuff in here.
  17. wingnutkj


    Mar 27, 2003
    After all that it pretty much sounds like a jazz bass to me...

    ;) - I'm sober and opinionated now!

    FWIW, I've got a lot of respect for him, and the fact that he spends so much time and effort on his tone. Thanks for posting the text - it's interesting reading. I've never been one for wanting to slavishly copy someone's rig in the hope of sounding like them, but I enjoy being a gear-whore and finding out what bassists I dig are using.

  18. Couldn't agree with you more. :cool: