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Jah Wobble

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Wobbleesque, Jun 12, 2001.


  1. Wobbleesque

    Wobbleesque

    Jun 12, 2001
    Does anybody know where i can find bass tab for early P.I.L. , especially for songs off of Second Edition. I think Jah Wobble is great what do you guys think of his style?
     
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I do like Jah Wobble and I prefer his solos albums with their huge range of "World Music" influences : "Rising above Bedlam" and "Take me to God" are favourites. I have also seen him live in the UK a few times and he has a hugely "bassy" sound - actually there were a few bassplayers I knew in the audience and some said they really didn't like his tone - too woofy?

    I did buy all the PIL stuff and really liked the basslines on "Metal Box" - which was released in a circular tin box as several 12" singles! Good for baking shortbread. ;)

    But Jah Wobble's basslines then were famously "minimal" and very easy to play - I would try transcribing them from the recording - you don't need Tab, they're very high in the mix.

    I mean, their most famous single "The Public Image" is basically only two notes on bass repeated conistently!! :rolleyes:
     
  3. Wobbleesque

    Wobbleesque

    Jun 12, 2001
    I did buy all the PIL stuff and really liked the basslines on "Metal Box" - which was released in a circular tin box as several 12" singles! Good for baking shortbread.

    But Jah Wobble's basslines then were famously "minimal" and very easy to play - I would try transcribing them from the recording - you don't need Tab, they're very high in the mix.

    I mean, their most famous single "The Public Image" is basically only two notes on bass repeated conistently!!

    Second Edition and Metal Box are the same , and that minimal fat sound is what I'm looking for. I've been able to figure out a few songs but the noise from Keith Levenine's guitar and keyboards, plus John Lydons voice almost make it impossible to hear the bass. Any ideas how to get that fat almost dub sound. I have no idea what kind of setup he used.I heard that he never played bass before and had to steal one when PIL started.
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well, I don't know what system you're playing your music on, but the basslines are earthshakingly loud on that album and the production does emulate "dub" so there is a lot of space around the basslines - this is one of the clearest albums I've ever heard for basslines!

    Jah Wobble is famous for using an Ampeg fretless "scroll" bass - but the basic sound is easy to emulate - just roll all the treble off and boost the bass - he plays fingerstyle with pretty thick strings - nearer the neck than the bridge.

    To reproduce this dub sound "live" though, you will need a lot of of amplification - Jah Wobble uses Ampeg SVTs with lots of big speakers - to get that bassy a sound with volume, requires a lot of power.
     
  5. Moonraker

    Moonraker

    Mar 7, 2001
    I do like Jah Wobbles bass playing style , it is very dub/reggae style and high in the mix. The way it should be really. It is quite true that some of his bass lines are simple and repetetive , but there are some cool bass lines he has played/written. I only have the first album and i like the majority of the tracks on it.
     
  6. stephanie

    stephanie

    Nov 14, 2000
    Scranton, PA
    Check out Jah Wobble's input on the song "Billy Boola' from the "In The Name Of the Father" soundtrack (1994). Bono and Gavin Friday sing lead and the song just kicks ass. Wonderful bassline. Silly song to get ya bouncing. Hehee. :D
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Gavin Friday sings lead vocals on two tracks on the 94 Jah Wobble album "Take me to God" , which has an amazing array of guest vocalists and musicians.
     
  8. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Jah Wobble? I've heard of him, haven't heard him.
    Anyway, in my readings(Miles Beyond), I have stumbled across some of Jah Wobble's comments regarding Miles Davis' On The Corner record...Wobble likes the way Bill Laswell re-mixed & re-edited some of the tunes from this particular era of Miles. For those not hip to On The Corner, it's a very dense rhythmic groove-oriented outing, "circular bass riffs" abound(to many, it is their LEAST favorite Miles Davis album). Anyway, Wobble sez he "heard On The Corner exactly the way Laswell remastered it".
    So, I went out & bought Panthalassa(Laswell's re-mix)...
    Wow, Laswell did a helluva job; it is a hot & clear re-mix. The bass is way outfront(not buried as much as on the original recordings). So, if you're into Wobble, check out either Miles' OTC or Laswell's re-mix.
    BTW, there are TWO versions of Laswell's album...
    one is the 'original' re-mix; the other is a re-mix with DJs, etc. I opted for the 1st re-mix...
     
