1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

james jamerson overdrive

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by uglycustard, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. uglycustard


    Dec 12, 2007
    Hi can anyone help me on this one? I've just been listening to the isolated bass tracks of some of the mo-town sessions and would love to be able to get close to that overdriven sound he got.I'm using at the minute a US jazz 62 re-issue straight into a vox(modern) amp.I dont want that horrible fuzz bass-tone just want to hear that fat slightly breaking up tone.What effects should I consider? tube over-drive? sans-amp? boss? any help would be most welcome guys.

  2. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    My personal fav's would be

    Summit TD-100 (Not a pedal but awesome)
    Mojo Hand Cream Pie Deluxe

    I also expect people to recommend the Sansamp VT Bass the normal Sansamp will do something in the relm.

    Jamerson's overdriven tone was achieved by him plugging into those old tube desks they had (Neve?) and his signal hitting them hard in some cases. Most tube overdrive don't do this tone they are a lots buzzier in my opinion.

    I'd also look at having a series/parrallel switch put in your jazz to get you more near that p bass tone and I assume you're using flatwound strings? if not get them on there :D
  3. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    Check out the Flipster - have a look for James Hart's clips, very Motown.
  4. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Not that I'm by any means an 'expert' or 'authority' on these matters, but my desire for an old-school "just breaking up" tone led me down many paths. I've gone the sansamp route, fuzz, distortion, overdrive, and just about everything in between! One constant has emerged in my journey- real tube pre od pedals have the most natural low-gain breakup available. Of course, IME, but I've never found a transistor-based overdrive circuit that managed to have a great low-gain texture and sound "old-timey"...

    Not that transistors cannot do low-gain. The inexpensive Bogdan Polish Love pedal, for instance, has a great lightly overdriven capability - but it's lack of flexibility makes it sound too hi-fi. SansAmp technology is also revered for it's tube-emulation, but I have to admit that I'm no believer in their offerings as a stand-alone dirt pedal. Plus, "fat" isn't the usual term used to describe a SansAmp...

    For what you're describing, I think that an EBS Valve Drive would be perfect. Older Tube Works pedals, a Mesa V-Twin or BottleRocket, or perhaps a Dave Hall tube preamp pedal would all be good choices. There's just something about a properly designed tube od that always feels more natural and organic to me.

    To exactly "nail" the Jamerson tone is far more about technique than gear, but getting a little dit and rolling off some highs does help!
  5. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Very true, but I don' think it was a Neve desk. Plus Neve channels are transistor- based and more known for their open top end "shimmer" than overdrive characteristics... Vintage Neve's (and the slew of modern clones) are very untube-like but still magical for their clean, 3-D quality!
  6. The best light overdrive I would recommend would be the Barber LTD Special Recipe. Sounds like natural low gain amp overdrive and can be dialled so low you wouldn't know it was on. The Special Recipe version has a flat EQ response at 12 so you also avoid any extra EQ'ing that the average overdrive pedal has, the kinda thing that would give brittle harsh highs in a typical tubescreamer. The tone control rolled down slightly would also get your J sounding a bit more like a P bass.

    I've also tried the Blueberry which is widely considered the amp overdrive in a box, and I still recommend the Barber LTD SR because it goes lighter and flatter.
  7. uglycustard


    Dec 12, 2007
    thanks for the advice guys most apreciated I'll check out the effects you all metion.

  8. One Drop

    One Drop

    Oct 10, 2004
    Swiss Alps
    A lot of the sound also comes from heavy compression, and saturating the tape (this la was posited by JimmyM in another thread, and it makes sense to me).

    But for a close usable tone live I find the VT works great, although I don't like the amount of breakup I get on the higher notes when the low ones are sounding perfect.

    I'm always amazed how dirty his tone was soloed. I know the mixing desk they used for most of his recordings was a custom designed and built one, and he would set his bass well into the red when recording.
  9. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Where can one listen to these solo'd tracks?

  10. Kromwarp


    Sep 16, 2008
    Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan
    Master Luthier: Ironclad Bass Guitars
    Boss 59' Bassman pedal might be an option
  11. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Columbia, Md

    You need to contact him and get a login as they are password protected.
  12. toobalicious


    May 6, 2008
    triad, nc
    i have also been a part of this sort of quest. ive tried lots of avenues. sansamp. OD pedals (both with and without tubes). modeling.

    for recording, my solution is found in my smaller tube amps (particularly bassman 100 and bandmaster). but since neither of those has the jewels for a loud rock band, my live tone continued to suffer. i have looked (for literally years) for the right "real" SVT or other big tube amp (read: right time, right place, and particularly, right price). i am as close as i have ever been to where i want to go with my most recent acquisition, a mesa 400+.

    once you get a taste for that fatness that effortlessly fills out the bottom of a mix, you will have a hard time loving any other sound, music type notwithstanding (though i have used gritty bass on virtually everything ive played/recorded for years, from soul and funk, to rawk, and even acoustic stuff). and frankly, a lot of folks might be surprised at the amount of dirty that i love---- sounds a lot different in a mix than it does on its own; just as a clean scooped sound does, but in reverse :hyper:
  13. SansAmp Bass Driver.

    I have yet to hear an ovderdriven bass tone that SansAmp cannot faithfully recreate.
  14. Mr. Ray

    Mr. Ray

    Feb 20, 2009
    From articles I have read Jamerson's bass tracks were recorded miking his amp. 60's Fender P with heavy flatwounds (high action) into a 60's Ampeg fliptop (with 15"). I have owned fliptops and it doesn't take much to get that slighly overdriven grind..to me a more of the "cheap' speaker distorting if pushed a little. He may have recorded direct into the board but I do know they did mike his amp..he did many, many sessions. Equipment and technique like that is hard to reproduce in a single pedal.
  15. i think mr. ray has got it spot on.

    theres also room for some of the other options mentioned. the mic very well could have gone through a tube pre that added a little bit of hair to the signal, and it very well could have (and as i recall, was) fed to the tape machine pretty hot, causing more compression, a touch of clipping, and in some cases, weird modulation.
  16. 73jbass

    73jbass Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2004
    An Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer works well for this situation. In Turbo mode you get just a bit of breakup,with no loss of lowend.
  17. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Jamerson was recorded direct.
  18. jro

    jro Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    I have the "Standing in the Shadows" book and I think it states he recorded by plugging into the console directly through a plate in the wall. There were gain knobs by the inputs and he'd give them an extra boost on the sly. I'd still guess that 99.9% of his sound came from his hands though.
  19. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Yes the bass guitar and the 3 guitarist all plugged into the same unit. I think there was one speaker.
  20. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp

Share This Page