Jimmy Garrison got guts

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by perytojie, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. perytojie


    Dec 2, 2004
    Nancy, FRANCE
    The first jazz album i bought about 10 years ago was Alice Coltrane's 'A Monastic Trio'. I think one of the reasons i play upright bass now is Jimmy Garrison's intro to 'Lord, Help Me To Be'. I couldn't figure out how an instrument could generate such soulful, earth grounded vibrations... He was the perfect match for the reckless band he recorded with.

    Anyway, i 'rediscovered' the album today and have just kept on listening to it. As i wanted to get a closer look at M.Garrison's sound, i edited the track 'Lord...' in soundforge to mute the right channel and keep mostly bass in the mix. I was pretty sure the man used gut strings, but now i'm not so sure. Have you heard the growl he gets on the lower strings?!?! Maybe he used a steel/gut mixed set at the end of his life? Any hints on that?

    If he actually did used only guts, tell me what brand i should buy to get that sound (he surely had a fine bass as well...)!!! I'm currently using eudoxa/oliv mixed and have tried weedwackers as well.

    Give me the sound of pirastros and the flexibility of wackers and my quest for sound will come to an end (so i say...)
  2. jneuman


    Apr 17, 2004
    I belive at the end of his stint with Coltrane, he used all steel since I've seen pictures of him with a magnetic pickup at the end of the fingerboard. That would be in the mid Sixties.
  3. perytojie


    Dec 2, 2004
    Nancy, FRANCE
    thanx jneuman! where did you get to see those pictures?
  4. bassdogEmer


    Sep 14, 2005
    San Francisco
    Endorsing Artist: Mesa Boogie Amps, Bag end,Thomastik - Infeld Strings
    I know a lot of people who knew and studied with Jimmy Garrisson. yes - he used steel strings towards the end of his life - but jacked pretty high - again heard this second hand from people who knew him - so take it all with a grain of salt. as well - the strings wont give you a big sound- thats all in the hands... and the attack. dont fall into that trap of looking towards equipement to get what you need when it can be right there in the woodshed. but then again - opinions are like a**holes...everyone has one.
  5. jneuman


    Apr 17, 2004
  6. dex68

    dex68 Guest

    May 5, 2005

    Thank you for saying this!! I think the best thing to learn from Garrison is to just put everything you got into the music you play. Of course, you can experiment with strings, and different strings can change the way you hear things, but to understand someone like Garrison, you have to go deep.
  7. perytojie


    Dec 2, 2004
    Nancy, FRANCE
    i know if my sound was a complete disaster, i'd need to work on that before thinking about equipment. But you have to admit that equipment changes something. Sometimes it changes a lot. I played on an 19something flatback romanian bass once and the sound i could get from that instrument was unbelievable! Furthermore, from steel string to plain gut thru every sort in between, you can get a panel of incredibly different sound qualities.

    what doesnt change i think is one's rythmic approach though setup and the way you adapt to it plays quite an important role (reminds me of a thread about thumpy sound and discussions about the fraction of a second before the sound actually comes our of the bass).

    But i agree you still sounds like yourself either you play on a tree or a beautiful antique bass.
  8. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I wonder how Jimmy could have been at that 1979 show since he was dead for 3 years.....
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Probably a typo on the photo listings - if you look at the next photo, it says the same festival, but shows the date as 1974 - which would have been possible! :)
  10. bassame


    Mar 25, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    You get to hear McCoy too

    looks like steel E,A, and guts D,G
  11. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    Thanks for the link. Cool solo.
    The E&A strings look like gut to me, thicker in comparison to the others.
  12. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    yeah i bet they are all gut.
    i love jimmy garrison's sound and playing, he was great.
  13. Yes all gut by look and sound - great playing, tone, rhythm, ideas, phrasing - yes its in the hands but the gut is hard to compare with.
  14. Paul Warburton

    Paul Warburton In Memoriam

    Aug 17, 2003
    Denver, Co.
    In photo #4, izzat our Ray Parker??? No? Yes? No? Yes, I'd recognize those curls anywhere! ;)
  15. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have that Elvin box set from Mosaic where there are a bunch of cuts from trio sessions with him, Elvin, and Joe Farrell.. I know he was using steel strings towards the end, but his sound is always amazing. I think hearing his later sound helped with my decision to switch over to steel after having used guts for years.
  16. His left hand thumb seems freakish. It looks like he has no bone in it. Dig his playing though and how about the size of them hands. Jimmy is the man!