  9. jimmysquid

    jimmysquid

    Jul 5, 2000
    Bruce,

    I didn't realize Jah Wobble played fretless. Interesting!

    Hey, did he play on the World Party cd's?

    Also, Bruce, watch out! Apparently some of the posters in that Best Basslines in Punk thread are going "to beat you up." You Brits! Trying to tell Americans about punk! The nerve! It's as if you think Brits................INVENTED punk!
    (If I had figured out how to use the smiles icons, there would be big smiley face in place of this text).
     
  10. You can hear him on Metal Box playing fretless for sure, he does a nice long slide on Albatross and other places.

    I like his playing a lot, it was simple but it fit perfectly. Great tone too! Not a typical fretless tone at all, just really deep and round.
     
  11. I just recently discovered Jah. His playing is already having an impact on mine.
     
  12. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    I love Jah Wobble! Deep, fat, rich tone high in the mix.

    "Take Me to God" is great. I've really been getting into his 2003 recording called "English Roots Music". It features traditional English songs sung in a very folksy style over his awesome bass lines, which are simple but integral to the mix.

    I love the way he mixes music from different cultures and ties them together with his bass. Bill Laswell is also great at this.
     
  13. I saw Wobble play with PiL in Los Angeles in 1980 at the Olympic Auditorium, and for that gig his amplification was a small Warwick combo amp mic'd up and sent through the PA. His axe was a fretted Precision. So While he may have tracked the early PiL LP's on a fretless, he didn't need one (nor a big amp) to reproduce his parts or get his tone live. He sounded thunderous that night!
     
  14. MR PC

    MR PC

    Dec 1, 2007
    Impossible. Warwick wasn't making amps ( or basses) in 1980. And his great tones in those days were most likely from a passive Ovation. When he got a few bucks, he bought the fretted P-bass. Has he survived the MDMA era? I haven't kept up.
     
  15. View attachment 168865

    MR PC -
    Here's a photo of Wobble from the aforementioned gig.On the right, by the bass drum on the riser, is the small amp that I believe Wobble was playing through. I thought it was a Warwick, but if the company did not yet make amps in 1980, then I am obviously mistaken. My memory could be playing tricks as the show was 30 years ago! But you're gonna have a hard time telling me that ain't a Fender in Wobble's hands...
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    To be honest that photo looks nothing like Wobble - not sure what you were watching..?

    He always had very dark stubble or beard and I never saw him separated from the Ampeg in the early 80s!?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    take a closer look, bruce. that's him.
     
  18. Thanks, Jimmy, for the corroboration. "Not sure what I was watching?" I'm not THAT out of it, man! That gig was a rather important one in L.A. at the time, especially since the Pistols never made it this far (their last stand was at Winterland). Wobble came out first
    and played a long sort of overture accompanied only by the drummer, and was wearing the white shorts and the same glasses you just posted pictures of! Lydon and Levene eventually followed him out; Lydon was dressed head to toe in a black robe and executioner's hood, which he stripped off to reveal that same suit he wore throughout the whole of the U.S. tour. The whole tableau made for an extremely odd and disoriented opening to the gig -- but of course was in line with the band's mission statement of subverting expectation at every corner.

    Here's another shot of Jah playing a P bass, although this is sometime
    later, looks like around the "Snake Charmer" period.


    Also, here is a link to a description of the gig at the Olympic. It is from PiL's
    own website, and includes a reproduction of the poster which was used to advertise the gig. I saved an original back in the day and it hangs on my wall.

    http://www.fodderstompf.com/GIG LIST/la1980.html

    I made my way to the foot of the stage and watched much of the gig
    from there. However, toward the end of the set my fool's luck ran out and I got the tar beaten out of me for being a long hair. Ah, those were the days...

    Wish I could reproduce a larger copy of my first photo here, which was taken by noted L.A. punk photographer Gary Leonard -- because I am
    sure that one can identify that distinctive Warwick "W" on the front of
    Wobble's amp. Can anyone comment on MR PC's assertion that the company was not making amps in 1980?
     
  19. CapnSev

    CapnSev

    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    I'm not a world music or spiritual music sort of guy at all, but "Take Me to God" and "Rising Above Bedlam" are friggin' genius.