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Is My Tone Close To Jamerson's Here?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Beef of the Sea, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. I've been on a quest for a while now to get a tone as close as possible to James Jamerson's for when I want that Motown sound (who hasn't?).

    This is the closest I've gotten so far.

    What do you guys think?
    Oddly, Billyzoom, GregC and 1 other person like this.
  2. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Lakewood, OH
    you're close mate but might want to try a tube preamp to give it more grit/girth/drive. the pbass and flats is spot on though. just need that other part of the signal chain.
  3. pickles

    pickles Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2000
    Ventura, CA
    I dunno that's pretty close to my ears. Its much louder in the mix than the original, if you dropped it back Im not sure theres much you could do to improve it.
  4. Kim Jong Funk

    Kim Jong Funk

    Jun 15, 2014
    Are your strings at least twenty years old? That's necessary.
  5. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    Sounds great to me...what the setup?
  6. Thank you!


    - Fender American P
    - Fender green-label flatwounds (about 6 months old)
    - foam mute
    - tone control at 0%
    - Aguilar TH500 (EQ controls at noon, drive and gain @ ~10:30)
    - dbx 166XL compressor w/ modest settings
  7. FirewalZ


    Aug 14, 2014
    S.E. Michigan
    What do you think of the TH, i was thinking about getting the pedal pre-amp version.
  8. cabcreaser

    cabcreaser Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    I mean this in the least snarky way possible, but if Jamerson was playing an early 60s p during the 60s, those strings were not that old.
  9. Update:

    Getting closer!

  10. Billyzoom

    Billyzoom Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2011
    Bay Area
    Sounds just great! Great playing as well.
  11. nathanmiller


    Apr 1, 2016
    Great attempt at getting James Jamerson's tone. You do sound very similar to him in those clips.

    The one thing missing is the percussive "thump" when he hits a low note hard. You can hear it clearly on songs like "She's an Understanding Woman" by The Four Tops. I haven't yet heard any other bassist come close to emulating that element of his playing, it was a real signature sound.
  12. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    Sounds great!

    I'm hearing a drop too much growl, LaBella DT flats will nail Jamerson's tone better, especially the big guage Old Originals. Otherwise with the grisly Frnder flats you might EQ out just a tiny bit of mids to get a smoother sound.

    I'm also hearing too much sustain, which has nothing to do with tone, but with some or more foam muting the notes will thump harder and drop off earlier, giving each note that round sound that works so well in those Motown arrangements.

    Nitpicking, but you asked!
  13. Thanks for the kind words, my friend!

    That is by far the hardest part. I'm getting a little closer every time I experiment, but man... I've figured out two key elements of achieving that thump: 1.) more foam muting than you think you need, and 2.) the older my strings get, the "heavier" the E-string thump gets.


    Actually, in that SoundCloud clip I was using the 760FS set of LaBella DTFs, although they were fairly new at the time.

    Uploaded a quick cover clip of Marvin Gaye's live version of "What's Happening Brother", and I'm liking the tone more and more.

    pacojas likes this.
  14. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    I think that signature thump and hard attack to the notes were also a combination of tape saturation, the heavy guage LaBellas (all the lighter gauges have a bit less thump and more twang) and his hook finger, which must have been heavily calloused.
  15. Oddly


    Jan 17, 2014
    Dublin, Ireland.
    Sounds pretty damn close to me.
    For me, that's pretty much THE definitive bass tone.
  16. btmpancake

    btmpancake Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2015
    Apollo beach, Florida
    You asked? Ok; Don't add too many notes in your triplets, its throwing off your timing trying to fit them in. Tone is excellent, your volume is for demo purposes of course, and you should sound awesome in the mix with those tone settings-GOOD JOB IMO.
  17. fason


    Jan 19, 2013
    Those sound wonderful!

    I'm actually replying to give my humble compliments. But let me say that if I was trying to get that sound, I would also consider incorporating the hook finger as @One Drop said or at least playing just a tad closer to the neck.

    Again, great sound & playing
    One Drop likes this.

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