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Is it just me, or...Re; Jamerson

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by laklandman, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. Does Jamerson's tone sound more like a Jazz than a Precision. I am specifically referring to his tone on Marvin's "Whats Goin On" album. I have a Lakland USA Bob Glaub (which is essentially a "64 P) strung with TI flats. I have sat down and tried to replicate that tone with it with no luck. I can get closer to it with my "78 Jazz with rounds. I am no Jamerson and I know players touch has alot to do with tone, but, maybe some of you can chime in on your thoughts. Maybe my flats are 10 years too young :bag:
  2. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Those guys prided themselves on not only having flats, but old, dead, flats. I knew guys who had strings that were five six YEARS old. Also he was playing thru an old Ampeg B 15. Not a lot of Hi-fi in that rig. Plus the old consoles and tape players added their own "brand of dirt". I can get pretty close with my Sadowsky Jazz with older bright nickles. A warm bass helps.
  3. Did Jamerson use the B-15 rig in the studio? I've heard different stories, one of which was that he went straight to the board in the studio, and used the fliptop on the road. Makes interesting conversation anyway :D
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    It's a well-known fact that Motown pioneered the use of DI'ing the bass. However, I'm pretty sure they blended it with the sound of the mic'ed B-15.
  5. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    try playing closer to the fretboard, remember that jamerson was a Upright player first and an electric player later on.

    the video footage i have seen of him shows him playing between the pup and the neck.
  6. Yeah, I saw that footage as well and he left the pickup cover on and played right in front of the cover....with one finger mind you!!! :eek: I wish I could play like that with 2 fingers! I keep my pickup cover on and play in front of it, I just can't play like him. Man was he a groovin' player!!!
  7. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    I'd have to dig for links, but for the majority of Jamerson's work the signal was put into a jerry-rigged DI and NOT blended with a B-15.
  8. Gene Machine

    Gene Machine

    Mar 19, 2003
    I read an interview with Jamerson that said he went straight into the board in the studio, and used the B15 live.


    on 'Standing in the shadows of motown', the boys talk about Marvin Gaye needing to record the song (what's going on) and going out to find Jamerson (who was 'blasted'). Jamerson played the track lying on his back on the floor.

    great dvd by the way, a must see.
  9. I read somewhere that he plugged straight into the desk and and boosted the signal for a bit of warm overdrive.
    And he played with comically high action, whether that makes a difference....
  10. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Yeah, BP magazine ran an article about it. If I recall the way he got "straight into the board" was via a jerry-rigged direct box patched together using a UTC mic pre.

    And Bob Babbitt did a lot of playing that people confuse with Jamerson and used a CARVIN rig live.
  11. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    I have no problem believing that TI Jazz Flats sounded nothing like high tension LaBellas with 1" action.
  12. Lo.


    Jan 29, 2005
    NW UK
    The very high action is VERY important, as is plucking hard (not all the notes of course). If you hear ANY string buzz, even when playing really hard, then your action is too low. I have mine set at about 9mm above the 12th fret.

    Motown also used a Fairchild limiter to clip the peaks. An optical limiter with a slow attack can mimic this.

    The type and thickness of foam mute strip under the bell makes a big difference (and can knock intonation out higher up the neck). I can't find any info on the type of foam they used in 62 - maybe there are collectors out there can describe it for us?

    Unfortunately, only Jamerson's hands could get that sound - us mortals can only try to get somewhere close. You have to consider left hand muting, thumb muting, the length of fingernails, the angle of attack.....

    BTW my strings are 5 years old and still in tune (played about 5 hours a week I guess).

    Last tip - make sure everything above 3kHz is completely removed from the output of your bass.

    Yes, you hit on something close to my heart, here. :D
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Ed Friedland's new book, R&B Bass Masters: The Way They Play has some info on Jamerson's style, equipment, touch, etc
    Friedland does mention the high action & recording levels that peaked(causing a tad of distortion).
    Check it out the next time you're in your local B&N/Borders.
  14. Bassmonkee;
    I know what you mean about the TI's vs. Labellas, I may be willing to put Labellas on, but I'm not setting my action that high! HAHA. I know Jamerson was known for not doing ANY cleaning (the dirt makes the funk), or truss rod adjustments. That is the exact opposite of the way I like to take care of my guitars!

    I'm with on that man, I love Jamerson's playing as well!

    Let me tell you guys what I have tried, I ran my Bob Glaub through my Sansamp Bass DI and used different tube blend settings and tried to distort with the drive knob with less than stellar results. I went direct into my Akai DPS24 and tried different EQ and compression settings. No luck yet...
    My other amplification equipment is an Eden Navigator pre which I love the tone of...but haven't tried getting a Jamerson vibe out of it yet. I also have a Time Traveler cxc110 combo that I haven't experimented with yet....any suggestions?

    Hmmm...I wonder if the wife will notice a B15R in the house ;)
  15. Lo.


    Jan 29, 2005
    NW UK
    I think you need to try a limiter; set a slow attack time and get it to clip the peaks of the loud notes played. This can give that slight distortion you might be after. Dont worry about EQ (except cutting the treble)

    Gotta have a high action and play hard though - seriously, you can't get that upright/rubber band twang without it.

    Check out the intro to "You Met Your Match" by Stevie Wonder for a good example of the limited (straight into desk) sound I'm thinking about.
  16. FunkSlap89


    Apr 26, 2005
    Albany, NY
    Yeah, his tone may be a mystery, but what's even more perplexing is how he played those friggin lines with one pluckin finger?!?! :confused: :confused:

    *picks up bass*

    *tries to replicate his speed*

    *realizes can't even play those lines with 4 fingers*

  17. Ty_Boogie

    Ty_Boogie Bass, A way of life

    Sep 6, 2004
    Troy, NY
    Do any of you thing you're being to critical of your "Jamerson sound" maybe you have it, nothings 100%, but maybe you do, and are looking/hearing too much

    One finger, yes that's incredible, he also had great command of the open strings, the high action and hard plucking too

    "What's going on" I could be wrong but he didn't have the 62' bass, I have the book "Standing in the shows of motown" (many years before the movie) that came with two CD's. it mentions something about the bass being stolen, and his bass was stolen again in LA after motown moved there, got to read up

    But if I'm correct he had a newer bass, which means newer strings, maybe a lower action (I'm sure he wouldn't adjust anything, plug and play :))
  18. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    get some high tension flats and action like an URB
  19. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    those are as different than a real high dollar tube mic pre as the TI vs LaBella!
  20. those are as different than a real high dollar tube mic pre as the TI vs LaBella

    Yeah, I realized how stupid my post sounded after I read it back in the thread!! :bag:
    I guess I was just trying to illustrate what gear I had tried thus far. I should have never thought that tone was going to be easy to come by. I do have some other things I can try...I may try my Focusrite ISA220, not a tube pre, but has a limiter/compressor

    Hmmmm if all else fails, 62RI P, high action, Labellas, B15R, and LA-2A, wait.....I still can't play wirth crap! :crying: