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James Jamerson using a small 'pedal' here?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Meddle, May 9, 2010.

  1. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    I saw this photograph, and I was wondering what the small box was that is plugged into the output jack of his bass. Is it one of those Green Ringer effects, I think by Ampeg, that were originally made back then? Is it something else completely?

  2. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    Hmm, never noticed that before.
  3. SixString


    Jul 20, 2002
    early wireless? Maybe its hidden well but i don't see a cable

  4. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    Dan Armstrong effects. They're making those boxes again, but no word on how they compare to the originals.

    I sincerely doubt that Jamerson used a green ringer, at least not on any recordings I know. My bet is that it's a red ranger or yellow humper...

    Any idea what year was that pic was taken?
  5. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I read somewhere that it was an early wireless system.
  6. I've seen that pic & IIRC it was said to be either a DI or early wireless(more likely DI, IMO).
  7. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph provider Supporting Member

    My first "pedal" ever was an early 70's fuzz gadget by EHX, that you directly plugged into the guitar and switched on/off by hand (with a sliding switch, like what you see on the Ibanez AW-7). What I see on the picture looks a lot like that.
    I'm a Jamerson fan, but not really an afficionado, so I can't say if he ever used fuzz (or other effects for that matter), but it sure as hell look like what I had back then.
  8. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    If that Ampeg amp to the left of the drummer is Jamersons, then it makes the wireless a bit redundant no? Its the first I've heard of wireless gear existing that early on but I know very little on the subject.

    Any Jamerson fans here hearing any effects in the recordings?
  9. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    I've heard that Jamerson's tone was actually pretty dirty. I bet it was something like an LPB-1 to drive the hell out of those tubes.

    Tube Heaven by the end of the first song.
  10. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    Wireless. Too early for Dan Armstron stuff.
  11. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    I doubt that there was any wireless in that day and age and for years afterwards that could be made that small. It is probably a splitter box.
  12. Its an Armstrong Box and the pic was probably Photo Shopped. There is no cable coming out of the box going to an amp and the pic looks like it was taken at a gig.
  13. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Well, I have no idea what that is in the picture.

    However, radio transmitters existed before that which were quite small. Consider Leon Theremin's remote listening device, which was hidden in a gift from Soviet school children to the US ambassador.


    It was tiny and could transmit outside the building without any power source. Obviously this specific tech would not have been good for MI use, but the point is that a radio transmitter could very well have been built in a box that size at that point in history. Why he would need a wireless system to go 5 feet away is beyond me though. It's definitely too early to be Dan Armstrong - his stuff came out in the 70s.

    Aha, I found this thread, saying that the SITSOM book says it's a wireless.

  14. It seems crazy to me that it would be a wireless, but Chicago Mike is right; no Armstrong stuff until 1973. The guys at Motown custom built most of their recording stuff, so I'd bet this is something they whipped up for him, whatever it is.

    Edit: Conical beet me to it on the Armstrong date.
  15. Krakmann


    Jan 6, 2009
    Madrid (Spain)

    In the book "Standing in the Shadow of Motown, the life of extraordinary bassist James Jamerson", the footnote for that pic states it's an early wireless system, but I have that book boxed, as I'm moving, and can't look for the exact note.
  16. SixString


    Jul 20, 2002
    This. The picture can be found on page 28 and the caption reads:

    "James with drummer Uriel Jones in 1964 at a Detroit Club called Blues Unlimited. The small box plugged into the input of Jamerson's bass is an early wireless hookup. The box with the antenna on top of the piano is the receiver."
  17. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yes. This has been discussed many, many times. It is 100% confirmed to be a wireless transmitter, NOT a Dan Armstrong device or other effect.
  18. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    Wow! Imagine how good that vintage wireless would sound. It would probably go for $10k on eBay.
  19. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    The reciever on the piano, thats about the range of the unit I bet. 10 stinkin feet!
  20. kugelspot


    Jun 8, 2009

    No, he had a pretty dirty tone, but he did not "drive the hell out of those tubes." It was simply because that tiny little ampeg he was using had absolutely zero headroom.

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